Why all the hubbub? Well, that's what goes on these days at normally polite scientific conferences. The 31st annual Climate Diagnostics & Prediction Workshop is no different:
The planet may be warming, but what started out as a polite discussion about hurricane trends turned plain hot here Wednesday.
At issue was the role - if any - that global warming plays in fueling monster storms.
But illustrating the volatile nature of the debate, the scientific conference descended into name calling.
Colorado State University's William Gray, one of the nation's preeminent hurricane forecasters, called noted Boulder climate researcher Kevin Trenberth an opportunist and a Svengali who "sold his soul to the devil to get (global warming) research funding."
Trenberth countered that Gray is not a credible scientist.
"Not any more. He was at one time, but he's not any more," Trenberth said of Gray, one of a handful of prominent U.S. scientists who question whether humans play a significant role in warming the planet by burning fossil fuels that release heat-trapping gases.
"He's one of the contrarians, some of whom get money to spread lies about global warming," Trenberth said during a break following his presentation at the 31st annual Climate Diagnostics & Prediction Workshop. About 150 scientists from more than 10 countries are attending the weeklong meeting.
Trenberth and Gray traded barbs during Trenberth's presentation to the group.