Deniers Attack Weather Channel's Heidi Cullen

The Weather Channel's Heidi Cullen has found herself in a hailstorm of abuse after having had the impertinence to suggest that the science behind climate change is compelling and the deniers are politicizing the issue for their own purposes.

Cullen is a great deal more polite than we have ever been about the flagrant self interest of oil-soaked politicians (Senator James Inhofe), scientists for hire (Pat Michaels) and think tanks that Exxon used to pay (the Competitive Enterprise Institute) to lobby against government regulation. She is also an extremely impressive scientist in her own right.

The viciousness of the attack against her, however, seems to illuminate a cornered-rat reaction among Inhofe, his “pet weasel ” Marc Morano and others who are feeling their ill-earned public support on this issue wane away.

So, bravo Heidi, and stand your ground. We can all use a greater helping of the kind of evidence-based reportage that does not come attached to an oil-industry cheque or a matchbook-college meteorology diploma. 


Of course, the denialist attacks are about taking imagined political sides, and not about examination of the science. A certified meteorologist who tells the public that there is no evidence for human contributions to global warming is like a high school biology teacher who tells students there is no evidence for evolution of biological species, and that “debate” smells similar.

In fact, when the likes of Rush Limbaugh attack you, and quote Ayn Rand, you know that you have arrived:

Rush’s view of Heidi Cullen

But then, Rush would be OK with creationism, too, as he has said many times. In fact, evolutionary science and climate science are perhaps evil twins, or part of a conspiracy:

RUSH: …I think the modern environmental movement is simply the latest refuge for communists and socialists who are opposed to capitalism… The thing you have to understand is the environmentalists are not concerned about the environment.

etc., etc. They deniers will never stop, but slowly begin to resemble each other.

I realize this will just bounce off the walls of the true believers here, but here goes anyways.

Cullen is being rightly thrashed for her outlandish comments and for the rather straightforward reason that the facts and the science -don’t- support her hysterical promotion of climate porn.

Here are some equally straightforward questions for you climate porn zealots out there.

1. What role does the Sun play in our planet’s climate? Where would you rank the Sun among the factors that affect or control our climate? How is the Sun doing these days?

2. What do you know about the “Little Ice Age” and how do you think it factors into the present?

3. Is it fair to say that our climate is always changing?

4. In less than 20 years, we went from the extreme of Global Cooling killing us all to the now truly bizarre shrill extreme of Global Warming killing us all.

Shouldn’t we be rightly skeptical of this wild swing, especially since the climate porn people pushing Global Warming Hysteria (GWH) and Climate Change Hysteria (CCH) seem to have a vested ideological interest rather than a pure science interest? (cough, cough)

I disagree entirely with rightly thrashed, I personally group global warming climate change deniers in the same category as holocaust deniers but you’ll never see me thrash them for what I would consider their uneducated and biased opinions. Course perhaps that was just a thrashing.

1) Sun is one of many factors that play a role in climate, though it’s rather obvious that it does since it’s the source of energy for the planet.

It would appear minor changes in climate can be attributed to solar activity, Little ice age is ohh a 0.4 degree change but its influenced by corresponding volcanic activity at the same time producing dust that blocks sun light.

“Scientists have identified two causes of the Little Ice Age from outside the ocean/atmosphere/land systems: decreased solar activity and increased volcanic activity”

However, current though would say that the degree of change we are currently experiencing is too great to be explained alone by solar variation though it certainly can play a role.

“”Modeling studies reported in the IPCC Third Assessment Report (TAR) did not find that changes in solar forcing were needed in order to explain the climate record for the last four or five decades””

The solar radiance right now is also in a low, but flare activity is currently up. Least according to Robert H. Rohde, taken from a combination of sources too long to list.

2) As previously mentioned little ice age event has been explained due to

“Scientists have identified two causes of the Little Ice Age from outside the ocean/atmosphere/land systems: decreased solar activity and increased volcanic activity”

Though some suggest there may be some other factors, like decreased human activity due to plague death, resulting in abandonment of agricultural land and growth of forests reducing atmospheric CO2 as playing a small role as well. And I would suggest that sun activity does play a minor role in our current warming trends, See CO2 vs. temperature comparisons for striking visual on warming vs this greenhouse gas.

Wikipedia search, with scientific references and graphical representations of volcanic activity and solar activity.

3)It is more than fair to say so, but it changes in relation to a number of forcing factors, like volcanic activity, solar activity, greenhouse gas levels, sunlight reflection/absorption, etc, change any of them and expect changes in climate though they obviously not of equal weight.

