I am standing in my front yard. The Swan Mountains are behind me. The entrance to Glacier National Park is on the left.
I received my BS degree in Engineering from CalTech in 1957, where I studied under teachers like Dr. Linus Pauling. Pauling stressed problem solving. Exams at CalTech were open book because that is how the real world works. The challenge given the students is to find a solution to a problem in a limited time using as many resources as you can.
During my first summer vacation after attending CalTech, I had to go to Oakland to take the required Selective Service Examination. The written test was, as I recall, 2 hours long. I finished it in half the allotted time and took my exam to the Sargent in charge, who told me I had to hang on to it until the exam was over. When the exam was over, he used his template to score everyone’s exam. When he came to my exam, he found no errors. He reviewed it a second and a third time. He said, “This is impossible. I have been scoring these exams for 20 years and no one ever gets a perfect score.”
After graduating from CalTech, I moved back to my home town of Sacramento and enrolled in Sacramento State University as a graduate student. Sac State gave me a job as a physics instructor while I continued to study graduate math. One day, I saw an announcement of Graduate Teaching Fellowships at Dartmouth College. I applied and was one of six accepted.
In 1959, I began my teaching fellowship for my masters degree in physics at Dartmouth College. While taking graduate physics courses, I was fortunate to study under Dr. John Kemeny who was the Chairman of two departments: math and philosophy. At 18, Kemeny attended Princeton University He took a break from Princeton to work on the Manhattan Project at Los Alamos National Laboratore where he worked for Richard Feynman and John von Neumann. As a graduate student, Kemeny worked as a special mathematical assistant for Albert Einstein.
I studied math, probability and philosophy of science under Kemeny . He was a fantastic teacher. I was one the few students who hung out with Kemeny in the evenings when he was inventing the Basic computer language.
I received my MA degree in Physics from Dartmouth in 1960. My thesis was in on the transmission of high-frequency radio waves in the ionosphere under Dr. Millet Morgan.
In 1961, I became the first research assistant for the Desert Research Institute at the University of Nevada, Reno, under Dr. Wendell Mordy. He brought in many excellent scientists to assist with my education. One of them was Dr. Winterberg, who was a student of Heisenberg, the German Nobel Prize winner in physics. Winterberg was noted for being the best student of Heisenberg. Winterberg taught me fluid dynamics, magneto-hydrodynamics and relativity. But Winterberg taught me more than physics. He taught me how a master thinks.
I received my PhD in Physics in 1965, with a focus on atmospheric physics and a minor in math. (Here is a humorous rap about being a physics student.)
I am a Certified Consulting Meteorologist (#180) of the American Meteorological Society. I have published over 42 professional scientific papers. While having experience in university and government work, I spent most of my professional career in the world of private small business.
My theoretical PhD thesis is recognized as a breakthrough in the atmospheric science and in the use of computer-based numerical models. My thesis is summarized in cloud physics textbooks and taught in university courses. My mathematical breakthrough to calculate collection of particles with a mass range of 12 orders of magnitude was used in astronomy to help calculate the formation of the universe.
Here is the fundamental problem. Observations show that tropical clouds can produce rain within 30 minutes. Develop a numerical model that simulates such rapid rain formation.
Prior attempts used a “continuous” model, assuming a larger drop will capture smaller droplets as it falls through them. The problem was the continuous model takes many hours to grow raindrops. Therefore, the continuous model is wrong.
I was first to use a stochastic model. This calculation paired every possible combination of droplet sizes to calculate the growth rate of raindrops, rather than restricting the calculation to only large versus small droplets. My stochastic model produced rain within 30 minutes. Here is what the output of my stochastic model looked like.
It is instructive to note that to produce a scientifically acceptable numerical model, I needed to demonstrate its accuracy independently of the above calculation. I did this by reproducing numerically the results of three known analytic mathematical solutions to the “stochastic collection equation.” The three initial conditions bounded the more realistic initial conditions I used in my numerical calculation.
By contrast, today’s climate models have not demonstrated they can reproduce known results. The criteria for acceptance of numerical models has degenerated since days past.
