It has taken me a couple of days to bring myself to write this. It is with great sadness that I announce the death of my dear friend and mentor, James Goodridge, on Sunday, January 5th after an illness. Jim, who was probably the single most influential person in influencing my thinking about climate, led me down the path from climate alarmism to climate skepticism.
Jim was the former State Climatologist for the state of California, and when he retired, he moved to Chico which is how I came to know him and his work. A quiet and unassuming man, he spent the majority of his life compiling climate data, to determine what stories it told, and to share it with everyone.
Jim, like no other professional I know, was all about the data, particularly rainfall data. So much so that the California Department of Water Resources still had him on professional retainer for decades after his retirement. He was tremendously well-respected by his peers, so much so that he was given a special award:
SPECIAL RECOGNITION AWARD
James D. Goodridge
This award is in recognition of a lifetime of service to the water community by collecting, analyzing, developing, and presenting rainfall statistics for design of storm drainage and water control facilities. The initial DWR Bulletin 195, “Rainfall Analysis for Drainage Design”, published in 1976, was a classic for water engineers. During your tenure as State Climatologist, you diligently and enthusiastically collected all the weather data you could get your hands on, cataloged and analyzed data from hundreds of rain gages, and made available systematic information on extreme precipitation. You have continued these activities in retirement like the dedicated scientist and engineer you are. The fact that stormwater, drainage, and flood control projects in California have done such a good job of protecting lives and property is a tribute to your vision and diligence. Your colleagues are most pleased to present you with this token of our appreciation and gratitude.
April 22, 2005
2005 California Extreme Precipitation SymposiumSource: https://cepsym.org/awards/goodridge.php
He was also a climate skeptic, and his influence on my thinking was huge. Rather than try to browbeat me into changing my way of thinking, he would routinely send me data dumps, along with his analysis, and let me draw my own conclusions. He also published a small but very influential paper in the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society in 1996 that in my view was the “light bulb moment” for me that suggested that global warming was more driven by localized human influences than it was by carbon dioxide.
This one graph tells the story, and it had a huge impact on me:
That graph tells one simple and indisputable story; carbon dioxide molecules have no intelligence, they can’t affect the temperature based on population size by county. Therefore, something else must be at work, and that something else is the heat sink effect I have identified previously.
It also had a big effect on the climate cabal, as this Climategate 2.0 email from Phil Jones illustrates, emphasis mine:
date: Tue, 25 Apr 2000 09:25:14 +0100
from: Phil Jones <p.jones@xxxx>
subject: Re: CA climate
to: Tom Wigley <wigley@xxxx>,Mike Hulme <m.hulme@xxxxx>
Bryan Weare is at US Davis. He would know about some of the things you mention. The jerk you mention was called Good(e)rich who found urban warming at all Californian sites.
I’m away until today until May 5 in Nice and Geneva. I hope you can do the temperature plots yourself and that Mike can do the precip ones.
Mike has the data as 5 degree grid boxes, so the it would be good if you could define these for him. I think he’s back tomorrow.
It would be possible to use the 0.5 degree grid boxes but we’d have to get Mark New to do that for us.
If anyone is a “jerk” here, it’s Phil Jones.
Anyone who has ever met or worked with Jim Goodridge would dare not characterize him as a “jerk”, and even if he was, what he published still holds true today. Even Jones later published studies on UHI in China which agreed with what Goodridge found.
The Jones paper is titled: Urbanization effects in large-scale temperature records, with an emphasis on China In it, Jones identifies an urban warming signal in China of 0.1 degrees C per decade. Or, if you prefer, 1 degree C per century. Not negligible by any means.
You can read Jim’s Bio here: https://cepsym.org/awards/goodridge.php
About 2 months before he died, Jim gave me yet another one of his data dumps. I’ll be doing some work with that in the future. For now, I honor him by publishing a few of the things he was most proud of. One thing he always told me was this:
Data has no agenda, it is what it is. It only inherits an agenda when it has been modified or adjusted by a researcher. That’s when it takes on an agenda which is a reflection of the researcher’s own bias. – James D. Goodridge
R.I.P. Jim, you made a difference, not just for me, but for the thousands of readers that benefit from my conversion by your gentle hand and keen thoughts. – Anthony Watts
Selected works, including some of his poetic writing:
In Observation I trust
All people live off grasses either directly or indirectly
We feed on rice, corn, wheat and other chlorophyll produced plants
All of the animals we eat are all grass fed critters
The marine animals we feed on have photosynthesis-based food chains
The chlorophyll-based life has occupied three quarters of Earth history
Our bodies share a common chemistry with chlorophyll
Our hemoglobin is chemically quite similar to chlorophyll
Our hemoglobin has a central iron for energy transport
Chlorophyll has central manganese to capture solar energy
We are basically a grass fed critters living off solar radiation
Genesis of life results from inter generational strengthen of individuals
The result is that defective individuals reproduce less robustly
The history-blinded may not see the millions of generations of evolution
The fossil hunting archeologist compare bone ages of 10% of earth history
The genome and mitochondria and ATP predate bones by billions of years
This follows a solid chain of observation
In observation I trust, there is found my faith