Roy Spencer (scientist)

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Roy W. Spencer
Aqua Celebrates Ten Years.jpg
Born United States
Residence United States
Nationality American
Fields Meteorology
Institutions NASA,
University of Alabama in Huntsville
Alma mater University of Michigan, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Thesis A case study of African wave structure and energetics during Atlantic transit (1981)
Doctoral advisor Verner E. Suomi
Notable awards NASA Exceptional Scientific Achievement Medal (1991),
AMS Special Award (1996)
Website
www.drroyspencer.com

Roy Warren Spencer is a climatologist,[1] Principal Research Scientist at the University of Alabama in Huntsville, and the U.S. Science Team leader for the Advanced Microwave Scanning Radiometer (AMSR-E) on NASA's Aqua satellite.[2][3] He has served as Senior Scientist for Climate Studies at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center.[2][3]

He is known for his satellite-based temperature monitoring work, for which he was awarded the American Meteorological Society's Special Award.[3]

Education and career[edit]

Spencer received a B.S. in atmospheric sciences from the University of Michigan in 1978 and his M.S. and Ph.D. in meteorology from the University of Wisconsin–Madison in 1980 and 1982.[2] His doctoral thesis was titled, A case study of African wave structure and energetics during Atlantic transit.[4]

After receiving his Ph.D. in 1982, Spencer worked for two years as a research scientist in the Space Science and Engineering Center at the University of Wisconsin–Madison.[2] He then joined NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center as a visiting scientist in 1984,[3] where he later became Senior Scientist for Climate Studies.[2] After leaving NASA in 2001, Spencer has been Principal Research Scientist at the University of Alabama in Huntsville (UHA).[2] As well as his position at UHA, Spencer is currently the U.S. Science Team leader for the Advanced Microwave Scanning Radiometer (AMSR-E) on NASA's Aqua satellite, a position he has held since 1994.[2]

In 2001, he designed an algorithm to detect tropical cyclones and estimate their maximum sustained wind speed using the Advanced Microwave Sounding Unit (AMSU).[5][6]

Spencer has been a member of several science teams: the Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) Space Station Accommodations Analysis Study Team, Science Steering Group for TRMM, TOVS Pathfinder Working Group, NASA Headquarters Earth Science and Applications Advisory Subcommittee, and two National Research Council (NRC) study panels.[2]

He is on the board of directors of the George C. Marshall Institute,[7] and on the board of advisors of the Cornwall Alliance for the Stewardship of Creation.[8]

Spencer's research work is funded by NASA, NOAA, DOE and the DOT.[3]

Peer-reviewed articles on climate change[edit]

Negative cloud feedback[edit]

In 2007, Spencer and others published a paper in Geophysical Research Letters regarding negative cloud feedback in the tropics that potentially supports Richard Lindzen's Iris hypothesis, which proposes that as the tropical atmosphere warms, cirrus clouds decrease, allowing infrared heat to escape from the atmosphere to outer space.[9][10] Spencer stated, "To give an idea of how strong this enhanced cooling mechanism is, if it was operating on global warming, it would reduce estimates of future warming by over 75 percent. [...] Right now, all climate models predict that clouds will amplify warming. I'm betting that if the climate models' 'clouds' were made to behave the way we see these clouds behave in nature, it would substantially reduce the amount of climate change the models predict for the coming decades."[10][11]

Cloud formation and temperature change[edit]

In 2008, Spencer and William Braswell published a paper in the Journal of Climate which suggests that natural variations in how clouds form could actually be causing temperature changes, rather than the other way around, and could also lead to overestimates of how sensitive the Earth's climate is to greenhouse gas emissions.[12][13] Spencer stated, "Our paper is an important step toward validating a gut instinct that many meteorologists like myself have had over the years, [...] that the climate system is dominated by stabilizing processes, rather than destabilizing processes - that is, negative feedback rather than positive feedback."[14]

Energy lost to space as compared to climate models[edit]

In 2011, Spencer and Braswell published a paper in Remote Sensing concluding that more energy is radiated back to space and released earlier than previously thought.[15][16] Spencer stated, "The satellite observations suggest there is much more energy lost to space during and after warming than the climate models show. There is a huge discrepancy between the data and the forecasts that is especially big over the oceans."[16][17][18]

The paper was criticized by mainstream climate scientists.[19][20] Kerry Emanuel of MIT, said this work was cautious and limited mostly to pointing out problems with forecasting heat feedback.[19]

