Dana1981 asked in EnvironmentGlobal Warming · 10 years ago

Has Roy Spencer jumped the shark in his latest blog post?

In a new blog post plugging a book he wrote, Spencer claims that global warming is obviously being caused by changes in cloudcover. He doesn't explain what's causing the supposed decrease in cloudcover, but criticizes all other climate scientists for supposedly focusing solely on CO2 as the culprit for global warming (he fails to explain how this jives with the thousands of peer-reviewed scientific studies on natural causes of climate change) and for believing that it's temperature change which causes cloudcover change and not vice-versa.

Of course aside from the hypocrisy of this argument, there's also the problem of the lack of evidence of any long-term trend in the low cloud cover


So essentially Spencer claims that all other climate scientists are wrong because they're too focused on AGW and only he can see the truth. Unfortunately his 'truth' is a theory for which he provides no physical cause, and which is contradicted by the observational evidence. But then Spencer really gets nutty.

"The supposed explanation that global warming is due to increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide from our burning of fossil fuels turns out to be based upon little more than circumstantial evidence."

Ah yes, physics is now circumstantial evidence. The calculations of radiative forcings? Circumstantial. All the correct predictions by climate models? Circumstantial. All the clear fingerprints of human-caused global warming? Circumstantial.


"I predict that the proposed cure for global warming – reducing greenhouse gas emissions – will someday seem as outdated as using leeches to cure human illnesses."

Ironically medicinal leeches are now making a comeback in microsurgery.


"We already know that nature is gobbling up 50% of what humanity produces, no matter how fast we produce it. So, it is only logical to address the possibility that nature — that life on Earth — has actually been starved for carbon dioxide."


Ah that's a brilliant one. Nature is able to absorb about half of human CO2 emissions (though some carbon 'sinks' appear to be starting to saturate), therefore nature is 'starved for carbon dioxide' and human CO2 emissions are therefore beneficial. Wow.

Has Roy Spencer jumped the shark?

11 Answers

  • 10 years ago
    Best Answer

    50% is being "gobbled up" by Nature; most of that by far is being absorbed by the oceans with resultant 30% increase in hydrogen ion concentration (remember the LOG scale for pH) implying 75% increase in calcium carbonate solubility (remember the [H+] SQUARED term in the equilibrium expression), and he says that's *good* news?

    What would baaad news be like, I wonder.

  • puran
    Lv 4
    3 years ago

    Roy Spencer Blog

  • JimZ
    Lv 7
    10 years ago

    Since you wouldn't link to it so people can read his explanation, it is here:


    scroll down past first article.

    Spencer explains it this way:

    The experts have simply mixed up cause and effect when observing how clouds and temperature vary. The book reveals a simple way to determine the direction of causation from satellite observations of global average temperature and cloud variations. And that new tool should fundamentally change how we view the climate system.

    Leaches used to be used to treat everything from bleeding war wounds to disease. It was based on a wrong notion of scientific concensus of the day that they needed to remove some bad blood. His use of that comparison was appropriate. The leaches they use today are only for blood thinning as far as I know.

    Another point is that the ocean is saturated in carbonate minerals in some places but not all. It always is saturated and precipitating in some places and unsaturated and dissolving in others. The ocean isn't an aquarium with equal conditions everywhere. The reason for some major ocean carbon sinks is that the carbon is being removed in that area because it is saturated. I realize that is obvious but I wonder if it is obvious to everyone.

  • 4 years ago

    I LOVE Journey myself but I completely understand when someone is not a fan of their music. For example I have heard someone say that the song Separate Ways (worlds apart) is Cheesy. I can see the point even though I love that song. BUT if someone were to say like the song Don't Stop Believing is Cheesy I wouldn't buy that bullsh*t for a second that's an awesome song. I mean even non fans of journey that I know like that one song. I DO NOT like the band Tool AT ALL. BUT they do have a lot of musical abilities and skills. However, I love the band Downset, a hardcore band with rap features that are not so musically talented but they have MASS ENERGY and just songs that groove. BQ:Drink alcohol? NO not anymore BQ2:When I say Billy, you say... your silly

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  • Anonymous
    10 years ago

    ..global warming is obviously being caused by changes in cloudcover...

