One of the world's foremost meteorologists Friday called the theory that helped Al Gore win a share of the Nobel Prize "ridiculous" and...

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. — One of the world’s foremost meteorologists Friday called the theory that helped Al Gore win a share of the Nobel Prize “ridiculous” and the product of “people who don’t understand how the atmosphere works.”

William Gray, a pioneer in the science of seasonal hurricane forecasts, spoke to a packed lecture hall at UNC Charlotte and said humans are not responsible for the warming of the Earth.

His visit, arranged through the meteorology program at the university, came on the same day that Gore was honored for his work in support of the link between humans and global warming.

“We’re brainwashing our children,” said Gray, 78, a professor at Colorado State University. “They’re going to the Gore movie (‘An Inconvenient Truth’) and being fed all this. It’s ridiculous.”

Gray, whose annual forecasts of the number of tropical storms and hurricanes are widely publicized, said instead that a natural cycle of ocean water temperatures — related to the amount of salt in ocean water — is responsible for the global warming that he acknowledges has taken place.

However, he said, that same cycle means a period of global cooling will begin soon and last for several years.

“We’ll look back on all of this in 10 or 15 years and realize how foolish it was,” Gray said.

He cited statistics, showing there were 101 hurricanes from 1900-1949, in a period of cooler global temperatures, compared to 83 from 1957-2006, when the Earth warmed.

“The human impact on the atmosphere is simply too small to have a major effect on global temperatures,” Gray said.

“It bothers me that my fellow scientists are not speaking out against something they know is wrong,” he said. “But they also know that they’d never get any grants if they spoke out. I don’t care about grants.”