A very interesting interview...
The September 2005 issue of Discover Magazine has an interview with meteorologist William Gray whom they claim is one of the world's most famous hurricane experts. Here's a small excerpt from the interview:
Q: A few years ago, you almost called it quits because you'd lost so much funding. What made you continue?
Gray: I don't have the budget that I had, so I have cut my project way back. I am in retirement. I'm still working every day, but I don't teach and I don't have as many graduate students and as much financial need. I've got a little money from Lexington Insurance out of Boston, and I have some National Science Foundation money. For years I haven't had any NOAA, NASA, or Navy money. But I'm having more fun. Right now, I'm trying to work on this human-induced global-warming thing that I think is grossly exaggerated.
Q: You don't believe global warming is causing climate change?
Gray: No. If it is, it is causing such a small part that it is negligible. I'm not disputing that there has been global warming. There was a lot of global warming in the 1930s and '40s, and then there was a slight global cooling from the middle '40s to the early '70s. And, there has been warming since the middle '70s, especially in the last 10 years. But this is natural, due to ocean circulation changes and other factors. It is not human induced.
Q: That must be a controversial position among hurricane researchers.
Gray: Nearly all of my colleagues who have been around 40 or 50 years are skeptical as hell about this whole global-warming thing. But no one asks us. If you don't know anything about how the atmosphere functions, you will of course say, "Look, greenhouse gases are going up, the globe is warming, they must be related." Well, just because there are two associations, changing with the same sign, doesn't mean that one is causing the other.
Q: With last year's hurricane season so active, and this year's looking like it will be, won't people say it's evidence of global warming?
Gray: The Atlantic has had more of these storms in the last 10 years or so, but in other ocean basins, activity is slightly down. Why would that be so if this is climate change? The Atlantic is a special basin? The number of major storms in teh Atlantic also went way down from the middle 1960s to the middle '90s, when greenhouse gases were going up.
Q: Why is there scientific support for the idea?
Gray: So many people have a vested interest in this global-warming thing -- all these big labs and research and stuff. The idea is to frighten the public, to get money to study it more. Not that the cold war is over, we have to generate a common enemy to support science, and what better common enemy for the globe than greenhouse gases?
Q: Are your funding problems due in part to your view?
Gray: I can't be sure, but I think that's a lot of the reason. I have been around 50 years, so my views on this are well known. I had NOAA money for 30 some years, and then when the Clinton administration came in and Gore started directing some of the environmental stuff, I was cut off. I couldn't get any NOAA money. They turned down 13 straight proposals from me.