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William Gray, the "eminent" meteorologist weighed in on Al Gore and global warming:

"He's one of these guys that preaches the end of the world type of things. I think he's doing a great disservice and he doesn't know what he's talking about,"

For those of you who dont know Dr Gray, he is a hurricane "expert" from Colorado.  For a quarter of a century, he has been issuing seasonal hurricane forecasts.  As Sciguy rightly notes on his blog, these premonitions are often as questionable and accurate as the Amazing Criswell's were.

I really don't hate Gray, and I more than willing to afford him the respect that he has earned for identifying, early in his career, multi-year climate variations, which helped climatologists better appreciate phenomena such as El Nino and the Southern Oscillation.  But his hurricane forecasts are dogs, and for years it has really pissed me off that he is always referred to as a great genius by the popular media which never bothers, out of sheer and inexcusable laziness, to place his forecasts in an appropriate context or challenge their accuracy.  Do a Google search on Gray and stare in awe at the list of superlatives that always accompany his name.  I am tired of hearing his seasonal forecast at the start of the season, reported densely by the press as if it were an actual weather report, and never about the limits of these types of predictions or about how wrong he often is.

His vicious attack was focused on Al Gore, an easy target, but was in fact an attack on modern science.  By joining the club of global warming deniers, he has entered the fringe of anti-science, like intelligent design apologists.  Yes, Dr Gray, there are multi-year cyclical climate variations.  You were right about that, great, now enjoy your tenure.  These variations do not disprove the facts of global warming.

Gray's chief meteorolgist schill is Joe Bastardi, a forecaster with Accuweather.  I am interested in weather forecasting, and I actually read weather blogs.  I have been reading Bastardi's blog for more than 3 years.  He is an engaging writer, but an adamant global warming denier.  Accuweather, based in Pennsylvania, conspired with ex-Senator Rick Santorum to restrict the public's access to the National Weather Service's data and forecasts.  The NWS is a taxpayer supported federal agency founded in 1870 with the explicit mission of warning citizens about the approach of dangerous weather.  It has provided information free and unrestricted since its founding.  Of course, according to Accuweather, why should American citizens have free access to life-saving public information collected by a federal agency when they could just as easily pay a for-profit company for it?  To me, this scheme exemplifies the GOP agenda.  I am surprised it didn't happen.  

Anyway, just venting here, but I hope Gray's unabashed entry into the lunatic fringe of science encourages the media to place his "famous and pioneering" hurricane forecasts into a proper context.

Originally posted to Winston Sm1th on Sun Apr 08, 2007 at 04:02 AM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  From my comments (10+ / 0-)

    on an open thread at mydd.

    Winston kept his back turned to the telescreen. It was safer, though, as he well knew, even a back can be revealing.

    by Winston Sm1th on Sun Apr 08, 2007 at 04:02:12 AM PDT

  •  Perhaps "attack mode" isn't appropriate (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Winston Sm1th

    for the global warming debate.  I think Gray came down way too hard on Gore, which is, I suppose, why you're slamming Gray.  I agree with you 100% that the bulk of the evidence points to global warming and the human activity linkage, but IMO there's still room for honest, informed argument to the contrary.  How can anyone be 100% sure that some other unknown factors aren't involved, or that recent trends will continue unabated?  A couple of months ago I wrote a diary mocking a local columnist who relied on the most absurd arguments to support the "GW hoax" theory: it's really cold this February, the earth is too big and we're too small, science deals with hard facts so there's no such thing as "consensus," GW proponents are just trying to advance their careers, and so on.  That's the stuff that burns me up.