The editor-in-chief of Remote Sensing, Wolfgang Wagner, later resigned over publication of Spencer and Braswell (2011),[21] stating, "From a purely formal point of view, there were no errors with the review process. [...] the problem I see with the paper by Spencer and Braswell is not that it declared a minority view ...but that it essentially ignored the scientific arguments of its opponents. This latter point was missed in the review process, explaining why I perceive this paper to be fundamentally flawed and therefore wrongly accepted by the journal."[22] Wagner added he, "would also like to personally protest against how the authors and like-minded climate sceptics have much exaggerated the paper's conclusions in public statements".[21][22]

Spencer responded that Wagner's assertion was wholly inaccurate, "But the paper WAS precisely addressing the scientific arguments made by our opponents, and showing why they are wrong! That was the paper’s starting point! We dealt with specifics, numbers, calculations…while our critics only use generalities and talking points. There is no contest, as far as I can see, in this debate. If you have some physics or radiative transfer background, read the evidence we present, the paper we were responding to, and decide for yourself."[23]

Andrew Dessler later published a paper opposing the claims of Spencer and Braswell (2011) in Geophysical Research Letters.[24]

Views[edit]

Climate change[edit]

In 2006 Spencer criticized Al Gore's documentary An Inconvenient Truth, saying, "For instance, Mr. Gore claims that the Earth is now warmer than it has been in thousands of years. Yet the latest National Academies of Science (NAS) report on the subject has now admitted that all we really know is that we are warmer now than we were during the last 400 years, which is mostly made up of the 'Little Ice Age'".[25]

In a New York Post opinion column on February 26, 2007, Spencer wrote:

Contrary to popular accounts, very few scientists in the world – possibly none – have a sufficiently thorough, "big picture" understanding of the climate system to be relied upon for a prediction of the magnitude of global warming. To the public, we all might seem like experts, but the vast majority of us work on only a small portion of the problem.[26]

In an interview with conservative talk show host Rush Limbaugh on February 28, 2007, Spencer stated that he doesn't believe "catastrophic manmade global warming" is occurring. He also criticized climate models, saying "The people that have built the climate models that predict global warming believe they have sufficient physics in those models to predict the future. I believe they don't. I believe the climate system, the weather as it is today in the real world shows a stability that they do not yet have in those climate models."[27] Roy Spencer is also included in a film that argues against the theory of man-made global warming called The Great Global Warming Swindle.

He testified before the Waxman committee's examination of political interference with climate science on March 19, 2007.[3]

Spencer has published two books on climate change: In 2008, Climate Confusion: How Global Warming Hysteria Leads to Bad Science, Pandering Politicians and Misguided Policies that Hurt the Poor,[28] and in 2010, The Great Global Warming Blunder: How Mother Nature Fooled the World’s Top Climate Scientists.[29]

Spencer is a signatory to An Evangelical Declaration on Global Warming,[30][31] which states that "Earth and its ecosystems – created by God's intelligent design and infinite power and sustained by His faithful providence – are robust, resilient, self-regulating, and self-correcting".[32] He believes that most climate change is natural in origin, the result of long-term changes in the Earth's albedo and that anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions have caused some warming, but that its warming influence is small compared to natural, internal, chaotic fluctuations in global average cloud cover.[33] This view contradicts the scientific consensus that "most of the warming observed over the last 50 years is attributable to human activities". [34]

On July 18, 2013 before U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer's Environment and Public Works committee, Spencer suggested the hearing title could easily be renamed "Climate Change, It's Happened Before" rather than the actual title, "Climate Change, It's Happening Now". He added “The last 2000 years of proxy reconstructed temperature variations for the Northern Hemisphere shows that the Modern Warm Period (today) is not significantly different from the Medieval Warm Period of ~1000 years ago, or the Roman Warm Period of ~2000 years ago." [35][unreliable source?]

In February 2014 Spencer posted on his blog that he was going to start referring to those who referred to those questioning the mainstream view of global warming (such as Spencer himself) as "climate change deniers" as "global warming Nazis", contending that "...these people are supporting policies that will kill far more people than the Nazis ever did." [36][37] The Anti-Defamation League responded with a statement condemning Spencer's comparison. Shelley Rose, the ADL's Southeast Interim Regional Director, argued that the comparison of global warming advocates to Nazis was "outrageous and deeply offensive," and "This analogy is just the latest example of a troubling epidemic of comparisons to Hitler and the Holocaust."[38] In reply, Spencer asked whether the ADL is being hypocritical. Spencer quoted syndicated columnist Ellen Goodman's famous statement that "global warming deniers are now on a par with Holocaust deniers," and said that the ADL should condemn that use of "denier." [39] Spencer was defended by Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow adjunct policy analyst Alan Caruba, who wrote that "Dr. Spencer’s decision to call a Nazi a Nazi ignited a lot of discussion among the global warming hustlers and those whom they have been calling “deniers” for many years."[40]

