Chris de Freitas

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Chris de Freitas
Trinidad and Tobago
Died5 July 2017(2017-07-05) (aged 68–69)
Alma materUniversity of Toronto,
University of Queensland
Scientific career
InstitutionsUniversity of Auckland
ThesisBeach climate and recreation : thermophysiological variation, preference and behaviour (1979)

Christopher Rhodes de Freitas (1948 – 5 July 2017)[1] was a New Zealand climate scientist. He was an associate professor in the School of Environment at the University of Auckland.

Education and professional career[edit]

De Freitas, born in Trinidad, received both his Bachelor's and his Master's at the University of Toronto, Canada, after which he earned his PhD as a Commonwealth Scholar from the University of Queensland, Australia.[2] During his time at the University of Auckland, he served as deputy dean of science, head of science and technology, and for four years as pro vice-chancellor.[2] He also served as vice-president of the Meteorological Society of New Zealand and was a founding member of the Australia–New Zealand Climate Forum as well as serving on the executive board of the International Society of Biometeorology from 1999 to 2001.[2] He wrote extensively in popular media on an array of environmental and climate-related issues. In 2001, he won the New Zealand Association of Scientists' science communicator award, now known as the Cranwell Medal.[2] He died of cancer in July 2017, having retired shortly beforehand.[3]

Global warming and scepticism about anthropogenic causes[edit]

De Freitas has questioned anthropogenic global warming, and the way information is received and interpreted. He has written that carbon dioxide emissions themselves may not necessarily be the source of recent increases in global temperature. In the New Zealand Herald (9 May 2006), he wrote:

"There is evidence of global warming. The climate has warmed about 0.6 °C in the past 100 years, but most of that warming occurred prior to 1940, before the post World War II industrialisation that led to an increase in carbon dioxide emissions. But warming does not confirm that carbon dioxide is causing it. Climate is always warming or cooling. There are natural variability theories of warming."

As an editor for the journal Climate Research[4] he had responsibility for sending papers out for review. In four instances, questions were raised about the review process of papers he had handled. The last of these led to the Soon and Baliunas controversy, in which a flawed paper was published under his editorial responsibility. The publisher, Otto Kinne, subsequently conceded that the conclusions of the paper were not supported by the evidence, and appropriate revisions of the manuscript should have been requested prior to publication.[5]

Selected publications[edit]

  • Carter, R.M., de Freitas, C.R., Goklany, I.M., Holland, D. and Lindzen, R.S., 2007. Climate Science and the Stern Review. World Economics, 8 (2), 161–182.
  • Khan, B.A., C.R. de Freitas and D. Shooter, 2007. Application of synoptic weather typing to an investigation of Nocturnal ozone concentration at a maritime location, New Zealand, Atmospheric Environment, 41, 5636–5646.
  • Carter, R.M., de Freitas, C.R., Goklany, I.M., Holland, D. and Lindzen, R.S., 2006. The Stern Review: A Dual Critique. Part I: The Science. World Economics, 7 (4), 165–232.
  • De Freitas, C.R., 2003: Tourism climatology: evaluating environmental information for decision making and business planning in the recreation and tourism sector. International Journal of Biometeorology, 48 (1), 45–54.
  • De Freitas, C.R. and A.A. Schmekal, 2003: Condensation as a microclimate process: Measurement, numerical simulation and prediction in the Glowworm Tourist Cave, New Zealand. International Journal of Climatology, 23 (5), 557–575.

Further reading[edit]

University of Auckland website:

  • "Evidence Must Prevail" by Chris de Freitas (The New Zealand Herald 9 May 2006) [1]
  • "Global Warming Skeptics Are Facing Storm Clouds" by Antonio Regaldo (Wall Street Journal, 31 July 2003) [2]
  • "Politics Reasserts Itself in the Debate Over Climate Change and Its Hazards" by Andrew C. Revkin (New York Times, 5 August 2003) [3]
  • "Storm Brews Over Global Warming" by Richard Monasterky (Chronicle of Higher Education, 4 September 2003) [4]
  • "Proxy climatic and environmental changes of the past 1000 years" by Willie Soon & Sallie Baliunas (Climate Research, Vol. 23: 89–110, 2003)[5]
  • "Are observed changes in the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere really dangerous?" by Prof. Chris de Freitas (Bulletin of Canadian Petroleum Geology Vol. 50, No. 2 (June 2002))[6]
  • Debate between Dr Jean Paultikof and Dr Chris de Freitas [7]


  1. ^ DR. CHRIS R. de FREITAS Obituary
  2. ^ a b c d "Dr Christopher de Freitas". University of Auckland. Archived from the original on 18 January 2017. Retrieved 19 January 2017.
  3. ^ "Prominent NZ scientist Chris de Freitas dies". The New Zealand Herald. 11 July 2017. Retrieved 13 June 2021.
  4. ^ Soon, Willie; Sallie Baliunas (31 January 2003). "Proxy climatic and environmental changes of the past 1000 years" (PDF). Climate Research. Inter-Research Science Center. 23: 89–110. Bibcode:2003ClRes..23...89S. doi:10.3354/cr023089.
  5. ^ Goodess, Clare (November 2003). "Stormy Times for Climate Research : Promoting ethical science, design and technology". SGR Newsletter no. 28. Archived from the original on 25 May 2011. Retrieved 2 April 2017.