    •  The honest, informed argument to the contrary (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      cookiebear, Winston Sm1th, rainmanjr

      "This is an impressive crowd, the have and the have mores. Some people call you the elite, I call you my base." - George W. Bush

      by Cassiodorus on Sun Apr 08, 2007 at 04:23:53 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  You may be right but what if you're wrong? (0+ / 0-)

      And we don't act radically on GW?  So we take time to do more studies before putting into place some renewable energy features.  Since there will always be disagreement on Science we've passed a good deal of time, at this point.  It's thought that we have 9 years to a tipping point.  With your thoughts we pass that mark and, if (when) we discover what we already think, then it's to late.  Your children will die or live in a very violent world of neighbors killing each other over canned goods.  
      But, what if you're right and we've changed our infrastructure, already, anyway?  Then we have a cleaner environment to enjoy and we've put lots of people back to work making it happen.  Since they worked, largely, for the Govt. it's probable that we all have Healthcare (since they were providing it to so many they simply provided it for everyone).  We've removed our need for involvement in M.E. conflicts or for the need to create those conflicts.  That makes our country safer.
      So keep your head in the sand, my friend.  I don't have kids, and have no relationship to nieces and nephews or their kids, so have little reason to care what kind of world we leave them.  I do, however.  Do you have kids?  

      "Tell us General, is it party time? And if it is can we all come?" - Men At Work.

      by rainmanjr on Sun Apr 08, 2007 at 07:01:27 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Perhaps you misunderstood my point (0+ / 0-)

        I am not arguing against taking appropriate measures.  Yet, even the IPCC report, as I understand it, describes a 90% confidence level in the GW-human activity connection -- implying that reasonable people may differ with the report's conclusions.  That seems to mean, in turn, that not every piece of evidence supports the IPCC's conclusions (and the report's authors recognize this), so the approach of bashing anyone who advances a contrary opinion is unjustified - sure, the GW deniers make their living off such bashing, but I don't care for that approach, no matter which side adopts it.  Yes I have kids, and last time I checked, my head was above ground.  In my experience, one encounters many predictions of future catastrophes of all sorts coming from a wide variety of sources, most of which ultimately prove unfounded.  But not all, of course.  Predicting the future ain't easy, and forgive me if I don't automatically assume that every worst-case scenario must spur immediate, drastic action - like Condi's "We don't want the smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud."

        •  Didn't mean to seem jumpy. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          The question was asked only to solidify the point.  I didn't mean it as bashing you (if you thought it so).
          While the report can't say it absolutely, most believe it is, in fact, linked to human activity.  I do.  The coincidence of this rise in temp., following the Industrial Revolution, is to much.  I'm not a big believer in coincidences, anyway.

          "Tell us General, is it party time? And if it is can we all come?" - Men At Work.

          by rainmanjr on Sun Apr 08, 2007 at 09:57:43 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  well (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      lotlizard, Winston Sm1th

      Of course there's always debate--that is the nature of science.  There is no honest, informed argument to the contrary anymore though among 99 percent of climate researchers. People like Gray are outliers.

      There's basically no debate at all about a few key things:

      • The greenhouse effect
      • The fact that global warming is occuring
      • The fact that CO2 is a major greenhouse gas
      • The amount of CO2 we are releasing into the atmosphere

      The only serious debate is about the future, since the models aren't perfect: how much it's going to warm; where we need to stabilize CO2 levels; crap like that.  

      What liberals fail to recognize is that regime change in Iraq is not some distraction from the war on Al Qaeda. That is a bogus argument. -- Thomas Friedman

      by markymarx on Sun Apr 08, 2007 at 07:54:01 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  No. This isn't reasonable. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      The problem is, we've been letting reasonable-sounding people who have no qualifications have a voice that's virtually equal to the near-unanimous consensus among climate scientists. That's stupid -- suicidally so.
      I don't know your qualifications, tomhodukavich, but unless you're a climatologist, your opposition to that near-unanimous consensus I mentioned simply doesn't make sense. It's not reasonable. And the suggestion that it is, somehow, perfectly reasonable is dangerous.

      It is also, as far as i can tell, a uniquelt American problem: This is the only place on the planet where we've allowed AM hate radio to spin that near-unanimous scientific opinion, along with the dire facts of the efeects of global climate change happeneing around us, into something that is, somehow, a mere political issue.

      Which winds up making it, somehow, a reasonable subject for debate among us non-climatologists.

      That's stupid.