Intelligent design[edit]

In TCS Daily, Spencer wrote, "Twenty years ago, as a PhD scientist, I intensely studied the evolution versus intelligent design controversy for about two years. And finally, despite my previous acceptance of evolutionary theory as 'fact,' I came to the realization that intelligent design, as a theory of origins, is no more religious, and no less scientific, than evolutionism. In the scientific community, I am not alone. There are many fine books out there on the subject. Curiously, most of the books are written by scientists who lost faith in evolution as adults, after they learned how to apply the analytical tools they were taught in college."[41] In the book The Evolution Crisis, Spencer wrote, "I finally became convinced that the theory of creation actually had a much better scientific basis than the theory of evolution, for the creation model was actually better able to explain the physical and biological complexity in the world. [...] Science has startled us with its many discoveries and advances, but it has hit a brick wall in its attempt to rid itself of the need for a creator and designer."[42]

Climatologist Patrick Michaels has defended Spencer, arguing that his religious beliefs have nothing to do with his climate change research.[43]

Awards[edit]

See also[edit]

Selected publications[edit]

Articles[edit]

Books[edit]

Peer-reviewed papers[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Fong, Jocelyn (27 January 2011). "Fox Tries To Debunk Global Warming, Fails Miserably". Media Matters for America. Retrieved 25 March 2014. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k "Aqua Project Science". NASA. Retrieved 2012-08-27. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Spencer, Roy W. (March 19, 2007). "STATEMENT TO THE COMMITTEE ON OVERSIGHT AND GOVERNMENT REFORM OF THE UNITED STATES HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES". United States House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. Archived from the original on 2007-03-28. Retrieved 2007-03-07. 
  4. ^ Spencer, Roy Warren (1981). "A case study of African wave structure and energetics during Atlantic transit". University of Wisconsin–Madison. Retrieved 2012-08-27. 
  5. ^ "Detecting Tropical Cyclones Using AMSU". NASA. Retrieved 2012-08-27. 
  6. ^ Spencer, Roy W. and William D. Braswell (2001). "Atlantic Tropical Cyclone Monitoring with AMSU-A: Estimation of Maximum Sustained Wind Speeds". Monthly Weather Review 129: 1518–1532. Bibcode:2001MWRv..129.1518S. doi:10.1175/1520-0493(2001)129<1518:ATCMWA>2.0.CO;2. Retrieved 2012-08-27. 
  7. ^ "The Marshall Institute - Staff". George C. Marshall Institute. Retrieved 2012-08-27. [dead link]
  8. ^ "Cornwall Alliance Board of Advisors". Cornwall Alliance. Retrieved 2013-04-03. 
  9. ^ Spencer, Roy W.; Braswell, William D.; Christy, John R.; Hnilo, Justin (2007). "Cloud and radiation budget changes associated with tropical intraseasonal oscillations". Geophysical Research Letters 34 (15). Bibcode:2007GeoRL..3415707S. doi:10.1029/2007GL029698. 
  10. ^ a b Milloy, Study (November 1, 2007). "Clouds Mitigate Global Warming, New Evidence Shows". Heartland Institute. Retrieved 2012-08-27. 
  11. ^ "Cirrus disappearance: Warming might thin heat-trapping clouds" (Press release). University of Alabama in Huntsville. August 9, 2007. Archived from the original on July 16, 2011. Retrieved 2012-08-27. 
  12. ^ Spencer, Roy W. and William D. Braswell (2008). "Potential Biases in Feedback Diagnosis from Observational Data: A Simple Model Demonstration". Journal of Climate 21 (21): 5624–5628. Bibcode:2008JCli...21.5624S. doi:10.1175/2008JCLI2253.1. Retrieved 2012-08-29. 
  13. ^ Rice, Doyle (June 18, 2008). "Global warming forecast: Partly cloudy". USA Today. Retrieved 2012-08-29. 
  14. ^ "Has global warming research misinterpreted cloud behavior?". PhysOrg. June 8, 2008. Retrieved 2012-08-29. 
  15. ^ Spencer, Roy and William Braswell (2011). "On the Misdiagnosis of Climate Feedbacks from Variations in Earth's Radiant Energy Balance". Remote Sensing 3 (8): 1603–1613. Bibcode:2011RemS....3.1603S. doi:10.3390/rs3081603. Retrieved 2012-08-27. 
