Right Opinion

Fourth-Warmest Year on Record? The Devil's in the Details

Joe Bastardi · Jul. 30, 2018

I continue to examine the idea that relatively minute increases in water vapor brought on by cyclically warmed oceans are the reason for the earth’s warming. But the way warming is portrayed must be looked at closely. It is very real and adds to forecast problems, but as far as the hysteria you see whipped up in relation to mankind’s self-destructing, it’s just that to me — hysteria.

Let’s assume 2018 is the fourth-warmest on record. Most people live between 70°N and 70°S.

There are warm areas and cool areas, but it is not that terribly hot. In fact, one continent, South America, looks cooler than average, and while northern Africa is warmer than normal, much of southern Africa is not.

Now let’s look at the whole globe. Remember, this is against the 1981-2010 mean, which is the golden age of temperature measurements since we have satellite data in combination with model-based initialization. The argument that model initialization is not accurate yet we are supposed to trust modeling to forecast the climate makes no sense. The model certainly can see better what is happening now than it can the future. The further out, the tougher it is. In any case, a look at the entire planet reveals that the Arctic warming is adding a major component.

That Antarctic warming is also primarily during its cold season, which we are in now. The globe for the year is .276°C above normal, which based on NCEP data puts 2018 in the top 10 warmest years and likely in the top five. So there’s no argument. But to further illustrate the point, let’s look at when the bulk of that warming is occurring — in the Arctic winter!

Take January:

The Antarctic is a bit above normal, but the Arctic is on fire (or looks that way). Why should it be that warm? Well, look at the relationship between tiny increases in water vapor and temperature as shown by saturation mixing ratios. Check out the ratio when it’s very cold (-40°F to -30°F):

The increase of only .09 grams/kg has a 10-degree increase associated with it.

Now let’s look at higher readings, between 45°F and 65°F.

It takes almost 3 grams of increase in water vapor in the 10-degree increment between 45°F and 55°F, and over 4 grams between 55°F and 65°F. Here’s the ratio when it’s really hot — between 85°F and 95°F:

Keep in mind, we have no such table for temperature and CO2, because the relationship is so tiny it is not quantified. We do, however, have tables for temperature and water vapor, as you can see.

These tables show the amount of water air can hold is 100 times more where it’s very warm than where it’s very cold, So minute increases in water vapor have a pronounced influence on temperatures where it’s much colder. Now look at July, which is about the tenth-warmest July on record in the satellite era, which is really the period we should be measuring temperatures given the known “adjustments” that have been going on before that.

Low and behold, the Arctic is cold. What is interesting is that up until about two weeks ago so was Antarctica, though it has since warmed and helped skew the July reading.

But the Arctic is cool, though not enough to balance the Antarctic. We see the extreme warmth over northwest Europe, but you also see areas where it is very cool. Anyone talking about those cold areas, which are countering the warm? South America is having one of its coldest winters on record!

This is a forecast problem and it’s one we must deal with. But it can be explained by the warming of the oceans, which, given their immense heat capacity, are the driver, not the driven. There is plenty of well-known theory as far as solar and oceans guiding the planet’s long-term climate. But we need to understand that the warming overall is skewed and in areas where people do not live.

When someone says it’s the fourth-warmest year on record, they may be right. But is it a sign of an impending global disaster or a sign that relatively minute increases in water vapor brought on by warmer oceans — the great planetary thermostat —are skewing temperatures? By the way, warming poles during the winter and cooling during the summer would argue fro less global zonal potential energy and less extreme weather. On any given day, while most of the planet is enjoying weather well within what is expected, there are going to be places where the weather is going wild. Is it a sign of a planetary emergency? You be the judge.

Rather than running to hysteria here, let’s look at what nature has always done. After all, given her power, chances are that is where the answer lies. To pursue that, one must be aware of some of the counterarguments. Using those counterarguments has allowed Weatherbell.com to forecast major events like the wildfires you are hearing about now or the heat well in advance. Items in the news now were in our forecast well beforehand.

People who follow us know we were listing the reasons we thought we would have to watch for that. We also have the hurricane season and, moving down the road, the winter, which I believe starts warm and then becomes cold and stormy. All of these are based on nature and lining up the past as much as any other theory about the future being controlled by the actions of humans.


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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