4) Reconstructed temperatures of the last 200 years show no evidence of any cooling besides the little ice age. Some scientists have put forward warming can shift ocean currents enough to trigger a glacial event. Though I take it this isn’t what you mean. Predicted models of warming would be 3-5 degrees C by 2100. That’s hardly enough to kill us all, in fact I figure it’s very difficult to kill us all but warming of that nature will cause serious disruption to the lives of many.

I’m sorry but anything connected with the UN and Wikipedia would be two of the last sources I would cite, not the first.

Asking the UN for untainted facts on climate is like asking the UN to have an untainted discussion on racism. (Durban anyone?)

And wikipedia is too much of a “facts by consensus” approach. I just typed in “Global warming” and got a bunch of ideological crap.

You say - “It would appear minor changes in climate can be attributed to solar activity,”

I might be tempted to put the folks who want to minimize the Sun’s influence in the same Holocaust denier category. :)

How small of a change in the Sun’s output would have a noticeable affect on our climate?

The Sun, its output, its cycles and its stability is a major factor along with our own orbit and how stable it is, our rotation and its stability, the moon and so on.

This is precisely why the hysteria to blame human activity as the -key driving force- is so obviously wrong. The folks who blame human activity seem to have lost all sense of balance and the ability to reason.

What’s your investment?

Mine is getting the factual and correct answer on the topic.

I’m not saying “this is it” and I’m not trying to shut down anyone who disagrees.

When it comes to our new climate porn industry, Global Warming hysteria (GWE) and Climate Change hysteria (CCH), I think the main reason the promoters never talk about the Sun is because it would cut the legs our from their push to exercise more control over my life.

I would prefer that the energy of the climate porn industry be directed to protecting the rainforests, providing win-win scenarios for the host countries and drawing the maximum benefits for humanity from the cures and knowledge that could be obtained from the forests.

I would prefer that a maximum effort be made to halt and even reverse desertification in Africa.

I would prefer that the Aral Sea and the surrounding areas be healed.

I would prefer to see an effort to prevent overfishing of the oceans.

All the energy from the climate porn industry could be doing something useful. Instead it seems to be making the climate one of the major battlefields for left-wing ideology and tyranny to run wild.

Cullen’s comment were outrageous, driven by ideology and bereft of science. Her most recent comments were an ego-protecting tapdance.

There have been numerous reports and studies mentioned in the various comments left on her blog. Her position is easily shredded.

The fact that much of the mainstream media and educational establishment are ideological sympathizers may make it easier to squelch opposing viewpoints, it doesn’t make her factually correct.

And that is still the key point.

My investment, getting the factual and correct answer on the topic.

And what are your sources for the “factual and correct” answer? Techcentralstation? Friends of Science? The Fraser Institute? Some other Exxon-funded website faked up to look like it’s scientific? Or some rightwing forum of ignorant people who think climate change is really a socialist political plot? What scientific journals do you peruse? What peer-reviewed studies on solar activity have convinced you that the sun is the only factor that must be taken into account? What’s the basis of your conviction that you need not worry about ecosystems, forcings, feedbacks, oceans, air movement, forests, melting permafrost, aerosols or the greenhouse gases being produced by human activities in massive amounts?

Dear Anonymous,

Next time, you should read and then think before flying off the handle at seeing a different and reasonable viewpoint expressed.

(ie: I did not say the Sun was the only factor and I said nothing about not considering other factors)

It seems the key difference between me and you is that I’m open to examining all the information in order to reach a correct decision.

You seem to have already closed your mind.

“The ability and willingness to think” was the subject of my first post.

Your reply proves my point. Thank you.

The pattern of warming seen over the past few decades rules out the sun as a primary cause. Overnight lows have increased more rapidly than daytime highs have. This is a “signature” of greenhouse-gas driven warming. Solar driven warming would drive daytime highs as much or more than overnight lows. Another sign of greenhouse-gas warming is the cooling stratosphere. As the troposphere has warmed, the stratosphere has cooled. Solar-driven warming would have caused the stratosphere to warm along with the troposphere. Climate models long ago predicted stratospheric cooling as a consequence of greenhouse-gas-driven global-warming. And that is exactly what is being observed. These are fundamental basics that any well-informed person should know about global-warming.

As a final contribution,

I would invite folks to google Solar Activity + Climate and you can read for yourselves the pros and cons on the topic.

That’s right, read the various perspectives.

Is it a coincidence that the folks who have a strong vested interest in blaming human activity also tend to downplay the impact of the Sun? (hmmm)

If people had to admit the science gives the Sun a bigger role, human activity would have to be given a smaller role and the impetus to create hysteria would be reduced.

