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How many major scientific misstatements does Joe Bastardi have to make before In-Accuweather fires him as their chief long-range forecaster?

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"How many major scientific misstatements does Joe Bastardi have to make before In-Accuweather fires him as their chief long-range forecaster?"

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As expected, he rejects my bet. He says that if he’s wrong, he’ll be “driven from the field.”

I’ll post Bastardi’s reply to my bet — really, my acceptance of his wager — below.  But first, let’s look at his latest anti-science, anti-scientist video.

Joe Bastardi is “the chief hurricane and long-range forecaster at AccuWeather and a national bodybuilding competitor.”  He is also, based purely on the objective evidence, probably the worst professional long-range forecaster on Earth.

Just last month, he cooked the books in an official In-Accuweather video to smear some of the nation’s leading scientists.   I called for him to be fired and suggested referring to the company as InAccuweather until it does.  Bastardi did ultimately retract the video but couldn’t bring himself to admit that his accusation of fraud against NSIDC was not merely completely unwarranted but totally inappropriate and in fact based in part on his simple misreading of a graph.

Now he has a new official In-Accuweather video, his weekly “Global sea ice and temperature report.”  In it he claims the Navy believes Arctic ice is getting thicker, when in fact they have testified to Congress that it is getting thinner and will continue to do so.  He egregiously asserts the satellite data has falsified the theory of global warming by failing to show stratospheric cooling — without actually checking the satellite data to see that it in fact shows the stratosphere has been cooling for decades.  And he just can’t resist smearing the many dedicated scientists at NOAA and NASA who work tirelessly to bring us the actual surface temperature data so people (other than Bastardi) can make accurate weather and climate forecasts and decisions.

Here is the video — which by itself should forever disqualify Bastardi as a serious long-range forecaster.  Do watch to the end to catch the gratuitous anti-scientist smear, but don’t forget the head vises!



Pause to cram gray matter back into skull.

Bastardi is the Secretariat of Gish gallopers.

First off, while Bastardi asserts the Navy agrees with him, in fact it takes a very different view — see Arctic Death Spiral 2010:  Navy’s oceanographer, Rear Admiral David Titley, tells Congress, “the volume of ice as of last September has never been lower”¦in the last several thousand years.”  Perhaps more telling, while Bastardi’s forecast would have the Navy planning for Arctic sea ice to return to 1970s levels, Titley says he has told the Chief of Naval Operations that “we expect to see four weeks of basically ice free conditions in the mid to late 2030s.”  Ouch!

In his retraction, Bastardi did say last month that the scientists of the National Snow and Ice Data Center are “honest brokers.”  Well, here’s what their data shows:

Ice Age 9-10

Researchers often look at ice age as a way to estimate ice thickness. Older ice tends to be thicker than younger, one- or two-year-old ice.

The death spiral of Arctic sea ice continued this year, according to both observations and modeling.  The figure above comes from the National Snow and Ice Data Center.  In September, NSIDC’s director Mark Serreze said, The volume of ice left in the Arctic likely reached the lowest ever level this month” and “I stand by my previous statements that the Arctic summer sea ice cover is in a death spiral. It’s not going to recover.”

No wonder Bastardi won’t back up his projection on Arctic sea ice with a bet.

Second, while Bastardi is correct that “one of the biggest linchpins in the global warming theory is that the stratosphere is going to cool,” almost everything else he has to say about this subject is utterly wrong.

Bastardi’s way of trying to figure out if there has been a long-term cooling of the stratosphere is to eyeball overlapping daily curves from the last decade.  Because he can’t find 2010, that proves “there’s no positive feedback,” and that climate science is wrong.

Seriously.  He encourages us to actually look at the satellite data, something which he hasn’t done.

I asked Prof. Scott Mandia to reply to Bastardi’s claim and he directed me to the actual RSS satellite data here, pointing out the “decadal trend image which shows cooling of 0.306K per decade in the lower stratosphere”:

Stratosphere

It is true that there has been a leveling off and slight rise in the last year, which, as Mandia notes, “appears to be in response to ozone recovery which is offsetting the cooling.”  But the fact is this basic climate science prediction has held true for three decades.  For more on the stratospheric cooling see this piece by Mandia.

