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Hurricanes and Global Warming: Interview with Dr. Roy Spencer

Dr. Roy Spencer is a principal research scientist for University of Alabama in Huntsville. In the past, he has served as Senior Scientist for Climate Studies at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, where he directed research into the development and application of satellite passive microwave remote sensing techniques for measuring global temperature, water vapor, and precipitation. He currently is the U.S. Science Team Leader for the Advanced Microwave Scanning Radiometer (AMSR-E) on NASA’s Aqua satellite.

James Glassman: Do you reject the idea that Katrina was in any way manmade?

Dr. Roy Spencer: Well, yes. I think that’s an irresponsible position to take. Certainly, the previous huge hurricanes that we had in the 20′s, 30′s, 40′s, 50′s, didn’t have anything to do with mankind’s production of CO2 because we hadn’t produced very much by then, and I find it just irresponsible that anyone would claim that this hurricane was caused by global warming.

Glassman: You know, I was looking at the National Hurricane Center’s website and they list the 10 most intense hurricanes by barometric pressure. I know you feel we should take those numbers with a grain of salt; but still, these are clearly very intense hurricanes in American history. Now we add Katrina to that. We’ve got 11. Five of these hurricanes occurred between 1900 and 1935 and only two of them have occurred since 1969. I’m just wondering whether there is any evidence that the intensity of storms is increasing in the United States.

Spencer: Well, that brings up a good point