RICHARD SIEGMUND LINDZEN is the Alfred P. Sloan Professor of Meteorology in the Department of Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), where he has taught since 1983. Though extremely accomplished and respected in his field, he is perhaps best-known in non-academic circles for his arguments against anthropogenic climate change, that is, human-influenced or induced climate change known as global warming. Lindzen was born in Webster, Massachusetts, on February 8, 1940, and received his Ph.D. from Harvard University in Physics and Applied Mathematics in 1964 after earning an AB in 1960 and an SM in 1961 from Harvard. He taught at the University of Chicago (1967-72) and Harvard (1972-83) before moving to MIT.
Lindzen is a dynamic meteorologist and clima-tologist, applying mathematics, computational modeling, and hydrodynamics to the study of atmospheric motions. His research interests and contributions involve Hadley Circulation, planetary waves, upper atmospheric dynamics, meso-scale systems, clear air turbulence, ozone photochemistry, radiative transfer, climate sensitivity, atmospheric eddies, global heat transport, cumulus convections and the greenhouse effect, tropical meteorology, monsoons, and the heating and drying of the atmosphere. His Earth climate models are used to study the atmospheric sensitivity to carbon dioxide (CO2), ice cap stability, regional climate maintenance, and glaciation.
He was honored with the American Meteorological Society's Meisinger and Charney Awards, as well as the American Geophysical Union's Macelwane Medal. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the Science and Economic Advisory Council of the Annapolis Center for Science-Based Public Policy, the National Academy of Science Committee on Human Rights, and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission Board on Atmospheric Sciences and Climate. He is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and served on the 11-mem-ber Committee on the Science of Climate Change of the National Research Council.
He consults for the National Aeronautical and Space Administration's Global Modeling and Simulation Group, and has been a Distinguished Visiting Scientist at California Institute of Technology's Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
A hole in the ozone layer of the atmosphere was discovered in 1985, and the earlier detection of the warming of the Earth (1980) gave impetus to the idea that one of the causes is human-induced climate change from manmade ozone-depleting gases. In 1988, the United Nations responded by creating and tasking the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) with studying the hypothesized phenomenon. The IPCC determined that the Earth had warmed over the prior 150-year period, and that this warming was due, in part, to human activity. The executive summary of the report concluded that the most of the observed global warming experienced in the last 50 years is due to the increase in greenhouse gas concentrations. The IPCC and former U.S. Vice President Al Gore were jointly awarded the Nobel Peace on October 12, 2007, for their work on global warming.
Lindzen rejects anthropogenic climate change and asserts that, though others in the field agree with him, political and academic pressure to adhere to the accepted knowledge construct or paradigm of the climate research establishment keep them from speaking. Lindzen asserts that there is a bias against those who reject global warming by those who accept it and who control key publications and research funding. Lindzen argues that the climate models used by the IPCC do not correctly model the physics of cloud formation, and intentionally heighten the warming effect of CO2 and other greenhouse gases. He argues that this modeling flaw is apparent when the same model is used to explain or predict shorter-term changes in the atmosphere.
He argues further that climate change is the historic norm, and that there are periods when the Earth was warmer and that in those periods the emission of human-induced CO2 was minimal.
Lindzen does not dispute that there is global warming in the 20th and 21st centuries, that there is a concurrent increase in the concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, or that there is some anthropogenic heating.
What Lindzen disputes is that this warming trend is necessarily and substantially due to human activity, or the increase in the concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. Lindzen argues that the observed temperature data are massaged or curved by the models. This curve fitting is primarily due to the inability of contemporary computer modeling to integrate all of the known human and natural variables that must be part of the equation.For example, Lindzen asserts that the IPCC models as constructed are too sensitive to atmospheric CO2. Additionally, Lindzen asserts that there are many variables that are as yet unknown.
Lindzen does estimate the Earth will continue to warm over the next century, but asserts that that this warming will be far less than contemporaneous models predict, and that those predictions are alarmist. Lindzen also asserts that changes in human activity will do little to mitigate the current cycle, and that the impact of the Kyoto Protocol on the climate is much smaller than its political and social impact.
Even though he was the lead author on, or contributor to, a number of the IPCC Assessment Reports, he was not involved in producing the executive summary that he believes was filtered through the accepted anthropogenic climate change paradigm by those scientists, environmentalists, government bureaucrats, and industry representatives responsible for creating the summary supplied to policymakers. He also asserts that the press, which exaggerated the problem and its potential effects, selectively reported this para-digmatically-curved summary. The fault was not with the Assessment Reports or the real findings of the IPCC, but rather with how those reports and results were interpreted for the world's decision-makers and disseminated to the global populace.
sEE also: Anthropogenic Forcing; Climate Cycles; Climate Models; Climate Sensitivity and Feedbacks; Computer Models; Earth's Climate History.
bibliography. D.T. Avery and S.F. Singer, Unstoppable Global Warming: Every 1,500 Years (Rowman & Little-field Publishers, Inc., 2007); Richard Lindzen, www-eaps. mit.edu/faculty/lindzen.htm (cited November 2007); R.S. Lindzen, "Climate of Fear: Global-Warming Alarmists Intimidate Dissenting Scientists Into Silence," Wall Street Journal (April 12, 2006); R.S. Lindzen, "Don't Believe the Hype: Al Gore Is Wrong. There's No 'Consensus' on Global Warming," Wall Street Journal (July 2, 2006); R.S. Lindzen, Dynamics in Atmospheric Physics (Cambridge University Press, 2005); R.S. Lindzen, "Scientists' Report Doesn't Support the Kyoto Treaty," Wall Street Journal (June 11, 2001).
Richard Milton Edwards University of Wisconsin Colleges Milwaukee School of Engineering
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