Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) wasted no crisis knowing what and whom to blame following the devastating tornado that hit Moore, Oklahoma. Republicans caused it to happen through anthropogenic (man-caused) global warming. “When cyclones tear up Oklahoma and hurricanes swamp Alabama and wildfires scorch Texas, you come to us, the rest of the country, for billions of dollars to recover. And the damage that your polluters and deniers are doing doesn’t just hit Oklahoma and Alabama and Texas.”
So what about all that hot air? Is it possibly coming from none other than the senator himself? Well-respected meteorologist Joe Bastardi believes so, and will explain why.
Mr. Bastardi’s reputation for bold and accurate weather forecasts has landed him interviews on numerous major television programs, including Fox News Live, the O’Reilly Factor, Your World With Neil Cavuto, and Imus in the Morning, to name but a few. Many companies across a multitude of industries use his analytical services which correlate similarities between current and historical weather patterns to predict likely developments.
Larry Bell: Joe, it seems that every time people somewhere in the world experience a weather-related tragedy or hardship, be it a tornado, hurricane, drought, flood, blizzard snowfall, or unseasonably cold or hot conditions, we see pundits and politicians blaming them on an alarming and unprecedented “climate change” we are causing. Are we really screwing things up that badly?
Joe Bastardi: No Larry, Mother Nature rules! She’s totally the boss, always has been…always does things her way…and not just in America.
First of all, we need to keep in mind that “climate” occurs over at least three decade periods and on a large scale. The 48 contiguous U.S. states we hear most about in the news only constitute about 1.58 percent of the globe. These changing climate and fluctuating weather consequences are driven primarily by natural changes in solar cycles, ocean temperatures, and “stochastic events” such as volcanoes, which I have labeled the triple crown of cooling. The first two occur on various long term cycles; decades in the oceans, and centuries with the Sun. The stochastic events are random wild cards ( just to make it all more fun).
Right now we’re seeing the same kind of major events on a regional scale that occurred the last time the Pacific Ocean shifted its temperature phase from warm to cold when the Atlantic was in a warm phase, and globally, the Earth’s temps have fallen about 0.05° C in the last four years. . The European winters also look very similar now to those in the early 1950s. People familiar with circumstances during the Korean conflict can note that cold conditions that existed in the Far East were also comparable. Alaska has once again turned much colder, just as it did then when the Pacific temperatures cooled and sea ice expanded.
Here in the U.S., a drop in tropical Pacific temperatures causes less moisture to be present in the atmosphere than when that ocean is in its warming state. That causes conditions to be drier, especially near and east of the Rockies, as well as in the Deep South. This is when we see hotter, drier summers; winters tend be warmer earlier, and colder later.
We’re also seeing colder spring temperatures caused by a multi-decadal warming temperature shift in the Atlantic which has greatest influence in the late winter and spring, forcing what we call a negative North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO). Springs like this year, although not as extremely cold, will be more common the next 5 to 10 years. We can also expect to witness increased tornado activity which is linked to the cold decadal Pacific shift and a cooling globe. This happens when cool air in northwest North America trying to find a pathway southeast collides with warm air coming from the south in a clash zone right in the center of our nation. The result is predictable… a fight is on.
Larry: Seems like we’re always hearing media reports about how weather conditions are getting worse, caused by man-made climate change of course…our carbon-belching smoke stacks, SUV’s and all.
Joe: Part of that appears to be attributable to very short memories concerning times past, and even shorter media attention spans. It seems that “worse” is always more newsworthy than “better”. The fact is that those alarmist claims simply aren’t true. I’ll begin with a bit of personal history that got me interested it this subject.
My father, also a meteorologist, was born in 1929. He studied and earned his degree at Texas A & M University in 1965, beginning college at the age of 31 with a family in tow. Dad was passionate about the subject of weather. Some of my best memories as a child are when he regaled me with stories of hurricanes that hit New England in the 1930s, ‘40s, and ‘50s. That was in the ‘60s and ‘70s when weather conditions were pretty quiet, so I had no idea based upon my own experiences how bad things could get.
Dad used to preach about large-scale linkages… how to stand back, look at the bigger pictures, and try to figure out what the weather was saying. He always, ALWAYS, stressed the tropical oceans as the big driver in the weather. The reason is that the warmer and moister air is… the more energy it can add to the system. It’s not a one- to- one ratio.
For instance, in the mixing ratios it takes a 15° C rise when temperatures are at minus 20° C to equal what happens with a 1° C change at 30° C. This means that the Tropics and their inputs present the primary source region for the changes. When the tropical Pacific warms…a much larger and even warmer source region than the Atlantic… there is a response much like when you turn a warm shower on in your bathroom. The room heats up.
Well, that’s what we saw after the cold period was over in the ‘60s and ‘70s. The rise began and the Atlantic joined it in the ‘90s, just like now. As soon as the atmosphere adjusted to the oceans, the temperatures leveled off. And now, with the Pacific cooling, they are starting down again. This is basic climate cycle theory, and it can be plainly seen in a link between surface and air temperatures. None of this has anything to do with atmospheric carbon dioxide levels.
Larry: As you mentioned, the period between the 1960s and ‘90s were pretty quiet in comparison with immediately previous times. And you think we’re in for rougher times going forward? If this is the case, I guess we’re going to hear a lot more hot air about a carbon-caused global warming crisis.
Joe: Yes, the particular combination of entirely natural ocean conditions that are developing now are producing a change in the in the entire global weather system. In the Tropics, the main source of heat is slightly cooler to the west of us, while the Atlantic is warm. This sets up a certain pattern of events that is different from the ‘60s through ‘90s.
