WRAL WeatherCenter Blog

Scrutinizing the science of climate change

Posted April 15, 2015

In a government laboratory tucked away under the Flatirons of Green Mountain in Colorado, scientists study the earth's climate. Air samples taken from around the world – including Barrow, Alaska – are sent to the lab to be analyzed.

The science of climate change being done here is also being scrutinized.

Meteorologist and author Robert Henson says climate change is not a politically generated issue.

“It’s a real concern and a real problem,” he said. “The science of it is, what happens when you put a little molecule called carbon dioxide that you can’t see, you can’t smell, you can’t taste, what happens when that goes in the atmosphere? There’s so many ramifications as to what will happen as the CO2 burden increases, so much to learn still.

“There’s a lot we do know, all those are separate from what are we going to do about it. And that’s where the economics and politics come in, and that’s where the politics should come in,” he said.

In his book, Henson has looked at the divide between climate change skeptics and believers.

“It’s not easy because our political system encourages polarization. You’re either with us or against us,” he said. “A lot of issues are more broad than that, and I think we can come to agreement on the basics of what’s happening.”

Henson is a thinker; he's not predicting extinction of the human race.

“I guess I call myself a worried optimist,” he said. “Ultimately, I’m optimistic about humans, our ability to adapt. I’m not worried the world is going to end. I don’t think we need to save the planet. I think the planet will be just fine. I do think if we want to save the world as we know it, and preserve coastal cities and preserve the way we know the world, then we do need to think about some actions to take.”

11 Comments

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  • Bill Wadford Apr 19, 2015
    user avatar

    I have been impressed with the series so far. You seem to be keeping an open mind, which is rare in this debate. It is a shame that you didn't connect with Roger Pielke jr. when you were in Colorado. His latest book, "The Rightful Place of Science:Disasters & Climate Change" is a well written and documented discussion on whether there really are more climate disasters since CO2 has increased. Dr. Judith Curry at Georgia Tech is another climate scientist that keeps an open mind you may want to look into.

  • Matt Price Apr 16, 2015
    user avatar

    Have you ever wondered about CO2? I did - I went and looked and researched. This heavier than air element stays tremendously close to the earth, Even when water evaporates, it does not make h2co2, as it would be heavier than air still.

    Interesting that they are talking about a heavier than air particle causing global warming.

  • Richard Trantham Apr 16, 2015
    user avatar

    Right,...Have you ever wondered about the 1920's???? How much pollution was billowing out into the sky? How about today? Maybe 2 to 3% of the pollution then is released now. How come there was no crisis then? How about 10,000 years ago? Was there pollution? But the climate was going through the same changes. makes you wonder about these people who get money from "Climate Change" politics.

  • Will Sonnett Apr 16, 2015
    user avatar

    View quoted thread



    Manipulating inconclusive data and ommitting "inconvenient" facts is not science. The cited data is based on observations from a tiny (in gealogical terms) slice of Earth's history.

  • Kenny Dunn Apr 16, 2015
    user avatar

    View quoted thread


    Screaming your opinion does not change the science.

  • David Brower Apr 16, 2015
    user avatar

    CLIMATE ALWAYS HAS CHANGED & IT ALWAYS WILL .

    THE TRULY CRAZY PEOPLE ARE THE ONES WHO THINK THEY CAN STOP IT !

    CO2 IS NOT A POLLUTANT . IT IS NECESSARY FOR LIFE BUT STILL MAKES UP LESS THAN 0.04% OF THE ATMOSPHERE .

    MAN IS DOING ENVIRONMENTAL DAMAGE WITH ACTUAL POLLUTANTS THAT DON'T BELONG IN THE ATMOSPHERE LIKE SULFUR & PHOSPHORUS .

    EVERY DOLLAR SPENT ON REMOVING CO2 IS A DOLLAR WASTED THAT COULD HAVE DONE SOME REAL GOOD TO CLEAN THE AIR .

    AS FAR AS I AM CONCERNED , AL GORE
    & THOSE LIKE HIM ARE ENVIRONMENTAL CRIMINALS .

  • John Thompson Apr 16, 2015
    user avatar

    Yes climate does change all the time if it didn't then they never would have came up with the farmers almanac. So far its an O'Fishel search and this article is not going to show his conclusion yet, but knowing who he works for we can pretty much know what that conclusion will be.

  • Will Sonnett Apr 16, 2015
    user avatar

    There is a real difference between knowing that the Earth's climate is now, and always has been, constantly changing and the political dogma that humans (read that wealthy nations) are the major contributing factors. It's not a matter of climate change "believers" or "deniers", it's a matter of being responsible stewards of the planet while using its natural resources for the betterment and benefit of civilization. The climate change/global warming movement is nothing more than a scam to enrich certain politicians (e.g. Al Gore) and political groups (e.g. the UN) at the expense of developed nations. Science is science, but only when all of the information is presented openly, honestly, and without bias or political agenda.

  • Ron Myers Apr 15, 2015
    user avatar

    While I realize that the broadcast has been edited to the lowest common denominator, I would have thought that the questions would have been more challenging. Hanson is one of the earlier researchers and activist on climate science and the recipient of the National Academy of Sciences Rossby metal. It would seem that at least a question which would differentiate the uncertainty associated with "Scientific" knowledge in contrast to the information published in the news media and "Political" information.

  • Dominic Leuci Apr 15, 2015
    user avatar

    View quoted thread


    It's not a spoiler to those of us who have read WRAL articles. The titles rarely describe the actual content of the articles. I only come here because it is a SFW way to pass time.

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