Bill Nye is the anti-science guy when it comes to global warming and hurricanes

Post by Dr. Ryan Maue (cross posted at my Policlimate)

“Must watch TV: Nye expounds on theory of racism”

Much “debate” has erupted in the liberal mainstream media concerning the effects of global warming on Hurricane Irene. With a few notable exceptions (Henry Fountain awesome), many of the journalists butchered the science and generally constructed disjointed narratives that quoted a variety of favorite experts which left me wondering why they even bother (Politico). Rush Limbaugh provided a compelling alternative explanation for the hurricane hype: “Politics is part of everything. The weather’s been politicized; the climate’s been politicized…Both Obama and the media were hoping for a disaster to revive his presidency and help prove climate change theory…The New York Times is trying to say that this violent hurricane is indeed indicative of global warming. It was a tropical storm when it left New York.”

But Bill Nye takes the “anti-science” crusade to a new level by showing up on Fox Business with my KFI 640 Saturday friend Charles Payne and embarrassing the hell out of himself. Once you watch the video and read the transcript, you will be left in amazement at his utter lack of comprehension of the topic at hand on national television! But, alas, Media Matters thinks Nye owned Payne (h/t to Andrew Revkin to Tweeted this). And CBS News headlines it as a story! Unbelievable!

The left actually thinks Bill Nye is a brilliant ambassador for their brand of global warming alarmism — a legitimate guy that understands the science and can articulate an explanation. However, Nye has no credentials or expertise with respect to global warming and hurricanes, at all. Not one iota.

Video is embedded or to go to CBS News and watch the Fox Business embedded video there. “Heady stuff, but Nye receives my respect for retaining his patience in outlining a life’s worth of work in a six-minute segment.” says Andrew Nusca. He has no idea that what Bill Nye is saying is disjointed and amateurish. Intricacies? Nye got almost everything wrong.

I transcribed my own transcript from the first 3 minutes of this (all I could take). Emphasis — bold and italics are my comments.

Charles Payne: While hurricane Irene brought more than just wind damage and flooding to the east coast, it’s revived a national debate as to whether global warming might be causing an increase in hurricanes and other extreme weather. In fact a recent cover story in Newsweek declared that this kind of wild weather may be quote “the new normal”. Here with insights on this is Bill Nye, otherwise known as the science guy.

Ok Bill, I’m going to come right at you. Um…Hurricane Irene – proof of global warming?

Bill Nye: Oh, I don’t think the word proof is what you are looking for – evidence of, a result of, yeah, yeah. Now here’s what the people will tell you that run these climate models. Now everybody, the word model in this usage is a computer program. A very sophisticated computer program. So you take data from satellites about the thickness of clouds and the extent of cloud-cover over the sea. You take data about the temperature of the sea surface. You take data about the existing weather say in North America or the Gulf of Mexico as this storm moves into it. Then you compute how much rain fell out of it, how much energy must have been put into it to create that much rain. It takes many months to analyze an event like Irene. Now the climate colleagues that I have will not tell you today that Irene was evidence or a result of climate change but check in with them about March next year after they have a few months to collect all of these millions and millions of data from weather services and satellites and compile them and run a climate model and show that Irene was a result of the world having more energy in the Earth’s atmosphere.

(Ryan: First of all, charitably, I think Nye is confusing a real-time operational weather forecast with a climate model. Climate models do not assimilate satellite observations of a given event — and it wouldn’t take months and months to compile the data. I have everything sitting on my server which generates my old FSU weather map page. Check back with them in March — that’s when they’ll have their climate model results back proving Irene was the result of more energy? This is a pretty unconventional way of doing climate or extreme event attribution. Bill Nye follows the “anti-scientific” method: I’ll give you the answer now, and then in 6-months, check back when I have the proof. )

CP: But here’s the thing here bill, ever since Katrina, right, we’ve heard that every year the hurricane season is going to be more devastating and apocalyptic, and the reality is we haven’t seen that. So how can Newsweek say “hey, this is a new normal”? is that irresponsible – is there any science behind that?

(Ryan: this is a great question by Payne. Since global hurricane activity — the number of storms, hurricanes, and Accumulated Cyclone Energy (ACE) is at historical lows — collapsing since Katrina — as I showed in my recent GRL peer-reviewed paper, how on earth can you attribute one hurricane (Irene) to climate change.?)