Clouds are the most complicated part of global warming physics. Only a few percent change in global low-cloud cover affects energy flow more than any hypothesized change in carbon dioxide. Climate models cannot calculate cloud changes from basic physics. Since clouds are the most critical factor in the earth’s energy balance, this fact among others invalidates climate model global warming predictions.
Airborne research laboratory
Following receiving my PhD in 1965, I became chief scientist and manager of the Desert Research Institute’s airborne research facility. My research team included 16 people. One of our most memorable adventures is measuring the cloud characteristics of geysers.
For additional information see Kim Berry’s website.
Flight through Old Faithful
On January 28 to 30, 1966, I took a 4-person crew to Idaho Falls in our research Beechcraft C-45. Below, you can see the instrument pod sticking out in from of the nose and the runway conditions at Idaho Falls airport.
This is seconds before flying through Old Faithful Geyser in Yellowstone National Park, USA. (I have a high resolution digital copy of the above photo and plan to make it available for download in the future.)
We spent three days flying into Yellowstone park. We took photos from a time-lapse 16 mm movie camera in the nose. On one very low pass through Old Faithful Geyser, the photos show the roof line of Old Faithful Lodge. The roof line gives away our altitude. On this pass we went below the roof line. It was also a very wet pass. It shut down our electrical system. Fortunately, the electrical system came back on after 10 minutes. We needed it to make an instrument approach into Idaho Falls.
Later, we upgraded to the modified B-26 shown here.
My team built the first low cost, airborne, earth-referenced radar display. First used in our B-26, we adapted this method to hurricane research by mounting a radar antenna behind the cargo door of a C-130. Rather than turning an antenna on the aircraft, the C-130 flew in a circle to rotate the antenna. This allowed a much larger antenna which greatly increased the detail of a radar picture of a hurricane.
I led pioneering research flights inside Alberta hailstorms and Sierra Nevada mountain effect storms.
In 1969, I was invited by Dr. Pierre St. Amand of the Naval Weapons Center at China Lake, California, to be the only person outside DOD to participate in DOD’s Top-Secret Operation Popeye, now declassified. Popeye developed techniques to seed tropical clouds to produce rain for use over Laos and North Vietnam.
Operating out of Clark AFB, we trained B-52 pilots using C-130’s to seed the types of clouds in the area and make big storms. After we left, they went on to wash out the Ho Chi Min trail making it impossible for the enemy to move to their destinations.
The Jane Fonda’s in the USA argued it was unfair to use environmental means in warfare. The Navy denied everything until the project was declassified years later. The Navy argument was that it was more humane to stop a war by turning a military corridor into mud than to win a war by killing people. I agree with the Navy.
National Science Foundation
In 1973, National Science Foundation in Washington, DC invited me to be the Program Manager for Weather Modification. I managed NSF’s leading-edge national weather research projects, including the Metropolitan Meteorological Experiment (METROMEX) and the National Hail Research Experiment (NHRE).
METROMEX was the first research project to show how a metropolitan city like St. Louis inadvertently changed its temperature, humidity and precipitation. This has become known as the heat island effect.
In 1976, I started my private company in Sacramento. My company, based upon my innovations, grew to employ 30 people.
Responding to several aircraft accidents due to wind shear, I developed numerical models to calculate the effect of wind shear on departing and landing aircraft and worked with pilots in Boeing simulators to determine what downdraft speeds were dangerous.
Then I proposed a method to detect the presence of dangerous downdrafts that is in use today at major airports. It uses a field of anemometers covering an airport to detect the presence of a strong downdraft. Downdraft detection is based upon the fact that if the anemometers surrounding an airfield show the wind is blowing outward from the airfield, then there must be a downdraft to supply the air flowing outward.
Wind energy studies
My company performed the Southern California Desert wind-energy study for the California Energy Commission which mapped the available wind energy over an area the size of Ohio.
We developed easy to install 50-ft masts like this and installed them all over the southern California desert. Wind speed and direction sensors are at the top. Here is the then state-of-the-art wind recording instrument we developed and manufactured. It recorded hourly average wind speed for 45 days without service, running on 4 D-cells.
Here is how wind flows over a smooth ridge. The wind is stronger on the leeward slope than on the windward side of the hill. You can even see this effect by watching water flow over rocks in a stream.
