Right Opinion

A Short Summation of My Climate Position

Joe Bastardi · May 23, 2016

Earth is warmer now than in the late 1970s, the start of the satellite era.

This can be explained largely by the turn of the Pacific and the Atlantic to their warm cycles. This is the “bathroom shower theory” that I have used many times. Turn on a hot shower, and the bathroom will heat up until an equilibrium is reached. When the Pacific warmed, and the Atlantic followed, we came off a period in which they were cold in tandem. It is perfectly logical that with the oceans and especially the tropics — the thermostat for the globe — warming, the air must warm until it reaches an equilibrium, which it appears overall to have done until the last 20 years, when it did not warm.

The recent El Niño temperature spike has already started to descend. Given that cold, dry air is easier to warm than already warm, moist air, the natural place the warming shows up most is where the atmosphere is driest and coldest. The biggest warming has been in the Arctic during winter. Recent summers in the region have actually been a bit below normal. There is no argument here. The question is how much of this is because of the increase of greenhouse gases, specifically CO2.

Another question: Will temperature measurements return to where they were back in the late ‘70s? That question cannot be answered until the PDO/AMO shift back in the coming years and we can observe what happens when we go through the entire cycle. Even then, the state of the oceans today is a product of centuries of back and forth, making it very difficult if not impossible to assign a specific value to CO2’s role or blame it for any event, short or long term.

No one denies the climate changes. And I would challenge anyone that denies the climate changes. Of course it does — look at the chart.

In fact, it’s quite evident that not only does the climate change naturally, but the warmer it is, the better. See the chart above. Earlier warm periods, which dwarf today’s warmth, were climate optimums. How is it that previous warmer times were referred to as climate optimums? Let’s look at the definition of optimum.

Used as an adjective, optimum means most conducive to a favorable outcome, or best.

As a noun, it means the most favorable conditions or level for growth, reproduction, or success.

Will the term “optimum” need to be adjusted, or will the temperature need to be adjusted down to fit the current missive of impending disaster?

The “climate change denier” label is a straw man argument that is designed to isolate, demonize and destroy people with false labels.

The whole argument as to what is best for us going forward is simple.

1.) How much is man responsible for variances that were previously exclusively natural?

In my opinion, most of the warmth today is likely natural given the tiny amounts of CO2 relative to the entire system, of which the oceans have 1,000 times the heat capacity and are the great thermostat of the planet, taking centuries of action and reaction to reach where they are today.

2.) Is this worth the draconian reactions that will handcuff the greatest experiment in freedom and prosperity in history, the United States of America?

3.) This question may arise: Would not the cost of adaptation rather than trying to preclude an ordinary recurrence be a sounder fiscal response?

Remember, Barack Obama’s EPA administrator said all these measures would save .01 degrees Celsius over 30 years and that it was mostly intended to be an example for the rest of the world. Color me skeptical that the rest of the world is going to follow. Instead, it will take advantage of repercussions on the American way of life. Not every nation is our friend, after all, if you examine the real world. No one is against any form of clean, safe, cheap energy. I am against economic suicide like we have seen in Europe, which will take economic peace and prosperity from future generations.


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

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