Richard Lindzen

Richard Lindzen

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Richard Siegmund Lindzen (born February 8, 1940) is an American atmospheric physicist
Atmospheric physics
Atmospheric physics is the application of physics to the study of the atmosphere. Atmospheric physicists attempt to model Earth's atmosphere and the atmospheres of the other planets using fluid flow equations, chemical models, radiation balancing, and energy transfer processes in the atmosphere...

 and Alfred P. Sloan
Alfred P. Sloan
Alfred Pritchard Sloan, Jr. was an American business executive in the automotive industry. He was a long-time president, chairman, and CEO of General Motors Corporation...

 Professor of Meteorology
Meteorology
Meteorology is the interdisciplinary scientific study of the atmosphere. Studies in the field stretch back millennia, though significant progress in meteorology did not occur until the 18th century. The 19th century saw breakthroughs occur after observing networks developed across several countries...

 at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Lindzen is known for his work in the dynamics of the middle atmosphere, atmospheric tides and ozone
Ozone
Ozone , or trioxygen, is a triatomic molecule, consisting of three oxygen atoms. It is an allotrope of oxygen that is much less stable than the diatomic allotrope...

 photochemistry
Photochemistry
Photochemistry, a sub-discipline of chemistry, is the study of chemical reactions that proceed with the absorption of light by atoms or molecules.. Everyday examples include photosynthesis, the degradation of plastics and the formation of vitamin D with sunlight.-Principles:Light is a type of...

. He has published more than 200 scientific papers and books. He was a lead author of Chapter 7, 'Physical Climate Processes and Feedbacks,' of the IPCC
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is a scientific intergovernmental body which provides comprehensive assessments of current scientific, technical and socio-economic information worldwide about the risk of climate change caused by human activity, its potential environmental and...

 Third Assessment Report on climate change
Climate change
Climate change is a significant and lasting change in the statistical distribution of weather patterns over periods ranging from decades to millions of years. It may be a change in average weather conditions or the distribution of events around that average...

. He is a well known skeptic of global warming
Global warming
Global warming refers to the rising average temperature of Earth's atmosphere and oceans and its projected continuation. In the last 100 years, Earth's average surface temperature increased by about with about two thirds of the increase occurring over just the last three decades...

 and critic of what he states are political pressures on climate scientists to conform to what he has called climate alarmism
Climate change alarmism
Climate change alarmism or global warming alarmism is a critical description of a rhetorical style that stresses the potentially catastrophic effects of global warming to the point where the scale of the problem appears to exclude the possibility of real action or agency by the reader or...

.

Education


Lindzen attended the Bronx High School of Science
Bronx High School of Science
The Bronx High School of Science is a specialized New York City public high school often considered the premier science magnet school in the United States. Founded in 1938, it is now located in the Bedford Park section of the Bronx...

 (winning Regents' and National Merit
National Merit Scholarship Program
The National Merit Scholarship Program is a United States academic scholarship competition for recognition and college scholarships administered by National Merit Scholarship Corporation , a privately funded, not-for-profit organization. The program began in 1955...

 Scholarships,) Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
Stephen Van Rensselaer established the Rensselaer School on November 5, 1824 with a letter to the Rev. Dr. Samuel Blatchford, in which van Rensselaer asked Blatchford to serve as the first president. Within the letter he set down several orders of business. He appointed Amos Eaton as the school's...

 and Harvard University. From Harvard, he received an A.B. in Physics in 1960, followed by an S.M. in Applied Mathematics in 1961 and then a Ph.D. in Applied Mathematics in 1964. His doctoral thesis, entitled Radiative and photochemical processes in strato- and mesospheric dynamics, concerned the interactions of ozone photochemistry, radiative transfer and dynamics in the middle atmosphere.

Career


Lindzen has published papers on Hadley circulation, monsoon
Monsoon
Monsoon is traditionally defined as a seasonal reversing wind accompanied by corresponding changes in precipitation, but is now used to describe seasonal changes in atmospheric circulation and precipitation associated with the asymmetric heating of land and sea...

 meteorology, planetary atmosphere
Atmosphere
An atmosphere is a layer of gases that may surround a material body of sufficient mass, and that is held in place by the gravity of the body. An atmosphere may be retained for a longer duration, if the gravity is high and the atmosphere's temperature is low...

s, hydrodynamic instability, mid-latitude weather, global heat transport
Heat transfer
Heat transfer is a discipline of thermal engineering that concerns the exchange of thermal energy from one physical system to another. Heat transfer is classified into various mechanisms, such as heat conduction, convection, thermal radiation, and phase-change transfer...