Third, Bastardi has this absurd bromance with the satellite data:

You know how I love the objective satellite data because you can’t monkey with it.  You can’t take the temperatures down beforehand or Whatever.  So, yeah, I’m throwing in my little shots on the side.  I understand.  But the data is all there. And I encourage you, whether I’m right or wrong about this, to go look for yourself.

You can of course monkey with the objective satellite data.  Spencer and Christy persisted in multiple mistakes for a decade that just happened to all go in the same direction (see “Should you believe anything John Christy and Roy Spencer say?“).  As RealClimate wrote:

We now know, of course, that the satellite data set confirms that the climate is warming , and indeed at very nearly the same rate as indicated by the surface temperature records. Now, there’s nothing wrong with making mistakes when pursuing an innovative observational method, but Spencer and Christy sat by for most of a decade allowing “” indeed encouraging “” the use of their data set as an icon for global warming skeptics. They committed serial errors in the data analysis, but insisted they were right and models and thermometers were wrong. They did little or nothing to root out possible sources of errors, and left it to others to clean up the mess, as has now been done.

Fourth, by “little shots,” of course, Bastardi is once again questioning of the integrity of the scientists that NOAA and NASA who put together the surface temperature data, suggesting that they are cooking the books  “tak[ing] the temperatures down beforehand.”  Again, there is no evidence whatsoever that NOAA or NASA have done that, but when has evidence been the basis of anything Bastardi has said?

Bastardi should retract the video and apologize for the “little shots” smear.  If he won’t, then he is once again abusing his position at Accuweather to spread disinformation and trying to undermine the efforts of scientists to provide accurate, independent information about what humans are doing to this planet.   In that case, InAccuWeather should retract the video and fire him.  Of course, if they do, I expect FoxNews will officially hire him as their ‘forecaster’.

If you want to share your views with Inaccuweather, the American Meteorological Society was kind enough to post the contact information for their distinguished Founder, Chairman, & President, Joel N. Myers:

814-235-8600
myersj@accuweather.com

Please keep it genuinely civil

Finally, I emailed Bastardi about my bet and he wrote back:

This is not a wager, its forecast.  The author crafted it that way.

I have explained it a dozen times…now more.

The forecast was made 3 years ago,  that by  2030  the temp as measured by satellite would fall back to levels in the late 70s.  I have never, never never played the markets or “bet” on the weather.

Obviously, with the attention that has been created,  and the idea I am now betting my livelihood on this, which is way the article has appeared, if wrong, I am driven from the field.

And of course, in any thing I am proven wrong on, and since I do know, understand and respect the agw argument, as I have stated countless times, I would be an advocate.

I realize that you have a staked position in this. I also believe that like me, you want the  best.   But all I care about is nailing the forecast, and that is it. I am not who you portray me to be.  In the end, its a forecast, and time will tell what is right and wrong

cheers

JB

As I expected, he wouldn’t take the bet.  This notion that he can’t make this bet because he doesn’t ‘bet’ on the weather is a weak defense.  He expects people and businesses and governments to bet billions of dollars on his long-range forecasts — do they need to build more power plants, do cities and building designers need to plan for ever-worsening heat waves, should the Navy plan for an ice-free Arctic and so on?  Why should anyone make any investment decision or take any action based on Bastardi’s forecast if he won’t make the simplest of bets.

He claims he will be driven from the field if he is wrong.  I don’t know what more has to happen to demonstrate how wrong he is, but absent a big volcano, it should be pretty obvious by around mid-decade that his forecast was exactly backwards.

h/t Peter Sinclair

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37 Responses to How many major scientific misstatements does Joe Bastardi have to make before In-Accuweather fires him as their chief long-range forecaster?

  1. Prokaryotes says:

    People which spread doubt with unscientific claims, put the hall of humanity in peril, therefor they should be put on trail, for crimes against humanity. You do not play games, when the survival of the species is at stake.

  2. Steve Bloom says:

    Of course he’ll be retired by 2030, so I fail to see any risk to him.

  3. From Peru says:

    I repost what I said the previous Inaccuwether-related CP post:

    “So far, the planet has refused to cool.

