Sunday, February 10, 2013

World's Stupidest Global Warming Answer

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As a kid, I loved "Watch Mr. Wizard" a weekly science show starring the late Don Herbert. The man did his homework and inspired many of us to go into science and engineering.

Unfortunately, Bill Nye is an advocate (for catastrophic global warming) masquerading as a scientist. All you need to know about his knowledge of atmospheric science can gleaned be from his answer in the above interview: that the recent Northeast Blizzard came from Africa!

No, it didn't. 

Here is a graphic from NOAA and the Associated Press from Friday morning showing the two systems  -- over the United States -- combining to form the blizzard. Both came from the west.
I traced the path of the two storms in the still image above. Now, here is the time lapse of the two storms and you can see both came from the west across the U.S., not Africa.

This is what is so frustrating about the entire global warming debate. I've seen physicians, botanists, and other advocates presented as "experts" in atmospheric science. 

Mr. Nye owes weather science an apology and should stop holding himself out as an expert on atmospheric science. 


  1. Wow, what a joke. My son is in eighth grade and currently studying weather, and even he knows this is a crock. What a shame that the news uses these so called "experts", and they change the minds of people that don't know better.

  2. Bill does not directly state that nor’easters or the blizzard originated in Africa. My interpretation is that he was referring to Sandy before transitioning to how the blizzard’s track along the East Coast paralleled Sandy’s, before going on to correctly explain the general movement and wind direction of storm systems. So although Bill’s answer was indeed incomplete at best, the conclusion made is tenuous and possibly incorrect.

    But the main issue with the conclusion is that it fails to identify anything wrong with what Bill said with respect to global warming. The response that’s attacked is not related to his global warming views. Even if Bill did not know where the storm formed, this alone does not invalidate his point that a warmer sea surface and a warmer, moister atmosphere would cause more intense storms. Indeed, both Sandy and the blizzard storm experienced the strengthening Bill refers to off the East Coast – not in the Gulf or off the coast of Africa. If this post wants to attack Bill Nye’s views on global warming (rather than question his knowledge on global weather patterns), it needs to challenge the connection he makes between the atmosphere’s heat/moisture content and strong storms, and whether storms like Sandy and the blizzard will occur more frequently. Attacking a statement irrelevant to global warming, and calling it “World’s Stupidest Global Warming Answer” is disingenuous and appears agenda driven.

    1. If you read this blog instead of singular posts you'd note that just a few posts down this is covered where it's pointed out that this region:

      1) gets blizzards of similar intensity regularly - this isn't the first of this strength.

      2) previous storms of this strength happened when the earth was much cooler thus there is no evidence at all that indicates global warming strengthened this storm.

      Thank you for playing but the 'attack on the issue' you were talking about was made against anyone trying to stretch the issue (not Bill Nye specifically) before this was even said.

      That makes the specific comment about Bill spot on - as anything more would be repetition of an idea and singling out Bill for that - where here he is picking on a specific thing that particularly disqualifies Bill as having the qualifications to speak on the issue.

    2. This post is not on Bill stretching the issue but on where he thought the blizzard formed. If the challenge on the correlation between warm atmosphere and storms is elsewhere, this post should have linked to it and made the focus there, rather than flying off on an unrelated tangent about Africa.

      "Previous storms of this strength happened when the earth was much cooler thus there is no evidence at all that indicates global warming strengthened this storm." The questions I'd pose before making such a bold statement are what the conditions were like to create those storms, and whether global warming would enable those conditions to occur more frequently.

  3. The hypothesis that that a warmer sea surface and a warmer, moister atmosphere causes more intense storms is sound bite science, similar to climate has been warming, CO2 has been increasing, therefore CO2 caused the global warming. The simplicity of the argument appeals at first glance but further review suggests that the situation is not that obvious.

    The problem is the suggestion by Mr. Nye that were it not for global warming these storms would not have been so damaging. The damage caused by both of these storms was much more a function of the storm track than the small incremental increase in intensity. Please show me how global warming caused the Sandy to come on shore from the east at the diurnal and lunar high tide so that the storm surge was so damaging. Please show why the impact of the latest storm was not as great as the last New England blizzard in 1978. When you can do that I will accept that global warming has anything more than a minor impact on storm damage.

    Final note where did the storm track of the blizzard come from? That does not look right to me. I thought this one hugged the shoreline much closer than indicated on that figure.

    1. "Further review suggests that the situation is not that obvious." What other forcing do you identify that account for the warming?

      I agree that with less than 1C warming and about half a foot of sea level rise in the past century, global warming's impact has been relatively small thus far and cannot account for most of the damage. On the other hand, oceans have a high heat capacity, so a small increase in temperature is significant in how it may affect weather. That makes temps rising 2C or 3C above the 20th century average relevant to the frequency of such strong storms.

      Yeah, those figures were for Sandy as a tropical and post-tropical storm, not the blizzard. To me, Sandy was the storm that took the unusual track due to strong blocking high pressure. I suppose Bill was attempting to say that both systems had a strong blocking high to the east, delaying them from turning east. But clearly Sandy's track was more unusual, and it's very questionable whether the strength of those high pressures could be linked to a climate forcing.

    2. The other forcings that I believe account for the warming in the last 40 years are aerosols, land use changes and natural variability. Sure greenhouse gases account for some of it but not enough to warrant the politically correct goal of an 80% reduction by 2050. Implementing that draconian limit would cause more harm than the GHG component of warming.

  4. Hi Readers,

    Good discussion.

    Even the IPCC now admits there is no correlation between global warming and more intense storms. The change in IPCC's position has been documented on this blog on several occasions.

    There were two parts to the low pressure system that caused the blizzard. When those two low pressure centers came together (known as "phasing") the storm rapidly intensified. You can see the two parts come together in the time lapse satellite images.


    1. Yeah that was good stuff; I just wish it had come to me in Maryland. Sorry btw for causing a bit of a stir here; I saw your link on Roger Pielke Jr's blog and got here. But I'm glad you're welcoming the discussion.

  5. @DAK: We welcome all respectful and constructive discussions as long as they related to the topic of the posting to which the comments are attached.