'Houston, we have a dumbass problem'

I’m truly sorry about the title, but nothing else really describes the ridiculousness of the pronouncement by the White House aide John Podesta over these two satellite images in a maddeningly idiotic story from the Washington Post.

snowpack13[1] snowpack14[1]

In a Feb. 24 Oval Office meeting, two of President Obama’s top climate advisers presented these sharply-contrasting images of California’s snowpack on Jan. 13, 2013 (left) and a year later (right), as a way to underscore how global warming is changing conditions on the ground in the United States.

The satellite images viewed by President Obama before a meeting with eight Western governors were stark, showing how snowpack in California’s mountains had shrunk by 86 percent in a single year. 

“It was a ‘Houston, we have a problem’ moment,” recalled White House counselor John D. Podesta, one of two aides who briefed the president that February day. Obama mentioned the images several times as he warned the governors that political leaders had no choice but to cope with global warming’s impact.

After years of putting other policy priorities first — and dismaying many liberal allies in the process — Obama is now getting into the weeds on climate change and considers it one of the key components of his legacy, according to aides and advisers.


Story here: http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/for-president-obama-a-renewed-focus-on-climate/2014/05/04/6b81412c-d144-11e3-9e25-188ebe1fa93b_story.html

Gasp! 86% change in a single year. More proof positive that ‘global warming’ is accelerating. /sarc

So tell me, oh geniuses, what will you show the President after the looming El Niño kicks in later this year, and California has a wetter than normal year during the winter of 2014/15 and the snow pack goes up to something like 146% of normal? What then? Blame that on global warming and call it another “Houston we have a problem” moment when we get flooding in California like in 1997/1998 after that big EL Niño changed the weather pattern in a single year to drench the state?

The lack of snowpack in 2014 is all about ENSO and resulting jet stream patterns, something well known for years.


Pattern shifts related to ENSO make California winters highly variable. For example, compare the snowpack change from 1880 to 1881 in the graph below from the Sierra Snow Lab and note some of the other low years highlighted in yellow.


Snowfall and snowpack data from the CSSL archive dating from 1878 to1945, and from 1952 to1957, were measured and supplied by the Southern Pacific Transportation Company. Snowpack and snowfall measurements were taken at Summit Station from 1878 through 1927, and at Norden from 1927 on. From 1879 to 1897, and 1901, the maximum snowpack depth was estimated. Current CSSL methodology mandates that new snow is measured twice a day, at 0800 and 1600 Pacific Standard Time. The depth of the new snow is probed with a rule at the four corners of a snow board. [The snow board is piece of plastic-covered plywood, .25m2 in area.] The four depths are recorded and averaged, the board is then cleaned off and replaced on the snowpack surface.
[Ref: Randall S. Osterhuber, Climatic Summary of Donner Summit, California, Central Sierra Snow Laboratory, October 1993]

Will these geniuses in the White House say global warming reached back through time to 1881 to cause this? How about 1977, was that “global warming” too? But let’s indulge them, let’s say it is ALL caused by ‘global warming’. What will they do about it? Tax it? Issue a presidential order? Make emitting CO2 a crime?

Like Nature cares what they think or do. Idiots.

“Some people are weatherwise, but most people are otherwise.”

— Benjamin Franklin






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Roy Spencer

and at the rate the Eastern U.S. has cooled and snowpack has increased, a new Ice Age will be upon us in no time! Egad! Sure glad we have informed politicians to represent us.

Idiots indeed.


I predict that Chicago winter temperatures will drop to absolute zero before the year 2060. After all December-February temperatures dropped 6K from last year! (according to NASA GISS)

Roy Spencer

and what happens if temps fall BELOW absolute zero? We’re in BIG trouble then!


If you want to make God laugh, tell him what your plans are. Currently God is rolling on the floor of Heaven Laughing his guts out, and now intends to send an ice age whilst saying, so its gonna get hot eh? Never gonna see snow again eh? arctic is going to be ice free eh? Bwahahahaha that’s a good one gorical, you really showed em your prophetic capability mate hahaha.

All you can do is hit them with the history. Over and over.
There really does seem to be a philosophy in the White House that allows the “adjustment” of the past to fit the present agenda. Where I come from that is called “lying.”
A lie doesn’t become more acceptable when you attempt to sugar coat it and call it “spin” or try to present it as “a different way of looking at things.” A lie is a lie, even if you call it a “white lie” or “a means justified by the end.” The end is never what you thought; the lie comes back to haunt you; the fib is eventually exposed and the people who trusted you feel fooled. A castle made of sand falls into the sea, eventually. Truth is the lone foundation you can trust.


“two of President Obama’s top climate advisers presented these sharply-contrasting images”
How many “climate advisers” does the World’s Smartest Man need? What other rankings are there, other than “top?”
This will soon be a Youtube Hitler video.


