Right Opinion

California Climatic Dreaming

Joe Bastardi · Aug. 2, 2018

California Gov. Jerry Brown has declared that the wildfire-fueling heat in California is the worst since civilization began. Here’s the quote:

“Since civilization emerged 10,000 years ago, we haven’t had this kind of heat condition, and it’s going to continue getting worse and that’s the way it is."


Okay, well, let’s look at the heat condition this July. Here are the maximum high temperatures in California:

You be the judge. Does this heat condition look worse than 2006?

Or 2005?

Or 2003?

I guess all the school books in California will now teach that civilization began in 2007.

We outlined why a rash of wildfires was going to happen back in the spring.


But here is what I want you to understand. Seeing the forecast I made back in May coming to fruition is confirming the ideas about the next six months. How so? The number one Multivariate ENSO Index analog is 2006, which is also an excellent analog year for the tropics (the Atlantic shut down after the busy 2005 season, as it’s projected to do this year). As you can see above, 2006 was extremely warm in July in California. But that’s not all.

When we take the analog year of 2002, double-weight 2006, and then add 2014, we get a 60-day dry period (January-February).

So the analogs say it should have been dry, and this year it was.

Then March and April turned wet, setting up the extra vegetation to fuel the fires that we predicted.

Analog years say the spring should have been wet.

Survey says:

Then May and June dried out.

Here is analog output:

This year is not quite as dry, but it’s certainly drier than March and April (another amazing fact — it’s not even as warm or dry as the "pre-civilization” year of 2006).

If you have excess spring precipitation and then simply return to normal, guess what happens? That vegetation dries out. The fact is using analogs and weighting them told us to look out.


More importantly, analogs hinted at a transition from La Niña to El Niño. As you see, being involved in countering outrageous statements is helping me forecast, because when I see something, I naturally go and look.

What had to happen to start all this?

I am sure Gov. Brown is not looking at the SOI.

In 2002, there was a rapid fall of over 10 between February and March.

In 2006, it was in January and February.

In 2014, it was January to February and February to March.

As for 2018? There’s your rapid drop:

Bingo. Make the forecast, and if it verifies, it helps you with the next fight! 
 Was anyone looking at this? Obviously, I have a dog in the fight with the Modoki El Niño I think is coming, but I was looking for a sign in winter that would try to help based on past years.

These rapid drops are like cattle prods to the atmosphere, disrupting the base state in the southwest Pacific and forcing reactions. In these cases, they supply valuable clues — a dry winter would turn wet, then dry out again in California. Using those analogs, which worked out the way we surmised in the spring for California, we can now look forward. Let’s take our three analogs and run the table into winter. We assume a blended version of those years with an El Niño, and that gives us this for the winter:

But look how we get there — a warm December:

However, by January and February, we’re sending lawyers guns and money.

Notice how this works. We discerned things back in the winter that began to clue us in. We watched California to see if the response was similar to the response in our analog years. It was, so we made the wildfire forecast and even warned people publicly on the other side of the issue on what was coming. It came, and they now scream it’s because of something else, which exposes their ignorance. Meanwhile, I can use what they are giving me to show my points and then move forward with speculation on the upcoming winter.

Of course, whether it turns cold and stormy or warm and dry, it will be blamed on something completely different than what has always driven the weather — nature.

I must admit though that having counter-ideas thrown at me gives me an advantage, because it provides me a chance to separate fact from fiction. And for that I guess I am 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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