People of Science and Global Warming

There have been many statements about the scientific consensus that global warming exists and is caused by the CO2 emissions released by the burning of fossil fuels.  The most amusing statement is that most scientists that publish research on climate change, believe in climate change.  That would be like saying that most preachers of a particular religion, believe in that religion.  Especially since most jobs in the study of climate change, require proven belief (Position #F9452z) in climate change.  Of course they are not the only scientifically trained people in the world.  What about the engineers, meteorologists and other scientists that deal with the practical side of science and weather on a daily basis.  What exactly do they believe when it comes to global warming?

The Meteorologists on the local weather channels are the people in the front line in communicating weather and climate information to the public.  This is a group that monitors weather on a daily basis.  A very important part of their job is to make their presentations interesting.  They often do this by putting the weather into perspective.  An Indian Summer in November will bring out information from the past events that are like this.  These are the people that pour over the historical data for each location across the country and around the world.  These are the ones that will tell you the last time it snowed on Christmas in Atlanta, Georgia.

If the climate was changing, these are the people that would be seeing it.  They certainly pay more attention to weather than most people (perhaps skeptical bloggers are the only ones that pay more attention than they do).  A study by George Mason University (the same one hiring for a new position above for some reason) found that 31% of Meteorologists believe that global warming is caused by human activities.  Almost an equal percent (27%) consider the whole thing a scam.  Most of them agree that the Earth has warmed in the recent past, but 63% believe that the what is happening in the Earth’s climate is natural variation.

That is an astonishing number.  63% of the Meteorologists in United States believe that nothing unnatural is happening with the Earth’s climate.  This is a group that describes itself (93%) fairly to well informed on the topic of global warming.  They understand the theory and the consequences of the theory, but only 31% of them believe that mankind is causing anything to happen.  Almost all of them have been asked by the public about global warming.  It is a fascinating comparison to the statistics that are trotted out by the warmists.

Here is a list of some interesting results from the poll that was published last March.

Only 12% feel that only one side of the debate should be told.

76% say they are not sure or have not seen evidence of warming in the local weather.

90% had spent time thinking about global warming.

42% believe that humans cannot change the Earth’s climate

73% say that new information could cause them to change their view

That last is important.  Any scientist should be open to new information.  That 73% of Meteorologists remain open minded to changing their view is an indication that they are being scientific about the ideas of global warming.

Engineers, Physicists and Others

I also wanted to add polling data about engineers and other types of scientific professionals and their views of global warming.  Part of this is because I found an interesting statement (#14) in a warmist forum that was trashing Dr. Spencer and his UAH adjustment.  The statement is:

I feel sorry for ‘ol Roy these days, I used to call him an outright denier at one point but now I just think he’s the last holdout.

When Roy jumps so too will the rest of the science-side skeptics. (The engineer side will remain skeptical forever.)

Certainly in my experience I have found very few engineers that believe in global warming (most of them comment on my site if you are curious).  I could not find any polling data about engineers and global warming.  That surprised me a bit.  Considering how many polls are done about this topic I was certain I would be able to find one, but not luck.  I found plenty of sites that had lists of scientists and engineers that had made strong skeptical statements about global warming, but no poll data.  So I sent a letter out to some professional polling companies in hope of them generating one.  If I hear back, you can be sure that I will post more about this.

Posted in Fear and Misinformation and Skeptic by inconvenientskeptic on January 18th, 2011 at 3:01 am.


This post has 5 comments

  1. John,

    I didn’t pay much attention to man-made CO2 causing global warming until Climategate and I consider myself late to the game, but have worked at catching up. I’ve been reading books and papers and visiting blogs.

    So far man-made global warming of a catastrophic degree, appears to me to be a weak conjecture with scant reliable empirical evidence to support it. If there is a man-made CO2 heating signal at all, our measuring systems are entirely inadequate to detect it from normal background noise in the climate system.

    Considering man-made CO2 as a pollutant is not warranted by the data. In my opinion we should be paying closer attention to neuro-toxic pollutants like heavy metals and other particulates known to have harmful properties.

    Having said that, studying earth sciences like climate and weather is a valuable and worthwhile pursuit and the current state-of-the-art is in it’s infancy. We simply have not got enough decades of hard global-wide data (for example satellite observations) to draw some of the conclusions we have drawn about man-made CO2 for example.

    For your poll, I am a mechanical engineer.

  2. T.G.Watkins Jan 18th 2011

    Engineers make the world work and so many scientific theories came from practical experiments designed by engineers, even if at the time ‘engineers’ had not been defined.
    I’m a recently retired anesthesiologist so, clearly, I have minimal maths and physics (in the proper sense) but anyone schooled in the ‘scientific method’ cannot fail to realise the fundamental flaws in the AGW hypothesis, both in theory and data.
    The question is ‘how do we convince the scientifically illiterate that AGW is a political invention?’
    No engineer/ physicist can possibly support AGW when presented with the data.
    Regards G.

  3. intrepid_wanders Jan 18th 2011

    I think the only time that engineers are not skeptical, is when they have one hand on the throttle and the other on the whistle… WHOOT, WHOOOT! Just look at Pachy 😉

    I think the thing that commentator is missing about more realistic engineers is that they skeptical of *everything* until they have data in hand and can reproduce this data under the same known conditions (aka Repeatability and Reproducibility). Anything else may be interesting or not, but speculation and/or conjecture.

    I find a classic example is luminous aether. Einstein appeared to have nailed it into it’s coffin, but he eventually came up a lesser known fudge factor “Cosmic Constant” to put the universe “static”. Edwin Hubble discovered the red-shift and now we have two fudge factors today of “dark matter” and “dark energy” based on computer models to explain universal expansion.

    Seriously., all these theories seem dubious. The famous Michelson–Morley experiment settled all bets back at the turn of the century, but I can not help myself wondering what if aether is the same but a different name (Unknown matter and unknown energy).

    As an engineer, it is interesting to know, but practically useless from any pragmatic viewpoint.

    Butterfly effect anyone? 😉

  4. Richard111 Jan 19th 2011

    This retired electronics techie feels he is being shafted by his government and is trying hard to understand what is going on. So far, I can say GregO, above, says it all for me and more clearly.

    If anyone can point to a science paper that shows clearly how ANY greenhouse gas can back-radiate and warm up the source, well this would be a start to my conversion to belief in AGW.

    Meanwhile, I look out my window and I can see one windmill, it is not turning, and given the area of the current high pressure system over the UK I much doubt that a single wind turbine in the whole country is producing anything. Yet my electricity bill went up 40% last year to pay for the subsidies these “windmills of shame” accrue all in the name of “reducing carbon pollution”. 🙁

  5. Engchamp Jan 26th 2011

    Yes, this seems to be a problem that “warmists” do not understand, when “sceptics” agree that there is climate change. It is another example of the ignorance involved within the AGW mob, in that “climate change” should be their field, not the pragmatic (sceptic) view.
    To what extent, and by which physical/chemical/astronomical (etc) process, climate change is experienced is the question, and there are probably just a handful of scientists who can provide a possible answer.

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