Richard Lindzen is an American atmospheric physicist at MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) known for his work in the dynamics of the middle atmosphere, atmospheric tides and ozone photochemistry. He was a lead author of Chapter 7, ‘Physical Climate Processes and Feedbacks,’ of the IPCC Third Assessment Report on climate change.
He is sceptical about some of the more alarming predictions about climate change and concerned about political pressures on climate scientists.
Although it is necessary to have the sceptical voices within the scientific community, in the sometimes contentious world of climate science, his views are often amplified or taken out of context by those with an agenda of distorting the facts and arguing for business as usual. For example, climate change sceptics still quote Lindzen’s 2007 interview with Larry King, “we’re talking of a few tenths of a degree change in temperature. None of it in the last eight years, by the way.” The latest figures from NASA show that 2010 is the warmest year on record with the 21st century contributing 9 of the top ten warmest years.
In February 2012, Lindzen was speaking at a briefing at UK House of Commons where he accused NASA of data manipulation in its annual report of historical temperature records. He claimed that when comparing the 2012 release to the 2008 release, there is a an average increase in the historical record implying that NASA has manipulated the data to produce an increasing trend of temperatures.
Unfortunately Lindzen did not compare like with like i.e. the 2012 data with its equivalent 2008. When the 2012 data is compared to its 2008 equivalent there is very close agreement, indicating no evil plot to manipulate data.
A more general critique of Lindzen’s presentation is found here: A critique of the scientific content of Richard Lindzen’s Seminar in London, 22 February 2012
Lindzen did eventually admit his mistake and made a public apology: Lindzen’s public apology