Tom Skilling on Climate Disruption

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Climate change deniers claim global warming stopped more than a decade ago. But WGN Chief Meteorologist Tom Skilling is here to tell us about a new study that shows NO slowdown.

The study was conducted by a team from NOAA- the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Researchers found that the rate of global warming in the past 15 years has been as fast, or faster, than any seen in the latter half of the 20th century. Argonne National Laboratory scientists are actively involved in the study of climate disruption. And more importantly, what we can do about it.

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Religious leaders, including Pope Francis, are now speaking out about the urgent need for action, saying, “Climate change threatens us all, and we have the power to do something about it.” We’ve compiled a number of links and web extras that explain what’s happening in greater detail at

Producer Pam Grimes and Photojournalist Mike D'Angelo contributed to this report

Web Extras:

Web extra: Why the name changes? 

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From global warming, to climate change, to climate disruption. Why all the name changes?  Argonne National Laboratory climate scientist and author Doug Sisterson explains.

Web exgra: Fossil Fuels

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Nanoscientist and author Seth Darling from Argonne National Laboratory in Lemont explains why fossil fuels are so harmful to the environment.

Web extra: Who are the deniers? 

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Ninety-seven percent of the world's scientists now agree that climate disruption is real, and humans are causing it. So who are those other 3 percent?

Web extra: Climate history

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Argonne National Laboratory climate scientist Seth Darling explains why the planet began warming in the 1970s.

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  • Richard Katilavas

    I don’t know if it is the settings on your website, or something I am not doing, but I have to manually go back and hit the “STOP” well “PAUSE” the “||” icon on the previous video as I was working my way down the page hoping this would make up for the program I missed 9PM on Monday night on WGN-TV 9 Chicago? Each video would finish and the window go black, as if stopped, but by the time I got down to the next scientist’s video the previous one would be replaying…. Tried to find a local player control to turn “auto-play” off on my end, but there doesn’t seem to be one on the players used on your website – e.g.

  • Divine

    As Joe Bastardi points out, the study referenced here claims the opposite of what RSS, UAH and NCEP all show. Tom and the authors of this piece should be following @BigJoeBastardi on Twitter. Unless they don’t want to challenge their beliefs, which your opening three words suggest you don’t.

    • leighorf

      Bastardi has proved himself to be completely, utterly unqualified to comment intelligently on climate change. His misunderstanding of the basic physics of gases is shameful. He has a BS degree from Penn State from the 70s. His ignorant statements should not be compared to PhD scientists actively publishing in the field. I wouldn’t go so far as to call him a fraud, but he is flat-out embarrassingly wrong about basic physics and hence his conclusions cannot be taken seriously.

      • Divine

        Really? Let’s put Joe up against any one you choose and see who’s seasonal and annual outlooks compare. Joe makes his public, so you can check that out yourself. As far as “Well, that’s weather, and we’re talking climate….” – the model physics are the same, the initialization is what changes. Then again, Joe relies heavily on analogs, and does very well with that.

    • Citizen99

      Climate change has nothing to do with ‘belief.’ It’s about evidence. Over 97 percent of qualified scientists are convinced, based on the evidence, that climate change is real and virtually 100 percent caused by human activity. Let’s try to grow up and face our responsibility.

      • Divine

        That’s true, but the evidence doesn’t support your contention. Model data does, but that’s not observed in the real world. You need to expand your horizons and actually look at the raw data yourself, not take summaries or homogenizations on faith. It’s out there (internet, of course). Speaking of which, look up that 97% number – the survey was flawed and the presentation of the results was, well, skewed. Grossly. Or just bow to authority figures. They never have/will lead you astray.

      • leighorf

        Weakest of weak sauce Divine. It’s a video where. Joe Bastardi, being interviewed on Fox News, claims CO2 “cannot cause global warming.” It’s right there. Sorry if this reality is incongruent with your narrative. He babbles on about CO2 not mixing with the free atmosphere (it does) and its specific gravity. I guess in his world infrared radiation doesn’t exist, or something. He embarasses himself.

