Wallace Broecker has died at the age of 87, on February 18th, 2019, in New York. He leaves behind a large body of pioneering scientific research into the climate and the oceans. Perhaps his most significant contribution was to introduce the idea of the global ocean thermohaline conveyor belt and the concept of abrupt climate change caused by its sudden weakening via the input of fresh water into the ocean – so called “fresh water hosing”.
His Obits are all over the popular press, rightly so, but most of them incorrectly identify him as ‘correctly’ predicting the post 1975 rise in global temperature due to the build up of CO2 and other GHGs in the atmosphere. Columbia University labels him a ‘Prophet of Climate Change’, saying:
In August 1975, Broecker synthesized his and others’ related research in the journal Science in a piece called “Climatic Change: Are We on the Brink of a Pronounced Global Warming?” It was later said to be the first time the phrase was used in a scientific paper. In it, he argued that humans were changing the climate by emitting CO2; it just wasn’t evident yet, because the world was experiencing what he believed was a natural 40-year cooling cycle that was masking the effects. He predicted that the cycle would soon reverse, and then the manmade warming on top of that would become dramatically visible. It later turned out that he had misinterpreted some of the ice-core data, but had the overall picture right. Right on cue in 1976, temperatures started ascending, and have continued since then pretty much along the trajectory Broecker laid out.
The Guardian says:
Broecker brought “global warming” into common use with a 1975 article that correctly predicted rising carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere would lead to pronounced warming.
He was also an advocate for political action to deal with the problem. In 1984, he told a House of Representatives subcommittee that urgent action was required to halt the accumulation of greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere because the climate system could “jump abruptly from one state to another” with devastating effects. His theories have subsequently become proven by events and are almost universally accepted by climate scientists.
The plain truth which warmists are not telling you in their unseemly haste to re-paint Broecker as The Father of Global Warming after his death is that, in 2017, he wrote an enigmatic essay, basically pointing out that his prediction was correct, but for the wrong reasons, whilst firmly pointing out his dislike for the epithet ‘Father of Global Warming’. In this respect, the current crop of obituaries in the warmist media is misguided, even disrespectful and the new epithet ‘Prophet of Climate Change’, coined by a Columbia University blogger, might be deemed to be darn right insulting. But that’s warmists for you; ever open to opportunities to push their pet theory, regardless of ethics.
I wrote an article about Wally Broeker’s Dumb Luck (his terminology) here. It’s even more relevant now he has passed away.