Guest Opinion: Dr. Tim Ball
They are physically cleaning up after the “Blizzard of 2016” in the northeastern US. The job is not as onerous as anticipated and is going slowly because the government is in charge. However, it is time for an intellectual clean-up because of what went on. The entire sequence of events is a classic example of environmental and climatic exploitation that parallels the anthropogenic global warming (AGW) deception. [That same sequence] shows what is wrong with weather and climate forecasts, and how it is all amplified and perpetuated by people who don’t know what they are talking about, or, worse, want to know.
The underlying objective was to hype the potential for catastrophe against a backdrop of implications that the event is unnatural. The actors on the stage were the weather office bureaucrats at National Weather Service (NWS) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) who are key players in the global climate deception that is the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Mainstream media TV meteorologists were seeking sensationalism under the guise of warning and protecting the people and supported them as usual. Regular mainstream media ambulance-chasing reporters, looking for extremes and creating them when necessary followed them on stage. They later produced stories explaining how the storm was evidence of climate change and global warming. They did this as they ignored the physical evidence, reality, the historical context, and the actual mechanisms of climate change.
The Slate headline threatened,
“This “Blizzard for the Ages” Headed for the East Coast Is Very Much the Real Deal.”
“Since early Saturday, nearly every single run of every major model has shown the potential for a foot or two of snowfall on a track to hit somewhere between Northern Virginia and Boston. What’s amazing—perhaps even more so than the impressive potential snow totals—is that all the major weather models are already locked in so far in advance. Simply put: There’s definitely a big storm coming, it’s just the details that are still being worked out.”
Notice it is ‘definite’ because all the models agree. In another speculative report, the rhetoric and hyperbole all heightened the anticipation.
“Winter storm Jonas is set to affect almost 76 million people as several feet of snow hit the north-east US, causing travel chaos for millions as internal flights are grounded and international flights under threat of cancellation.
The storm is expected to bring heavy snowfall to 15 states, with blizzard warnings, plunging temperatures and coastal flood warnings in place from 22 to 24 January.”
As usual, in today’s PR controlled and directed media, they produced slogans including Snow-mageddon and Snow-pocalypse and Snowzilla.
The Basis For the Hype
I am sure many skeptics reading the Slate quote immediately ignored what it said when they read the phrase “every major model.” Once again they are justified as the failed predictions attest. In this case, it is not just a single model failure but all of them. There is one interesting difference from previous failures that may reflect a growing awareness in the weather agencies that a credibility gap is growing. In an article titled “Snowstorms forecasters under fire as ‘historic’ accumulation failed to materialize” the spokesperson for the US National Weather Service said,
“My deepest apologies to many key decision-makers and so many members of the public,” wrote Gary Szatkowski, the meteorologist in charge of the organization’s office in Mount Holly, N.J. “You made a lot of tough decisions expecting us to get it right, and we didn’t. Once again, I’m sorry.”
Does he make the same apology for the failed IPCC predictions his agency promotes?
The spokesperson for the Canadian weather office was more defensive in his remarks.
“There is still a lot of complexity and it is still an imperfect science,” said Peter Kimbell, warning preparedness meteorologist at Environment Canada. However, he rejected the notion that forecasters get the weather wrong most of the time. “We actually get it right a lot of the time,” he said. “And it all depends on your perspective of what getting it right is. If we say we’re going to get 15 centimetres of snow and we get 12, is that good or not good?”
The claim of a 3-centimeter error is clever because it puts it within a tolerable range, but that is not what happened. Besides his agency doesn’t acknowledge the imperfect science when it makes global warming predictions for the next few decades.
While Philadelphia, New York and New Jersey had braced for 30 to 60 centimetres of snow, they got far less than that. New York City received about 20 centimetres, Philadelphia a mere 2.5 centimetres or so. New Jersey got up to 20 centimetres.
This is not a surprise because New Scientist reported that Tim Palmer, a leading climate modeller at the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts in Reading England said:
I don’t want to undermine the IPCC, but the forecasts, especially for regional climate change, are immensely uncertain.
What people overlook is that these are the same agencies, the NWS, NOAA, and EC, who are the IPCC. They are the same agencies telling political leaders and the public that the IPCC forecasts are accurate and must form the basis of political action. In the case of the snowstorm forecast, the political leaders are left without options. They believe they must over respond because a failure to prepare is political suicide. The politicians are in no position to challenge their weather bureaucrats, as Maurice Strong knew when he set up the IPCC through the World Meteorological Organization (WMO).