    This is the graph of the 11-year average of all the main temperature datasets:

    http://www.skepticalscience.com/graphics.php?g=7

    You can download the EXCEL spreadsheet of montly temperature anomalies (to compute the 10 year average as well) here:

    http://www.skepticalscience.com/ Comparing-all-the-temperature-records.html

    The result is that we are in the hottest decade (2001-2010)* and the hottest 11-year period (2000-2010) on record, in all the temperatures datasets!

    There have passed a few years since the “ocean changed to a cool mode” and we have just passed the deepest solar minimum in century. Evidently the planet falsifies the Bastardi and the other deniers hypothesis, as always has.

    *(That is, the decade 2001-2010 is slightly warmer than the decade 2000-2009)”

  4. Joe says:

    It’s low impact, but I tweeted this to my friends and followers:

    “Boycott @accuweather until @joebastardi stops misstating the science of Climate Change! #inaccuweather #climatechange #climate”

    I encourage others to do the same. (@josephandersen)

  5. MarkB says:

    I often see deniers engage in the following style of argument:

    “Anthropogenic global warming predicts (A), but (A) has not happened as expected, so AGW is falsified.”

    In Bastardi’s example, (A) is stratospheric cooling (or lower stratosphere if we look at the specific data he’s using).

    One of the fundamental assumptions such arguments make is that there can be no other influences on (A) but of the anthropogenic greenhouse gas variety. If there was, one could not claim theory is falsified, as they’d have to first account for those other influences. So we have ozone offsetting the cooling, after enhancing it.

    Other values for (A) include

    - steady year-after-year increase in global temperatures (deniers are in effect, denying natural variability exists)

    - hotter summers year after year (but it was cold in {location} last year)

    - much warmer Antarctica (but no trends or cooling in one region)

  6. OK, let’s see if I’ve got this right: Elaborating a bit on Steve Bloom’s comment #1, according to his Wikipedia Entry, JoeB is now 55. He’s making a forecast which verifies in 2030 and which will “drive him from the field” if he’s wrong. At that point, he will be 75, and presumably installed into the Home for Old Bodybuilders. Yep, perfectly logical.

  7. Even after all this time, Bastardi remains so grotesquely ignorant he can’t even understand that the bet is about the climate, not the weather. I am not the littlest bit surprised.

  8. Dana says:

    Bastardi is spineless, and subconsciously (or perhaps even consciously), I’m sure he knows he’s wrong.

    By the way, not only is the stratosphere cooling (which as you note, is complicated by ozone depletion and recovery), but the higher layers of the atmosphere are also cooling, as I discussed here:
    http://www.skepticalscience.com/its-not-us-advanced.htm

  9. catman306 says:

    I hope when he’s driven from the field it will be in an EV. Maybe in a Tesla ’cause they’re really fast, sooner, rather than later. If he waits ten years, the roads may mostly be impassible from all the extreme weather and lack of funds to keep roads open while everything else is broken, too.

  10. Michael Tucker says:

    Bastardi is a waste of time. He IS the reason I do not visit Accuweather any longer.

    Bastardi, Spencer, Christy, and Singer make it easier for conservatives to live with their conclusions on AGW BUT I STILL SAY NO ONE will get conservatives to change their minds on government action. Not even if Bastardi went on Fox and proclaimed he had been horribly wrong.

    BTW – Singer has been making the rounds in California.

  11. Rob Honeycutt says:

    Joe… Just watched the video you posted. You might want to talk to Peter Sinclair. There is a program you can use to capture video on screen rather than having to video tape it.

  12. Adam R. says:

    It is a sad comment on the state of science in public discourse that an ignorant attention vampire like Bastardi receives any notice at all.

  13. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    ‘National bodybuilding competitor’- perhaps we have a case of steroid induced psychosis.