BN: well there’s a lot more science behind that than just saying it’s not. But, uh, that aside. That’s only 6-years – in geologic time in terms of climate events, is not very long. Furthermore there is a lot of debate about this cool thing or remarkable thing is that the Sea-surface in the Pacific gets warmer, in the Pacific Ocean! Okay, tens of thousands of nautical miles away. As that gets warmer, it will strangely serve to decapitate certain hurricane or cyclonic storms off the coast of Africa – and actually get a few fewer hurricanes.

(Ryan: no kidding Nye, however, you haven’t come up with any science. Nye then launches into a tortured explanation of the El Nino Southern Oscillation warm phase — El Nino where the waters in the tropical Pacific cyclically become anomalously warm. But, it’s not “tens-of-thousands nautical miles away” — that’s more like the distance to the moon. There is actually little consensus in the climate community about the future of El Nino as the planet slowly warms. The CMIP3 models used for the IPCC AR4 report fail to reproduce historical ENSO events or variability, and therefore are useless prediction devices for the future. We already have a pretty good handle on the “teleconnection” effects of El Nino and La Nina on Atlantic hurricane development with research pioneered by Dr. Bill Gray and furthered by Dr. Phil Klotzbach who produces Colorado State’s seasonal hurricane forecasts. 2011 is a neutral-to-building La Nina year, so we should expect weaker vertical shear in the Main Development Region of the tropical Atlantic. It’s bizarre that Nye brought up El Nino which contradicts his original assertion that Irene was evidence of global warming.)

CP: But Bill, that’s not…

BN: This is another thing that’s very hard to show.

CP: But the Pacific Ocean, getting warmer, but that’s not from man.

(Ryan: excellent point again Charles. The tropical Pacific does not have a strong global warming signal over the past 30-years, which is due to the cyclical nature of ENSO on 2-7 year time scales. Our sea-surface temperature (SST) records get worse as you go backwards from the beginning of the satellite era in 1979. Nye has no answer.)

BN: (waving hands): you’re acting that you are dismissing those things like they they are not relevant.

(Ryan: Nye is defeated, and he knows it. After wagging his finger like Judge Judy, he pretty much has spent his arsenal of facts on this issue.)

CP: I’m not dismissing it, but you have so much information, I want to get to all of it. Are you saying though that it’s manmade, though?

BN: Well the world is getting warmer, uh, everybody, the world is getting warmer. I believe the debate is whether humans are causing it…Do we not agree that the world is getting warmer?

(Ryan: The world is getting warmer — so Irene has to be influenced by global warming. Maybe Irene did NOT reach its maximum potential because of global warming — has anyone considered that. Why must ALL of the climate change effects be a certain sign? Why didn’t Irene reach Category 5? Why did it weaken so fast if the SSTs were so warm? This is where the real tropical cyclone researchers will take over from the media hacks, and, yes, they will come with an answer in March. But, they will follow the “scientific” method and not the “I’ll get the proof later” Bill Nye “anti-science” method.)

CP: I have no idea. Someone told me that it’s warmed 1-degree over the past 100-years. I’ll take their word for it.

(Ryan: Charles is right.)

Show continues to talk about racism and shows the Al Gore “racism” clip – but Nye then really goes off into a different realm discussing that. I’m convinced that Fox News booked Nye knowing that he would butcher the science, and force me to write this post.


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What I did learn from Bill Nye the Science Comic is that when you breed one species with another species, you can insult everyone.
So it holds with dogs, does it hold equally with say, mating a tornado with a hurricane and getting a …. storm?
I was dumbfounded by how utterly ridiculous Nye’s response was. It had all the makings of a veiled racist analogy to make a point of something totally unrelated and totally inappropriate. Perhaps he’s missing his true calling… procreation. He seemed to know much more about that than the climate topic he was being asked about.


Nye’s been making a fool of himself for a long time.This is hilarious:

If all “the science guy” has is “look at the models”, then he’s completely beclowning himself. As complex and as intricate as they are, they’re hopelessly simplistic compared to the multitude of variables that go into day to day weather patterns, much less the larger-scale, long term, global climate. Many of them are simply torturing the data to make it line up with what data we’ve already recorded, and then saying “this predicts the future”. Except it doesn’t, and many of the attempts to show catastrophic AGW effects have been demonstrated to have next to no predictive power. If the models aren’t trustworthy enough to predict the next year, the next hundred seems to be nothing short of hubris.


