Joe Bastardi / April 2, 2013

The Why Before the What on the Upcoming Hurricane Season

It is an honor to blog at *The Patriot Post*. A commenter in the last post I did mentioned how tiring it is having to talk about global warming. I agree 100%. This should be a non-issue. But here is our problem: The people involved in this are not going away. Far from it. They are trying to implement draconian policies that would severely limit freedoms in the long run. In addition, their tactics – now that there are increasing signs that not only has earth stopped warming, but may be, as some of us fear, cooling – are increasingly bombastic and non-factual. They are relying on the idea that most people do not know and understand past weather and climate events to elevate what is going on today. It’s almost as if they think the bigger the lie they tell, the more people have to believe it. Since most people would not tell lies that big, they assume others will not.

It is an honor to blog at The Patriot Post. A commenter in the last post I did mentioned how tiring it is having to talk about global warming. I agree 100%. This should be a non-issue. But here is our problem: The people involved in this are not going away. Far from it. They are trying to implement draconian policies that would severely limit freedoms in the long run. In addition, their tactics – now that there are increasing signs that not only has earth stopped warming, but may be, as some of us fear, cooling – are increasingly bombastic and non-factual. They are relying on the idea that most people do not know and understand past weather and climate events to elevate what is going on today. It’s almost as if they think the bigger the lie they tell, the more people have to believe it. Since most people would not tell lies that big, they assume others will not.

It has been a successful tactic in other situations before.

Several days before Hurricane Sandy hit the “official” forecast looked like this:

(From 5 am Thursday, October 25 – a weakening storm well out at sea, and really, something that is not out of the ordinary for late October.)

My Patriot Post column had been delivered at this time and explained why Sandy was long overdue. Notice that the opening line of the post, which was sent in the day before (Wednesday) referenced that we were warning clients since the weekend before about how bad Sandy was going to be.

In fact, this quote from Fox News’ Sean Hannity sums up how far in advance we were warning folks on this storm based on the methods we use that have nothing to do with CO2, but everything to do with understanding the pattern we are in:

Joe Bastardi and the WeatherBELL team warned us about Hurricane Sandy nine days before landfall. They provided unwavering forecasts for a landfalling hurricane around NYC, and we were the first to know that this unprecedented event would occur.

While it’s true the damage was unprecedented – partly because we have so much more buildup in these areas than when other storms like the 1821 hurricane hit (only 155,000 people in NYC) – the meteorological precedent for it was there because of the pattern we were in and based on other events that had happened in similar cycles. In other words, if you see something similar, why can’t it occur again, though with a different, natural variation?

So we explained the why before the what and how it was long overdue given the history of past patterns and the pattern we were in. I did that to fire a shot across the bow of the people who would simply use Sandy as a reason to trump up their global warming arguments. And yet look what happened! I believe the lack of understanding of what this was going to to do by many of the same people who then screamed it was global warming contributed to this disaster. The Mayor of New York, who is all for the initiatives to “curb global warming,” was on television beforehand claiming that Sandy wasn’t going to be that bad. Yet someone that knew the why before the what was drowned out by people who, with each passing statement of bombastic doom and gloom, demonstrated how little they actually know and how desperate their position is becoming. I was explaining this from 9 days out (we started on the 21st) using past patterns as a foundation for the forecast, specifically the example of Hurricane Hazel in 1954 and that pattern.

So, to paraphrase a great American near and dear to many of us, “Here we go again.” I present to you the why before the what on the upcoming hurricane season.

My 2013 hurricane forecast (article).

Hurricane forecast (video)

It is as nasty an early season forecast as I have put out since 2005. In this presentation you will see me linking past patterns and the results of my research to come up with the forecast. Nowhere does the why before the what say anything about CO2, because CO2 has nothing to do with it. You will also see a section that shows a more descriptive scale for hurricane intensity that I have developed and a section that explains why the strength of Sandy, Irene, and Katrina are nowhere near what the atmosphere is capable of doing. In fact, in this current cycle, we have gotten off relatively easy. Eight major hurricanes ran the East Coast between 1954-1960! This is a seasonal shot across the bow to the people who I think will be using this hurricane season to push their point about climate “change.” That is one forecast I am sure of, for they did it with Sandy and they even use the lack of warming and now major cold events around the globe to push their point. (Another great one: Warmer water underneath is causing the Antarctic ice shelf to expand. Maybe we can tackle that next week.)

The commenter was right. This is tiresome. But the stakes are too high not to meet each distortion with the factual counter and even pre-empt them showing the why before the what in weather and climate.

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

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