      Sorry for such a strong reaction, and I don't know you, and I'm not attacking you personally, but the idea that it's reasonable to debate this, at this point, is aggravatingly short-sighted.

      "The true mark of a civilised country is that it doesn't rush into charging people whom it has arbitrarily arrested in places it's just invaded." - Terry Jones

      by Cenobyte on Sun Apr 08, 2007 at 08:00:39 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Gray's opinion is not honest. And it has nothing (4+ / 0-)

      to do with scientific debate. Why can't you find his theory about THC in any peer-reviewed journals?
      Because it's junk.

      Gray and Muddy Thinking about Global Warming

      Anybody who has followed press reporting on global warming, and particularly on its effects on hurricanes, has surely encountered various contrarian pronouncements by William Gray, of Colorado State University. A meeting paper that Gray provided in advance of the 2006 27th Conference on Hurricanes and Tropical Meteorology (taking place this week in Monterey California, and covered here by CNN), provides an illuminating window into Gray's thinking on the subject. Our discussion is not a point-by-point rebuttal of Gray's claims; there is far more wrong with the paper than we have the patience to detail. Gray will have plenty of opportunities to hear more about the work's shortcomings if it is ever subjected to the rigors of peer review. Here we will only highlight a few key points which illustrate the fundamental misconceptions on the physics of climate that underlie most of Gray's pronouncements on climate change and its causes.

      Gray's paper begins with a quote from Senator Inhofe calling global warming a hoax perpetrated on the American people, and ends with a quote by a representive of the Society of Petroleum Geologists stating that Crichton's State of Fear has "the absolute ring of truth." It is the gaping flaws in the scientific argument sandwiched between these two statements that are our major concern.

      •  Thank you. (0+ / 0-)

        I've run out of patience for people who can look at all of the evidence around them, read and hear of the damage that is already happening, and at rates even more catastrophic than predicted, and still find it reasonable to pretend that this is a political debate over some armchair scientists' mere musings.

        We badly need to get beyond that stage of the discussion.

        "The true mark of a civilised country is that it doesn't rush into charging people whom it has arbitrarily arrested in places it's just invaded." - Terry Jones

        by Cenobyte on Sun Apr 08, 2007 at 08:11:20 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Obligatory Coby Beck reference (3+ / 0-)

    Here is another reference to Coby Beck's "How to talk to a climate change skeptic" from Gristmill...

    "This is an impressive crowd, the have and the have mores. Some people call you the elite, I call you my base." - George W. Bush

    by Cassiodorus on Sun Apr 08, 2007 at 04:20:25 AM PDT

  •  They exist here, too (4+ / 0-)

    I posted this diary the other day on the IPCC report and had the dubious pleasure of hosting a couple of threads with self defined skeptics, here and here.

    Just amazing...

    Have you read about the Kurds yet?

    by jhritz on Sun Apr 08, 2007 at 04:42:36 AM PDT

  •  Experts like this one are needed. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Winston Sm1th

    They perform the service of fine tuning the science. So we need to let them speak. It wouldn't matter what the science says if global warming doesn't serve the needs of politicians like Bush-Cheney and their "oilman" supporters.

  •  You should post this on DKos Environmentalists (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    raines, Spathiphyllum, Winston Sm1th

    if you haven't already.  It's free and will send and alert to Dkos Enviromentalists:


    subject:  Diary + Title

    Text:  Link + first paragraph

    Sign:  Please tip and recommend.

    Also, I updated your tags to include Environment and Climate Change.  Those are often searched on.

    Oh, and very good diary.



    Have you read about the Kurds yet?

    by jhritz on Sun Apr 08, 2007 at 04:46:12 AM PDT

  •  These Guys Are Way Out There (3+ / 0-)

    Wow, even some of the most adamant skeptics are changing their tune a bit. I think more and more we'll be hearing "global warming may, in fact, be beneficial for food production" or "global warming may be real but there's not much we can do about it" or some such bullshit.