, the water cycle
Water cycle
The water cycle, also known as the hydrologic cycle or H2O cycle, describes the continuous movement of water on, above and below the surface of the Earth. Water can change states among liquid, vapor, and solid at various places in the water cycle...

, ice age
Ice age
An ice age or, more precisely, glacial age, is a generic geological period of long-term reduction in the temperature of the Earth's surface and atmosphere, resulting in the presence or expansion of continental ice sheets, polar ice sheets and alpine glaciers...

s, seasonal atmospheric effects. His main contribution to the academic literature on anthropogenic climate change is his proposal of the iris hypothesis
Iris hypothesis
The iris hypothesis is a hypothesis proposed by Professor Richard Lindzen in 2001 that suggested increased sea surface temperature in the tropics would result in reduced cirrus clouds and thus more infrared radiation leakage from Earth's atmosphere...

 in 2001, with co-authors Ming-Dah Chou and Arthur Y. Hou. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences
United States National Academy of Sciences
The National Academy of Sciences is a corporation in the United States whose members serve pro bono as "advisers to the nation on science, engineering, and medicine." As a national academy, new members of the organization are elected annually by current members, based on their distinguished and...

 and the Science, Health, and Economic Advisory Council at the Annapolis Center for Science-Based Public Policy. Educated at Harvard University
Harvard University
Harvard University is a private Ivy League university located in Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States, established in 1636 by the Massachusetts legislature. Harvard is the oldest institution of higher learning in the United States and the first corporation chartered in the country...

 (Ph.D., '64, S.M., '61, A.B., '60), he moved to MIT in 1983, prior to which he held positions at the University of Washington
University of Washington
University of Washington is a public research university, founded in 1861 in Seattle, Washington, United States. The UW is the largest university in the Northwest and the oldest public university on the West Coast. The university has three campuses, with its largest campus in the University...

 (1964–1965), Institute for Theoretical Meteorology, University of Oslo
University of Oslo
The University of Oslo , formerly The Royal Frederick University , is the oldest and largest university in Norway, situated in the Norwegian capital of Oslo. The university was founded in 1811 and was modelled after the recently established University of Berlin...

 (1965–1966), National Center for Atmospheric Research
National Center for Atmospheric Research
The National Center for Atmospheric Research has multiple facilities, including the I. M. Pei-designed Mesa Laboratory headquarters in Boulder, Colorado. NCAR is managed by the nonprofit University Corporation for Atmospheric Research and sponsored by the National Science Foundation...

 (NCAR) (1966–1967), University of Chicago
University of Chicago
The University of Chicago is a private research university in Chicago, Illinois, USA. It was founded by the American Baptist Education Society with a donation from oil magnate and philanthropist John D. Rockefeller and incorporated in 1890...

 (1968–1972) and Harvard University (1972–1983). He also briefly held a position of Visiting Lecturer at UCLA in 1967. As of January 2010, his publications list included 230 papers and articles published between 1965 and 2008, with five in process for 2009. He is the author of a standard textbook on atmospheric dynamics, and co-authored the monograph Atmospheric Tides with Sydney Chapman.

Early work (1964-1972)


Lindzen's early work was concerned with ozone
Ozone
Ozone , or trioxygen, is a triatomic molecule, consisting of three oxygen atoms. It is an allotrope of oxygen that is much less stable than the diatomic allotrope...

 photochemistry
Photochemistry
Photochemistry, a sub-discipline of chemistry, is the study of chemical reactions that proceed with the absorption of light by atoms or molecules.. Everyday examples include photosynthesis, the degradation of plastics and the formation of vitamin D with sunlight.-Principles:Light is a type of...