Bill Nye was much better as a comedian:

David, UK

I’ve heard Nye before (on YouTube clips) and he never sounds remotely plausible. One wonders how stupid he must be to keep putting himself in these situations that only serve to reveal how brainless he is. The bigger wonder is: what utter moron actually thought it would be a good idea to make this witless plonker the face of science reporting? It beggars belief.


Media Matters is as clueless about climate as they are about politics–so their expose` should come as no surprise whatsoever! And Bill Nye? Ah, what a sad sorry climsci person he’s turned out to be.

Philip N.

Obama was hoping for a disaster? Is there any evidence that this is true — anything at all — or is this just another manifestation of the evil genius of our age — the baseless rootless opinion that haunts the radio and television, the op-ed pages, and now the Internet? Our public figures and the media were right to urge people to take Irene seriously — it was a powerful storm — and if they had not, we might well have had more fatalities than we did. Your accusations are puerile.

Matt Skaggs

As a progressive committed to sustainability, but an avowed skeptic on AGW, I must ask: Don’t you realize that your scientific opinions would be much more useful to the larger debate if you separated them from the political jabs? I find you scientific contributions quite engaging, but your political comments make me queasy.
[RyanM: see my first comment]

Payne did not have to work too hard for Nye to shoot himself in both feet!

Douglas Dc

Didn’t Nye and Algore(Praise be to the Profit) demonstrating why AGW would cause the Sea Levels to rise
by melting ice in a glass of water-and neither one understood that ice volume is virtually the same as
liquid-they had to add ice to make it sort of work don’t have time to search for the clip….


Bill Nye looks a little like Timothy Geithner…


Philip N. says:
August 30, 2011 at 2:49 pm
Obama was hoping for a disaster? Is there any evidence that this is true — anything at all — or is this just another manifestation of the evil genius of our age — the baseless rootless opinion that haunts the radio and television, the op-ed pages, and now the Internet? Our public figures and the media were right to urge people to take Irene seriously — it was a powerful storm — and if they had not, we might well have had more fatalities than we did. Your accusations are puerile.

In my opinion, Obama wanted a “reverse Katrina” moment where he heroically takes charge of a natural disaster relief/response effort and shows thee public how much he cares. His administration is in that much trouble.
“Puerile” is a great adjective to describe the Obama administration, btw.


Ryan, I agree…
It’s no coincidence he was booked right after Gore………
I say we need to see much more of them both.


Ok… This is stupid. How a category 1 or 2 Hurricane is a sign of GW is beyond me. I remember when they actually hyped up storms that were worth it. Such as Andrew. I was only about 11 then, but I remember that one.

P Walker

Unfortunately , I saw the segment with Bill Nye . The man is clueless . Even worse than the Nye thing was Christian Parenti spouting off about climate driven warfare on Book TV Sunday afternoon . I was watching Fox anyway , but the Book TV show was self -inflicted torture ( I watched despite my knowing better) . BTW , Ryan , Charles Payne is one of my favorite commentators – he seems like the real deal .
[RyanM: charles will make you a lot of money]

Speaking of hurricanes…
XKCD: Hurricane Names
Except for the lack of the standard cartoon dream bubble, I think this must be Al Gore’s fantasy.

Carsten Arnholm

I am not renewing my 25 year subscription to The Planetary Society/The Planetary Report, that is for sure.


Oh man, you left out the best part at the end of the clip. He starts going off the deep end. The host was laughing because it was so absurd. Bill Nye makes the Trailer Park Boys look like rocket scientists.
[RyanM: major props for a Trailer Park Boys reference.]


Bill Nye helps pushing TV into oblivion.
Thanks, Bill.

Philip N. says: August 30, 2011 at 2:49 pm
Philip, I just gotta ask, how do you define a “Powerful Storm”? From my vantage point, it was pretty impressive, but it also was NOT a hurricane. So, what are your metrics, what are you comparing it to?

