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Climate change still up for reasoned debate

Date published: 4/18/2014

John Christy's March 16 op-ed was a breath of fresh air ["'Settled' science isn't always necessarily so"].

It was the most reasoned discussion of the questions and issues surrounding the subject of climate change to appear in the general print media available to this area.

The credits note that the author is a professor of atmospheric science at the University of Alabama and is the Alabama state climatologist--which makes his opinion worth consideration.

The absence of name calling, finger pointing, mention of the Flat Earth Society and denigrating comments made reading his views easy.

It is clear that Dr. Christy does not consider the "science settled," as we are frequently told. He points out that current computer models on average over-predict the impact of some atmospheric changes on global temperature.

Two reports on the subject have recently become available--one by the International Panel on Climate Change and the other by the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change. These organizations disagree on the impact of increasing carbon dioxide concentrations on the global temperature. But both reports contain discussions supporting Dr. Christy's position that the science is not settled.

For example, the IPCC notes, "The net radiative feedback due to all cloud types combined is likely positive. Uncertainty in the sign and magnitude of the cloud feedback is due primarily to continuing uncertainty in the impact of warming on low clouds."

The NIPCC notes, "several studies indicate the net global effect of cloud feedbacks is a cooling, the magnitude of which may equal or exceed the warming projected from increasing greenhouse gases." The use of "likely," "continuing uncertainty" and "may" is not consistent with settled science.

Kermit Woodcock