We had a 100% reduction in snow pack in just 1/2 year. And this is in Canada, where it’s supposed to be cold.
Yep, it was all snowy in February, but within just 6 months, in August, there was no snow. I’m now panicking. This is horrible! It’s unprecedented! It’s worse than we thought!


Finally someone other then me has quoted 1880-1881 weather partern and California drought.
Few things about the 1880-1881 winter and how simular it was the 2013-2014 winter.
Very dry conditions in CA.
Early October Blizzard happened almost exactly on the same dates in 1880 and 2013 in the Dakota’s. Early ice on the great lakes and very late ice like in 1881 and 2014. Very cold long winter and spring in the lakes.
One thing that stands out is solar cycle #5 and #24. Almost exact second peak spike and fall into spring timing.
CA dry pattern will last for 4 to 5 more years because it did after 1880-1881 winter.

Bill Jamison

If you look at the trends in California’s Sierra Nevada it’s actually wetter and colder over the last 100 years. Since about 1975 that trend has changed but the long term trend is there. In fact one fire expert said that one reason the fire danger has increased is the increase in precipitation resulting in more fuel load. He did mention that night time temperatures have warmed up over the last 30 years which also contributes and that the snowpack melts slightly earlier than it did previous to the 1970’s.
The 2010-2011 snowpack was one of the biggest on record. But that’s just weather. Only drought is due to climate change.

Chris Wright

So they’ve discovered that the weather can be different in two succeeding years.
To claim that a difference in weather over twelve months has anything to do with climate change is – well – words fail me.
When will this lunacy stop?

But Solar cycle 5 was from 1798 to 1810! Its first peak seems to have been in 1802 and the second, stronger one, in 1804.

Eventually you get a flake like Obama, law of averages demands it and there’s never a good time.
….as a President he makes a good comedian but there is no danger in showing faith in the publics’ ability to see through rubbish like the “before and after” photo especially this late in the piece.

Lawrie Ayres

In many respects the game is up but these turkeys are not going to admit being totally erroneous. The Presidents advisor is a dickhead and a fraud but will he tell the worst president in US history?

David A

During the last thirty years or so California population has gone up by many millions, and farmed land has also gone up by millions of acres, but virtually no new reservoirs are made. During rain years, and drought years, they purposefully release more water then reasonable to the oceans, costing jobs and production. The combination of lack of reservoirs and waste, plus many millions more in population and development of land and farming acreage, is a man made political disaster in such a variable precipitation location as California.
To then use that politically created situation as an excuse to propagate national energy policy, which will only compound and multiply the economic disaster that is California, is, in my view, evil.

Yes, one shouldn’t make too much of a yearly fluctuation in snow and ice.


That’s more than a weather vs. climate issue: it’s politically motivated science for you. Cherry picking the exceptional events to try to prove a point.


It’s all about control and nothing about science.

Nick Stokes says:
May 5, 2014 at 4:06 am
Yes, one shouldn’t make too much of a yearly fluctuation in snow and ice.
Did you mean
“THE ONE” shouldn’t make too much of a yearly fluctuation in snow and ice.

Earl Smith

And to pick nits:
The proper quote is
Houston, we HAD a problem.
(sent from Houston)

David A

How bad are the models in predicting the earth’s energy budget? Commonly it is said that per doubling of CO2, sans feedbacks, the earth will warm .8 degrees. (I think I got that right) Does this mean the earth would accumulate enough energy to raise the average T .8 degrees?
If so, then are the already failed models worse than we thought? Certainly it takes less energy to raise the T of the arctic two degrees, then it does to raise the same area of the tropics two degrees. So, since most of the warming is near the arctic, and some mid latitude, and almost none in the tropics, are the already failed models, worse then we thought?

These are the same tactics used to sell Intelligent Design.

David, UK

Idiocy or dishonesty? Let’s look at the evidence.
1. They’re politicians.

Bruce Cobb

Nick Stokes says:
May 5, 2014 at 4:06 am
Yes, one shouldn’t make too much of a yearly fluctuation in snow and ice.
Glad that you agree that lying is something one shouldn’t do. Keep it up, and before you know it, you’ll become one of us. You know, the side that is interested in what is true, not what is politically expedient ideology.

Dave N

Hysterically screaming over a single data point is par for the course for alarmists; nothing to see here, really.

Peter Miller

Obama’s legacy will be one best forgotten about, very similar to that of Jimmy Carter.
As for Podesta, he is obviously a spin man, not a scientist. So purveying BS to the unwashed masses is his strong point. For spin doctors, facts only ever get in the way.
When are these idiots ever going to learn the difference between climate and weather?
Only the unwashed masses could be relied on not to notice the difference in last winter’s weather between California and the central and eastern US. And that is the target market for Podesta’s BS, what Aldous Huxley used to call the Epsilon Minus Semi-Morons.


