William Gray

William Gray (1929-2016)

Credentials

William Gray was a Faculty member of the Department of Atmospheric Science, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO from 1961 to 2005.4William M. Gray. “Climate Change: Driven by the Ocean not Human Activity” (PDF), Colorado State University Tropical Meteorology Project (Prepared for the 4th Annual Heartland Institute sponsored conference on Climate Change. Chicago, IL, May 18-20, 2010).

Background

William Gray was a professor at Colorado State University, where he headed the Tropical Meteorology Project. William Gray passed away on April 16, 2016.5Jason Samenow. “Eulogy for legendary hurricane scientist, William Gray (1929-2016),The Washington Post, April 17, 2016. Archived October 24, 2017. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/v7yzo

Gray was a regular speaker at the Heartland Institute‘s International Conferences on Climate Change (ICCCs), a venue which gives climate change skeptics from around the world a platform to voice their views. Gray has also described global warming as a “hoax,” and something that “they’ve been brainwashing us [about] for 20 years.”6David Harsanyi. “Chill out over global warming.” Denver Post, June 5, 2006. Archived October 24, 2017. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/j4vyG

He appeared in a 2006 video news release sponsored by Tech Central Station titled, “Global Warming and Hurricanes: All Hot Air?” where he denied any connection between the severity of hurricanes and global warming.7Daniel Price. “Oil Lobbyist’s ‘News’ Denies Inconvenient Truths,” PR Watch, October 25, 2006. Archived October 24, 2017. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/dMReT,8Global Warming and Hurricanes: All Hot Air?” Youtube Video. Uploaded by The Center for Investigative Reporting, May 3, 2012.

Peter Webster, a Georgia Institute of Technology professor, participated in the anonymous peer review on several of Gray’s National Science Foundation proposals. In every case he has turned down the global warming research component because he believed it was not up to standards, but recommended that Gray’s hurricane research be funded.9Alan Prendergast. “The Skeptic,” Denver Westword News, June 29, 2006. Archived October 24, 2017. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/RvcQ4

Webster, co-authored other scientific papers with Gray, was also critical of Gray for his personal attacks on the scientists with whom he disagreed:

“Bill, for some very good reasons, has been the go-to man on hurricanes for the last 35 years,” says Webster. “All of a sudden there are a lot of people saying things Bill doesn’t agree with. And they’re getting a lot of press—more press than I like, actually. I like the ivory tower. But he’s become more and more radical.”10Alan Prendergast. “The Skeptic,” Denver Westword News, June 29, 2006. Archived October 24, 2017. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/RvcQ4

Stance on Climate Change

June 2011

Writing in a guest post at Watts Up With That, Gray claimed that a number of American Meteorological Society (AMS) members disagreed with the consensus on climate change:11On The Hijacking of the American Meteorological Society (AMS),” Watts Up With That, June 16, 2011. Archived October 25, 2017. Archive.is URL: http://archive.is/co0A2

“I am very disappointed at the downward path the AMS has been following for the last 10-15 years in its advocacy of the Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW) hypothesis. The society has officially taken a position many of us AMS members do not agree with. We believe that humans are having little or no significant influence on the global climate and that the many Global Circulation Climate Model (GCMs) results and the four IPCC reports do not realistically give accurate future projections. To take this position which so many of its members do not necessarily agree with shows that the AMS is following more of a political than a scientific agenda,” Gray wrote.12On The Hijacking of the American Meteorological Society (AMS),” Watts Up With That, June 16, 2011. Archived October 25, 2017. Archive.is URL: http://archive.is/co0A2

June 2006

According to a Denver Post article, Gray recognized that there had been some warming in the past 30 years.13David Harsanyi. “Chill out over global warming.” Denver Post, June 5, 2006. Archived October 24, 2017. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/j4vyG

“I don’t question that,” Gray said. “And humans might have caused a very slight amount of this warming. Very slight. But this warming trend is not going to keep on going. My belief is that three, four years from now, the globe will start to cool again, as it did from the middle ’40s to the middle ’70s’.”14David Harsanyi. “Chill out over global warming.” Denver Post, June 5, 2006. Archived October 24, 2017. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/j4vyG

