On Professor Bill Gray and the Debate on Climate Change

There has been considerable discussion regarding Professor William Gray of Colorado State University regarding his views on climate change, and hurricane trends, as affected by human activity, in particular. The news article in Westwood on June 29th provides a summary of the bitterness that has developed among the individuals who are performing research in this area of science.

I have known Professor Gray for over 25 years, both by reputation before I joined the faculty at Colorado State University (CSU), and during my tenure on the faculty at CSU. He truly is an outstanding investigator in tropical cyclones who has used innovative ideas to utilize observational data in order to better understand these storms. He has published seminal papers in this subject, such as (one example per decade)

Global View of the Origin of Tropical Disturbances and Storms, 1968 Monthly Weather Review by William M. Gray.

Diurnal Variation of Deep Cumulus Convection, 1977 Monthly Weather Review by William M. Gray and Robert W. Jacobson Jr.

Atlantic Seasonal Hurricane Frequency. Part II: Forecasting its Variability, 1984 Monthly Weather Review by William M. Gray

Downward trends in the frequency of intense Atlantic hurricanes during the past five decades, 1996 Geophysical Research Letters by Christopher W. Landsea, Nicholls, Neville, William M. Gray, and Lixion A. Avila.

Trends in Global Tropical Cyclone Activity over the Past Twenty Years (1986-2005)”, 2006 by Phil Klotzbach (who is supervised and directed in his PhD dissertation research by Professor Gray).

For professional colleagues to make statements such as

”’Gray has “brain fossilization,’ Curry told a Wall Street Journal reporter a few weeks ago, and ‘nobody except a few groupies wants to hear what he has to say'”,

is not only completely wrong but is a personal attack which should not have any place in climate science discussions. Judy should apologize to Bill for this statement.

Thus, while I feel that Professor Gray is often blunt and nondiplomatic in his statements, the scientific issues that he raises should be scrutinized objectively, and not dismissed since they do not conform to one’s perspectives on climate variability and change. He has the national and international professional credentials and stature in climate science such that his views are critically important as we debate the science. I have urged him to publish his newer research, and, hopefully, as a result of the furor over the issue of long term hurricane trends and the role of humans activity on their number, intensity, track and societal impact, this will encourage him to complete these much needed peer reviewed articles.

I look forward to their important contributions to the scientific debate when they appear!

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Filed under Climate Science Misconceptions, Climate Science Reporting

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