The storm of 2016 was a standard “Nor’easter”. They are so normal that there is a separate entry in Wikipedia. These storms develop as low-pressure systems along the Polar Front, the boundary between the cold polar air and the warmer subtropical air. They begin in the lee of the Rocky Mountains and are often called Alberta or Canadian Clippers. In the interior of the continent, the circulation brings moisture from the Gulf of Mexico to create legendary blizzards. When the Cold Front pushes toward the Atlantic coast, it tends to run parallel to the coast and the low-pressure system circulation means moisture is picked up from the Atlantic Ocean, and the prevailing northeast winds provide both the name “nor’easter” and the heavy snow conditions.
Lack of knowledge of the mechanisms and failure to check the history of such storms didn’t only hamper politicians.
False Attribution To Global Warming.
In a Business Insider article about “The Blizzard of 2016 (aka Winter Storm Jonas)” Tanya Lewis argues, “Massive snowstorms don’t disprove global warming – in fact, quite the opposite.” This statement is wrong for two major reasons.
1. Meteorologically, because the IPCC claim that greater warming will occur in the polar air than the tropical air. If true, this decreases the temperature difference across the Polar Front. The intensity of storms is determined by that temperature difference, known as the Zonal Index.
2. Historically, because there was a much greater storm in 1888 that followed the same path as the storm of 2016. Global temperatures were lower at that time.
The details and impact of “The Blizzard of’88” are described in a 1976 publication by the US Depart of Commerce, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Environmental Data Service written by Patrick Hughes and titled “American Weather Stories” (see image). Here is what one report outlined.
The blizzard cutoff and immobilized Washington, D. C., Philadelphia, New York City, and Boston. Snowfall averaged 40 to 50 inches over southeastern New York State and southern New England, with drifts to 30 and 40 feet. In Middletown New York, snowdrifts were reported to have covered houses three stories high. The townspeople had to tunnel through the snow like miners, even shoring up the passageways with timber. For two days, frequent gale force to near hurricane winds accompanied below freezing temperatures which ranged from near zero to the low 20s over much of the area.
Men, women, and children died in city streets, in country fields and on ice-choked ships and boats. Over 400 died, 200 in New York City alone. Thousands more suffer everything from exhaustion to amputation of frostbitten limbs.
The great storm buried trains all over the northeast, marooning passengers for days in some cases for a week or more. The blizzard was a marine disaster from Chesapeake Bay through New England. Some 200 vessels were sunk, grounded, or wrecked and abandoned. At least 100 seamen died in the storm they called the Great White Hurricane. Of 40 vessels in Philadelphia’s Harbor, only 13 escaped destruction or disabling damage, and at least 30 crew members perished.
Maximum wind velocities recorded range from 48 mph at New York City to 60 mph at Atlantic City and 70 mph at Block Island.
Ironically, the report notes,
“The Blizzard of ’88 was not the most violent storm to visit the northeast.”
Michael Crichton identified the overall challenges in analysing the events preceding, during, and following the Blizzard of 2016.
The greatest challenge facing mankind is the challenge of distinguishing reality from fantasy, truth from propaganda. Perceiving the truth has always been a challenge to mankind, but in the information age (or as I think of it, the disinformation age) it takes on a special urgency and importance.
As a finale and evidence of unwillingness to face facts the NWS claim
‘This storm ranks up there with the great blizzards of the past 100 years in terms of amount of snowfall, size of impacted areas and population affected,’
A very unhelpful, unscientific, statement that reveals the political hyperbole that drives the story. Not to be outdone NOAA report,
Last weekend’s historic blizzard has been revealed as the fourth most largest snowstorm ever to hit the Northeast, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
It is nice to learn that NOAA has records covering the entire multi-billion-year history of the region as the word “ever” indicates. Maybe they could use these to put their claims about the record warm in 2015 in perspective.
The Blizzard is a classic example of how those with a political agenda took a normal, natural, event and turned it into a potential catastrophe. They gave their claims legitimacy with computer models. The compliant sensation-seeking media repeated and amplified the story until politicians were left with no choice but to overreact. In fact, this is a self-inflicted wound because the politicians lead people to expect the government to look after them.
The final fiasco is that disciples of the false story about human-caused global warming saw an opportunity to further their agenda. They ignore the fact that the models were wrong about the blizzard and make claims that are scientifically inaccurate. Of course, they will never give up as long as they ignore reality and their jobs and careers are dependent on maintaining the deception. The storm of 2016 shows how the deceptions are occurring at the local and global scale.
The Washington Post reported that airport weather observers lost their snow-measuring device in the blizzard. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration spokeswoman Susan Buchanan would say only that “questions were raised about the reading.”
As a result, she said the National Weather Service would assemble an internal review team to assess how snow measurements are taken at Reagan National and other locations.