        I’ll assume since you didn’t answer any of my questions that you are indeed unfamiliar with models nor do you do science. Pick up a book written in the reality-based world (any college meteorology text will do) and read about radiation and greenhouse gases and educate yourself.

      • Divine

        Leig, you continue to impugn and misdirect. It is not I who responded to a post by you, rather you who replied to one of mine. So no, I’m not obligated to respond to your misdirection and attempt to call me ignorant or implication I’m uneducated. I must wonder, are you dense or just purposefully misdirecting? I noted in my last comment that your observational skills appear lacking and suggested you re-read the original post. You, however, return again showing a lack of observational ability. Again, I will try to help you: The clearly stated point of my original post was ” the study referenced here claims the opposite of what RSS, UAH and NCEP all show. ” You haven’t responded to that, and nothing you have mentioned is relevant to that point. Respond, or don’t. I will have unsubscribed to this page and will not see it. If it makes you feel big, go ahead and impugn and misdirect.

      • RegularGuy55

        Ah, another “97%” factoid quote. 97% sounds so VERY impressive, until you learn it represents 75 out of 77 climate scientists who VOLUNTARILY returned a TWO QUESTION survey on climate change. Let’s put 75 into some perspective. You could put ALL of the scientists you cite into a Metrarail car and have more than 50 empty seats left over.

        I am overwhelmed, but not by the “97%”.

    • leighorf

      Another armchair wanna-be climatologist pontificating about models. Have you used them yourself? Do you understand how they work? What goes into them? I do. Of course models aren’t “the real world” – that’s like saying my foot is not a trampoline. Scientists who use models generally know their strengths and weaknesses. It is difficult but these things can actually be quantified. Much effort is spent on improving parameterizations. I know – I’m a scientist who uses models in his research. Models are just as important in the physical sciences as observations. To scoff at models because “they are not the real world” shows your ignorance. Climate models have improved drastically over the past couple of decades – almost breathtakingly. And they weren’t that bad to begin with, back when the first IPCC report came out in the 90s. Models are being run on supercomputers at resolutions where actual weather events are being resolved almost down to the convective scale. There are dozens of climate models developed independently by scientists from all over the world. When these models all basically tell you the same thing, confidence is quite high. Thus far, despite what the what you’ve heard floating around the derposphere, they have actually done a very good job at reconstructing the observations. If anything, reports like the IPCC are conservative in their outlooks. Of course the IPCC outlooks are not exclusively based upon model data – did you know that? Have you ever actually read any of it?

      There isn’t a month that goes by that some new indicator is being observed involving Greenland, Antartica and its ice sheets, mountain glaciers, Arctic ice etc. which indicate that things are warming up. Heat waves and droughts and “100 year” rain events are becoming annual events. The Arctic is seeing a disproportionate warming compared to the tropics and midlatitudes. Just like the models predicted years ago.

      Sixty years ago cigarette manufacturers were spending millions of dollars advertising how wonderful their cigarettes were and how they were actually healthy. The industry fought tooth and nail against the Surgeon General and spread BS about the mounting evidence that they caused cancer. Yet today I don’t see any “cigarette skeptics”. Just why is that? After all, we all know someone who lived to be 90 years old who smoked 2 packs of unfiltered cigarettes their whole lives. Care to defend the tobacco industry? Because scoffing at anthropogenic climate change is at the same level, even if you don’t realize it.