, the aerodynamics
Aerodynamics
Aerodynamics is a branch of dynamics concerned with studying the motion of air, particularly when it interacts with a moving object. Aerodynamics is a subfield of fluid dynamics and gas dynamics, with much theory shared between them. Aerodynamics is often used synonymously with gas dynamics, with...

 of the middle atmosphere
Atmosphere
An atmosphere is a layer of gases that may surround a material body of sufficient mass, and that is held in place by the gravity of the body. An atmosphere may be retained for a longer duration, if the gravity is high and the atmosphere's temperature is low...

, the theory of atmospheric tides, and planetary waves. His work in these areas led him to a number of fundamental mathematical and scientific discoveries, including the discovery of negative equivalent depths in classical tidal theory, explanations for both the quasi-biennial oscillation of the Earth's stratosphere and the four day period of the superrotation of the Venus atmosphere above the cloud top.

Ozone photochemistry


His Ph.D. thesis of 1964 concerned the interactions of ozone photochemistry, radiative transfer
Radiative transfer
Radiative transfer is the physical phenomenon of energy transfer in the form of electromagnetic radiation. The propagation of radiation through a medium is affected by absorption, emission and scattering processes. The equation of radiative transfer describes these interactions mathematically...

 and the dynamics of the middle atmosphere. This formed the basis of his seminal Radiative and Photochemical Processes in Mesospheric Dynamics that was published in four parts in the Journal of the Atmospheric Sciences
Journal of the Atmospheric Sciences
The Journal of the Atmospheric Sciences is a scientific journal published by the American Meteorological Society...

between 1965 and 1966. The first of these, Part I: Models for Radiative and Photochemical Processes, was co-authored with his Harvard colleague and former Ph.D. thesis advisor, Richard M. Goody, who is well known for his 1964 textbook Atmospheric Radiation. The Lindzen and Goody (1965) study has been widely cited as foundational in the exact modeling of middle atmosphere ozone photochemistry. This work was extended in 1973 to include the effects of nitrogen and hydrogen reactions with his former Ph.D. student, Donna Blake, in Effect of photochemical models on calculated equilibria and cooling rates in the stratosphere.

Lindzen's work on ozone photochemistry has been important in studies that look at the effects that anthropogenic ozone depletion
Ozone depletion
Ozone depletion describes two distinct but related phenomena observed since the late 1970s: a steady decline of about 4% per decade in the total volume of ozone in Earth's stratosphere , and a much larger springtime decrease in stratospheric ozone over Earth's polar regions. The latter phenomenon...

 will have on climate.

Atmospheric tides


Since the time of Laplace (1799), scientists had been puzzled as to why pressure variations measured at the Earth's surface associated with the semi-diurnal solar tide dominate those of the diurnal tide in amplitude, when intuitively one would expect the diurnal (daily) passage of the sun to dominate. Lord Kelvin
Kelvin
The kelvin is a unit of measurement for temperature. It is one of the seven base units in the International System of Units and is assigned the unit symbol K. The Kelvin scale is an absolute, thermodynamic temperature scale using as its null point absolute zero, the temperature at which all...

 (1882) had proposed the so-called "resonance" theory, wherein the semi-diurnal tide would be "selected" over the diurnal oscillation if the atmosphere was somehow able to oscillate freely at a period of very close to 12 hours, in the same way that overtones are selected on a vibrating string. By the second half of the twentieth century, however, observations had failed to confirm this hypothesis, and an alternative hypothesis was proposed that something must instead suppress the diurnal tide. In 1961, Manfred Siebert suggested that absorption of solar insolation
Insolation
Insolation is a measure of solar radiation energy received on a given surface area in a given time. It is commonly expressed as average irradiance in watts per square meter or kilowatt-hours per square meter per day...

 by tropospheric water vapour might account for the reduction of the diurnal tide. However, he failed to include a role for stratospheric ozone. This was rectified in 1963 by the Australian physicist Stuart Thomas Butler
Stuart Thomas Butler
Stuart Thomas Butler was an Australian nuclear physicist who served as Director of the Australian Atomic Energy Commission from 1977 until 1982, and was noted for his contributions to theoretical physics including stripping reactions, energy loss of particles in a plasma and atmospheric tides...

 and his student K.A. Small who showed that stratospheric ozone absorbs an even greater part of the solar insolation
Insolation
Insolation is a measure of solar radiation energy received on a given surface area in a given time. It is commonly expressed as average irradiance in watts per square meter or kilowatt-hours per square meter per day...

