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Friday June 17th 2011


Accuweather’s Joe Bastardi admits, “Earth continues warmest winter since satellite measurements started” and “Feb should be warmest on record!!!” – Then he invents a new, self-contradictory theory of warming

UAH winter 2010

Ah, the anti-science crowd.  Their much-vaunted satellite data shows record smashing temperatures (make your own chart here).  So what’s a disinformer to do?  You either have to tie yourself in knots to explain how a rather moderate El Niño could be to blame — or go after the satellite data.  And the latter is coming, I’m sure.

But Accuweather’s meteorologist Joe Bastardi is a satellite-data-ophile, so he chooses the knot-twisting approach in his must-read stream of consciousness “European Blog,” which certainly wins the gold medal for self-contradiction.  What is so incredible about this blog is that it resides on one long page, so you’d think Bastardi might occasionally go back and look and see if what he just wrote to doesn’t contradict something he wrote a little earlier.

Look at Saturday’s post:


Keep in mind, the only records to “trust” are 30 years of objective satellite measurements. Please also keep in mind that this “spike” was forecasted here well before hand based on the Nino, though the fantastic amount of blocking and the addition of the warmth in these areas is adding to things.

So the record-smashing February was predicted here by Bastardi.

Now skip over Bastardi’s rewriting of Marc Antony’s speech since it might shake your confidence in him — “Friends, Romans, Citizens of the World, lend me your laptops.  For I come to bury the notion of cyclical warming, not to praise it” (favorite parts reprinted below) — and leap to this post:



It’s amazing how quick this nino is falling apart.

Heck of a prediction, job, Bastardi.

Note:  It’s hard to tell when Bastardi wrote that because for some reason he doesn’t put dates on his posts (!), but it appears to be Friday February 12, just two weeks before he posted that February will be the warmest on record and that he had forecasted that spike.

And Bastardi is Accuweather’s expert long-range forecaster!

Last week, he noted


Just as I will hammer away at anyone blaming global warming for any one event, we must also be objective about the Earth’s temp measurement; it is warmer than any winter in the satellite era. The reason is simple, we have an El Nino, but we also have a warm Arctic, a product of the blocking. These are mutually exclusive, as the warm Arctic and blocking are not a result of the el nino, but probably the excess SO2 shot into the Arctic atmosphere (the stratosphere) by major high latitude volcanoes.  But what is interesting is that with no El Nino, the temp would probably be .5 to .6 colder (the El Nino spike is .5 to 1 F) which would have made it one of the coldest winters in the last 10 years, though probably not with the same result. All the cold is being “squeezed” into mid latitudes.

It’s the blocking, I tell you.  And excess SO2.  And other stuff:

Manmade warming did not cause this winter, but the NATURAL PROCESS OF AN EL NINO, REACTION TO VOLCANOES, LOW SOLAR RADIATION AND THE CHANGE IN THE PACIFIC, A LONG-TERM EVENT. Since we picked the winter out beforehand for you, I would think if listing the factors before and after, none of them having a darn thing to do with this red herring of an issue, it could give me credence over people coming out of the blue and saying global warming. The “warmth” of the Earth is a byproduct of what caused the cold where it is. The collapse is liable to be greater than we saw in previous El Ninos since the reaction will occur in an overall cooling climate.

Now you’re wondering whether Bastardi predicted warming or cooling, aren’t you?  After all, while the El Niño tends to boosts  warming, the low solar radiation would tend to cause a slight relative cooling, and volcanoes tend to cause cooling (although that is a more complicated picture depending on timing and location — and he never says what volcanoes he’s talking about).

But it all mixes together to produce just whatever Bastardi forecast — or whatever he retroactively says he forecast.  Did I mention he’s Accuweather’s expert long-range forecaster?

You might also ask how Bastardi can possibly know about this supposed “change in the Pacific, a long-term event” when he’s thrown out all the long-term data since it didn’t come from satellites.

But the satellite is what to trust, in ice measurement and in global temps. This reconstructed data, though good intentioned (or not) is not what to measure with. We have the satellite, the oceanic cycles that have been warm the past 30 years while temps have climbed is switching, we will have our answer in the next 30 years.

Yes, I know this makes no sense, but stay with me, because if you look a little closer, it makes even less sense.

Bastardi put out a video this year, “Worldwide Cold not Seen Since 70s Ice Age Scare,” (see Meteorological Malpractice: Accuweather’s Joe Bastardi pushes the “70s Ice Age Scare” myth again):

Now I know you’re asking yourself three questions:

  1. How can he put out a video in January on amazing “worldwide cold” when it was in fact the Warmest January in both satellite records?
  2. How could he possibly compare today’s temps to those in the 1970s — when he doesn’t trust any temperature data from before 1979?
  3. Is this guy actually paid by Accuweather to make long-range forecasts?