Gray added, “They’ve been brainwashing us for 20 years. Starting with the nuclear winter and now with the global warming. This scare will also run its course. In 15-20 years, we’ll look back and see what a hoax this was.”15David Harsanyi. “Chill out over global warming.” Denver Post, June 5, 2006. Archived October 24, 2017. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/j4vyG

May 2006

In a Washington Post article, Gray told reporter Joel Achenbach:

“I am of the opinion that this is one of the greatest hoaxes ever perpetrated on the American people.”16Joel Achenbach. “The Tempest,” The Washington Post, May 28, 2006. Archived October 24, 2017. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/yYuMK

Key Quotes

April 2007

Speaking at the National Hurricane Conference, Gray said:17Jeff Franks. “Warming Not Behind Hurricane Activity – Forecaster,” Planet Ark, April 10, 2007. Archived June 4, 2013. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/YacUL

“I think the whole human-induced greenhouse gas thing is a red herring. […] I see climate change as due to the ocean circulation pattern. I see this as a major cause of climate change. […] These are natural processes. We shouldn’t blame them on humans and CO2.”18Jeff Franks. “Warming Not Behind Hurricane Activity – Forecaster,” Planet Ark, April 10, 2007. Archived June 4, 2013. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/YacUL

October 2006

According to an article at Rocky Mountain News, William Gray, called noted Boulder climate researcher Kevin Trenberth “an opportunist and a Svengali who ‘sold his soul to the devil to get (global warming) research funding’.”19Tempest erupts over hurricanes: Global warming debate at conference spawns name calling,” Rocky Mountain News, October 26, 2006. Archived Ocober 13, 2008. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/T72FC

While Trenberth argued that hurricanes and storms could be getting more severe due to global warming, Gray argued that there was no evidence for the connection and that “everything he (Trenberth) has shown can be refuted.”

May 2006

Gray told Joel Achenbach of The Washington Post:

“Gore believed in global warming almost as much as Hitler believed there was something wrong with the Jews.”20Joel Achenbach. “The Tempest,” The Washington Post, May 28, 2006. Archived October 24, 2017. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/yYuMK

November 16, 2000

In a BBC News “Viewpoint,” Gray was quoted:

“Human kind has little or nothing to do with the recent temperature changes. We are not that influential”21William M. Gray. “Viewpoint: Get off warming bandwagon.” BBC News, November 16, 2000. Archived October 24, 2017. Archive.is URL: http://archive.is/4HDc0

Key Deeds

July 7 – 9, 2014

William Gray was a speaker at the Heartland Institute’s Ninth International Conference on Climate Change (ICCC9) in Las Vegas, Nevada. He appeared on a panel where he claimed that the CO2 influence on climate change was “minor” while climate change was “controlled by [the] ocean.22Return of Climate Denial-a-Palooza: Heartland Institute Hitches Anti-Science Wagon to Vegas FreedomFest,” DeSmog, July 7, 2014. Archived July 14, 2014.

View the panel discussion here, Gray’s PowerPoint presentation, as well as his appearance on the following Q&A Panel with William Kininmonth and Roy Spencer. Videos below.23Bill Gray, ICCC9 (Panel 1),” ClimateConferences.heartland.org. Archived .mp4 on file at DeSmog. 24Panel 1 Q&A : Dr. William Kininmonth, Dr. William Gray and Dr. Roy Spencer, ICCC9,” ClimateConferences.heartland.org. Archived .mp4 on file at DeSmog.

DeSmog has done in-depth research on the other speakers and sponsors from Heartland’s ICCC9.25Brendan DeMelle. “Return of Climate Denial-a-Palooza: Heartland Institute Hitches Anti-Science Wagon to Vegas FreedomFest,” DeSmog, July 7, 2014.

May 21–23, 2012

Gray was a speaker at the Heartland Institute‘s 7th International Conference on Climate Change (ICCC7). His talk was titled “Why Computer Models Overestimate Global Warming. Download the PowerPoint presentation here. Gray also prepared a paper for the conference titled “The Physical Flaws of the Global Warming Theory and Deep Ocean Circulation Changes as the Primary Climate Driver.”26William Gray, ICCC7,” Climateconferences.heartland.org. Archived .mp4 on file at DeSmog.

