Roger A. Pielke Sr.

Roger A. Pielke Sr.

Credentials

  • B.A., Mathematics, Towson State College, 1968. [1]
  • M.S., Ph.D., Meteorology, Pennsylvania State University, 1969, 1973. [1]

Background

Roger A. Pielke Sr. is a Senior Research Scientist, heading the the Pielke research group at CIRES (Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences), and a Senior Research Associate at the University of Colorado-Boulder in the Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences (ATOC). He is also an Emeritus Professor of Atmospheric Science at Colorado State University. Pielke Sr. served as Colorado State Climatologist from from 1999 to 2006. [2], [9]

While Pielke Sr. accepts that humans impact the climate, he does not completely agree with the IPCC that most of the observed warming of the last 50 years is probably caused by greenhouse gas emissions. Pielke also disagreed with the American Geophysical Union's (AGU) statement on climate change, claiming it over-emphasized the role of carbon dioxide. [3], [4]

Pielke Sr. has written on climate change denial blogs such as Watts Up With That, and has also praised that site's host and founder Anthony Watts for his work on climate change. [5]

His son, Roger Pielke Jr., is a climate science policy writer also working at the University Colorado in Boulder. Huffington Post writer David Roberts wrote that Pielke Jr. “been playing footsie with denialists and right-wing ideologues for years; they're his biggest fans,” and critics have noted that Pielke Jr.'s work has often been cited by climate change deniers. [6], [7], [8]

Stance on Climate Change

January, 2017

Writing on Twitter, Roger A. Pielke Sr. comments on President Obama's farewell speech: [10]

”[…] 'Change' in 'climate change' redundant. Climate always has changed on different time periods naturally.”

May, 2010

Writing on his blog, Climate Science: Roger Pielke Sr.,  Roger Pielke provides an updated response to a question posed by Andry Revkin from August 26, 2005, whiich asked “Is most of the observed warming over the last 50 years likely to have been due to the increase in greenhouse gas concentrations?”  To this, Pielke Sr. responded: [3]

“The 2010 answer to the question by Andy Revkin […] remains NO.”

“The added greenhouse gases from human activity clearly have a role in increasing the heat content of the climate system from what it otherwise would be. However, there are other equally or even more important significant human climate forcings, as I summarized in my 2005 post and in the 2009 article […]

“We now know, however, that the natural variations of atmospheric and ocean circulation features within the climate system produces global average heat changes that are substantially larger than what was known in 2005. The IPCC models have failed to adequately simulate this effect. 

“The answer to Andy’s question from 2005 is an even more clearly No. That is,  a significant fraction of the observed warming over the last 50 years is NOT due to the increase in greenhouse gas concentrations”

November, 2009

Roger A. Peilke Sr. is listed as a co-author to a paper in Eos titled “Climate Change: The Need to Consider Human Forcings Besides Greenhouse Gases” (PDF) where authors conclude: [11]

“[O]ur scientific view is that human impacts do play a significant role within the climate system.”

The authors list out three “hypothesis” as follows.

“Hypothesis 1: Human influence on cli-mate variability and change is of minimal importance, and natural causes dominate climate variations and changes on all time scales. In coming decades, the human influ-ence will continue to be minimal.'

Hypothesis 2a: Although the natural causes of climate variations and changes are undoubtedly important, the human influ-ences are significant and involve a diverse range of first- order climate forcings, includ-ing, but not limited to, the human input of carbon dioxide (CO2). Most, if not all, of these human influences on regional and global climate will continue to be of con-cern during the coming decades.

Hypothesis 2b: Although the natural causes of climate variations and changes are undoubtedly important, the human influences are significant and are dominated by the emissions into the atmosphere of greenhouse gases, the most important of which is CO2. The adverse impact of these gases on regional and global climate constitutes the primary climate issue for the coming decades.”

According to the authors, “the evidence in the peer- reviewed literature (e.g., as summarized by National Research Council (NRC) [2005]) is predominantly in support of hypothesis 2a, in that a diverse range of first- order human climate forcings have been identified.”