For instance, if a Point One Per Cent change in total solar radiation has an impact on us, can we honestly brush off the Sun as a “minor player”?

regards to all,

The problem with google searches is you have the strong possbility of not getting published information sources. The issue rests with people being able to say whatever they wish. Published data in journals from scientists undergoes a strict review by other scientists.

I did a quick google search as you suggested and did find a number of sources that indicated solar activity played a significant role in climate while others suggested a much reduced role. One such author Landscheidt, suggested that all current warming was related to solar activity, etc.

Because I am able to access databases of journals I did a quick search in terms of pier reviewed material published in scientific circles. He has 2 papers in journals and 2 books that I could find, nothing newer than 20 years old. The size his publications is meaningless but the age of it is important as science continiously seeks to improve its understanding of phenomina. I wouldnt discredit his work, just its outdated by current understanding.

I realize this is only one example but also the reason why the nature of the source is very important. The IPCC is a group of active scientists from around the world, not employed by the UN only the reports are coordinated by. They are active in terms of publishing, critical, up to date, experts in their fields and not funded by industry. I am not sure how that isnt a realible source, certainly more so than google searches.

Landscheidt had a 1998 paper “Solar Activity - A Dominant Factor in Climate Dynamics”

One of my key points is that the science -is- still developing and therefore - the debate is not over.

I think it’s an act of hubris to say - human activity, very very important while also saying solar activity - eh, not all that important.

It’s a common sense issue for me, how can anyone say that solar activity isn’t important?

As to why I don’t rely on the IPCC…..from their website,

“The role of the IPCC is to assess on a comprehensive, objective, open and transparent basis the scientific, technical and socio-economic information relevant to understanding the scientific basis of risk of human-induced climate change, its potential impacts and options for adaptation and mitigation. The IPCC does not carry out research nor does it monitor climate related data or other relevant parameters. It bases its assessment mainly on peer reviewed and published scientific/technical literature. Its role, organisation, participation and general procedures are laid down in the “Principles Governing IPCC Work””

Ah, Human-induced climate change, not the issue of climate and how it is always changing and the factors associated with that change, but human-induced. Tell us what we want to hear, Cue Ms Cullen.

A key problem with the politization of this issue is - if you’re going against the “popular” theory (where many say the debate is over and other such slogans), how easy is it to get published?

Hey Bob. Have you noticed that all those nice graphs that show the climate and solar activity all end in 1980? That’s because solar activity then started to go down and the temperature really started to spike up. Ask Tim Patterson or any other the other Friends of Science sunspot fans why they don’t ever use data that’s not 25 years out of date?

That is exactly what the young-earth creationist say. Why should a geology/biology teacher not be able to teach that the earth is a few thousand years old and that species all sprung into being at once? The “science” supports this brave teacher, so how are the education system tell them what they have to teach.

“2. What do you know about the “Little Ice Age” and how do you think it factors into the present?” Good grief, are you just finding out about this bit of basic earth history now?!? That old argument is like saying that we could not possibly lose in Iraq, because haven’t you heard about Alexander the Great? He won!! Previous ice ages, and even the contribution of the sun, etc., do not mean we are not affecting the system now.

Gee Dan,

Calm down.

I’ve noticed recently that folks have ominously intoned “it’s the hottest its been in 400 years!”

I wait for them to mention that the “Little Ice Age” covers a fair chunk of that 400 years. They never do. Why is that?

The point flying high above you Dan is, I’m interested in all the facts.

I’m not pushing an ideological point so I’m not invested in squelching opposing or competing viewpoints.

Perhaps I’m naive, but I actually want the facts to be the facts, not twisting and making things up and bullying people and creating hysteria to push through a “popular” theory driven by ideology instead of science.

Me Bad.

Since the near-totality of the peer-reviewed scientific literature presents strong support for climate change, the burden of proof rests with those challenging the evidence. Opinions require little labor to share but I would request that you present peer-reviewed substantiation (or direct original work) supporting your assertions. I request this within the context of the rather extensive scientifically based refutation of challenges based on solar activity and historical variability. I think most readers would be interested in what you could share beyond web commentary. thank you.

A clever post Kevin,

“Since the near-totality of the peer-reviewed scientific literature presents strong support for climate change”

My position has always been that the climate is always changing. Plus we are still pulling out of the “Little Ice Age” Is 150 years a long time in this discussion?

Or are you talking about the currently ultra-popular theory of “human-induced” climate change. If so, in the atmosphere of hysteria, peer-reviewed does make me automatically bow down in supplication.

“the burden of proof rests with those challenging the evidence.”

Actually no it doesn’t. The burden is still on those fanning the hysteria of human-induced change.

“I would request that you present peer-reviewed substantiation (or direct original work) supporting your assertions. I request this within the context of the rather extensive scientifically based refutation of challenges based on solar activity and historical variability. I think most readers would be interested in what you could share beyond web commentary. thank you.”