  •  not to get biblical (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cookiebear, Snarcalita, rainmanjr

    but "by their acts shall you know them" There are a number of government, and quasi government agencies involved with shutting down or painting alternative and sustainable energy projects as polluters. In my book, this makes them global warming deniers, and what's worse, they are doing it from behind a shield of being a government agency, and in a stealthy fashion. Likewise the "grassroots" groups, that want to "eliminate solid fuel burning" in favor of "clean burning gas and oil".

    of shoes and ships and sealing wax, of cabbages and kings.

    by farmerchuck on Sun Apr 08, 2007 at 05:31:34 AM PDT

  •  Global warming deniers (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    poemless, cookiebear, rainmanjr

    I can't help but compare global warming deniers to people who denied the earth was round or that the earth revolves around the sun.  The facts are there in black & white, yet they cling to archaic notions that the climate we lived in thirty years ago always has been and always will be.  Change is already happening - the data bears this out and most credible climate scientists back it up.  I have to wonder if the deniers are obtuse or are they are simply relying on faith that all will be well because some higher power will maintain the status quo regardless of the damage we have caused.  Either way, reality is going to bite them (or their children/grandchildren) in the ass one day.

    -4.50 -5.44

    "They're all crazy. They're all crazy except you and me. Sometimes I have me doubts about you." -- Garrett Fort

    by Spathiphyllum on Sun Apr 08, 2007 at 05:41:24 AM PDT

    •  Of course (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Winston Sm1th

      I'm not referring to corporate shills.  The shills are paid or pressured into denying global warming.  I'm referring to regular people who deny global warming, much like the person calipygian delt with.  When I ask them about global warming, the most common responses I get are:

      • It's a myth - the weather hasn't changed that much since I was a child.
      • It's a tree-hugging hippy thing to force their environmental agenda on corporations.
      • Don't worry - God will take care of us.

      Can you tell I live in the south?

      -4.50 -5.44

      "They're all crazy. They're all crazy except you and me. Sometimes I have me doubts about you." -- Garrett Fort

      by Spathiphyllum on Sun Apr 08, 2007 at 06:54:11 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  There is a new blog at NRO called (9+ / 0-)

    Planet Gorehttp://, a sub-blog devoted to Flat Earth Theory, Hollow Earth Theory and trashing Al Gore. Here is a typical post:

    Inconvenient weather   [Henry Payne]

    Hot summers were the perfect backdrop for the Goracle’s landmark global warming hearings in 1988. But the weather isn’t being so cooperative these days. In January, Gore’s Oscar nomination was accompanied by California freezes that decimated the state’s citrus crop. This week the Detroit (and national) media are awash with reports that IPCC scientists have concluded that "earlier blooming in the spring are linked to increased CO2 concentrations." (AP)
    Meanwhile, outside in the real world, the Detroit Tigers cancelled Thursday afternoon’s game with the Toronto Blue Jays due to unseasonably cold April temps 20 degrees below normal, stiff winds, and flurries. Further north, in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, two feet of snow fell.
    Frightful stuff this global warming

    I don't think people around here need this ridiculousness deconstructed.

    On Friday, the co-worker in the cube across from me brought this up and I suprised myself by blowing up and telling him to fuck off. The words came out as if I were possessed. "I don't have kids, but if you hate your kids enough to let them grow up in a shithole, keep on ridiculing Al Gore and the consensus on global warming and come back to me in fifty years and tell me how your kids enjoy the world you helped create." There was an uncomfortable, stunned silence in the office after that and I felt kind of bad and I was kind of suprised at my own vehemence, but I am sick and tired of the Rush Limbaugh line being pushed on us by fuckers like the NRO and having it trickle down to us little people.

    That is one million percent truth-n-fact, moonbat!

    by calipygian on Sun Apr 08, 2007 at 05:52:09 AM PDT

    •  You tell 'em (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:


    •  good for you (0+ / 0-)

      James Inhofe (R - Exxon): The greatest hoax ever perpetrated on the people of Oklahoma. - Eiron

      by cookiebear on Sun Apr 08, 2007 at 07:13:33 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  And he believes that Gore wrote the IPCC (0+ / 0-)

      report or what?