  14. Michael T. says:

    Arctic Oscillation Index from 1950 to present:
    http://www.columbia.edu/~mhs119/Temperature/T_moreFigs/AOI_line.pdf

    The AO index graph and maps are on James Hansen’s website from the link below:
    http://www.columbia.edu/~mhs119/Temperature/T_moreFigs/

  15. mickey says:

    I think the question AccuWeather would need to ask before considering firing him is how accurate have his weather forecasts been. Lets remember even with global warming it is still possible to be cold in one location at a given time. Case in point, JoeB predicted a very cold winter in the US and Europe in 2009-2010 and it was and likewise a Year without summer East of the Mississippi in 2009 and East of the Mississippi it was a rather chilly summer, may be not a year without summer, but definitely cooler than normal. I should also note he predicted the US and Europe would have a hot summer last year as they did and this winter the Southeastern US and Northwestern Europe have been colder than his predictions in October (note I am aware of the mild weather now in Europe, but still not mild enough to cancel out the December cold). And as a final note his colleague Brett Anderson credited him with being very good at nailing long range forecasts despite the fact the two have very different views on AGW and sea ice levels.

  16. He has to do something that generates just one word: “lawsuit”

    http://www.climatecasechart.com/

  17. mickey says:

    I should also add the fact he is unwilling to take the bet suggests he probably isn’t fully sure of what he is saying. Still predicting weather and climate involve very different skills so one can be good at one and bad at the other. In the case of the former he is quite good, so it would maybe make more sense for AccuWeather to ask him to stick to his area of expertise and stay out of areas he knows less about.

  18. David B. Benson says:

    Brett Anderson’s
    http://www.accuweather.com/blogs/climatechange/Science
    offers some good selections. I visit almost daily.

    And Brett has stated he doesn’t agree with Joe Bastardi…

  19. MarkB says:

    AccuWeather’s climate change site seems to have improved since going to the new format where (free) registration is required to comment. Still a few denier trolls commenting, but far less noise, and Brett’s posts in general are of higher quality, without the whole skeptic false balance stuff. Prior to this change, every other post was some garbage about “ClimateGate” or Fred Singer’s views. Now the garbage is mostly confined to Bastardi’s occasional rants, which are indeed an embarrassment to AccuWeather.

  20. Steve L says:

    What kind of vehicle will Bastardi be in when he is driven from the field? I think Joe’s guess about a Fox news van could be right.

    Looking at the RSS satellite data labeled as Figure 7 in this post, though, I don’t really see a decline in lower stratospheric temperatures. The greatest effects are El Chichon and Mt Pinatubo — it’s not clear to me that the apparent step changes after each eruption are reliable. Why would cooling be exhibited as periods of equilibrium punctuated (and stepping down) by hot spikes associated with volcanic activity?

  21. GreenTip says:

    Maybe we should just send a few people there to State College to protest AccuWeather until they fire this rancid idiot.

    J.F.C.!

    He’s worse than Palin!

    He needs to be permanently eliminated from any climate or weather forecast role. We need to do whatever it takes because people like Bastardi are killing the planet with their words.

  22. Leif says:

    Bastardi is nothing more than a shill, (noun: an accomplice of a hawker, gambler, or swindler who acts as an enthusiastic customer to entice or encourage others,) who’s job description is to babble code words with such confusion as to keep In-Accuweather from being sued but still bring in the denier crowd for another helping. For this roll he gets paid handsomely. It is not a job that ethical folks could do, and the pay is better than eating light bulbs.

  23. Sou says:

    Should we be taking bets on whether or when Bastardi will be ‘driven from the field’ then?

    Despite his gross inaccuracies so far, he’s still ‘in the field’. So a bet against his claim that he’ll be ‘driven from the field’ wouldn’t have bad odds. The longer he’s around and sticking to his gross inaccuracies, the more likely it is he’ll be driven off mainstream sites I expect. Going by the seeming robustness of off-the-planet networks like Fox, he’s bound to find work somewhere.

  24. Mike says:

    I wonder if he would agree to debate Masters?

  25. Greg says:

    What I’d like to know is who the hell is the executive editor at AccuWeather or if they even have one or in fact any kind of quality control whatsoever! What kind of a respectable outfit would allow a simpleton like Bastardi to post half-baked pet theories on a subject his had no training in, and seems to knows next nothing about under the AccuWeather brand.

    JR, it’s not Bastardi that accused NSIDC of fraud or that’s smearing our top climate scientists it’s AccuWeather! After all he works for them, they are clearly aware of his posts and they seem to have no intention of taking him off the air.

