Westbrook responds

Jan. 5, 2009
The letter by Jeff Temple (OGJ, December 8, 2008, p. 14) on my letter (OGJ, Nov. 3, 2008, p. 12) has about a dozen areas deserving comment. I will cite six.

The letter by Jeff Temple (OGJ, December 8, 2008, p. 14) on my letter (OGJ, Nov. 3, 2008, p. 12) has about a dozen areas deserving comment. I will cite six.

1. I started out by asking about three physicists (Dr. Richard Lindzen, Dr. Robert Jastrow, and Dr. Habibullo Abdussamatov). Mr. Temple berates me by observing one of these was deceased. I didn’t realize it was not cricket to refer to scientists who have passed on. Furthermore, the work by Dr. Jastrow that I cited (Reference 1) was from 1990, when he was very much alive.

2. Next he complains that none of these three have “ever authored a testable theory, produced data, or presented papers explaining the current global temperature trend.” That is a mere listing of charges and opinions. How about some significant analysis of their work, not just generalities. See Reference 2. For example, how about a definitive assessment of Lindzen’s research and writings? Reference 3 lists 229 publications by Lindzen. Besides being the Sloan Professor of Meteorology at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Lindzen is a member of the National Academy of Science, the youngest scientist ever elected.

3. Mr. Temple then twists my statement “of a barely discernable 0.6º C. increase” to one where I “denigrate the 0.6º C. increase.” He argues “small changes in mean global surface temperature claims do indeed matter.” However, he provides zero input on the quality of the measurements that go into this mean with no indication that errors involved maybe larger than the changes themselves.

4. Going back to Point 2, the work by Jastrow et al., contrary to Mr. Temple’s claim, did explain or estimate the current global temperature trend at 0.4 -1.8º C. See Reference 1.

5. He charges that my comments on temperature change indicate “he does not understand climate science.” Well, I understand chemistry and economics with advanced degrees in both areas, each with a minor in math. And the chemistry I took was very heavy into physical chemistry and hence physics. I have studied the climate issue since 1988, so I like to think I absorbed something in that span.

6. Finally, he claims there are many thousands of physicists who accept anthropogenic global warming as a reality. Just as in any court case one cannot call thousands of witnesses to testify, I called nine witnesses and mention another ten in the background essay. My position is that these are high-horsepower, competent witnesses. The fact that they are skeptical on this issue is rather important.

Gerald T. Westbrook


  1. Jastrow, R., Nierenberg, W., Seitz, F., Scientific Perspectives on the Greenhouse Problem, The Marshall Press, Jameson Books Inc., Ottawa, Ill., 1990.
  2. For an overview of Lindzen’s career see: http://www.answers.com/topic/richard-lindzen?cat=technology.
  3. A listing of Lindzen’s publications can be seen at: http://www-eaps.mit.edu/faculty/lindzen/PublicationsRSL.html.