When every major university in the land denies the existence of truth, why do we get pissed when they don’t tell it?
Of course science and every other discipline has been politicized, when truth is denied all that’s left is politics.

Not so dumbass a problem if the illusion of Climate Change and the fictitious but mesmerizing models get used to justify planning the economy and society. That’s precisely what is going on and Podesta and John Holdren were also involved with releasing this Big Data report last week that is not about privacy at all. http://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/docs/big_data_privacy_report_may_1_2014.pdf

Tom in Florida

I don’t think you should be using the Donner Summit chart until it has been analyzed, adjusted and transformed. Otherwise you may be using real data.

Bloke down the pub

President O’Bama is certainly building a lasting legacy. A legacy of looking a complete chump.


Podesta: “Houston we have a problem”
Wattsupwithat: “This is Mission Control, we’ve analyzed your problem and determined you need to open up the blinds on your view screen while we give you a crash course in basic weather patterns.”

Idiots? Much too kind.
They are desperately trying to use the first principle of propaganda; tell a lie big enough and often enough and it becomes to be considered the truth. As implied, reality continues to be what it is in spite of the prancing, dancing, and posturing of our so called leaders.
The scene isn’t working for anyone. We the People are being sacked and robbed of our [wealth]. Our leaders are putting on a show that makes the Keystone Cops and the Three Stooges look like super competent geniuses. Their talking points are as ephemeral as a cloud. Transforming from inconsistency to contradiction to a denial of saying what was said only moments ago. Even Humpty Dumpty would be embarrassed if he used words the way our leaders do.
What difference does it make? It makes a life or death difference for We the People, our once great nation, and the existence of technological civilization. I suggest they want the despair, poverty, death, and destruction they have and are achieving. When someone keeps doing the same things and gets the same results, they actually intend to get the results they get. They are not innocent in the matter.

Bill Illis

I hope California has its flood protection systems working well when the coming El Niño starts dumping flooding rains in the Fall.
There’s always landslides on the Pacific Coast Highway for example.

Appropriate title. Want to bet they do not show the same comparison next year?

The Ghost Of Big Jim Cooley

Like any material can exist in only three states (gas, liquid, solid) there are only three states that emerge from politics: truth, lies, and stupidity. So you have to think, is this lies, or stupidity?

Charles Nelson

America…beep…you have a problem…beep.


Ground control the the little ‘o” in the White house why not kick start something of actual use to your ‘Fellow Americans?”

David A

….is this lies, or stupidity? How about stupid lies?


If anything, there appears to be less year to year variation than there was in the late 1800s. Worse than I thought, indeed…

Bill Illis

This is a high resolution global map of what an El Nino does to precipitation in the period after it peaks. Notice the most impacted areas are Indonesia, Australia, and the Amazon which dry out, while California gets much more rain/snow. Green is more rain, Brown is less rain in this map.
Temperature impact. The area from Alaska to Minnesota gets the highest positive temperature impact and the US south is actually opposite, cooling off more than anywhere else.
The patterns are more-or-less opposite in a La Nina.


Fools? nope they achieved their ‘objectives’ by using a old trick knowing politicians can have short memories . I call that smart .

Jeff L

… an 86% drop in 1 year …. at this rate …. we will have no snow by this summer …. How alarming !!!

Mike M
North of 43 and south of 44

David, UK says:
May 5, 2014 at 4:32 am
Idiocy or dishonesty? Let’s look at the evidence.
1. They’re politicians.

Tom J

David A
May 5, 2014 at 5:25 am
‘….is this lies, or stupidity? How about stupid lies?’
In all due respect, sir, you underestimate these people at your peril. Podesta’s birthplace is Chicago. Obama launched his political career in Chicago. Obama and crew have brought Chicago-style politics to the national stage. Nobody but a Democrat can ever be elected in Chicago.
Podesta was called to the WH in December 2013 after the disastrous rollout of the Obamacare exchanges and their fear of what that, and all the other failures of that program, would do to the Democrats in the midterms this November. This is a distraction from the mess that is Obamacare. They’re going to pound away at however many distractions they can find. And the MSM will assist them.

Meanwhile the rest of the country had it’s worst winter in history.


Again, the absurd proposition that driving cars less makes a mountain-chain snowpack bigger, or relieves a regional drought.
And again, I suggest throwing a virgin into the Mt St Helens caldera would be just as (non)effective.
Learn to deal w/drought the rational way, California/Wash DC. This isn’t the Dark Ages, yet.

Jim Bo

Lest this goes unremarked upon…

By Juliet Eilperin

…Podesta et als “go to guy” at the Washington Post.

The Ghost Of Big Jim Cooley – “Like any material can exist in only three states (gas, liquid, solid)“. Um, science has moved on a bit … but I’m not sure if politics has.


Obama is now getting into the weeds on climate change and considers it one of the key components of his legacy
When people look back on the Obama era they will think fondly of Jimmy Carter.