Q&A: Roger A. Pielke Sr. November 2, 2008Posted by honestclimate in Temperature.
Tags: climate change, global warming, Roger A. Pielke
Q&A: Roger A. Pielke Sr.
From Mother Jones, October 30, 2008
Mother Jones: You’ve said that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change didn’t quite get it.
Roger A. Pielke Sr.: I think the IPCC was basically a very narrowly focused document. In fact it was basically written mostly by atmospheric scientists. And they’re focusing on a very narrow issue where the atmospheric increase of CO2 feeds down to affect the climate that has all these effects on resources, and I think that is so narrowly confined as to be of little use to policymakers in terms of what’s really going to happen.
MJ: Can you give me an example of some of the things you thought they left out?
RAP: Okay, I’ll give you the example of Asia. If you go back 200 years ago, China and India had lots of natural forests. As the population grew, large areas of China and India had been converted to cropland and urban areas. So what happens is instead of having this source of transpiration of water from the forests, you’ve converted it to areas that have less transpiration of water. And this has been shown with general circulation models. The same kind of models that have been used by the IPCC. It says that if you change how much energy goes into heating in the atmosphere versus water vapor coming in from transpiration, it affects thunderstorm clouds over the region, which affects the monsoon circulation, which affects the weather patterns, the rainfall over Asia, and since that affects what happens over the North Pacific and downstream, it affects the global climate system. Amazon deforestation is the same thing. And in the US, we’ve taken areas in the eastern two-thirds of the US, and we’ve had huge conversion of landscape. We’ve taken away the forest that was in the east. We’ve done model studies there and shown that this has an enormous affect on temperature, on precipitation. Wherever you do a landscape change, it changes the fluxes of energy and moisture into the atmosphere. That changes cloud patterns, changes rainfall patterns, and so forth, and so it affects weather locally, regionally, and then through the global circulation.
MJ: So it’s not that you are a “global warming skeptic”; it’s that you think that global warming has been hyped at the expense of other problems.
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