Kevin, if you have a ready long list of items that minimize the affect of the Sun on our climate, I would be grateful to see it and to start reading.

I really don’t have much more to give.

I’m simply asking that people be more, dare I say, skeptical, of the hysteria that is pushing the “human-induced” theory.

The position that people can maximize the human affect on climate while blowing off the Sun’s affect makes no logical sense Kevin. Zero. Nada.

I just did a quick search and came up with this little blurb from 2003.

The first sentence in this article reminds me of Occam’s Razor.

“All things being equal, the simplest solution tends to be the best one.”

When it comes to our climate, the Sun fits the bill, not humans.

(as I’ve said and will continue to say, putting the Sun at the top of the list removes the -leverage- of people fanning the hysteria of human-induced change which makes it ideological, not scientific.)

Guys, Just silly to say that we can predict what will happen in 100 years when we can’t predict rain 2 weeks in advance. WX patterns are cyclical-always have been. It is the height of Narcissm to say we can “stop” weather patterns. No ONE is denying that there is warming going on. So you can quit with the “Deniers” label already(those with weak arguments always go right to ad hominems.)The Only Issue is how much is from human influence. So some questions. Why did the theme go from “cooling” catastrphe to “warming” catastrophe in 20 years? The “hockey stick” graph showing the increase in CO2. a. What percentage has CO2 increased? b. What percentage has Global Temperatures increased in the same period? Climate is a GLOBAL phenomenom–sometimes when it is warm in alaska, oranges are freezing in Florida–and California. But the AVERAGE temp of the GLOBE is pretty much the same average. And so we Warm a couple degrees? Less cost and fuel for heat plus a longer growing season. All I want is for someone to show me the SCIENCE, and not more “models”. As for my theories, that big burning ball of light in the sky goes through cycles–11 year, 1,500 year, whatever. if it had a flare just in the right direction it could kill all life here near instantly. Consider also asphalt and WalMart parking lots in increasing surface temperatures. But to say we breathe too much is quite a stretch. There are much bigger things than that to worry about. OK, final Q and a request for an Honest answer. If ALL the Kyoto protocols were followed–How much would global temperatures be reduced in the next 100 years? Thanks for hosting this wbsite and providing a forum! (Thumbs up!)

Well, to say “The Only Issue is how much is from human influence”, is starting to get the point. Should it not matter much that ice core samples dating back thousands of years taken in both the Northern Hemisphere (Greenland) and Southern Hemisphere (Antarctica), and though the exact composition of the frozen “atmosphere” varies between the two, the overall levels of CO2, N, O2, etc. are pretty much the same. That gives us a baseline to which we can compare current atmospheric levels. The apparent correlation between the increase in atmospheric CO2 and the onset of the Industrial Revolution does not seem to be entirely coincidental, so the issue of human influence cannot be entirely ignored. We are still in an inter-glacial period, and because we really do not know for certain just how quickly the temperatures changed in the past, we cannot be sure that the seemingly rapid increase in global average temperatures is not merely a statistical anomaly. The “heat island” effect caused by the massive areas of concrete and asphalt in urban and suburban areas is a good example of how humans can change the overall temperature in a localized area, but that doesn’t even involve CO2 - just radiant heat. Though with enough areas so affected globally, perhaps a gradual warming could occur…
Personally, I thought Dr. Cullen offered quite a bit of scientific theories to back up the claims of global warming. Granted it may not be the science the “deniers” are using. Still, if she had merely stated that it could be a natural occurrence perhaps most of these debates would never have gotten off the ground.

You have written an excellent post in Heidi’s defense, which I hope to emulate soon. She is indeed an asset to the commercial airwaves, and I only hope that she is able to keep producing these programs to educate the public. The shrill voices of the wingnut bloggers and a few narrow-minded meteorologists do seem to have riled up listeners to the Weather Channel, judging by their rapid posts to her blog.

The nasty comments on Heidi’s blog appeared mostly because she was the lead on Rush Limbaugh’s blog (and his show AFAICT) on Thursday and Friday, and then continuing through the weekend since it doesn’t seem to be updated then. Limbaugh conflated her with Pelosi and then sicced his dittoheads on her. Recall that those are some very frustrated wingnuts just now, and they have no means of taking out their frustrations directly on Pelosi. So no, it’s not any sort of response from Weather Channel viewers as such.

I guess when you have spent most of your adult life sucking money from Organizations with the Agenda of controlling people through their Fears , it is Inevitable that you will become one of the Controllers. One can only hope that Heidi will disappear in the Rain Forest someday.

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