Interstellar Bill

Nye has abused the public good-will he built up with his pop-science program.
Science itself is politically neutral, unless you consider political science.
When not muzzled by leftism, however, true political science is very un-PC.
It reveals the total failure of every liberal policy of the past,
and every prospective one, including ‘greenhouse’ controls.


I would like to know why no weather station recorded sustained hurricane force winds throughout the entire event!


How does one separate CAGW from politics? As I understand it, billions of dollars a year flow into the pockets of the alarmists from various governments; and it is hard to believe that those billions don’t buy a lot of bad-science.
My fox tailed palm trees in my central Florida yard are telling me that the winters are getting colder and not warmer. The lack of hurricane activity over the last 2 – 3 tells me something is colder rather than warmer.


So if someone from New England has sex with someone from Papua New Guinea … then … Climate Change is true?
Gee … Thanks, Science Guy! I never would have figured that out on my own. Your power of logic is truly unique.


Not CO2 , not Climate Change , not the Sun nor de Moon, not El Niño or La Niña . It’s God.
Bachmann: D.C. Quake, Hurricane Message From God
It’s not Man made it’s God made.


The thing was BARELY a hurricane when it made landfall in NC. Virtually nowhere in NC saw hurricane force winds. Lots of rain/flodding, yes. But as far as strength goes, NC has been hit MUCH harder in the not-so-distant past….


Nye should have stuck to elementary level science education. Going beyond that it AGW advocacy leaves him way out of his depth, even by warmer standards. The old “Science Guy” show was entertaining for kids and taught them some basic science. Now evidently Nye wants to educate adults about more complex science, about which he has barely cursory knowledge at that. Not surprisingly, he makes a fool of himself.


“I would like to know why no weather station recorded sustained hurricane force winds throughout the entire event!”
So would I. It would be nice to see a post on that topic, as It may well be that some of us just don’t understand some things and need to be enlightened. But for now, it looks real odd.

John from CA

LOL, I posted this like yesterday under the Quote of the Week when I saw it on Fox.
Its actually Bill Nye the Global Warming Guy on Fox.

I’m convinced that Fox News booked Nye knowing that he would butcher the science, and force me to write this post. – Dr. Ryan Maue
Audience participation is good for ratings.

John from CA

I wish I could find a clip of Joe Bastardi on O’Reilly last night. He spoke about Irene and Climate Change just after Bill Nye spoke on Fox Business News.
This is all I can find:


Mr. Wizard must be spinning in his grave. Nye is a damned poor substitute.

Scott Covert

Bill Nye points at other people’s work and takes it all as fact. He has taken a big fat swallow of the AGW Kool-Aide. His whole arguement is based in his faith in AGW. He doesn’t even have a grasp of the magnitude of things. This is typical, if your estimates are off by several orders of magnitude ala the earths core being hundresd of thousands of degrees, tens of thousands of miles between the pacific and atlantic, etc…, you haven’t done your homework.


“I would like to know why no weather station recorded sustained hurricane force winds throughout the entire event!”
Obviously paid off by Big Oil!


Earth’s Circumference at the Equator: 24901.55 miles
the 2 most distant points are separated by half the circumference.
therefore, there is no place on earth that is tens of thousands of miles away.

chris y

Do Joe Romm or the gatekeepers over at Realclimate, realize that Bill Nye only has a BS in Mechanical Engineering, and is therefore, by their standards, completely unqualified to discuss anything about climate science?
Absolutely stunning.

R. Gates

Newflash to skeptics: Hurricane Irene, and every other hurricane that comes along between now and the end of time will be caused by greenhouse gas induced global warming. Guess what: no greenhouse warming, no hurricanes…oceans freeze solid…party over.
Now, to the issue: Since having zero level of greenhouse gases on earth would result in zero level of hurricanes, and some level of greenhouse gases give us the climate that allow some level of hurricane activity, is it possible that increased greenhouse gases beyond what we’ve seen in 800,000 years might cause some change in hurricane behavior? Hmmm…seems plausible, especially with the increases in ocean heat content and water vapor levels we’ve seen over the past few decades.

What a thoroughly embarrassing car crash that was!

