Right Opinion

Cooling Arctic Summers and Cooling U.S. July and August — Are They Linked?

Joe Bastardi · Jul. 19, 2018

In spite of the heat hysteria, the facts show that over the past several years, the opposite has been true east of the Rockies. And the heat we have now cannot hold a candle to the heat and drought of the 1930s. Let’s take a look back at some recent years.

The last six Junes have been warmer than average across much of the United States.

However, when looking at the following July and August periods for each of those years, we see those months have averaged cooler, even with the one year it was quite warm, 2016, thrown in.

Throw out the warm year and it looks like this:

Looking at the CFSv2, which is backing up what we have been saying with analogs, 60-day cycles, the MJO, etc., it appears we are seeing it again.

Every year now, every heat wave is offered up as evidence of an impending climate disaster. Yet look at corn production — a nice metric for how well things are doing overall:

We had down years in 2010-2012, which we pointed out was not the start of a perma-drought but was simply a repeat of the pattern in 1952-1954. Three years later, the drought was over.

But now look at precipitation during the heart of the growing season over the last five years.

Here’s this year so far (May and June). We have dry areas, of course.

But going forward, we see plenty of wet weather.

August:

September:

Given what we’ve had, and what is coming, large areas of the nation will once again have a great growing season, But if you think the entire country is going to be wet all the time in individual years, that’s not going to happen. My point is the last five years have had cooler July and August periods overall and a wetter growing season in areas where drought and heat were being played up. And yet I am still seeing nonsense about impending crop failures due to climate change. Circling back to precipitation, look at the 1980s — an entire decade that averaged dry.

Impressive, but nothing holds a candle to the 1930s, which went beyond averaging dry. It was ravaging dry. It’s hard to comprehend if you did not know it or experience it.

The idea it’s getting hotter, that there are all sorts of heat records falling, is also cherry-picking. The last five July and August periods have had cooler-than-average high temperatures across much of the nation. That’s even including the hot 2016 on the East Coast.

The actual data shows the 1930s were far worse with extreme heat.

Summer extremes have been backing off, but again, this is a big country, so there has to be hot somewhere to compensate for cooler. Wavelengths shorten in summer, so if it's cool in one place, it’s warm in another. The West, with particulates cleared out of the air (SO2 is not CO2) and a dry climate, is the biggest candidate for warmth due to feedback from high-level heating (the mountains heat up in summer at elevations more than if it was just free air). Increased input from the cyclically warmed Pacific has something to do with it. But you can always find some heat in any cool summer pattern. Even in a wet pattern it will be dry somewhere.

Now, here’s what’s interesting. I do not pretend there is any link to this, as I have to research it more, but there is something going on in the Arctic. Here are Arctic temperatures (north of 80°N) this year:

Last year:

2016 (the one hotter summer in the East):

2015:

2014:

2013:

Any objective observer can certainly say none of these years is above normal and the average looks a bit below normal.


Now contrast that to 1990-1995.


1990:

1991:

1992:

1993:

1994:

1995:

These summers were cool in the West overall, but the point here is that a) the Arctic the last six years is far cooler than it was for the six-year period back in the ‘90s, and b) whether linked or not, July/August temperatures in the U.S., unlike the great heat waves of the '30s, have backed down relative to the start of summer.

We were looking for this change in our summer forecast. Knowing what has been going on led us to identify the threat of mid- and late-summer cooling rather than heat running the table. If you are a client of ours, that can be valuable information. Think about this: You have a pattern that overall keeps repeating itself the past several years. The yelling and screaming about the Texas perma-drought got me digging into all this back in 2012. By doing so, I not only can gathered more ammunition to counter the alarmist missive but I discerned yet more factors to use in my forecasts. Now we move to stage two. All this digging to counter outlandish statements in turn leads to more research to help forecast! In many ways, the climate fight to me is nothing but a win-win. When outlandish statements are made, if you go and look, you can discover things that help you become a better forecaster.


In this case, the cool that is coming had many preseason hints, starting with the 60-day cycle flip in July. The seasons where the transition from La Niña to El Niño was taking place was another factor. The rotation of the MJO was also. But above all, we are in a multi-year cycle where July and August have turned cooler relative to the front part of summer, and whether linked or not, the Arctic has been cooler than it was.


Just think: If not for questioning the authority of what is being pushed, I may have never found these tools. So I am actually grateful.


Joe Bastardi, a pioneer in extreme weather and long-range forecasting, is a contributor to The Patriot Post on environmental issues. He is the author of “The Climate Chronicles: Inconvenient Revelations You Won’t Hear From Al Gore — and Others.”

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