  26. A face in the clouds says:

    Even the television meteorologists here are starting to knock Bastardi’s softballs into the nickel seats. Up until recently they stayed out of these arguments, but their sense of duty and advanced education apparently made it impossible for them ignore the absurd any longer. There’s little doubt who the viewers believe. In this part of Texas we literally trust them with our lives. Most if not all of us have also bought a used car at least once in our lives, and Bastardi’s con job has gone from insulting to silly and disturbing. He doesn’t even appear to believe it himself. It may not be long before he starts using the old Limbaugh dodge: “I’m only an entertainer.”

  27. Anonymous says:

    Steve L,
    The aerosol layer from volcanic eruptions forms a thin layer in the stratosphere. Infrared radiation from the sun and Earth’s surface can partially penetrate the stratosphere but are reflected back toward their points of origin before they reach the other side (i.e. Before they pass from Earth to space or vice versa). The end result is that the IR energy ends up with a slightly longer “residence time” in the stratosphere than it would otherwise have, resulting in temporary warming.

  28. Ben Wolf says:

    Sorry, didn’t mean to make that last post anonymously

  29. jimvj says:

    The total heat content of the earth (ocean, land surface and atmosphere) is one quantity that must be increasing monotonically – because of increasing GHGs. All the variations – even intense ones like La Nina/El Nino – just redistribute that heat within different parts of the earth.

    Is the total heat content plot available somewhere?

  30. Ben Wolf says:

    Jimvj,

    The heat content of land and atmosphere is vanishingly small compared to what the oceans accumulate. The best answer you’re going to get is to look at the Earth’s total energy imbalance. Murphy 2009 is a good place to start, but you’ll have to pay to get a look at it. Fortunately SkepticalScience discusses the paper here:

    http://www.skepticalscience.com/Measuring-Earths-energy-imbalance.html

    If you scroll to the bottom of the article you’ll see Figure 4 which should at least partially answer your question.

  31. Rob Honeycutt says:

    You know, when I listen to Bastardi I get the sense he’s someone who could learn. He makes all sorts of caveats that might show him to be wrong. I have no doubt that he’s right wing and religious, and that is probably the basis for his position. But he makes so many glaring, elemental mistakes as he explains things that it seems to me he’s just not getting the right information.

    Has anyone (someone with a temperament for teaching) who has a strong background in climate science considered spending time with him to help him understand how all this works? If he was approached the right way he might welcome the opportunity to learn.

    As Joe Romm pointed out before, the guy has a huge platform for whatever message he chooses.

  32. Jeffrey Davis says:

    re: 31

    It was Jay Gould who said that you could always hire one half of the poor to kill the other half. There are lots of people like Bastardi out there. If Bastardi reported the climate science right, he’d be out on the street and out of a job.

  33. Rob Honeycutt says:

    Jeffrey… I wouldn’t underestimate the opportunity.

  34. Steve L says:

    thanks Ben,
    what I didn’t get is why there are step changes in stratospheric temperature once you remove the effect of the eruptions

  35. Keith says:

    All eyes – and I wish there were more – are on you Accuweather!

  36. John says:

    People need to be more specific when discussing what is now called “Climate Change.” The term only makes sense when discussing the theory of man-made Climate Change and the extent of its effects on the actual naturally-occurring climate cycles. (Though I guess it can be argued that since man’s existence on Earth is inherently natural, any product of mankind’s doing, whether it be elevated CO2 emissions or not, is likewise technically “natural” as well…) This is what the debate is actually about, man’s effect on certain weather patterns, and this is, despite what many egotistical people on both sides of the debate may say, most definitely still an unproven science. Referring to “Climate Change” in terms of just “the changing of the climate” is almost redundant, given that the Earth’s climate, by its very nature, is always changing.

    That said, humans should be actively pursuing ways to provide cleaner energy to their civilization, regardless of its possible effects on the environment. A healthy earth is beneficial to everyone. Joe’s claims that the Earth is cooling are just that: claims. Let the man have his opinion. We should take care of our planet regardless of whether it’s cooling, warming, or just staying the same. Stop hating on Joe and other so-called “deniers”….save the hate for the people who are unwilling to help clean the planet (ie. Big Oil). And to all the hypocrites who constantly point finger and name-call on the internet and elsewhere, but don’t do your part…..just STFU.