Dr. Willie Soon, an astrophysicist and former researcher at the Smithsonian Institute in Cambridge, Mass., showed graphs and testimony from people in the field who, even from those who believe the planet is warming as a direct result of human action, could not find evidence that humans are indeed responsible.
Dr. Soon gave example of scientists who have gone on record in support of climate change who have acknowledged this issue is not settled.
"Who is the most credible oceanographer in America?" Dr. Soon asked.
"It is Carl Wunsch from MIT. He totally believes Carbon Dioxide causes global warming. But then read what he says about his satellite measurements of global sea level rise. He says, 'It remains possible that the data base is insufficient to compute mean sea level trends with the accuracy necessary to discuss the impact of global warming–as disappointing as this conclusion may be'.”
Dr. Soon gave an example of how often people who study satellite images of ocean sea levels feel the need to correct them because different satellites show different results; since logically this could not be possible, some of the measurements must be wrong and therefore need correcting.
"The warm ocean has not added more water from Arctic Ice," Soon said. "It's actually losing more water. The data is telling you the ocean water is evaporating faster than it can be replaced."
"Even IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) estimates showing the sea level rise was less than 1mm (millimeter) per year. Guess how many inches is that? 4 inches in 100 years," Soon said.
Dr. David Legates, a climatology professor at the University of Delaware who was forced to resign his title as State Climatologist during Governor Markell's first term, focused his presentation on how the science would impact Delaware.
Dr. Legates showed the group a map from DNREC indicating that nearly all of Sussex and Kent Counties, save for Millsboro and the Bridgeville-Greenwood area up to Hartly, would be underwater by the end of the century. The problem with this estimate, Legates said, is that the estimates are only accurate if there is going to be 50 feet of sea level rise by the end of the century. Given the current estimates, he argued this map is simply unfeasible. Instead, he insisted, the state, Delaware should be more concerned about sea waters eroding the coastline and causing damage to infrastructure and homes alongside the Atlantic Ocean and Delaware Bay.
Despite his research, Legates acknowledged the differences of opinions between himself and both current Governor Jack Markell and the previous Governor Ruth Ann Minner.
"While I was the state climatologist, neither the past governor nor the present governor ever asked the opinion of the state climatologist," he said.
The event was co-sponsored by the Positive Growth Alliance and the Caesar Rodney Institute at the Cheer Center in Georgetown. In addition to the general crowd, some elected officials from both Kent and Sussex County were in attendance.
Despite the one-sided presentation of data, both scientists were very confident in their research.
"I wish to be corrected if I am wrong," Dr. Soon said. "This is the way science works."
Caesar Rodney Institute