      Nevermind that one April in the US does not in any way tell us how the GLOBAL climate has changed or will change.

      This idiot still doesn't understand the difference between weather and climate let alone the difference between the US and the globe but I guess he should say that Gore's testimony in March had a perfect background because  this March happened to be the second warmest on record in the US.

      Probably he thinks that the 1993 "storm of the century" disproved global warming. That's why global temperatures have gone up since 1993. Yep.

      Climate Summary
      March 2007

      The average temperature in March 2007 was 48.1 F. This was 5.6 F warmer than the 1901-2000 (20th century) average, the 2nd warmest March in 113 years.

      •  I think they've gone up since 1993 (0+ / 0-)

        because of a temporary cooling brought about by the Mount Pinatubo eruption in the Philippines that pumped about 20 million tons of cooling sulfur dioxide into the air. It just interrupted a trend that had been ongoing for some time.

        That is one million percent truth-n-fact, moonbat!

        by calipygian on Sun Apr 08, 2007 at 12:03:56 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Of course they've gone up. But in 1993 (0+ / 0-)

          you could hear the same bullshit you can hear now.
          Snow in Texas in the middle of March and 36 degree in Florida prove that there is no global warming. Blah blah blah.

          These nuts do not understand the word 'climate' and the word 'global'. So whenever there is a negative extreme they see it as proof there is no global warming trend.
          Of course they somehow fail to notice positive extremes even while they outnumber negatives.
          Why do you think Drudge didn't post the record warm March temperatures on his site? Or the fact that 2006 was the warmest year in the US? Or the fact that globally this was the warmest winter on record?

  •  Easy target? (0+ / 0-)

    His vicious attack was focused on Al Gore, an easy target
    I'm probably out of touch but just why and how is Al Gore an easy target?

  •  And another thing (4+ / 0-)

    Ron Suskind wrote a book I haven't read yet, but the core of it has leaked out so I am aware of it: The One Percent Doctrine. In it, he says that what drives administration policy is that if there is even a one percent chance that a terrorist act will occur, the United States must take active steps to oppose it. Even going as far as invading other countries. I would argue that given the evidence, known even before the invasion, that there was less than a one percent chance that Iraq could harm the United States, yet we dove right in. The overwhelming scientific consensus is that we have a few years left to act on global warming to mitigate the worst effects, yet we do nothing. I'd say that there is a greater than one percent chance that Buffalo, NY or Duluth, MN will be bigger cities than Las Vegas or Phoenix by 2050 due to a combination of global warming and peak oil with all of the economic costs that a social disruption/internal migration of that scale entails, and yet the administration does nothing, and people who warn of this are ridiculed. I am disgusted. But, hey, I'm childless. It doesn't affect me. Why should I give a shit?

    That is one million percent truth-n-fact, moonbat!

    by calipygian on Sun Apr 08, 2007 at 05:59:45 AM PDT

  •  By contrast (4+ / 0-)

    Compare that with the statements made by eminent CLIMATOLOGIST and often touted global warming skeptic (not denier) Carl Wunsch:

    I believe that climate change is real, a major threat, and almost surely has a major human-induced component...

    The science of climate change remains incomplete. Some elements are so firmly based on well-understood principles, or for which the observational record is so clear, that most scientists would agree that they are almost surely true (adding CO2 to the atmosphere is dangerous; sea level will continue to rise,...). Other elements remain more uncertain, but we as scientists in our roles as informed citizens believe society should be deeply concerned about their possibility: failure of US midwestern precipitation in 100 years in a mega-drought; melting of a large part of the Greenland ice sheet, among many other examples.

    See far more here where Carl Wunsch angrily throws off the mantle of denier that deniers tried to force on him.

  •  it's the fashionable way to dismiss (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bustacap, danmac

    i was labeled similar on another forum when i stated that i think proper funding for regulatory agencies, esp. those overseeing food, should be a higher priority than tax breaks for Paris Hilton.

    that rocketed a winger straight to the moon! in between the frothing at the mouth, i was accused of hiding in my bomb shelter and starving to death.

    i kind of figured i was the beneficiary of the latest freeper assault.

    gad, they're idiots.

