• William W. Hay


At a meeting of US and Soviet climatologists in Leningrad in 1982 I became aware of the sensitivity of the Arctic to climate change resulting from increasing the concentration of carbon dioxide in Earth’s atmosphere by burning fossil fuels. The eminent Soviet climate specialist, Mikhail Budyko, suggested that we had set in motion a sequence of events that would lead to melting of the Arctic ice pack by 2100, and that would have grave consequences for the entire planet. But what is happening is not gradual warming, and the increasing number of weather events suggest that our planet is beginning to move from one climate state to another. Rather than ‘Global Warming’ we should speak of ‘Global Weirding.’ I have been a life-long academic. I started out my research as a micropaleontologist, studying tiny microscopic fossils. Then I became interested in oceanography and finally in Earth’s past climate. I have spent the last 40 years trying to understand the warm climate of the Cretaceous period, when dinosaurs roamed the Earth. Science is a search for the truth, wherever it may lead. There is no good or evil in such a search. There are two different kinds of scientific investigation. One group of sciences, physics, chemistry, and biology, performs and evaluates the results of experiments. Geology and astronomy are different in that they must rely largely on interpretation of observations. In both cases, the results of the investigations lead to ideas that can be tested, either by new experiments or by observations. These preliminary explanations are termed ‘hypotheses.’ If they stand the test of time and intensive experimentation, they become theories. ‘Occam’s razor’ is the principle that the simplest explanation is the most likely to be correct. And if it is concluded that a theory is absolutely correct, it is termed a Law. Note that the general public often uses the term ‘theory’ to correspond to a scientists ‘hypothesis.’


Ocean Drill Program Continental Drift Calcareous Nannoplankton Integrate Drill Ocean Program Fine Dinner 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of Colorado at BoulderEstes ParkUSA

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