by JIM MANN
'The global warming hypothesis is dead, scientifically'
Ed Berry is making some noise about climate change, and he's singing a different tune than former Vice President Al Gore and his "Inconvenient Truth."
Berry, 73, an accomplished atmospheric physicist who recently moved to the Flathead Valley from Sacramento, Calif., was among about 700 scientists who attended the International Conference on Climate Change in New York City March 7-10.
Sponsored by the Heartland Institute, the group has decidedly different views on climate change than Gore and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
The IPCC consensus asserts that the influence of human-produced greenhouse gases will cause a warming trend with dire environmental consequences.
The prevailing conclusion at the New York conference, according to Berry, is that "the global warming hypothesis is dead, scientifically."
The conference, he noted, was attended by high-profile scientists and figures such as former NASA astronaut and U.S. Sen. Harrison "Jack" Schmitt, whom Berry has known since he was an undergraduate at Caltech University.
"It seems every few years we run into each other," he said. "We were good friends from Caltech all the way through."
Berry noted that the attendance of 700 scientists at the conference "is just a drop in the bucket" of the growing ranks of scientists who disagree with IPCC conclusions.
"There's a big list of scientists that in just the last year have changed their minds," Berry said. "The momentum is in our direction."
But politics, he said, are still thoroughly dominated by global warming alarmists and major media that advance their views.
"Clearly, Al Gore is good at what he does," Berry conceded, adding that it is now up to scientists with different views to make them known.
Since moving to the Flathead, Berry has been publicly engaged on the topic, writing letters to the editor and speaking to groups, using a lengthy PowerPoint presentation that is basically an outline for a book he is writing.
"What I'm after is making it comprehensive but simple because I'm aiming at the general public rather than scientists," he said of the book.
Berry insists that the models used to support the warming theory produce faulty predictions because they cannot account for all of the dynamics influencing the atmosphere.
They cannot account for ever-changing greenhouse gases, radiation, solar energy and ocean currents. One of the greatest omissions from climate modeling, Berry said, is they do not account for the incredibly dynamic influences of cloud cover, a subject he knows well.
After Caltech, Berry went on to earn a master's degree in physics from Dartmouth College, and then a Ph.D. in physics from the University of Nevada.
His doctoral thesis involved measuring and predicting the formation of the smallest water molecules into raindrops.
He was the chief scientist and manager of the airborne research facility at Nevada's Desert Research Institute, where he developed instrumentation technology for aircraft in monitoring the atmosphere.
He recalls one aircraft radar innovation in 1972 that produced the largest radar image of a hurricane up to that time.
Berry also managed for a period the National Science Foundation's weather modification program, which involved cloud-seeding research. He was involved with a research project that for the first time identified how cities, filled with heat-radiating concrete and asphalt, actually modify the weather.
For Berry, studying the atmosphere wouldn't be complete without actually getting into it.
He started as a glider pilot and later became a powered airplane pilot. He got involved in competitive sailing with his wife, eventually winning major national and North American regattas.
Throughout his educational and work experience, Berry says he is most grateful for the pre-eminent scientists who taught him how to approach problem solving, going all the way back to learning under the renowned Linus Pauling at Caltech.
"It isn't the things you learn," Berry said. "It's how you learn to think."
Berry has deep concerns about the political direction for climate-change policies, particularly a cap-and-trade system that is likely to come from Washington, D.C. It is a system that will produce a bureaucracy and it will essentially amount to a tax on energy production and consumption.
It was a major topic at the conference in New York, where economists projected the economic impacts.
"People have different numbers, but they are all big," Berry said of those impacts.
"It's going to affect the cost of energy significantly," he adds, in a regressive fashion impacting low-income energy consumers the most.
Reporter Jim Mann may be reached at 758-4407 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org