The Right Opinion

Global Warming: We Didn't Start the Fire

By Joe Bastardi · Jan. 9, 2013

In 2006 I caused quite a stir by saying that by 2015, at least two major hurricanes would strike the U.S. Coast from Cape Hatteras northward. This was viewed by many as sensationalism in the wake of the monster hurricane seasons of ‘04 and '05, when all I was doing was saying that the global weather pattern – a cooling Pacific and warm Atlantic – would produce a pattern like the 1950s in which major hurricanes ran the East Coast (the weather equal of the I-95 rush hour from DC to Boston).

The reasoning is based on research done by many others besides myself. I find it very interesting that with Hurricane Irene, and now Sandy, having hit the East Coast before 2015, I have not had any questions asked about that statement. Even more interesting is the fact that after being chastised about it, we now have people talking about the era of big storms that is coming. But they base it on Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW), not the simple fact that the same pattern that caused it before, is causing it again. Of course, it does not take a lot of grant money to come up with my conclusion – just a need to be able to compete in the private sector so you can give clients something of value that can help them. So my research is because I need to be paid for the product of my idea, not the idea itself.

And by the way, technically, I am not yet right! Neither Irene nor Sandy were major hurricanes and the worst is yet to come as far as intense hurricanes near the East Coast, because of the pattern we are in. It has nothing to do with what is being pushed on the AGW front.

In the wake of Sandy, I was on the O'Reilly Factor debating some of this with Dr. Brenda Ekwurzel from the Union of Concerned Scientists. Watch the video below:

Dr. Ekwurzel brought up sea level rise as a factor for fear of the future and, being I did not want to be distracted from my message, which is that the storms we are seeing now are what is to be expected from the natural cycle of the weather and climate we are in, I let it go. But the simple answer is if glaciers have once covered New York City (I would assume the sea level had to be lower then) and the Gulf of Mexico once covered all the way up to north of Memphis (one of the reasons that area of our country is so fertile) then a sea level rise of 8" in the past century is well within the realm of what can be expected naturally.

But the bigger problem lies with one-sided reporting. Take the assertion that 2012 was the hottest year ever in the US. There are challenges to that.

1.) So what? The rest of the globe was only .04C above normal and global temperatures are not rising as seen below (but CO2 is).

So why are they pushing an agenda for the entire globe based on evidence covering less than 3% of the earth? In fact, if the global temperature was only .04C above normal, it had to be as cold somewhere to counter the US warmth. It’s funny how quickly the weather turned around the Holidays despite the warm start to winter, with a twice normal 67% of the nation covered with snow on New Years Day, and the most since 1989. (Wait 'till late January and February in the East, West and Plains sooner.) Given the warm start, no one made mention of how cold it’s been in Alaska, or China. The cold coming into Russia as January wears on and then back into Europe again, will make news even with people trying to avoid reporting on it.

2.) If you used only the thermometer sites we used back in the 1930s, without all the extra new sites we did not have then, it’s debatable as to whether it’s the warmest on record. In other words, if you used only the stations we used in the hot years in the 30s, you may not have the same result . If you are so inclined, this report by Anthony Watts can explain the reason to be skeptical.

3.) Temperatures in the pre-satellite era (1978) are being adjusted down. I don’t know what gives them the idea that a reading 50 years ago needs to be adjusted based on “discoveries” today, but they’re now making measurements warmer. But all this is a moot point. What if it was a little warmer than the previous warmest year in less than 3% of the globe. So what? It’s countered by cooling elsewhere, especially in the Tropical Pacific where the energy in tropical waters has much greater implications for future global temperatures than what we measure over the US.

And what about the sea ice? We have two ice caps, right? Apparently not, because you never hear about the southern one. Well, NASA says this year had the smallest Arctic sea ice in the satellite era.

Okay, but why is there no reporting that Antarctic sea ice was the HIGHEST ever in the satellite era? (By the way, it appears it is going to challenge the record for least melting. It’s darn close right now as you can see in the graph.)

A couple of posts ago I pulled out a song by Bob Seger called “In Your Time” that referenced wild weather in a way to explain the huge variances that naturally occur in life. We are dealing with people today and a complicit press that simply refuse to look at the fact that there are two sides to this story. The simplest natural explanation can explain better what we observe today than trying to blame man for the evils of something he did not create, nor can control. So in the Spirit of Rock and Roll, which many of us true open minded people do believe is an Exercise in Freedom, perhaps this whole climate issue can be summed up with a verse, from the Book of Joel, in this case Billy: We Didn’t Start the Fire.

When it comes to climate, The Long Island Poet Laureate (IMO) chorus sums it up for me:

We didn’t start the fire
It was always burning
Since the world’s been turning
We didn’t start the fire
No we didn’t light it
But we tried to fight it

Even in the Climate Wars, Rock and Roll can set you free.

Joe Bastardi is chief forecaster at WeatherBELL Analytics, a meteorological consulting firm.

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