Yet there people who called themselves environmentalists or ecologists who also offered their wind evaluation services to wind energy companies. These environmentalists believed they understood wind flow simply because they “cared for the earth.” They cost the companies they consulted for many millions of dollars. One of their biggest errors was thinking wind is strongest on the windward side of the hill and, in one case, in a valley.
Eventually, wind companies caught on to the fact that my PhD in atmospheric physics combined with skills in soaring and sailing meant that I knew a whole lot more about how the wind blows than an “environmentalist.”
The same thing is occurring in global warming today. The physicists understand global warming is a hoax. The environmentalists and ecologists, who have no training in atmospheric physics, mostly get it all wrong. They put their “feeling” ahead of science when they claim our carbon dioxide emissions are bad for our climate. Unfortunately they are costing the public a lot of money, just like they cost wind companies a lot of money. When will they ever learn?
Here is how to evaluate a real scientist or engineer. Try to imagine the person trying to put a man on the moon. Does this person have the necessary quantitative skills to do the job? If the answer is no then this person is not an expert in climate physics.
My company performed wind energy evaluations for many wind-energy companies. We were the first to identify Altamont Pass and Tehachapi Pass as excellent wind energy resources. My company designed and manufactured the first low-cost, electronic remote data instruments for wind energy.
From 1989 through 1992, I managed my company’s meteorological team to provide 24-hour weather forecasting for the US Customs Aerostat project along the southern U.S. border.
Windows World Open ‘People’s Choice Award’
In 1992, I made courtroom history by developing and defending the first computer model to generate new evidence in a criminal trial. My custom software application, written in the first version of Microsoft Visual Basic, modeled human body physiological responses to changing weather and environmental conditions. My model and my testimony was a key element in the successful defense in a high-profile murder trial.
Computerworld and Microsoft selected my model as one of 24 finalists out of 1300 entries for the 1993 Windows World Open where it won the overall “People’s Choice Award.” Microsoft nominated me for a Smithsonian Award.
In 1993, my company developed our “CalWater” software which used historical, annual streamflow and tree-ring data to estimate future annual steamflow for the Sacramento River Index. It accurately predicted the recovery from the drought in California in 1993. It also predicted a longer-term water future for California that I plan to release in the future.
The model shows that drought prediction can be based upon natural cycles without any assumptions about global warming. These natural cycles are driven by the sun and ocean currents. Yet, the global warming alarmists will be sure to blame any future drought on global warming. I assure you that future droughts will have nothing to do with human emissions of carbon dioxide. Nature is the 800 pound gorilla, and carbon dioxide is the mouse.
Global warming and statistical inference
This brings up a point about global warming today. Back in the 1970’s when I was at NSF, I convened a panel of the best statisticians in America to review the statistical problems involved in determining whether cloud seeding was effective or not.
These eminent statisticians concluded that the problem of determining the effect of cloud seeding involved the most difficult statistical problems they had encountered.
This was a case where the experimenters can repeat their experiments, have control clouds and do double-blind studies. It is still the most difficult statistical problem in the world, mainly because no one cloud is the same as another cloud.
Yet, today we have global warming alarmists claiming everything that happens — and even some things that don’t happen but which they think should happen — is caused by global warming. This is preposterous. In global warming, we cannot repeat our experiments, we have no control earth with which to compare our experiments, and we cannot do double-blind studies. It is a statistical inference problem that is impossible to solve.
Therefore, many alarmist claims about cause and effect are total junk. Yet they teach this nonsense in our universities and make students pay for their junk classes and they give academic credit for something that should remain in the world of illusion.
Professional Achievement Award
In 1996, the University of Nevada Alumni Association presented me with its Professional Achievement Award. I was nominated for this award by my physics mentor, Dr. Winterberg.
Artificial intelligence applications
From 1996 through 2000, my company applied mathematical artificial intelligence methods developed for weather forecasting to the valuation of single-family homes. In side-by-side testing against other home valuation methods, our method proved significantly superior.
Focus on Global Warming
Since 2001, I have focused on the global warming problem. Global warming is intimately tied to my knowledge of cloud physics, numerical modeling, meteorology, weather modification and management of government weather modification research.