Obituary – Professor August H. (Augie) Auer jr
11 June 2007
Obituary – Professor August H. (Augie) Auer jr
“ This sudden loss of Augie Auer is a colossal blow not just to his family and friends and his colleagues in the New Zealand Climate Science Coalition, but to everyone in New Zealand who has a regard for truth and the role of science,” said Owen McShane, a co-founder with Mr Auer of the coalition, which they formed in April last year to challenge official pronouncements about man-made global warming.
“Augie was greatly feared by the warmists because he was able to combine a wealth of scientific knowledge and experience with a personable way of explaining the complex issues involved in a way that ordinary people could understand. He was not just a truly great climate scientist, he was a warm and caring human being. He was also patient and unflappable, often in the face of vicious personal abuse from opponents desperate to silence him. He was a living model of the Christian virtue of turning the other cheek
“It’s easy for those of us born and bred Kiwis to forget that Augie was someone who became a proud New Zealander by choice. There was never a day when he did not express his pride in being a New Zealander, ever grateful for the privilege of being able to live here.
“It’s very sad that Augie will not live to see the fulfilment of his conviction that good science will triumph over the false hype and over-exaggerated propaganda about carbon dioxide being a pollutant and a cause of catastrophic global warming. When the day comes when the science prevails, and there are many who predict that it will happen within the next five years, we will not forget the leadership shown by Augie Auer in the fight against the corruption of true science,” said Mr McShane.
Professor August H. (Augie) Auer Jr was one of New Zealand’s leading and best known atmospheric scientists and meteorologists
Mr Auer was Professor of Atmospheric Science at the University of Wyoming for 22 years. A method of classifying land-use as urban or rural, based on work he published in 1978, is used by the United States Environmental Protection Agency and by the Jamaican National Environment and Planning Agency. His most frequently cited research paper discusses formation of ice crystals in clouds.
In 1990, Professor Auer emigrated to New Zealand, becoming Chief Meteorologist for the Meteorological Service of New Zealand from 1990 to 1998. Auer has been frequently quoted in the New Zealand press regarding weather and climate issues, and is regarded in New Zealand as a "well-known and colourful meteorologist".
He was responsible for the improvement and updating of the technical competence of the MetService weather forecasting staff. His frequent liaison between the media and the MetService during major weather events, and his accurate interpretations, endeared him to the nation.
Following the transfer of climate science issues from the then MetService into the National Institute for Water and the Atmosphere (NIWA) in 1992; Augie became increasingly critical of the institute’s statements. In 1998 Professor Auer became TV3’s weekday weather presenter. In February 2002 he moved into a new role as the network’s resident meteorologist. .
In April 2006, he helped found the New Zealand Climate Science Coalition in order debate the many extreme claims about man-made global warming, and was chairman of the coalition’s science panel.
In a May 19, 2007 interview with The Timaru Herald newspaper - Professor Auer said a combination of misinterpreted and misguided science, media hype, and political spin had created the current hysteria and it was time to put a stop to it. "It is time to attack the myth of global warming," he said. According to Mr Auer: Water vapour was responsible for 95 per cent of the greenhouse effect, an effect which was vital to keep the world warm, he explained. "If we didn't have the greenhouse effect the planet would be at minus 18 deg C but because we do have the greenhouse effect it is plus 15 deg C, all the time." The other greenhouse gases: carbon dioxide, methane, nitrogen dioxide, and various others including CFCs, contributed only five per cent of the effect, carbon dioxide being the single greatest contributor at 3.6 per cent. "It would be like trying to increase the temperature of bath tub full of water - using one drop from an eye dropper".
Professor Auer had a grasp of all facets of meteorology including weather analysis and forecasting (corporate and governmental), teaching at the tertiary level, airborne research, weather modification, air pollution, legal and forensic consulting, extended range prediction and media presentations.
Professor Auer is remembered for his witty and quick manner of thinking and his ability to communicate complex ideas to the general public. He was an entertaining and informative speaker. His presentations on the atmosphere and the weather were both humorous and respectful, demonstrating a knowledge of all facets of weather and climate. He had a particular rapport with New Zealand farmers, and a concern for the effect of climate on our primary industries.