Pielke Sr. later cites this paper in his testimony before the House Energy & Commerce Committee, where he also notes that “Hypothesis 2b is the IPCC perspective,” and then states that “Hypotheses 1 and 2b are inaccurate characterizations of the climate system.” [12]

October, 2008

In an interview with Mother Jones magazine, Roger Pielke said: [13]

“I definitely think that we humans have altered the climate system. I think we have a strong component that has been warming—for some reason, it has stopped. And I don't understand the reasons why.”

December, 2007

Pielke has said that his is “not a 'sceptical scientist'.” He writes: [14]

“On Climate Science, I state as a fundamental conclusion that

Humans are significantly altering the global climate, but in a variety of diverse ways beyond the radiative effect of carbon dioxide. The IPCC assessments have been too conservative in recognizing the importance of these human climate forcings as they alter regional and global climate. These assessments have also not communicated the inability of the models to accurately forecast the spread of possibilities of future climate. The forecasts, therefore, do not provide any skill in quantifying the impact of different mitigation strategies on the actual climate response that would occur.”

August, 2005

In his first response to the question “Is most of the observed warming over the last 50 years likely to have been due to the increase in greenhouse gas concentrations” by Andrew Revkin, Pielke Sr. offered the following statement: [15]

“There are natural explanations for global warming of which a change in the output of solar energy is a candidate. However, none of the published work has convinced me that this can explain much of the observed global warming over the last several decades. Volcanic emissions are another natural global forcing, and it is well known that they produce cooling, such as after the eruption of Mount Pintatubo, where in August of 1991 it was estimated as -4 Watts per meter squared. There have not been eruptions of that magnitude since, such that the absence of such major eruptions might permit greater absorbed solar radiation in the climate system than otherwise would occur. However, this absence of eruptions resulting in any positive radiative imbalance for a period of time well after a major volcanic emission has also not been shown to occur. This leaves anthropogenic emissions as a source for global warming.”

”[…] we limit the communication to policymakers if we use climate change as a synonym for global warming. Global warming is just one aspect of a much more complicated environmental issue.”

Key Quotes

November 17, 2016

Writing in a comment at WattsUpWithThat, a user claiming to be Roger Pielke Sr. congratulates climate change denier Anthony Watts (Watts had, himself, congratulated Pielke in his blog post): [16], [17]

“Hi Anthony. Congratulations! You have significantly and positively contributed to climate science. All the best for the next ten years!!! Roger Sr”

November, 2011

In a Q&A with high school students, reporduced on his own blog, Roger Pielker Sr. wrote:

“[N]ot all glaciers and ice caps are melting. While the Arctic ice, for example, has been decreasing in areal extent…Antarctic sea ice coverage has not.” [18]

Melting is a response to warming. However, not all glaciers and ice caps are melting. [18]

September, 2011

In an entry on his own blog, Roger Pielke Sr. wrote:

“There has not been warming significantly, if at all, since 2003, as most everyone on all sides of the climate issue agree.” [19]

April, 2011

In an entry on his own blog, Roger Pielke Sr. wrote:

”[…] I have reproduced below the current plots of lower tropospheric temperature anomalies. The trend of temperatures using that climate metric is NOT accelerating, and, indeed, has not even been positive for over 12 years!” [20]

September 6, 2010

In an entry on his own blog, Roger Pielke Sr. wrote:

“[U]pper ocean heat, in terms of its annual average, did not accumulate during the period ~2004 through 2009.” [21] 

June, 2009

In an entry on his own blog, Roger Pielke Sr. wrote:

“Their has been no statistically significant warming of the upper ocean since 2003.” [22]

“Sea level has actually flattened since 2006.”  [22]

September, 2008,

Writing at his blog, Roger A. Pielke Sr. declares: [23]

“Hurricanes respond to their immediate environment, not a global average increase in heat!”

Key Deeds

September 8, 2016

Roger Pielke Sr. criticized the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) for announcing that global warming had increased the chances of torrential rains by 40 percent.  Pielke Sr.  told The Washington Times that NOAA should be “embarrassed” by its rush to release the research, accusing the agency of “bias” and calling the study a “dismaying example of manipulation of science for political reasons.” [24]

The models being used in the study have not shown the skill needed to make these definitive forecasts of changes in extreme rainfall statistics,” said Mr. Pielke in an email. “Also, the article is still under peer review and it was premature for NOAA to have done a press release.”