Either you accept the pre-satellite data or you don’t.  You can’t say, well, I believe the pre-satellite data when it fits my (nonsensical, long-debunked-in-the-scientific-literature) theory, but not when it fits the basic laws of physics, which say that if you put more heat trapping greenhouse gases in the atmosphere you will trap more heat and warm the planet.  Can you?

Again folks, it’s not brain surgery. Let’s see what the objective satellite measurements look like 30 years from now after the cold PDO and the soon to come cold AMO (5-10 years from now) if they are back down to where they were we have the answer. If not, then I am sure we would have found a way to rid ourselves of the “cause” without forcefeeding agendas down everyone’s throat. I realize brilliant minds want to solve the complex that the “stupid” among us, and I am considered that in many of the high circles out there with alphabet soup in front of their names, can’t, but in this case the simple answer is the best. Besides, it’s called Occam’s Razor.

But wait.  How could we even know about what the PDO [Pacific Decadal Oscillation] and AMO [Atlantic multidecadal oscillation] do if we didn’t have pre-1979 non-satellite data?  Well, in fact we do have such data and the data make clear that neither of those can explain a long-term trend — hence the “O” for oscillation.

So what Bastardi is proposing is that we believe the pre-1979 data enough to demonstrate the existence of a PDO and AMO, but utterly ignore that data when it tells us

  1. The planet is warming.
  2. Those oscillations are utterly neutral with respect to long-term warming.

That is Bastardi’s notion of Occam’s razor.

In fact, if we are stuck just with the satellite data, which, as NOAA reports, has shown a clear warming trend in the past three decades, then Occam’s razor says we must accept human-caused global warming as the explanation, since that is the simplest theory which explains the data.  Indeed, if Bastardi actually understood Occam’s razor, then he’d be a big believer in human-caused global warming, since if the increase in greenhouse gas emissions were not causing the warming, then you’d not only have to accept Bastardi’s PDO/AMO/solar/volcano theory, you would ALSO have to find out some scientific explanation for how the warming increase from the GHGs were negated!  And that ain’t simple.

Indeed, as NASA scientist Gavin Schmidt explained in answering the question What percentage of global warming is due to human causes vs. natural causes?

Over the last 40 or so years, natural drivers would have caused cooling, and so the warming there has been … is caused by a combination of human drivers and some degree of internal variability. I would judge the maximum amplitude of the internal variability to be roughly 0.1 deg C over that time period, and so given the warming of ~0.5 deg C, I’d say somewhere between 80 to 120% of the warming. Slightly larger range if you want a large range for the internal stuff.

Absent the increasing GHGs, we probably would have cooled.

Note how Bastardi plays the elite-smarty-pants-are-condescending-to-me card here, but elsewhere says:

However, for the agenda driven out there, or the shallow thinkers, just as I am upfront about this and report to you when I see it, I must warn you, a big collapse is on the way. The natural processes that lead to this will go the other way and while this means that people using global warming for every thing possible that goes wrong with the weather will have the hurricane season and summer in many places to crow about, the Earth’s temp is in for a big tumble in the coming years.

It makes one want to ask, Why are anti-science conservatives so damn condescending?

For the record, I don’t think he’s stupid.  Stupid people rarely rise to a position of influence necessary to cause as much damage as Bastardi does.

Still, there are many, many others errors in this blog I’ll leave to commenters.  And here’s an analysis questioning Bastardi’s long-range forecasting ability.

What’s most fitting is to end with some excerpts from his poetry:

Friends, Romans, Citizens of the World, lend me your laptops.
For I come to bury the notion of cyclical warming, not to praise it….
When there was no air conditioning, we created them
It saved lives, did this cause too much warming?
But the Models say Caesar caused Global Warming
and the Models are all honorable and always right….
And they would go and kiss dead Caesars wounds
and dip their napkins in the oil of his SUV
Yes beg a hair of him for memories,
which can be beautiful and yet
what’s too painful to remember, we simply must forget
(Apparently Barbara Streisand assisted Shakespeare in this parallel Rome in writing this. How else could exist that last line?)

That is too painful to remember.  I hope you can forget it.

Did I mention he’s Accuweather’s expert long-range forecaster?

Oh, and for the record, Bastardi predicts (in early February, I think):

I think that 2010 will not be the hottest year on record for the earth, at least not by Satellite measurements as cooling is already starting

I’ll take that bet.

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This article was originally posted on Climate Progress