NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Greenhouse Gases Not A Warming Culprit

June 4, 1999

Climatologists point out that if the atmosphere is functioning as a greenhouse, then it should warm faster than it is warming the Earth's surface. But that is not happening.

  • John Christy, a professor of atmospheric science at the University of Alabama at Huntsville, says that satellite data show the upper atmosphere has warmed by just 0.1 degrees Celsius over the past 20 years.
  • Research by David Parker, a climatologist at the Hadley Center for Climate Predictions and Research in England, confirms the Christy figure.
  • Yet ground temperatures have risen by a faster rate -- 0.6 degrees Celsius -- in the past century.
  • Richard Lindzen, a meteorologist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, says that if one assumes the satellite and ground temperature records are right, "that's prima facie evidence that it (the warming) isn't due to greenhouse gases."

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's James Angell says the greenhouse model predicts temperature increases greater than those scientists are seeing. According to the models, he says, the increase should be perhaps twice as big.

Angell recalls that back in 1975, people thought a new Ice Age was approaching, since we'd experienced cooling since the 1930s and 1940s.

Source: Dolly Setton, "Some Like It Cold," Forbes, June 14, 1999.


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