May 19, 2015

Roger Pielke Sr. wrote a guest post on Watts Up With That (WUWT), the blog managed by prominent climate change denier Anthony Watts. In his post, Pielke contends that climatologist Dr. Gavin Schmidt, Director of NASA GISSis “hiding from seven very inconvenient climate questions.” [5]

Pielke wrote that he had submitted a series of questions to Gavin Schmidt: “On March 18 2015, I submitted a set of questions to Gavin Schmidt, Director of NASA GISS, who initially seemed inclined to answer and ask some of his own. However, he now is not even replying to my e-mails.” [5]

Pielke goes on to post the questions at WUWT , stating that “By posting these questions, I am encouraging others to respond to the science issues I have raised, as well as be used in the future when Gavin is required to testify, such at a House and/or Senate committee.”  [5]

One of those who responded was Ken Rice, Professor of Computational Astrophysics at the Institute for Astronomy of the University of Edinburgh. On his blog ...and Then There's Physics, Rice responds to one of Roger Pielke's questions, suggesting that the reason for an “apparent discrepancy between the system heat uptake rate estimated using an energy balance approach, and that estimated from ocean heat content measurements” is that “Roger appears to have made a number of mistakes in his calculation.” [25]

August 20, 2013

After the AGU released its statement on climate change (PDF) where they emphasized that “human-induced climate change requires urgent action,” Roger Pielke Sr. published a dissenting opinion in EOS  journal (PDF). [26], [4]

According to Pielke, who said he was on the AGU panel that helped draft the updated position on climate change, the AGU's statement was “incomplete” and gave to much emphasis to carbon dioxide:

“[I]t inaccurately, in my view, presents a view of climate change that is dominated by the emission of carbon dioxide and a few other greenhouse gases,” Pielke wrote. “Indeed, in my opinion, the committee, under the direction of Gerald North with the writing subgroup led by Susan Hassol, was clearly motivated to produce a statement of this one  particular view. My viewpoint is that under this leadership, other views were never give  an adequate opportunity to be discussed.”

March 8, 2011

Roger A. Pielke Sr. testified before the House Energy & Commerce Committee in a hearing titled “Climate Science and EPA's Greenhouse Gas Regulations.” John R. Christy, a noted climate change denier, also testified at the event. [27]

In his complete testimony, Pielke Sr. outlined four main points, which he described as follows:  [12]

“1. Research has shown that a focus on just carbon dioxide and a few other greenhouse gases as the dominant human influence on climate is too narrow, and misses other important human influences.

“2. The phrases 'global warming' and “climate change” are not the same. Global warming is a subset of climate change.

“3. The prediction (or projection) of regional weather, including extremes, decades into the future is far more difficult than commonly assumed. In addition, the attribution of extreme events to a particular subset of climate forcings is scientifically incomplete if the research ignores other relevant human and natural causes of extreme weather events.

“4. The climate science assessments of the IPCC and CCSP, as well as the various statements issued by the AGU, AMS, and NRC, are completed by a small subset of climate scientists who are often the same individuals in each case.”

November, 2009

Writing in the journal Eos, Pielke Sr. and other authors conclude that, while “The evidence predominantly suggests that humans are significantly altering the global environment, and thus climate, in a variety of diverse ways beyond the effects of human emissions of greenhouse gases, including CO2,” that other factors in addition to man-made CO2 need to be considered, and also that “the cost- benefit analyses regarding the mitigation of CO2 and other greenhouse gases need to be considered along with the other human climate forcings in a broader environmental context, as well as with respect to their role in the climate system.” [11]

October, 2008

In an interview with Mother Jones magazine, Roger A. Pielke Sr. argued that global warming had stopped: [13]

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.”

RAP: “That's exactly right. I would also add that climate change is much more than global warming. We have altered the climate significantly, say by land-use change, without changing the global average surface temperature, yet it has big impacts. So I definitely think that we humans have altered the climate system. I think we have a strong component that has been warming—for some reason, it has stopped. And I don't understand the reasons why.”