.

Nevertheless, the predictions of classical tidal theory still did not agree with observations. It was Lindzen, in his 1966 paper, On the theory of the diurnal tide, who showed that the solution set of Hough functions given by Bernard Haurwitz to Laplace's tidal equation was incomplete: modes with negative equivalent depths had been omitted. Lindzen went on to calculate the thermal response of the diurnal tide to ozone and water vapor absorption in detail and showed that when his theoretical developments were included, the surface pressure oscillation was predicted with approximately the magnitude and phase observed, as were most of the features of the diurnal wind oscillations in the mesosphere. In 1967, along with his NCAR colleague, Douglas D. McKenzie, Lindzen extended the theory to include a term for Newtonian cooling due to emission of infrared radiation by carbon dioxide in the stratosphere along with ozone photochemical processes, and then in 1968 he showed that the theory also predicted that the semi-diurnal oscillation would be insensitive to variations in the temperature profile, which is why it is observed so much more strongly and regularly at the surface.

While holding the position of Research Scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR)
National Center for Atmospheric Research
The National Center for Atmospheric Research has multiple facilities, including the I. M. Pei-designed Mesa Laboratory headquarters in Boulder, Colorado. NCAR is managed by the nonprofit University Corporation for Atmospheric Research and sponsored by the National Science Foundation...

 in Boulder, Colorado
Boulder, Colorado
Boulder is the county seat and most populous city of Boulder County and the 11th most populous city in the U.S. state of Colorado. Boulder is located at the base of the foothills of the Rocky Mountains at an elevation of...

, Lindzen was noticed and befriended by Professor Sydney Chapman
Sydney Chapman
Sydney Chapman may refer to:*Sir Sydney Chapman , , British economist and civil servant*Sydney Chapman FRS , British mathematician...

, who had contributed to the theory of atmospheric tides in a number of papers from the 1920s through to the 1940s. This led to their joint publication in 1969 of a 186 page monograph (republished in 1970 as a book) Atmospheric Tides.

Quasi-biennial oscillation


Although it wasn't realized at the time, the quasi-biennial oscillation (QBO)
Quasi-biennial oscillation
The quasi-biennial oscillation is a quasi-periodic oscillation of the equatorial zonal wind between easterlies and westerlies in the tropical stratosphere with a mean period of 28 to 29 months. The alternating wind regimes develop at the top of the lower stratosphere and propagate downwards at...

 was observed during the 1883 eruption of Krakatoa
1883 eruption of Krakatoa
The 1883 eruption of Krakatoa began in May 1883 and culminated with the destruction of Krakatoa on 27 August 1883. Minor seismic activity continued to be reported until February 1884, though reports after October 1883 were later dismissed by Rogier Verbeek's investigation.-Early phase:In the years...

, when the ash from the volcano was transported around the globe from east to west by stratospheric winds in about two weeks. These winds became known as the "Krakatoa easterlies". It was observed again in 1908, by the German meteorologist Arthur Berson
Arthur Berson
Arthur Josef Stanislaus Berson was a Polish meteorologist and pioneer of aerology who was a native of Neu Sandez, Galicia ....

, who saw that winds blow from the west at 15 km (9.32 mi) altitude in tropical Africa from his balloon experiments. These became known as the "Berson westerlies." However, it was not until the early 1960s that the ~ 26 month cycle of the QBO was first described, independently by Richard J. Reed in 1960 and Veryhard and Ebdon in 1961.

Lindzen recalls his discovery of the mechanism underlying the QBO in the semi-autobiographical review article, On the development of the theory of the QBO. His interest in the phenomenon began in 1961 when his Ph.D. advisor, Richard M. Goody, speculated that the 26 month relaxation time for stratospheric ozone at 25 km (15.53 mi) in the tropics might somehow be related to the 26 month period of the QBO, and suggested investigation of this idea as a thesis topic. In fact, Lindzen's, Radiative and photochemical processes in mesospheric dynamics, Part II: Vertical propagation of long period disturbances at the equator, documented the failure of this attempt to explain the QBO.

