Published April 29, 2008
Editor's note: William Gray and university officials have come forward to dispute that Gray's status at CSU had changed. Click here for the update.
A pioneering expert on hurricane forecasting says he may soon lose funding due to his skepticism about man-made global warming, according to a report in the Houston Chronicle.
Dr. William Gray, who once said that pro-global warming scientists are "brainwashing our children," claims that Colorado State University will no longer promote his yearly North Atlantic hurricane forecasts due to his controversial views.
Gray complained in a memo to the head of Colorado State’s Department of Atmospheric Sciences that "this is obviously a flimsy excuse and seems to me to be a cover for the Department's capitulation to the desires of some (in their own interest) who want to reign [sic] in my global warming and global warming-hurricane criticisms," the Chronicle reports.
School officials denied that Gray’s stand on global warming was an issue, and said that they are cutting back on media support for his forecasts due to the strain it places on the school's lone media staffer.
"It really has nothing to do with his stand on global warming," Sandra Woods, dean of the College of Engineering at CSU, told the Chronicle. "He's a great faculty member. He's an institution at CSU."
In the fall of 2005, Gray passed lead authorship of the yearly hurricane forecasts to his former student Philip Klotzbach, but he continues to head the Tropical Meteorology Project at CSU.
CSU will continue to publicize Gray's yearly forecasts as long as they are co-authored by Klotzbach, officials told the Chronicle last week, but will end their support if Klotzbach, who recently earned his doctorate, moves to another institution.
"It seems peculiar that this is happening now," Donald Wright, a professor on public relations at Boston University, told the Chronicle. "Given the national reputation that these reports have, you would think the university would want to continue to promote these forecasts."
One friend said Gray's views highlight the politically charged atmosphere that surrounds global warming research in the United States.
"Bill Gray has come under a lot of fire for his views," former director of the National Hurricane Center Neil Frank, currently chief meteorologist at Houston's KHOU-TV, told the Chronicle. "If, indeed, this is happening, it would be really sad that Colorado State is trying to rein in Bill Gray."
The Chronicle noted that Gray's views on global warming had become increasingly personal, with characterizations of former colleagues and students who disagreed with him as "medicine men" and a "Gang of Five" conspiring to promote the idea of man-made climate change.
Gray contends it's all a hoax contrived by scientists hungry for research funding, media professionals thirsting for Pulitzer Prizes and foreign powers seeking to create a single world government.
In fact, he says, the warming cycle will soon end, and the Earth will begin a period of temporary cooling.