September 3, 2008

Roger A. Pielke Sr. responded to an article written by AP Science writer Seth Borenstein. DeSmog reported that Pielke particularly objected to the following lines written by Borenstein: [28]

Global warming has probably made Hurricane Gustav a bit stronger and wetter, some top scientists said Sunday, but the specific connection between climate change and stronger hurricanes remains an issue of debate.”

Measurements of the energy pumped into the air from the warm waters — essentially fuel for hurricanes — has increased dramatically since the mid 1990s, mostly in the strongest of hurricanes, according to a soon-to-be published paper in the journal Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems by Kevin Trenberth, climate analysis chief at National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colo.”

Warmer water makes the surface air warmer, which means it could contain more moisture. That means more hot moist air rises up the hurricane, serving as both fuel for the storm and extra rainfall coming back down, said Peter Webster, professor of atmospheric sciences at Georgia Tech.”

Responding at his blog, Roger A. Pielke Sr. declared: [23]

“Hurricanes respond to their immediate environment, not a global average increase in heat!”

Pielke also stated: [23]

“The focusing on global warming as the reason for any hurricane (or making it more likely to occur or become more intense) ignores that natural variations are not only more important than indicated by the AP news story, but also that the human influence involves a diverse range of first-order climate forcings, including, but not limited global warming [which, of course, has not occurred since at least mid-2004!].”

August 23, 2005

Roger A. Pielke Sr. resigned from a panel that had been generating a report of the Bush administration on atmospheric temperature trends. 

The New York Times reported that Pielke had made his decision to resign after three papers had been published online on Aug. 11 by the journal Science. The papers explained how earlier analysis had failed to find warming in the troposphere, attributing it to errors in satellite and balloon studies. Several authors of those papers, who were also authors of the government report, said those findings would be discussed in the final report.  [29]

Climate change denier John R. Christy, who had worked with Pielke on the Bush administration's report, commented:

“This process is the worst way to generate scientific information.”

Affiliations

  • CIRES Senior Research Scientist[2]
  • University of Colorado-Boulder — Senior Research Associate, Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences (November 2005 - present).  [2]
  • AMS — Fellow (1982). Serving on the AMS Committee on Planned and Inadvertent Weather Modification (October 2009-present). [2]
  • American Geophiscal Union (AGU— Fellow (2004). Currently serving on the AGU EOS Advisory Board on Natural Hazards (August 2009 - present). [2]
  • Duke University  — former adjunct faculty member in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering.  [2]
  • University of Arizona — Former visiting Professor in the Department of Atmospheric Sciences.  [2]

Publications

According to his profile at CIRES, Dr. Pielke has published over 380 papers in peer-reviewed journals, 55 chapters in books, co-edited 9 books, and made over 700 presentations during his career. A listing of papers can be viewed at the project website.  [2]

Resources

  1. Roger A. Pielke Sr.CIRES. Archived June 11, 2010. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/0IGMW

  2. Roger A. Pielke Sr.CIRES. Archived December 22, 2016. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/gX353

  3. Update To Andy Revkin’s Question In 2005: 'Is Most Of The Observed Warming Over The Last 50 Years Likely To Have Been Due To The Increase In Greenhouse Gas Concentrations'?Climate Science: Roger Pielke Sr. May 4, 2010. Archived January 24, 2017. Archive.is URLhttps://archive.is/GvhyA

  4. R.A. Pielke Sr. “Climate Change Position Statement,Dissenting View” (PDF), EOS, Vol. 94, No. 34, pp. 301 (August, 2013). Archived .pdf on file at DeSmog.

  5. Roger Pielke Sr. “NASA’s Dr. Gavin Schmidt goes into hiding from seven very inconvenient climate questions,” Watts Up With That? May 19, 2015. Archived January 25, 2017. Archive.is URLhttps://archive.is/dl64r

  6. ROGER PIELKE, JR.” Center for Science & Technology Policy Research, University of Colorado Boulder. Archived December 22, 2016. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/lzU0O

  7. David Roberts. “Bashing Dirty Hippies and Getting Played: A Case Study in Six Chapters,” The Huffington Post, January 17, 2007. Archived January 25, 2017. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/BFtjZ

  8. Is Roger Pielke, Jr. Zelig?Examiner.com, March 1, 2008. Archived March 4, 2009. Archive.is URLhttps://archive.is/eRoSm

  9. Roger Pielke Sr. Group,” CIRES. Archived December 22, 2016. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/qXtk0

  10. Roger A. Pielke Sr. “4/ wrt http://time.com/4631007/president-obama-farewell-speech-transcript/ … “change” in “climate change” redundant. Climate always has changed on different time periods naturally” Twitter post by user @RogerAPielkeSr, January 11, 2017. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmog.