Lindzen's work on atmospheric tides led him to the study of planetary waves and the general circulation of atmospheres. By 1967, he had contributed a number papers on the theory of waves in the middle atmosphere. In Planetary waves on beta planes, he developed a beta plane approximation
Beta plane
In geophysical fluid dynamics, an approximation whereby the Coriolis parameter, f, is set to vary linearly in space is called a beta plane approximation...

 for simplifying the equations of classical tidal theory, whilst at the same time developing planetary wave relations. He noticed from his equations that eastward-traveling waves (known as Rossby waves since their discovery in 1939 by Carl-Gustav Rossby) and westward-traveling waves (which Lindzen himself helped in establishing as "atmospheric Kelvin waves") with periods less than five days were "vertically trapped." At the same time, an important paper by Booker and Bretherton (1967) appeared, which Lindzen read with great interest. Booker and Bretherton showed that vertically propagating gravity waves were completely absorbed at a critical level.

In his 1968 paper with James R. Holton, A theory of the quasi-biennial oscillation, Lindzen presented his theory of the QBO after testing it in a two-dimensional (2-D) numerical model that had been developed by Holton and John M. Wallace
John Michael Wallace
John Michael Wallace is a professor of Atmospheric Sciences at the University of Washington, as well as the former director of the Joint Institute for the Study of the Atmosphere and Ocean --a joint research venture between the University of Washington and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric...

. They showed that the QBO could be driven by vertically propagating gravity waves with phase speeds in both westward and eastward directions and that the oscillation arose through a mechanism involving a two-way feedback between the waves and the mean flow. It was a bold conjecture, given that there was very little observational evidence available to either confirm or confute the hypothesis. In particular, there was still no observational evidence of the westward-traveling "Kelvin" waves; Lindzen postulated their existence theoretically.

In the years following the publication of Lindzen and Holton (1968), more observational evidence became available, and Lindzen's fundamental insight into the mechanism driving the QBO was confirmed. However, the theory of interaction via critical level absorption was found to be incomplete and was modified to include the importance of attenuation due to radiative cooling. The revised theory was published in the Holton and Lindzen (1972) paper, An updated theory for the quasibiennial cycle of the tropical stratosphere.

Superrotation of Venus


Since the 1960s a puzzling phenomenon has been observed in the atmosphere of Venus whereat the atmosphere above the cloud base is seen to travel around the planet about 50 times faster than the rotation of the planet surface, or in only four to five Earth-days. In 1974 a theory was proposed by Stephen B. Fels and Lindzen to explain this so-called "superrotation" which held that the rotation is driven by the thermal atmospheric tide. An alternative theory was proposed by Peter J. Gierasch in the following year which held instead that the meridional (Hadley) circulation may transport the momentum by eddy-mixing. The actual cause of this phenomenon continues to be debated in the literature, with GCM experiments suggesting that both the Fels/Lindzen and Gierasch mechanisms are involved.

Climate sensitivity


Lindzen hypothesized that the Earth may act like an infrared iris
Iris hypothesis
The iris hypothesis is a hypothesis proposed by Professor Richard Lindzen in 2001 that suggested increased sea surface temperature in the tropics would result in reduced cirrus clouds and thus more infrared radiation leakage from Earth's atmosphere...

. A sea surface temperature increase in the tropics would result in reduced cirrus cloud
Cirrus cloud
Cirrus clouds are atmospheric clouds generally characterized by thin, wispy strands, giving them their name from the Latin word cirrus meaning a ringlet or curling lock of hair...

s and thus more infrared radiation leakage from Earth's atmosphere. This hypothesis suggests a negative feedback which would counter the effects of warming by lowering the climate sensitivity
Climate sensitivity
Climate sensitivity is a measure of how responsive the temperature of the climate system is to a change in the radiative forcing. It is usually expressed as the temperature change associated with a doubling of the concentration of carbon dioxide in Earth's atmosphere.The equilibrium climate...