    James Inhofe (R - Exxon): The greatest hoax ever perpetrated on the people of Oklahoma. - Eiron

    by cookiebear on Sun Apr 08, 2007 at 07:11:06 AM PDT

  •  Gray is an Exxon-sponsored Wingnut (7+ / 0-)

    First of all, the guy is a good meteorologist.  He is not a scientist.  He's just an upgraded version of the guy on the news standing in front of the green screen telling you that there's a 40% chance of rain today.  He knows very little about the actual science behind climate change, and he refuses to learn about it.

    In fact, a blogger met with William Gray back in 2006, and wrote about the meeting, which should shed some light on Gray's anti-scientific view:

    I was at a meeting a few weeks ago where I ran into Bill Gray, a famous emeritus skeptic. He gave his standard stump speech in which he claims that the water vapor feedback is negative. I followed up on this with him and it became quite clear to me that he is unfamiliar with all of the peer-reviewed literature on this subject that has been published in the last five years. This makes sense. Reading the literature is a difficult and full-time job, and emeritus faculty simply don't need to do that. Especially (in the case of Gray) when your time is occupied being interviewed and screaming at people. As a result, my sense is that the views of emeritus skeptics are often substantially out of date.

    But the story goes on. After arguing with him for a few minutes, it became clear that Bill Gray has no scientific theory of his own why the water vapor feedback is negative, and no data to support his non-theory. He has no manuscript describing his non-theory and no plans to attempt to publish it. After I pointed out all of the evidence supporting a positive feedback, he looked confused and finally said, "OK, maybe the feedback isn't negative, maybe it's neutral. I'll give you that." I quickly concluded that he has no idea what he's talking about. I wish everyone that considers him credible could have witnessed this exchange.

    So the guy clearly is not informed or anything close to a scientist.  He is simply a shill.  Part of this becomes clear when you see what organizations he is associated with, such as the right-wing anti-science group Tech Central Station, which is funded by Exxon, among others:

    As an LLC, there is little Tech Central Station must publicly disclose about itself save for the names and addresses of its owners, and there is no presumption, legal or otherwise, that it exists to serve the public interest. Likewise, rather than advertisers per se, TCS has what it calls "sponsors," which are thanked prominently in a section one click away from the front page of the site. (AT&T, ExxonMobil, and Microsoft were early supporters; General Motors, Intel, McDonalds, NASDAQ, National Semiconductor, and Qualcomm, as well as the drug industry trade association, PhRMA, joined during the past year.)

    In fact, TCS released an anti-global warming propaganda movie:

    In June 2006, the broadcast PR firm Medialink Worldwide put out a video news release (VNR) titled, "Global Warming and Hurricanes: All Hot Air?" In accompanying materials, the firm identified "TCS Daily Science Roundtable" as the client behind the segment. But Medialink didn't disclose that TCS Daily is a website published by Tech Central Station and was, at the time, a project of the Republican lobbying and PR firm DCI Group. (In October 2006, DCI sold the TCS Daily website.) Or that DCI Group counts among its clients ExxonMobil. Or that ExxonMobil gave the Tech Central Science Foundation $95,000 in 2003, for "climate change support."

    The VNR features Dr. William Gray and Dr. James J. O'Brien, who are identified as "two of the nation's top weather and ocean scientists." Gray denies that there's any link between global warming and the severity of recent hurricane seasons. "We don't think that's the case," he says. "This is the way nature sometimes works." The VNR attributes increased hurricane activity to "the cycle of nature."

    Additionally, William Gray appears to have been a paid skeptic all the time.  He is a complete shill, and he makes Coulteresque statements, such as when he compared Al Gore to Adolf Hitler.  Gray said:

    Gore believed in global warming almost as much as Hitler believed there was something wrong with the Jews."

    So as you can see, his credibility is virtually nothing.  He is not a scientist, he associates with groups that are paid for by Exxon, and he does not research anything.

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