DeSmog researched the co-sponsors behind Heartland’s ICCC7 and found that they had collectively received over $67 million from ExxonMobil, the Koch Brothers and the conservative Scaife family foundations.27Brendan DeMelle.”Heartland Denial-a-Palooza Sponsors Have Received Million From ExxonMobil, Koch and Scaife Foundations,” DeSmog, May 22, 2012.

March 2009

William Gray was a speaker at the Heartland Institute‘s 2009 International Conference on Climate Change where he was described by the Heartland Institute as a “leading researcher into tropical weather patterns.”

December 13, 2007

Gray was a signatory to a 2007 open letter to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon that denied man-made climate change. The letter states that “it is not possible to stop climate change, a natural phenomenon that has affected humanity throughout the ages.”28“Open Letter to the Secretary-General of the United Nations” (PDF), Science & Public Policy Institute, December 13, 2007.

June 2006

Gray appeared in a video news release produced by the PR firm Medialink Worldwide and sponsored by Tech Central Station titled, “Global Warming and Hurricanes: All Hot Air?” Gray denied a link between global warming and the severity of hurricane seasons. “We don’t think that’s the case,” Gray says. “This is the way nature sometimes works.” See video below.29Global Warming and Hurricanes: All Hot Air?” Youtube Video. Uploaded by The Center for Investigative Reporting, May 3, 2012.

September 28, 2005

Gray testified before the U.S. Senate Committee on Environment & Public Works (run by ranking member James Inhofe) on the subject of climate change. Here is an excerpt from Gray’s testimony:30Statement of Dr. William Gray,” U.S. Senate Committee on Environment & Public Works, September 28, 2005. Archived July 9, 2008. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/CGfHU

“I am convinced that in 15-20 years, we will look back on this period of global warming hysteria as we now look back on so many other popular, and trendy, scientific ideas – such as the generally accepted Eugenic theories of the 1920s and 1930s that have now been discredited. There are so many other more important problems in the world which need our immediate attention. We should not be distracted by a false threat that is mostly just due to natural changes in climate.”

Gray concludes that “Analysis of global tropical cyclone activity of all intensities does not support the hypothesis that there has been a significant increase in tropical cyclone frequency-intensity associated with global temperature rise.”31Statement of Dr. William Gray,” U.S. Senate Committee on Environment & Public Works, September 28, 2005. Archived July 9, 2008. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/CGfHU

Affiliations

Publications

According to a SkepticalScience review of “peer-reviewed papers by William Gray that take a negative or explicitly doubtful position on human-caused global warming,” there are no papers meeting that definition.34Peer-reviewed skeptic papers by William Gray,” SkepticalScience. Archived October 25, 2017. Archive.is URL: http://archive.is/aLeZu

Sample Publications

  • S.B. Goldenberg C.W. Landsea, AM. Mestas-Nuñez and William M. Gray. “The Recent Increase in Atlantic Hurricane Activity: Causes and Implications.” Science, Vol. 293 no. 5529 (July 20, 2001) pp. 474-479.
  • WM Gray. “Global warming and hurricanes” (PDF), ICECAP.
  • James Lighthill, Greh Golland, William Gray, Christopher Landsea, George Craig, Jenni Evans, Yoshio Kurihara, and C harles Guard. “Global Climate Change and Tropical Cyclones” (PDF). Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society
  • Christopher W. Landsea, Neville Nicholls, William M. Gray, Lixion A. Avila. “Downward trends in the frequency of intense Atlantic hurricanes during the past five decades” (PDF). Geophysical Research Letters, Vol. 23, no. 14 (June 15, 1996), Pages 1697-1700.
  • William M. Gray. “Climate Change: Driven by the Ocean not Human Activity” (PDF). Prepared for the 4th Annual Heartland Institute sponsored conference on Climate Change. Chicago, IL, May 18-20, 2010.
  • William M. Gray. “Hurricanes and Hot Air” (PDF), The Wall Street Journal, July 26, 2007.
  • William Gray. “Atlantic hurricane increases and carbon dioxide rise.” Presented at Joint Poster Session 3, Tropical Cyclones and Climate Change Poster Session January 21, 2008.
  • William M. Gray et al, “Weather Modification by Carbon Dust Absorption of Solar Energy” (PDF), Gray, Frank, Corrin and Stokes, April 1976.

Other Resources

Resources

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