Cleveland's weather wizards downplay global warming
(Note: Yes! Common sense is beginning to prevail over hype!)
----- Original Message -----
From: Morano, Marc \(EPW\) [email protected] 
To: Morano, Marc \(EPW\) [email protected] 
Sent: 2/16/2007 10:58:23 AM
Subject: TV Weathermen Downplay Global Warming Fears
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Cleveland's weather wizards downplay global warming
Friday, February 16, 2007

Sure, a panel of 2,500 scientists this month declared that it is "unequivocal" that global warming is occurring and at least 90 percent certain that humans are responsible.

And, yes, the international report predicted that world temperatures will rise from 3.2 to 7.8 degrees Fahrenheit by 2100 and that sea levels could rise from 7 to 23 inches, leading to worldwide catastrophe.

OK, fine -- but don't get too worked up over it.

That was the consensus among five Northeast Ohio meteorologists at a panel discussion Tuesday at Landerhaven in Mayfield Heights.

It's not that Mark Johnson, Dick Goddard, Mark Nolan, Jon Laufman or former Cleveland weatherman Don Webster disbelieve the data entirely.

But they're skeptical, and they don't believe that it's necessarily our fault or that we should panic over it.

"We have maybe 100 years of data on a rock that's 6 billion years old," said Johnson, a WEWS Channel 5 weatherman. "Mother Nature tends to even herself out, and the fact is, the Earth is cyclical."

Goddard, WJW Channel 8 meteorologist, said scientists have flip-flopped on the matter: "I have a file an inch thick from 30 years ago that says the planet was cooling," he told the crowd of several hundred.

They cautioned listeners not to put too much stock in what they said was an insufficient history of warming.

"The term global warming' strikes fear in the heart of people every time you say it, but it's simply a rise in temperature over time, and it's happened before," said Nolan, meteorologist at WKYC Channel 3. "I'm not sure which is more arrogant for humans: to say we caused it or to say we're going to fix it."

Laufman, who has free-lanced for WOIO Channel 19 and taught meteorology courses at several local colleges, including Case Western Reserve University, also referenced history.

"There was also a significant spike in world temperatures during the 1400s -- and that was well before the Industrial Revolution," he said "We haven't studied it long enough to know what causes global warming."

Even Webster, who now lives in Hilton Head, S.C., but flew in this week to moderate the discussion, was flippant.

"Where's Al Gore now?" he joked with the audience, referring to the former vice president and his documentary film, "An Inconvenient Truth," which argues the case for global warming. "You can bet he's not in New York, where they've got nearly 12 feet of snow right now."

In memoriam:

Richard A. Vollenweider, a Swiss scientist credited for trying to save the Great Lakes region in the 1970s by calling for the elimination of phosphorous in laundry detergent, died Jan. 20.

Work by Vollenweider, 84, led directly to the historic 1972 Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement between the United States and Canada.

Vollenweider's work showed that high concentrations of phosphorous and nitrogen lead to lakes being choked with vegetation and algae.

Copyright 2007, The Plain Dealer.

Copyright 2007, All Rights Reserved.     


Marc Morano

Communications Director

Senate Environment and Public Works Committee (EPW) Inhofe Staff


Fax: 202-224-5167

[email protected]