As we observed, after more than 30 years of long-range hurricane outlooks at Colorado State University, 85-year-old Bill Gray has announced that he plans to move on from hurricane forecasting.
We spoke with him this week about his plans, and suffice to say he isn't quite ready for a life of pipe and slippers. "I'm working to save the world from global warming," he said.
On matters of long-range hurricane forecasting, Gray is recognized as a pioneer whose methods have been adopted by meteorologists in the government and private sector.
On matters of climate change, legions of critics view him as a pariah, an inveterate "denier" once famously called a "fossil" by one meteorologist.
Here is an exchange with Kevin Trenberth, a scientist at the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research, who for years has been warning of dangers from manmade warming.
Gray evidently is undeterred by the criticism. Gray has written multiple papers on the subject, and says he'll keep at it, turning over the hurricane-forecasting chores to associate Phil Klotzbach by the end of the year.
Gray complains that he and others who question whether the planet is hurtling toward catastrophe have been down-shouted by assorted advocates, politicians, "modelers," and others "who know next to nothing about how the global climate system functions."
The acceptance of alarmism, he argues, is the product of public ignorance and the media (I think that would be us).
Gray's counterpoint on the science is a complicated one – here is one of his papers -- but essentially he holds that changes in planetary temperature are more closely tied to changes in upper-ocean salinity than carbon-dioxide increases in the atmosphere.
The oceans are immensely complicated places, and oceanographers have suggested he might be out of his depth on the subject of oceanic dynamics, but Gray remains confident in his assertions.
Gray insists that the earth's temperature will rise only about a half-degree in the next 75 to 100 years, which he believes would be manageable.
He further insists that drastically reducing reliance on fossil fuels would be "stupid," adding that he was in a fight with officials in his hometown, Fort Collins, Colo., over a proposal to cut fossil-fuel use by 80 percent.
"I told them it won't do anything for the world," he said.
Incidentally, he declares that he never has accepting money from energy interests.
He said he has long been frustrated that colleagues researching global warming have been funded generously by government grants, while he has had to dip into his own pocket to pay for his hurricane-research programs.