Thursday, August 18, 2011

Joe Bastardi ~ Meteorological Malpractice examined

Recently, I’ve been increasingly disturbed by the escalating war on science. An example of this trend is the national exposure a blatant liar such as AccuWeather’s Joe Bastardi is afforded.

Joe Romm, at had put a lot of effort into compiling a number of investigative reports following the track record of meteorological malpractice Bastardi has established.

See if the evidence doesn’t have you agreeing with Joe Romm that AccuWeather should be ashamed to have such a man broadcasting his deception over their networks. In fact, considering the legal harassment Michael Mann has been subjected to for doing diligent science, why isn’t Joe Bastardi being prosecuted for his out and out frauds and for the willful misinformation he is spreading nationally? It's as though truth just don't matter to these folks.

The first part is based on a commentary and the second is a liberal sharing from Joe Romm’s impressive investigative reporting.

Fox Commentator Distorts Physics
By Davide Castelvecchi ~ August 11, 2011 ~ Scientific
Here’s the 8/6/11 video.

“On the August 6 edition of Fox and Friends Saturday, the hosts interviewed Joe Bastardi —whom they introduced as “chief meteorologist at WeatherBell”—on global warming.

“Before introducing Bastardi the hosts said that the global warming debate was heating up “after a new NASA study seems to debunk whether it’s actually manmade.” No further details were provided. Instead, as evidence the hosts provided the results of a poll. But presumably the Fox presenters were referring to a study that has created a lot of controversy and media hype.”

Yup, and so it goes, FOX announcer headlines: “... after a new NASA study seems to debunk whether it’s actually manmade.” No details are provided although the probable study in question has had a lot of holes poked in it. Instead there was a jump to some gratuitous Rasmussen poll result claiming 69% “think scientists falsify research.” Not a shred of supporting evidence, just a gut level rejection I suspect.

Now, please think about it a moment, this sort of numerical fraud is beyond comprehension, considering that satellites and computers are retrieving the information and recording it. Those records are stored in open access* sources. This data gets reviewed by hundreds if not thousands of independent teams and entities. {*Sure “open access” according to academic protocols. After all don’t they have the right to know that the folks looking at the data are at least educated enough to know what they are looking at and how to handle the data? }

It’s so ugly to see the latest echo-chamber ratcheting-up of their attack on science to the point of openly accusing scientists of falsifying data sans evidence... that is, even though they have presented no substantive evidence ~~~ Incidentally, flippant comments within inter-personal emails not withstanding: Where’s the substantive evidence of fraudulent data manipulation?... or is it as it seems, only hot air slander magnified by a corporate owned and agenda driven popular media machine?

~ ~ ~

Bastardi then goes on to condemn well over a century of solid science, including stuff that made heat seeking missile accuracy possible. It’s real solid deep fundamental physics understandings, but Joe has a different take:

“[Saying that CO2 could affect the climate] contradicts what we call the first law of thermodynamics: energy can never be created nor destroyed. So, to look for an input of energy into the atmosphere you have to come from a foreign source.”
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Come on, this is like seventh grade science student gibberish. Yes we have to look outside our atmosphere for the energy input, but no further than our sun. The point is, it’s the thermo properties of GHGs causing the warming, and none of that contradicts the first law of thermodynamics.

Here’s how the ScientificAmerican article put it:
What climate science says is not that CO2 carries energy into the atmosphere or somehow magically generates it out of nowhere. Instead, it says that CO2 and other gases acts as a blanket, keeping heat from escaping into space. This, as Bastardi should know, is called the greenhouse effect.”

“The greenhouse effect results from the fact that CO2 (and other greenhouse gases, chiefly water vapor) is more opaque to infrared radiation than it is to visible light.”

It’s about absorbing infrared heat energy on a molecular level, no challenge to the first laws principles. As for saturation claims... those are based on small volume table top experiments... our atmosphere is in motion all the time, the molecules don’t line up long enough for the saturation effect to have an effect.
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Bastardi then points a whimsical finger at other culprits: ‘could be sunspot cycles and ocean currents.’
The lie in this is that sunspot cycles are at a historic low, and ocean currents collect and move heat around but they do not produce heat which Bastardi’s supposition would require.

Furthermore, Bastardi use of the “Le Chatelier’s Principle” is disingenuous to the extreme: That principle being that “When a system in equilibrium is disturbed by a change of temperature, pressure, or concentration variable, the system shifts in equilibrium composition in a way that tend to counteract this change of variable”

Thing is, our planet is not in any such equilibrium and there is no reason to believe there’s some ideal temp Gaia seeks to return to, which is exactly what Bastardi is implying. So what does that leave? Perhaps starting to appreciate the consensus climatological understanding?

Skeptic Check: Plotting Along Monday 15 August 2011 is a short podcast that takes another tack at explaining the above science, though it doesn’t start until into the second minute.


Update August 16: Bad Astronomy points out that Bastardi apparently has a long history of misunderstanding and misrepresenting science.


Here’s a list of other instances of meteorological malpractice justifying Joe Bastardi’s termination as a public meteorologist. Unless in italics this is pretty much a cut and paste from, though I’ve cut out many sections so encourage you to link to his site. I am doing this simply because I believe this information needs more exposure and I’m trying to do my two bits worth.
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As documented by Joe Romm at

Meteorological Malpractice: Accuweather’s Joe Bastardi pushes the “70s Ice Age Scare” myth again

By Joe Romm on Jan 18, 2011

“Now Bastardi 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.”

~~ ah and then more Bastardi lies~~

“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. 

"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:

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.”{...}
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Second, {...}
“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.
“I asked Prof. Scott Mandia to reply to Bastardi’s claim and he directed me to the actual RSS satellite data, pointing out the “decadal trend image which shows cooling of 0.306K per decade in the lower 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.”
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“Third, the satellite data issue:
“Bastardi says: “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.”
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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, In-AccuWeather 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:
Please keep it genuinely civil


hat tip to Peter Sinclair {likewise!}
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Related Posts:
• Long wrong Joe Bastardi cooks the books to smear NSIDC. Time for Accuweather to fire him: National Snow & Ice Data Center explains Bastardi can’t read graphs and “is unclear as to how standardized anomalies are derived”

• Joe Bastardi can’t read a temperature anomaly map and so spins another conspiracy theory: Says pre-1978 temperatures use “magic readjustment”

Accuweather’s Joe Bastardi admits, “Earth continues warmest winter since satellite measurements started”: Then he invents a new, self-contradictory theory of warming.

Meteorological Malpractice: Accuweather’s Joe Bastardi pushes the “70s Ice Age Scare” myth again

• O’Reilly’s weatherman, befuddled Bastardi: “Global cooling is actually a cause of drought in California”

• Joe Bastardi asserts “The coming cooling of the planet overall will return it to where it was in the ’60s, ’70s, and ’80s”


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