  16. ^ a b Orlowski, Andrew (July 29, 2011). "'Missing heat': Is global warmth vanishing into space?". The Register. Retrieved 2012-08-29. 
  17. ^ "Data contradict climate model predictions". UPI. July 29, 2011. Retrieved 2012-08-30. 
  18. ^ Horton, Daniel (July 29, 2011). "Climate models make too hot forecasts of global warming". PhysOrg. Retrieved 2012-08-30. 
  19. ^ a b Borenstein, Seth (July 29, 2011). "Skeptic's small cloud study renews climate rancor". Associated Press. Retrieved 2012-08-29. 
  20. ^ Black, Richard (September 2, 2011). "Journal editor resigns over 'problematic' climate paper". BBC News. Retrieved 2012-08-29. 
  21. ^ a b Hickman, Leo (February 9, 2011). "Journal editor resigns over 'flawed' paper co-authored by climate sceptic". The Guardian. Retrieved 2012-08-27. 
  22. ^ a b Wagner, Wolfgang (2011). "Taking Responsibility on Publishing the Controversial Paper "On the Misdiagnosis of Surface Temperature Feedbacks from Variations in Earth's Radiant Energy Balance" by Spencer and Braswell, Remote Sens. 2011, 3(8), 1603-1613". Remote Sensing 3 (9): 2002–2004. Bibcode:2011RemS....3.2002W. doi:10.3390/rs3092002. Retrieved 2012-08-27. 
  23. ^ Clabough, Raven (September 6, 2011). "Resignation of Climate Change Editor Incites Inquiries". The New American. Retrieved 2012-08-27. 
  24. ^ Dessler, Andrew E. (2011). "Cloud variations and the Earth's energy budget". Geophysical Research Letters 38 (19). Bibcode:2011GeoRL..3819701D. doi:10.1029/2011GL049236. Retrieved 2011-09-07. 
  25. ^ Star Search by Roy Spencer, TCS Daily, 30 Jun 2006
  26. ^ Spencer, Roy W. (2007-02-26). "NOT THAT SIMPLE / GLOBAL WARMING: WHAT WE DON'T KNOW". New York Post. Retrieved 2007-04-07. 
  27. ^ Global Warming Update: Facts, Science Smash the Global Warming Myth
  28. ^ Climate Confusion
  29. ^ The Great Global Warming Blunder
  30. ^ "Prominent Signers of An Evangelical Declaration on Global Warming". Cornwall Alliance. Retrieved 2012-08-27. 
  31. ^ Mark Kelly. "Global warming alarmism 'fails the tests,' scholars say", Baptist Press, December 4, 2009.
  32. ^ An Evangelical Declaration on Global Warming "We believe Earth and its ecosystems – created by God's intelligent design and infinite power and sustained by His faithful providence – are robust, resilient, self-regulating, and self-correcting, admirably suited for human flourishing, and displaying His glory."
  33. ^ Spencer, Roy (May 13, 2010). Interview With A Global Warming Skeptic: Dr. Roy Spencer. Interview with Cameron J. English. Retrieved 2012-08-27. 
  34. ^ Climate Change 2001: Working Group I: The Scientific Basis p.7 – Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
  35. ^ Town Hall-Finance July 21, 2013 Marita Noon [1]
  36. ^ Spencer, Roy W. (20 February 2014). "Time to push back against the global warming Nazis". Drroyspencer.com. Retrieved 21 February 2014. 
  37. ^ Abrams, Lindsay (21 February 2014). "People who call climate deniers “climate deniers” should be called “Global Warming Nazis,” says climate denier". Salon. Retrieved 21 February 2014. 
  38. ^ Gattis, Paul (26 February 2014). "UAH climate expert Roy Spencer calls critics 'global warming Nazis'; Anti-Defamation League objects". The Birmingham News. Retrieved 28 February 2014. 
  39. ^ UAH climate expert Roy Spencer sharply rebukes criticism from Anti-Defamation League, The Huntsville Times (AL.com), February 28, 2014
  40. ^ Caruba, Alan (12 March 2014). "Calling the Global Warming charlatans "Nazis"". Sonoran News. Retrieved 13 March 2014. 
  41. ^ Spencer, Roy (August 8, 2005). "Faith-Based Evolution". TCS Daily. Retrieved 2012-08-29. 
  42. ^ Penfold, Michael (2007). The Evolution Crisis. Penfold Books. ISBN 1900742241. Retrieved 2012-08-29. 
  43. ^ Michaels, Patrick J. (May 9, 2012). "Guilt by Association". National Review. Retrieved 2012-08-29. 
  44. ^ Earth Systems Science "SSL 1996 Annual Report - Earth Science". NASA. Retrieved 2012-08-27. 

External links[edit]