The first climate denier?
Sir George C. Simpson was a meteorologist. He must have been a rather well-respected one as he was put in charge of the British Meteorological Office in 1920.
He had quite the remarkable life, and certainly made some very interesting observations during his career. We will look at some curious aspects of his career a little more closely in this essay.
Simpson was a learned man, but obviously was also not put off by the idea of a little adventure. Among other scientific posts he found himself in, he was employed as the meteorologist for that infamous journey to the Antarctic. The one led by Robert Scott in 1910/11. The one where unfortunately Scott got beaten to the South Pole and then everyone in his expedition party froze to death.
.Well apparently, not quite everybody. Simpson did not join the party that perished returning from the ill-fated race. He stayed back at base camp in Cape Evans.
Simpson spent his time gathering information on the Antarctic climate. He constructed one of the continents first weather stations and conducted balloon experiments for several months, until he learned of the fate of those that had headed for the Pole. He returned home from the continent to carry on with his meteorological work.
Apart from the trip to Antarctica, he was meteorological advisor to the army in World War I, he was the first person to lecture meteorology in a British University and in World War II was asked to come out of retirement to take charge of the Kew Observatory where he worked until 1947.
Simpson was ultimately awarded honorary doctorates from Manchester, Sydney, and Aberdeen Universities.
All this info is easily found on pages like Wikipedia. What is not mentioned pretty much anywhere, (not that I have looked too hard to be fair) is in the 1920’s and 30’s he conducted detailed calculations. Utilising the latest meteorological data, including weather balloons and various testing. He concluded that…..CO2 was NOT a driver of climate change, temperatures in the troposphere (where we are) are not driven by radiative processes. Instead, he argued convection was more important.
Let’s just go back to that first one though, “CO2 is not a driver of climate” o k a y. If you google “is CO2 a driver of climate” it seems, in this day and age, his conclusion has been long forgotten or disproved.
I tried googling “George C. Simpson wrong about Carbon Dioxide.” the only real mention is about an amateur scientist called Callendar who supposedly discovered Global Warming in the 1930’s.
So, who is Callendar I thought to myself? Who is the man that discovered global warming? This emergency we find ourselves in must have been discovered by someone with great physics and chemistry understanding.
Callender was a steam engine engineer. The heir to a wealthy steam engineer and inventor who raised his sons in a 22-bedroom mansion. He had encouraged his sons to experiment in a greenhouse that had been converted into a laboratory. That is until one of Callendar’s brothers blew it up trying to make TNT. The same brother took out Callendars left eye in another mistimed experiment, but this lack of depth-of-vision, didn’t stop calendar taking over his father’s business.
Callendar also become very interested in the atmosphere, this may have been due to the level of pollution steam engine fuel would have created at this time.
He did experiments on the air and created the rough draft of what we call climate models today. After years of calculations, he concluded that people were dumping enough Co2 into the air to raise the temperature.
Callendar was not a PhD scientist, but was of enough academic standing that he was allowed to present his findings to 6 professional climate scientists at the royal Meteorological society, one of whom was Simpson.
None of the 6 scientists were convinced and Simpson even said, “the trouble with non-meteorologists is they simply don’t know enough about climate to be helpful.” This is perhaps a little unkind, but understandable given Callendar was not a climate scientist but a steam engineer. Albeit obviously a very intelligent man.
It does seem quite fitting that the person who first discovered “Global Warming” wasn’t a climate scientist, and that the climate scientists of the day (that had concluded CO2 wasn’t a driver of climate) didn’t agree with the global warming hypothesis.
I guess that means George C. Simpson was the first Climate Denier. 1878 to 1965