Current Exaggeration

Published September 18, 2006

Dear Editor:

Your item in the September 18 issue discussing the possibility of ocean currents “switching off” and catastrophically affecting the global climate was interesting but incredibly useless.

I have been involved in oceanography for more than four decades and authored the U.S. Navy’s correspondence course on the subject in 1965. Your readers should know that these rather amusing century-long predictions are based almost solely on mathematical models that cannot accurately “predict” the past, much less the future, because modelers have pretty much guessed half of all the variables involved.

We simply don’t have enough real information about what’s going on. And yet these “models” are used to scare the public about the future, which helps generate more research funds for academics.

A hundred years ago we were worried about where we would get enough horses to transport a growing population and how we would dispose of their waste. No one had yet heard of electricity or automobiles, atoms, or cell phones, let alone computers. Playing games with people’s emotions over weather and climate a century hence would be nothing short of silly if it did not have such severe economic and emotional consequences for society now.


Jay Lehr, Ph.D.

Jay Lehr, Ph.D. ([email protected]) is science director of The Heartland Institute and editor of several leading scientific reference books.