AGW Forecast: More of the Same
The gathering gloom
Watch lights fade
From every room
Look back and lament
Another day’s useless
–From the closing of “Nights in White Satin,” The Moody Blues
In the wake of another year of useless energy spent, another year of claims and rebuttals to anthropogenic global warming is already beginning. The Moody Blues’ Nights in White Satin comes to mind. I find myself at odds with both sides of the debate, for I am coming to the uneasy conclusion that this is one of the greatest wastes of time and energy in which I have ever been involved. As far as what I do for a living, the argument really means nothing. If it goes away tomorrow, I won’t change what I have researched and used climate for one iota. The only reason I got involved was because a lot of people who never make forecasts decided they were going to tell other people why something was happening after the fact. To an operational meteorologist, you have no business dictating to the guy that is taking a stand beforehand why something happened. You want to do that, get out in front and be right.
You see folks, one of the big problems I see is that, for years, climatologists were not given the same status as were meteorologists. Twenty years ago, the television mets were already rock stars, but did you know one climatologist? The joke at Pennsylvania State University (PSU) when I attended was that, if you can’t forecast, do climatology. I loved climatology. To me as a kid, it was weather history, and I loved history. So when my dad was in school, I dug into the only thing I could really understand at that young age – climatology. I actually memorized the monthly averages at different cities around the world so I could identify them if you just gave me the data! Years later, in my climatology class, we would get tested with the same data I memorized as a kid. I loved it! But as a forecaster, we’re always looked down upon by the dynamists in the field who dealt with a lot of the high-powered math and physics. I was always reminded by my professors that the part of the atmosphere the weather takes place in is only 10%. Meteorology is the study of the whole picture. So the pecking order was dynamists, synopticians (forecasters), climatologists.
It’s like the Three Stooges – Moe smacks Larry, Larry smacks Curly.
Interesting interpretation, eh? I see people labeled heroes and villains in a climate war with dispatches, etc. I would suggest those people know nothing about real war, or even severe physical challenges. Then you have me who has never been to war, so I can’t know. But I wrestled at PSU under a guy that was one of the first men on the beach of Normandy who believed that wrestling was meant to test you to prepare you for life. Wondering if I would catch my next breath was pretty challenging. So this is not a war to me, and, with all the silly things going on, it’s more like a Three Stooges routine, except $185 billion down the drain in 21 years is no laughing matter. At least not to me. C'est la vie.
But there is so much cross motivation here on both sides, it is in the interest of both sides to keep it going! What happens if it stops? A lot of people aren’t going to be rock stars anymore. (I was in a rock band, for a couple of years anyway, so I have had my rock stardom.) Me? Could care less about that. My job depends on getting the weather right, but I have used climate as a foundation because that is what I was taught. It has always been about the search for the right answer, not my answer. I can see the test in front of me, and will have the truth revealed by what actually happens (like any forecast). There is no real dog in the fight. It’s not what I do, but it is a strong means to the end of what I do!
You need to know and understand the past, for it forms the foundation you stand on today to reach for tomorrow. But to know the past, you can’t sit on the sideline and tell people after the fact. You must do to truly know. My obvious distaste for this is that I am being told by a bunch of people in the stands what is happening based on what they see … from the stands. They aren’t out fighting every day, where right and wrong can be determined in real time.
Perhaps it’s the leftover attitude from my college days.
Sea ice is classic. It goes the other way, and there is an excuse that is then repackaged to say it was expected. Or the heat hiding in the ocean, when Dr. Bill Gray wrote about it 40 years ago. So why do we run to the guys that says it after the fact, rather than the guy who talked about this 40 years ago?
It goes on and on, and it’s now 2015. The AGW side has an interest in it. With $185 billion dollars now since 1993 spent on climate change and related interests, wouldn’t you?
In the end, there is nothing we as humans can do about the climate. That is not to say we cannot help the environment; I mean be good stewards. But the AGW agenda has really hijacked the environmental movement, at least the one I spent a lot of time and effort on when I was younger and one I still think is worthwhile. But each person reading this, pro or con, has to ask themselves the same question I do all the time. In relation to the myriad of problems that face us a people today, is this what we want to be occupied with?
I will end with the closing lines of the spoken part of Nights in White Satin:
Cold hearted orb
That rules the night
Removes the colours
From our sight
Red is gray and
But we decide
Which is right
Which is an Illusion
I don’t now if it’s a cold hearted orb that rules the night, but humans certainly do not rule the climate.
I would suggest a lot of this is illusion.
Joe Bastardi is chief forecaster at WeatherBELL Analytics, a meteorological consulting firm.
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