  11. Roger Pielke Sr., et al.Climate Change: The Need to Consider Human Forcings Besides Greenhouse Gases,” EOS, Vol. 90, Issue 45 (November 10, 2009). Full .pdf retrieved from Wiley online library and archived at DeSmog.

  12. Roger A. Pielke Sr. “Testimony to the Subcommittee on Energy and Power entitled “Climate Science and EPA’s Greenhouse Gas Regulation” (PDF), The Energy and Commerce Committee, March 8, 2011. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmog.

  13. Q&A: Roger A. Pielke Sr.Mother Jones, November/December 2008 Issue. Archived January 25, 2017. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/8WPh6

  14. Correction To A December 10, 2007 BBC News Article,” Climate Science: Roger Pielke Sr., December 10, 2007. Archived January 25, 2017. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/5dJFa

  15. Response to Andy Revkin’s Science Question of August 26, 2005,” Climate Science: Roger Pielke Sr. August 29, 2005. Archived January 25, 2017. Archive.is URLhttps://archive.is/epF1A

  16. Anthony Watts. “WUWT milestone – 10 years,” Watts Up With That? November 17, 2016. Comment #2344192 by user rpielke, November 17, 2016 at 11:54 AM. Archived January 25, 2017. Archived .png on file at DeSmog. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/hcB7C

  17. Watt about a 10th Anniversary? …and Then There's Physics, November 19, 2016. Archived January 25, 2017. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/twxv7

  18. Q&A For Climate For High School Students,” Climate Science: Roger Pielke Sr. November 8, 2011. Archived January 6, 2017. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/1AQif

  19. My Response To The Skeptical Science Post “One-Sided 'Skepticism',” Climate Science: Roger Pielke Sr. September 15, 2011 Archived January 6, 2017. Archive.is URLhttps://archive.is/CPVCR

  20. Informative News Article by Margot Roosevelt In The Los Angeles Times On Richard Muller’s Testimony To Congress,” Climate Science: Roger Pielke Sr. April 4, 2011. Archived January 5, 2017. Archive.is URLhttps://archive.is/lxTi3

  21. Misinformation on the Website 'Skeptical Science – Getting Skeptical About Global Warming Skepticism',” Climate Science: Roger Pielke Sr. September 6, 2010. Archived January 5, 2017. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/uC7kW

  22. Real Climate’s Misinformation,” Climate Science: Roger Pielke Sr. June 30, 2009. Archived January 5, 2017. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/OKpCt

  23.  ”Hurricanes And Global Warming – A Scientific Disconnect,” Climate Science: Roger Pielke Sr. September 3, 2008. Archived January 24, 2017. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/TsqyT

  24. Valerie Richardson. “Climate change skeptics scoff as NOAA quickly links global warming, La. floods,” The Washington Times, September 8, 2016. Archived January 25, 2017. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/ZA9DK

  25. Watt about Roger’s questions?” ...and Then There's Physics, May 20, 2015. Archived January 25, 2017. Archive.is URLhttps://archive.is/HYYkl

  26. “Human‐Induced Climate Change Requires Urgent Action” (PDF), American Geophysical Union, December, 2003. Revised August, 2013. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmog.

  27. HEARING: Climate Science and EPA's Greenhouse Gas Regulations,” House Energy & Commerce Committee, March 8, 2011. Archived March 16, 2011. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/QOFTA

  28. Richard Littlemore. “Roger Pielke Sr. Attacks Messenger, Injures Self,” DeSmog, September 4, 2008. 

  29. Andrew C. Revkin. “Panelist Who Dissents On Climate Change Quits,” The New York Times, August 23, 2005. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmog. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/QM4j2

Other Resources