    I lost my baby french beans to a frost last night - i forgot the permanent high altitude cloud cover caused by being under the heathrow flight path had gone. the hot cloudless summer day turned into a chilly spring night, i should have guessed, but its just not what i am used to at this time of year.

    that is a local observation, it does not lead me to conclude cloud cover is the driver of global warming, although its obviously involved to some extent. thats the difference between science and confirmation bias.

  • Jeff M
    Lv 7
    10 years ago

    The little outtakes you've provided sound more like a grade school article than someone with a PHD in Meteorology. He even admits that 50% of emissions by man are not being absorbed yet is looking completely past what other scientists, and most of the world for that matter, see as fact in that CO2 is a greenhouse gas.

  • 10 years ago

    I was confused by his post, and I have previously tried to follow his hypotheses. If I have read correctly, he has said in various places the the current warming was likely started by decreased cloud cover, but that future warming will be mitigated by future increases in cloud cover.

    I was also disappointed that he said the book has very little technical content, but is more about the politics. Perhaps I read too much into that, but he seems to be saying that while forwarding an hypothisis that seems to counter itself and definately counters the accepted conclusions, he is offering no explanation nor defense that is up to scientific standards, but is instead concentrating on how political rather than scientific the problem is.

    So, his hypothesis is about cloud cover as a negative feedback to cloud cover, and his book is a political attack on the politics of climate science.

    I hate to denegrate the guy because he is probably smarter than me and definately understands climate better than I do, but it is really sounding like he is still trying to defend a position he took in the 1990s and has failed to prove. He continues to say that we understand very little about the effects of ocean currents, but he's supposedly been studying that for 20 years! Why no learning?


    Overheard when he was a small child:

    "You never listen to me!"

    "OK Dear, I'm listening, what do you want to say."

    "I want to say that you never listen to me."

    "sigh. Good night, Roy."

  • 10 years ago

    While 99.99% of scientists accept the verdict of observational evidence and move on, Spencer is tied to a conclusion that does not fit the evidence and is smart enough to recognize the contradiction. Roy Spencer is cracking under the strain and is going to need psychiatric help soon. Show Roy some pity and mercy.

  • David
    Lv 6
    10 years ago

    Is that the same Roy Spencer who stated that 2x CO2 would cause up to 2 C of warming?

    "For a doubling of atmospheric carbon dioxide, the satellite measurements would correspond to about 1.6 to 2.0 deg. C of warming, compared to the 18 IPCC models’ range shown, which corresponds to warming of from about 2.0 to 4.2 deg. C."


    Anyway, I think he jumped the shark long ago. This time he may have hit it short and splashed into the tank.

  • bob326
    Lv 5
    10 years ago

    Yeah, I read this yesterday. It's clearly over the top, but without seeing his new paper, I can't really comment on the specifics (though I'm certain it isn't nearly as revolutionary as he makes it out to be). I'm sure he has an interesting approach in differentiating cloud feedbacks from natural ocean fluctuations vs. AGW, but as was mentioned on this question http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index;_ylt=AggMP...

    why would it always cause an *overestimate* in climate sensitivity? Which internal fluctuations have a secular upward trend? What about climate sensitivity estimates from the paleoclimate?

  • 10 years ago

    It does look as if he's thrown all objectivity and intelligence out the window:

    "Nature is gobbling up 50% of what humanity produces... So, it is only logical to address the possibility that nature... has actually been starved for carbon dioxide."

    I'll wait for him to publish something in the peer-reviewed literature instead of on his personal blog or in a pop-culture book. It seems as if he's just recycling Lindzen's Iris Hypothesis.

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