. Satellite data from CERES
Clouds and the Earth's Radiant Energy System
Clouds and the Earth's Radiant Energy System is NASA climatological experiment from Earth orbit.The CERES are scientific satellite instruments, part of the NASA's Earth Observing System...

 has led researchers investigating Lindzen's theory to conclude that the Iris effect would instead warm the atmosphere. Lindzen has expressed his concern over the validity of computer models
Climate model
Climate models use quantitative methods to simulate the interactions of the atmosphere, oceans, land surface, and ice. They are used for a variety of purposes from study of the dynamics of the climate system to projections of future climate...

 used to predict future climate change. Lindzen said that predicted warming may be overestimated because of inadequate handling of the climate system's water vapor feedback. The feedback due to water vapor is a major factor in determining how much warming would be expected to occur with increased atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide
Carbon dioxide
Carbon dioxide is a naturally occurring chemical compound composed of two oxygen atoms covalently bonded to a single carbon atom...

. Lindzen said that the water vapor feedback could act to nullify future warming. This claim has been sharply criticised. Contrary to the IPCC's assessment
IPCC Third Assessment Report
The IPCC Third Assessment Report, Climate Change 2001, is an assessment of available scientific and socio-economic information on climate change by the IPCC. The IPCC was established in 1988 by the United Nations Environment Programme and the UN's World Meteorological Organization ".....

, Lindzen said that climate models are inadequate. Despite accepted errors in their models, e.g., treatment of cloud
Cloud
A cloud is a visible mass of liquid droplets or frozen crystals made of water and/or various chemicals suspended in the atmosphere above the surface of a planetary body. They are also known as aerosols. Clouds in Earth's atmosphere are studied in the cloud physics branch of meteorology...

s, modelers still thought their climate predictions were valid. Lindzen has stated that due to the non-linear effects of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, CO2 levels are now around 30% higher than pre-industrial levels but temperatures have responded by about 75% 0.6 C-change of the expected value for a doubling of CO2. The IPCC (2007) estimates that the expected rise in temperature due to a doubling of CO2 to be about 3 C-change. Lindzen has given estimates of the Earth's climate sensitivity of less than 1 degree Celsius, based on analysis of volcanic eruptions
Volcano
2. Bedrock3. Conduit 4. Base5. Sill6. Dike7. Layers of ash emitted by the volcano8. Flank| 9. Layers of lava emitted by the volcano10. Throat11. Parasitic cone12. Lava flow13. Vent14. Crater15...

 and satellite data from the tropics. These estimates have been criticized by other researchers James E. Hansen, a climate scientist at the Goddard Institute for Space Studies
Goddard Institute for Space Studies
The NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies , at Columbia University in New York City, is a component laboratory of NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center Earth-Sun Exploration Division and a unit of The Earth Institute at Columbia University...

, estimated a climate sensitivity of 3–4 degrees Celsius based on evidence from ice core
Ice core
An ice core is a core sample that is typically removed from an ice sheet, most commonly from the polar ice caps of Antarctica, Greenland or from high mountain glaciers elsewhere. As the ice forms from the incremental build up of annual layers of snow, lower layers are older than upper, and an ice...

s, and this figure is consistent with those derived from other lines of inquiry.

NAS panel


In 2001 Lindzen served on an 11-member panel organized by the National Academy of Sciences
United States National Academy of Sciences
The National Academy of Sciences is a corporation in the United States whose members serve pro bono as "advisers to the nation on science, engineering, and medicine." As a national academy, new members of the organization are elected annually by current members, based on their distinguished and...

. The panel's report, entitled Climate Change Science: An Analysis of Some Key Questions, has been widely cited. Lindzen subsequently publicly criticized the report summary for leaving out doubts about the weight that could be placed on 20 years of temperature records.

IPCC activities


Lindzen worked on Chapter 7 of 2001 IPCC
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is a scientific intergovernmental body which provides comprehensive assessments of current scientific, technical and socio-economic information worldwide about the risk of climate change caused by human activity, its potential environmental and...

 Working Group 1, which considers the physical processes that are active in real world climate. He had previously been a contributor to Chapter 4 of the 1995 "IPCC
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is a scientific intergovernmental body which provides comprehensive assessments of current scientific, technical and socio-economic information worldwide about the risk of climate change caused by human activity, its potential environmental and...

