Meteorologist Dr. Paul Ruscher disputes the validity of the contrail theory during a lecture at the downtown Lane campus on Oct. 26.

At a presentation sponsored by the Lane Community College Science Division, meteorologist Dr. Paul Ruscher delivered a concise outlook on scientific contrail data, climate change/global warming data, chemtrail conspiracies and more on the evening of Wednesday, Oct. 26 at the downtown Lane Campus.

While opening the lecture, Ruscher said, “We are going to talk about chemtrails versus contrails and to try and move the dialogue back into what I consider a proper scientific framework.” Ruscher, adding to his debunking of specific conspiracies, said the atmospheric phenomena of contrails have perfectly rational explanations, but human caused climate change has scientific evidence being called into question. Meanwhile, there is a great deal of attention on this science versus pseudoscience.

Ruscher asked why there are so many contrails in the skies today. Ruscher said, “There are about 15 to 20 times as many planes flying at altitude now than there were during the ’60s and ’70s. They are also flying at higher altitudes which means they are flying at colder temperatures.”

Ruscher continued on how contrails have pushed NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) and the GLOBE (Global Learning and Observations to Benefit the Environment) program to create a protocol to identify the ten cloud types, as well as contrails. NASA and NCAR (National Center for Atmospheric Research) out of Boulder, Colorado can now forecast where contrails might appear.

The next segment of the presentation was introduced with a framework definition for climate science: global warming is the idea that atmospheric temperatures are increasing over time in an unnatural way due to human impacts. Ruscher then cited science-fiction writer Robert Heinlein on how to tell climate from weather. “Climate is what you expect. Weather is what you get.”

Ruscher continued, “So there’s this idea of expectation and many people often simplify the notion of climate as it being the average weather of a region, but it’s a lot more complex than that.”

Ruscher displayed several scales and statistical animations showing a steady rise in recorded global temperatures over the past 300 years. The past 12 months marked the highest recorded temperatures ever. Even proxy data (tree rings, corals, ice cores, sediment cores, pollen records, fossil records, radiocarbon decay reading) is telling scientists that we are in the warmest period in 800,000 years.

At the end of his presentation, Dr. Ruscher took questions from the audience. When asked by an attendee about cloud seeding with silver iodide, Ruscher said, “In the lab it works great. In fog-decks at airports it works great. But when you’re doing it in the Great Plains, in a large area like this, you’re essentially changing the conditions that you’re trying to reproduce. It’s the old Heisenberg uncertainty principle at work. How do you know the cloud you just seeded would not have precipitated on its own?”

If you are interested in this subject and have any other questions or comments for Dr. Paul Ruscher, his email address is ruscherp@lanecc.edu.