Why? That’s because first, the Pacific was cold then, and the Atlantic was cold also. Then when the Pacific warmed, the Atlantic was still cold. That combination resulted in less overall hurricane activity in the Atlantic basin. For meteorologists, this is entirely logical and intuitive. If the tropical Atlantic is cooler, and the tropical Pacific is warmer, then where will the hurricanes be?
Now those conditions are reversed. Dr. Bill Gray [a CFACT advisor!] forecast all of this back in the 1970s. This shows how despicable the global warming alarmist agenda can be, when the very guy who got the forecast exactly right gets trashed for not agreeing with people who weren’t even around to make their own forecasts, yet claim it’s due to something else.
The U.S., specifically the East Coast, faces a perilous time over the next several years. Consider that there were eight major hurricane hits on the coast from South Carolina northward between 1954 and 1960, and there were six hits from North Carolina northward in 1954 and 1955.
I have seen these conditions coming for some time. In fact, I have warned about an upcoming period of climatic hardship since the time I began appearing on national television several years ago. I have been explaining that a triple crown of cooling would take over involving solar, ocean and the stochastic events. And while I will never claim to be in the same class as Bill Gray and certain other scientists of his remarkable standing, I do believe that lesser mortals like myself have very solid science to back up our predictions.
Larry: It’s difficult for the public to know what to believe and who to trust. We are constantly exposed to terrifying and tragic disaster accounts on television and newspaper features, along with relentless guilt-mongering about how we are causing everything bad that happens.
Joe: Many people are vulnerable to this propaganda because guilt is a powerful influence that some opportunists are all too willing to exploit for numerous reasons that you and I are painfully aware of. Americans, like other people around the world, typically don’t have the information or take the time to put today into perspective with yesterday or last year, much less decades past. It’s unfortunate to downplay or ignore foundations of what came before… lessons from experience.
For example, consider the way weather hazard insurance costs are going up! Go look at the areas along the U.S. coast in 1955 after the huge November 1950 storm which was non-tropical but caused 100-mph wind gusts on the coast, or the hurricanes in the mid-1950s, and compare it with damage from HURRICANE Sandy. Yes, make absolutely no mistake about that! Sandy was a hurricane, not a tropical storm as the media generally reported. Many, many more people and businesses are now in harm’s way.
It’s the same with tornadoes. The populations in southern Plains states have tripled since the 1930s, and have doubled since 1960. This is partly because conditions first grew cooler when the Pacific decadal temperature shift turned cool; and then, when warming started, the years between 1978 and 2007 became wetter than normal across the U.S.
This is OPPOSITE of what President Obama attributed to global warming when the Texas drought hit. It’s due to cooling of the Pacific that is causing a mid-level moisture drop. It actually directly contradicts the theory that so-called anthropogenic global warming is leading to drier conditions around the globe.
Again, going back several years ago, I warned that people in the Southern and Great Plains states would experience major water shortages that would impact golf courses, swimming pools, and other planned developments all over the place. So with more water usage, more people, more building… just what do you think is going to happen? Yes, it’s already happening.
Larry: Television is bringing distant weather calamities into our living rooms.
Joe: Yes, we see things today in an instant that no one would ever have witnessed before during lifetimes. The 1925 tri-state tornado and the 1938 New England hurricane were both such astounding events that I wouldn’t have believed they were possible if I hadn’t studied them. Only later did people learn about them in newspapers and movie newsreels.
Contrast that to today. Virtually from the instant something catastrophic happens, it’s recorded and transmitted to television viewers on someone’s cellphone camera along with the human misery. It’s easy to forget that even during the tremendous tragedy of a tornado or hurricane, most of the entire globe is having weather that is more or less “normal.”
Suppose you were to have live reports every day from everywhere that the weather was within two degrees of what it was supposed to be. My point here is not to minimize real tragedies. Rather, it’s simply to remind us all to be grateful that they are rare, and that while unseen by most of us, they have always occurred, and always will.
Larry: Okay, so is it fair to blame Mother Nature?
Joe: Yes, but give her a break. Mother Nature is always searching for a balance she can never fully achieve because of the design of the system. It’s not unlike Aquinas’s search for the unmoved mover. We rotate around the Sun on an axis that tilts, with more land in the Northern Hemisphere than Southern Hemisphere.
While some alarmists have screamed about the northern ice cap melting due to warming, a condition actually caused by the Atlantic’s multi-decadal phase, the southern ice cap has increased to record levels. This is even a more impressive feat because, since is surrounded by water, it requires more cooling to freeze that ice than it does to warm cold dry air a bit on continental surfaces that surround the Arctic Ocean! But as soon as the Atlantic goes into its cold mode, the northern ice cap will expand again as the southern ice cap shrinks. This is but one example of how the back-and-forth mechanism works.
Larry: Finally, can you elaborate a bit more on conditions that produced the recent “tornado alley” turbulence? And also, what does your crystal ball see in the near-term?
Joe: It’s a typical clash of air masses, one we have not seen much this year because it’s been so cold. There may be a couple more, but further north.
June should be near to, but perhaps a bit above, normal tornado-wise; but overall, the season should see somewhat fewer than usual. Right now we think that summer for the nation as a whole will be cooler than last year, yet still above normal in much of the nation… much like the 1950s. However, we are very concerned about multiple threats to the U.S. coast of hurricanes… again like the ‘50s. We are also worried about a fast- starting cold winter next year.
The weather is a movie, so we have to keep an eye on what the director is up to.
Larry: Anyway, if we don’t like it, there will always be another sequel that might be better… or then again, maybe worse.
A version of this article first appeared in Forbes Online.