Survey of Meteorologists Destroys Climate ‘Consensus’ Claims

Survey of Meteorologists Destroys Climate ‘Consensus’ Claims
December 22, 2013

James M. Taylor

James M. Taylor is senior fellow for environment and energy policy at The Heartland Institute, and... (read full bio)

Barely half of American Meteorological Society meteorologists believe global warming is occurring and humans are the primary cause, a newly released study reveals. The survey results are the latest in a long line of evidence indicating the frequently asserted global warming consensus does not exist.

More than 1,800 Meteorologists
The American Meteorological Society, working with experts at George Mason University and Yale University, emailed all AMS members for whom the AMS had a mailing address (excluding associate members and student members) and asked them to fill out an online survey on global warming. More than 1,800 AMS meteorologists filled out the survey, providing a highly representative view of scientists with meteorological, climatological, and atmospheric science expertise.

The central question in the survey consisted of two parts: “Is global warming happening? If so, what is its cause?” Answer options were:

Yes: Mostly human
Yes: Equally human and natural
Yes: Mostly natural
Yes: Insufficient evidence [to determine cause]
Yes: Don’t know cause
Don’t know if global warming is happening
Global warming is not happening

Just 52 percent of survey respondents answered Yes: Mostly human. The other 48 percent either questioned whether global warming is happening or would not ascribe human activity as the primary cause.

Just One Component of ‘Crisis’
Importantly, the survey addressed merely one of the necessary components of a human-induced global warming crisis. The survey did not ask whether temperatures are warmer than those of the Medieval Warm Period or other recent warm periods, did not ask whether temperatures are warming at a rapid pace, did not ask whether recent warming has been harmful or beneficial, and did not ask whether transforming our energy economy would stop global warming or pass a cost/benefit test. Certainly, many of the 52 percent of meteorologists who believe humans are primarily responsible for some warming would nevertheless question some of these other necessary components of a human-induced global warming crisis.

In short, the news for global warming activists is far worse than the survey results showing barely half of meteorologists believe humans are primarily responsible for some global warming. The reality is when you factor in the other necessary components of a global warming crisis, clearly less than half of American Meteorological Society meteorologists believe in the frequently asserted global warming crisis.

Scientists Contradict Alleged Consensus
The survey queried scientists with targeted atmospheric science expertise and who have demonstrated the skills and experience to qualify for AMS membership. It isn’t a poll of chemists or engineers, nor a position statement put together by a dozen or so members of a scientific group’s bureaucracy; it is a poll of more than 1,800 atmospheric scientists.

Although these survey results should have a seismic impact in the global warming debate, they shouldn’t come as a surprise. The evidence of a sharp scientific disagreement in the global warming debate has been building for years.

Chinese Academy of Sciences Vice President Ding Zhongli explained human activity is not the only factor causing global warming and we don’t know how to assign relative weight to human and natural warming factors. "Up to now not a single scientist has figured out the weight ratio of each factor on global temperature change," he wrote.

The Polish Academy of Sciences reports, “The phenomenon observed today, in particular the temporary rise of global temperature, is the result of the natural rhythm of climate change.”

According to the American Physical Society, “There is a considerable presence within the scientific community of people who do not agree with the IPCC conclusion” of a global warming crisis.

According to the Director of the Center for Sun-Climate Research at the Danish Space Research Institute at the Danish National Space Center, we have recently experienced “the highest solar activity we have had in at least 1,000 years.”

This led to the Voice of Russia reporting, “Global warming is coming to an end: In the coming years the temperature over the entire planet will fall and the cooling will provide a character of relief. This is the conclusion reached by Russian scientists from the Physics University of the Russian Academy of Science.”

Facts, Not Opinions
Scientific truth is determined by facts, evidence, and observations, not a show of hands. If consensus determined scientific truth, medical doctors would still be bleeding people with leeches and we would still believe the sun revolves around the earth. Nevertheless, there may be times when political leaders feel compelled to give special consideration to an overwhelming scientific majority when that overwhelming majority reaches strong agreement on a matter of serious public concern.

Global warming activists claim a serious public concern currently exists and the overwhelming majority of scientists agrees humans are creating a global warming crisis. The survey of AMS meteorologists, however, shows no such overwhelming majority exists. To the extent we can assign a majority scientific opinion to whether all the necessary components of a global warming crisis exist, the AMS survey shows the majority does not agree humans are creating a global warming crisis.

The results of this new survey may not come as a surprise to those following the global warming debate, but it is a piece of evidence with seismic importance in the ongoing political debate.

James M. Taylor (jtaylor@heartland.org) is managing editor of Environment & Climate News. This article first appeared at Forbes.com, and is reprinted with permission.

James M. Taylor

James M. Taylor is senior fellow for environment and energy policy at The Heartland Institute, and... (read full bio)