R. Gates

John from CA says:
August 30, 2011 at 4:15 pm
I wish I could find a clip of Joe Bastardi on O’Reilly last night. He spoke about Irene and Climate Change just after Bill Nye spoke on Fox Business News
Did good old Joe happen to mention how horribly wrong he was on his predictions for Arctic sea ice extent this year? Or how about how the floor is dropping out on global sea ice as well? Hope, along with his other prognostications, he’s mentioning, “oh, by the way, I’ve been horribly wrong about my predictions for Arctic and Global sea ice extent…I’ve been predicting it will go up, but it’s been going down down down.”

Well done Ryan.
For those concerned about the political bent of the post, most of us here wish to heaven that it wasn’t so, but the CAGW issue is political. It may not have started that way, it may have. But, it is now. And it won’t go away by not mentioning the political overtones of the issue. Just look to Australia to know. I would note though, that this is often seen as a left/right issue. I’m not sure that’s properly descriptive. The advocates for the CAGW hypothesis are totalitarian globalists.(among other things) There are many on the perceived “right” that embrace this nonsense. Their constituency just doesn’t allow for such vocal advocacy. But, they are right there for the power grab just the same.
I sure miss the days when politics was simply about ideas of social and economic issues. 🙂
CAGW is impossible to extract from politics.

Dr. Science

Referencing the video of Nye versus Lindzen (or should I say Lindzen versus et al.), pretty soon we will run out of people like Lindzen. Then, we enter another Dark Age.

I don’t care who’s qualified or degreed. Truth is truth regardless of your degrees.
In this case it always comes down to one basic fact:
Correlation isn’t all you need to imply causation. You need correlation plus a firm mechanism.
But without correlation you can’t even pretend to discuss a theory of causation.
That’s why the Carbon Cultists fail at the first step. There is no correlation at all between hurricanes and CO2. Any attempt to discuss a theory that connects the two can be discarded immediately. No degrees needed, just a half-second with a good graph.

John from CA

“I’m convinced that Fox News booked Nye knowing that he would butcher the science, and force me to write this post.”
Great comments Ryan, I loved this one:
“But, it’s not “tens-of-thousands nautical miles away” — that’s more like the distance to the moon.”


O/T – it’s been two weeks since we had a post on Arctic sea ice, and we’re in the last few weeks of the melt. And the last post was about predictions, not much about the state of the ice as such. Normally there are a bunch of posts at this time tracking the ice melt in great detail – what’s different this year?


“American actress Daryl Hannah has been arrested in front of the White House along with other environmental protesters who oppose a planned oil pipeline from Canada to the US Gulf Coast.”
Should we be consulting her for our science education?
I wonder where she and her motley gang would score on an IQ test?

Mr. Nye should stick to elementary science fair volcanoes and be done with it. I could have presented a better defense of AGW despite the fact I know it’s a sham.

Bill Nye talking about tornadoes not occurring in Norway, interspersed with footage of a Norwegian tornado:


an insurance perspective…not reflected in today’s MSM:
30 Aug: AFP: Insurers escape the worst of Hurricane Irene
S&P put the insurance losses at around $5 billion (3.46 billion euros), in line with French bank Societe Generale’s estimate.
The figure is very significantly lower than the $72.3 billion in damages caused by Hurricane Katrina in 2005 which ripped through New Orleans and left 1,500 people dead…
“Major losses are likely to come from New York, for business interruption given the hundreds of flights that were cancelled, reduced hotel occupancy rates and disruption to utility companies,” it said…
30 Aug: Reuters: NY, NJ need faster federal aid after Hurricane Irene
New Jersey’s Republican Governor Chris Christie: “Hurricane Irene was a catastrophe of enormous severity and magnitude, Christie said, adding: “Torrential rains have caused significant flooding in areas across the state, impacting residences, major and local roads, and necessitating highway closures and a suspension of rail services.”…

Bill Illis

He kept saying the world IS warming.
Actually, that is wrong because it WAS warming but it isn’t now.
It warmed from 1976 to 1998, and from 1917 to 1944, from 1816 to 1878, from 900 AD to 1150 AD, from 200 BC to 200 AD, from 18,000 to 13,700 years ago, from 11,500 to 8,000 years ago and so on. Otherwise it WAS/IS cooling.
The climate models are built on an assumption about warming due to CO2/GHGs.
If you believe the assumption, you consider the climate model results to be “science”. If you would like the assumption checked out a little more thoroughly first, like using actual empirical evidence to test it first, you are a “racist”.