39 Responses to Joe Bastardi can’t read a temperature anomaly map and so spins another conspiracy theory
Says pre-1978 temperatures use “magic readjustment”
Accuweather’s “expert long-range forecaster” Joe Bastardi has now firmly established himself as the least informed, most anti-scientific meteorologist in the world (see here).
In this impossible-to-believe video more suitable for April 1 or The Onion, he demonstrates he doesn’t even know the difference between temperature and temperature anomaly or what the Arctic Oscillation does! And while he himself is constantly citing temperature data from before the satellite era, he labels all such temperature records as based on “magic.”
Please put your head in a vise before viewing this:
Click on image to view video
Bastardi tells his viewers, “The picture you see here is the Goddard Institute for Space Studies temperatures for the winter and you can see it was a torrid winter according to this.” He then spins a long conspiracy theory suggesting that these numbers can’t be true and must be due to a “magical readjustment” because sea ice in the Arctic and Antarctic aren’t at record lows.
But the picture is NOT of temperatures. It is not warmer in the Arctic than in the United States, as Bastardi seems to imply.
The picture is of temperature anomaly — the local temperature compared to the 1951-1980 mean — as anybody looking at the original can tell:
[Note that Bastardi must have seen the original, since he mention the fact it refers to temperatures before 1978.]
It was still plenty cold in the Arctic to freeze water and make sea ice! Yet Bastardi’s video has the caption:
If it is darn warm, how come there is so much sea ice?
But it isn’t “darn warm” in the Arctic. It is “darn cold” in the Arctic winter, just not as cold as usual. Bastardi is baffled that such darn warmth could be accompanied by levels of Arctic ice that are slightly higher than recently observed for this time of year (but still well below the 1979 to 2000 average).
Yet Bastardi himself constantly talks about the impact of the PDO [Pacific Decadal Oscillation] and AMO [Atlantic multidecadal oscillation] — and in February he wrote “we also have a warm Arctic, a product of the blocking.” But he apparently knows so little about actual relevant meteorology that he has no idea that the source of the blocking — a strongly negative AO [Arctic oscillation] — works to increase sea ice levels.
Bastardi asserts, “If it’s warmer than normal, you should not have an increase in ice.” But as the National Snow and Ice Data Center explained earlier this month in an article titled, “Double-dip Arctic Oscillation, and update on Antarctica”:
The strong negative AO has contributed to cold temperatures throughout much of the U.S. and northern Europe, and the notable snow events in the eastern U.S. However, the impact on the Arctic has been quite different. First, a negative AO tends to bring warmer than normal temperatures to the Arctic. This factor contributed to the low ice conditions in the Atlantic side of the Arctic, discussed above. Second, the AO has a strong effect on Arctic sea ice motion. The pattern of winds associated with a strongly negative AO tends to reduce export of ice out of the Arctic through the Fram Strait. This helps keep more of the older, thicker ice within the Arctic.
No conspiracy to magically manipulate data, Joe. Just basic meteorology.
Did I mention that Bastardi is InAccuweather’s expert long-range forecaster?
And as for what’s going on in Antarctica, NSIDC also explains:
Sea ice extent in the Antarctic has been unusually high in recent years, both in summer and winter. Overall, the Antarctic is showing small positive trends in total extent. For example, the trend in February extent is now +3.1% per decade. However, the Amundsen and Bellingshausen Seas show a strong negative trend in extent. These overall positive trends may seem counterintuitive in light of what is happening in the Arctic. Our Frequently Asked Questions section briefly explains the general differences between the two polar environments. A recent report (Turner, et. al., 2009) suggests that the ozone hole has resulted in changes in atmospheric circulation leading to cooling and increasing sea ice extents over much of the Antarctic region.
I guess I’ll have to blog on Antarctic sea ice since it has become another standard anti-science talking point. For now you can read the always excellent Skeptical Science, “Is Antarctica losing or gaining ice?” and “Watts Up With That’s continued ignorance regarding Antarctic sea ice.”
As an aside, former TV weatherman and leading anti-scientific blogger Anthony Watts of WattsUpWithThat has a laughable post, “Why Joe Bastardi sees red” that tries to defend Bastardi’s unmeteorological analysis that completely sidesteps his confusion between temperature and temperature anomaly. This would be a case of the blind leading the blind — see “Diagnosing a victim of anti-science syndrome (ASS).”
Note that Bastardi questions how NASA comes up with this record of unusual warmth this winter. But in fact, Bastardi has already admitted the satellite data itself show that “Earth continues warmest winter since satellite measurements started” and “Feb should be warmest on record!”
And as I’ve previously noted, while Bastardi apparently accuses all temperature records prior to 1978 of being unreliable and requiring “magic readjustment,” he himself repeatedly quotes pre-1978 data to make his own (anti-scientific) arguments (see Meteorological Malpractice: Accuweather’s Joe Bastardi pushes the “70s Ice Age Scare” myth again).
Either you accept the pre-satellite data or you don’t. You can’t say, well, I believe the pre-satellite data when it fits my (nonsensical, long-debunked-in-the-scientific-literature) theory, but not when it fits the basic laws of physics, which say that if you put more heat trapping greenhouse gases in the atmosphere you will trap more heat and warm the planet. Can you?
As long as Accuweather retains Bastardi as their “expert long-range forecaster,” they deserved to be called InAccuweather.