 Second Assessment
IPCC Second Assessment Report
The Second Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change , published in 1996, is an assessment of the then available scientific and socio-economic information on climate change...

." He described the full 2001 IPCC report as "an admirable description of research activities in climate science" although he criticized the Summary for Policymakers
Summary for policymakers
The Summary for policymakers is a summary of the IPCC reports intended to aid policymakers. The content is determined by the scientists, but the form is approved line by line by governments...

. Lindzen stated in May 2001 that it did not truly summarize the IPCC report but had been amended to state more definite conclusions. He also emphasized the fact that the summary had not been written by scientists alone. The NAS panel on which Lindzen served says that the summary was the result of dialogue between scientists and policymakers.

Kyoto Accord


Of the Kyoto Accord, he has said that it is widely agreed that the Kyoto Protocol, by itself, will do "almost nothing" to stabilize atmospheric CO2 levels. He was vocal in advocating to the Bush Administration not to ratify the Kyoto Protocol as he believed it would increase the cost of electricity for no gain and put signatory states at a competitive disadvantage.

Views on climate change


He has long opposed the conventional consensus on global warming, pointing out that scientists are just as liable to err when the science appears to point in just one direction. He drew an analogy in 1996 between the consensus in the early and mid-twentieth century on eugenics
Eugenics
Eugenics is the "applied science or the bio-social movement which advocates the use of practices aimed at improving the genetic composition of a population", usually referring to human populations. The origins of the concept of eugenics began with certain interpretations of Mendelian inheritance,...

 and the current consensus about global warming.
In a 2007 interview on the Larry King Show, Lindzen said:
In a 2009 editorial in the Wall Street Journal, Lindzen points out that the earth was just emerging from the "Little Ice Age" in the 19th century and concludes that it is "not surprising" to see warming after that. He goes on to state that the IPCC claims were

Third-party characterizations of Lindzen


The New York Times article included the comments of several other experts. Jerry Mahlman
Jerry Mahlman
-Biography:Mahlman received his undergraduate degree from Chadron State College in 1962 and his Ph.D. from Colorado State University in 1967. From 1970 until 2000 he worked at the Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration at Princeton, serving as...

, director of the Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory
Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory
The Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory is a laboratory in the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration /Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research . The current director is Dr. V...

, did not accept Lindzen's assessment of the science, and said that Lindzen had "sacrificed his luminosity by taking a stand that most of us feel is scientifically unsound." Mahlman did, however, admit that Lindzen was a "formidable opponent." William Gray
William M. Gray
William M. "Bill" Gray is Emeritus Professor of Atmospheric Science at Colorado State University , and head of the Tropical Meteorology Project at CSU's Department of Atmospheric Sciences. He is a pioneer in the science of forecasting hurricanes and one of the world's leading experts on tropical...

 of Colorado State University
Colorado State University
Colorado State University is a public research university located in Fort Collins, Colorado. The university is the state's land grant university, and the flagship university of the Colorado State University System.The enrollment is approximately 29,932 students, including resident and...

 basically agreed with Lindzen, describing him as "courageous." He said, "A lot of my older colleagues are very skeptical on the global warming thing." He added that whilst he regarded some of Lindzen's views as flawed, he said that, "across the board he's generally very good." John Wallace
John Michael Wallace
John Michael Wallace is a professor of Atmospheric Sciences at the University of Washington, as well as the former director of the Joint Institute for the Study of the Atmosphere and Ocean --a joint research venture between the University of Washington and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric...

 of the University of Washington
University of Washington
University of Washington is a public research university, founded in 1861 in Seattle, Washington, United States. The UW is the largest university in the Northwest and the oldest public university on the West Coast. The university has three campuses, with its largest campus in the University...

 agreed with Lindzen that progress in climate change science had been exaggerated, but said there are "relatively few scientists who are as skeptical of the whole thing as Dick [Lindzen] is."

The November 10, 2004 online version of Reason
Reason (magazine)
Reason is a libertarian monthly magazine published by the Reason Foundation. The magazine has a circulation of around 60,000 and was named one of the 50 best magazines in 2003 and 2004 by the Chicago Tribune.- History :...

magazine reported that Lindzen is "willing to take bets that global average temperatures in 20 years will in fact be lower than they are now." James Annan
James Annan
James Annan is a scientist involved in climate prediction. He is a member of the Global Warming Research Program at Frontier Research Centre for Global Change which is associated with the Earth Simulator in Japan. He also has views on disc brakes for bicycles.-Climatology:He is most known for...