      Most people just don’t understand basic physics well enough to form a scientifically defensible opinion on something so multifacited as climate change. It’s a shame, really. Most people “pick a side” and hunt for evidence to support their “side.” It’s much easier that way. And anyone can walk of of the street into a library and post drivel on the Internet. Some of us actually do science. But if you’re too far gone to listen to actual scientists, and rather choose to “believe” in TV personalities with a BS from 1978 with their magical analog powers that consistently outperform model ensembles (show me the evidence), there’s not much that can be done for you. And by all means, please, defend this:

      • Divine

        Nice try, but if you are relying on media matters then you are a true believer. You didn’t respond to my points, but you gave me a few that I never made. You don’t sound like you work in the hard sciences – your observational skills are lacking. If you care to actually read and understand what I wrote, and then do some research rather than repeating the usual misdirection, you might chip away at the ignorance you seem so comfotable in. You mentioned Arctic ice – why don’t you start with that and Antarctic ice. I know, no need – you already know what you know.

    • RegularGuy55

      Tom Skilling is not going to listen – won’t even consider – anything which disagrees with his notion of man made global warming. Even polite comments to his Facebook page are deleted. He starts off his global warming posts by telling everyone upfront that NO debate will be allowed. He’s become a closed-minded science bigot who believes only one point of view – his point of view – deserves to be heard.
      Despite his jovial, folksy on-air style, he will NOT tolerate any dissension from his self-appointed moral high ground. He’s lost my respect.

  • Anne Ominous

    As another commenter has already pointed out, this paper’s conclusions rather obviously deviate from all other science on the subject, making those conclusions rather suspect, to say the least.

    Among other bizarrely “unconventional” techniques, they took temperature data of known certainty from ocean buoy instruments, and adjusted the data UPWARD to match with highly UNcertain data from shipboard thermometers… something just about any real scientist would scoff at.

    If you torture the data enough, it will tell you anything you want to hear.

    • leighorf

      Hard to take folks like you too seriously. What are your qualifications? Have you managed to publish your work in Science? More tiresome ignorant Dunning-Krugeresque bloviating from paid shills and willfully ignorant ignoramuses.

  • J

    Nice balance – oh, wait. I only see the side of the story you believe. Multiple meteorologists disagree with Tom, but let’s just start calling them “deniers” instead of “disagreeers” because then it’s easier to demonize and marginalize them.

    • Citizen99

      3, you are absolutely right! It’s just like the “theory” that viruses cause AIDS and the flu. Multiple health experts disagree, claiming that they are caused by “body-initiated detoxifications for purposes of regaining balance within the body”. Just look it up! Why not achieve “balance” by including their opinion when talking ? Or similarly, there are multiple cosmological experts who believe that our fates are determined by the positions of the constellations, not by the life choices we make. Where, oh where, is the balance?

      • Divine

        It’s more a hypothesis than a theory – (a theory is) an idea that is suggested or presented as possibly true, but that is not known or proven to be true.

        Many say a valid hypothesis or theory must be falsifiable, or verifiable – if a certain outcome or outcomes occur, the hypothesis or theory will be shown to be incorrect. Maybe I’m unaware of it, but that seems to be missing from AGW “theory”.

        It is not, a law (which refers to something accepted as unchanging – but which leaves open the possibility it may be found not so).

        This discussion looks like it’s about to devolve… adios amigos!

      • RegularGuy55

        Sometimes science gets it right, sometimes, it gets it wrong. You mentioned AIDS – a perfect example. While the HIV viral strains causing AIDS have been identified, there is still controversy over how the virus originated, and how it was passed to humans. If you’re so interested, search for “Heart of Darkness” and “Canadian flight attendant theory”. Both reflect extensive research that came to an incorrect conclusion.
        The degree of infallibility you ascribe to the global warming zealots is quite remarkable – and unjustified.

  • RightWingPooFlinger (@HashtagProphet)

    I am deeply saddened at the passing of Mr Skilling’s professional ethics and objectivity. He was great in his day, but that day has moved on with the science We have seen the evidence of NASA and NOAA caught red-handed FALSIFYING DATA. To date, no reasonable explanation has been submitted for the FALSIFICATION of empirical data. Now, I’m a Chicago Public School product, but I’m pretty sure the esteemed Mr Skilling has sided with a horse that has already been disqualified.

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