, a scientist involved in climate prediction, contacted Lindzen to arrange a bet. Annan and Lindzen exchanged proposals for bets, but were unable to agree. Lindzen's final proposal was a bet that if the temperature change were less than 0.2 C-change, he would win. If the temperature change were between 0.2 C-change and 0.4 C-change the bet would be off, and if the temperature change were 0.4 C-change or greater, Annan would win. He would take 2 to 1 odds.

Lindzen has been characterized as a contrarian
Contrarian
In finance, a contrarian is one who attempts to profit by investing in a manner that differs from the conventional wisdom, when the consensus opinion appears to be wrong....

, in relation to climate change and other issues. Lindzen's graduate students describe him as "fiercely intelligent, with a deep contrarian streak."

Awards and honors


Lindzen is a recipient of the American Meteorological Society
American Meteorological Society
The American Meteorological Society promotes the development and dissemination of information and education on the atmospheric and related oceanic and hydrologic sciences and the advancement of their professional applications. Founded in 1919, the American Meteorological Society has a membership...

's Meisinger and Charney Awards, American Geophysical Union
American Geophysical Union
The American Geophysical Union is a nonprofit organization of geophysicists, consisting of over 50,000 members from over 135 countries. AGU's activities are focused on the organization and dissemination of scientific information in the interdisciplinary and international field of geophysics...

's Macelwane Medal, and the Leo Prize from the Wallin Foundation in Goteborg, Sweden. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences
United States National Academy of Sciences
The National Academy of Sciences is a corporation in the United States whose members serve pro bono as "advisers to the nation on science, engineering, and medicine." As a national academy, new members of the organization are elected annually by current members, based on their distinguished and...

 (NAS), and the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters
Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters
The Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters is a learned society based in Oslo, Norway.-History:The University of Oslo was established in 1811. The idea of a learned society in Christiania surfaced for the first time in 1841. The city of Throndhjem had no university, but had a learned...

, and was named Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences
American Academy of Arts and Sciences
The American Academy of Arts and Sciences is an independent policy research center that conducts multidisciplinary studies of complex and emerging problems. The Academy’s elected members are leaders in the academic disciplines, the arts, business, and public affairs.James Bowdoin, John Adams, and...

, the American Association for the Advancement of Sciences, the American Geophysical Union, and the American Meteorological Society. He is a corresponding member of the NAS Committee on Human Rights, and a member of the United States National Research Council
United States National Research Council
The National Research Council of the USA is the working arm of the United States National Academies, carrying out most of the studies done in their names.The National Academies include:* National Academy of Sciences...

 Board on Atmospheric Sciences and Climate. He was a consultant to the Global Modeling and Simulation Group at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center
Goddard Space Flight Center
The Goddard Space Flight Center is a major NASA space research laboratory established on May 1, 1959 as NASA's first space flight center. GSFC employs approximately 10,000 civil servants and contractors, and is located approximately northeast of Washington, D.C. in Greenbelt, Maryland, USA. GSFC,...

, and a Distinguished Visiting Scientist at California Institute of Technology's Jet Propulsion Laboratory
Jet Propulsion Laboratory
Jet Propulsion Laboratory is a federally funded research and development center and NASA field center located in the San Gabriel Valley area of Los Angeles County, California, United States. The facility is headquartered in the city of Pasadena on the border of La Cañada Flintridge and Pasadena...

. Lindzen is an ISI highly cited researcher
ISI highly cited researcher
ISI Highly Cited is a database of "highly cited researchers"—scientific researchers whose publications are most often cited in academic journals over the past decade, published by the Institute for Scientific Information...

, and his biography has been included in American Men and Women of Science
American Men and Women of Science
American Men and Women of Science is a biographical reference on leading scientists in the United States and Canada published as a series of books and online by Gale, a unit of Cengage Learning. Gale acquired the title from Information Today, Inc. in 2001....

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