Denialist Forecaster Bastardi Continues Record of Deception, Stupidity

February 22, 2017

Tweet here from Climate Denier Joe Bastardi seeks to mislead, confuse, as usual. Bastardi’s predictions of 6 and 7 years ago of an impending cold period have yet to be realized.  Apparently this is his effort to seem relevant.

He was taken to task by climate scientist and twitter boss Zack Labe.

Polar Portal (Denmark):

This winter has seen a series of unusual weather hit the Arctic in general, it has been much warmer than average in the high Arctic since October though there have also been some periods of extreme cold, especially in western Greenland but also new high temperature records have been set in the east and north.

There has also been a succession of heavy storms hitting Greenland. Starting in October these storms have dropped a lot more snow than average over Greenland, particularly on the eastern side and in the south. This increasing mass has not gone unnoticed and we have received a number of questions about it, so here we attempt to summarise what we know and can infer about the winter 2016-2017 and what it might mean to the overall surface mass balance year 2016-2017.

The surface mass balance year goes from September to August, with most of the snow falling between September and May (known as the accumulation season) and melt generally dominating June-August (known as the ablation season).  The accumulation season got off to a flying start in October, when a series of large storms hit the east coast of Greenland dropping 264mm of rain in the main town of Tasiilaq in 25 days, compared to the average for October of 83mm for the whole of October. Most of the precipitation from these storms fell as rain at lower levels but as this freezes in the surface snow over the ice sheet it still adds ice to the ice sheet. However, these storms also meant that Autumn was record warm in east Greenland with all DMI weather stations on the east coast recording the warmest or second warmest October on record. These records stretch back to 1873 in some places on the east coast.

The October storms boosted the accumulation of snow over the ice sheet far above what is normal for the time of year as we see in the curve below, though since December, the amount of snow falling over the ice sheet has followed a more normal pattern.


The daily surface mass balance (top) and the cumulative surface mass balance (bottom), both summed over the whole ice sheet for the period 1st September 2016 to February 2017 (blue line). The light grey solid area shows the interannual range of variation (discounting the extreme highest and lowest on each day)for the period 1990-2013 and the dark grey line shows the previous season (September 2015 – August 2016). Red line shows the record low SMB year September 2011 – August 2012.

If we look at the picture over the whole of Greenland we can see that in fact northwest Greenland has actually had less snowfall than usual at this time of year. This is because north Atlantic storms have been driving up the east coast but north western Greenland has been relatively dry compared to the average.



The difference between the accumulated surface mass balance and the reference period is shown here. Blue colours indicate areas with a higher accumulation of snow than average. The red colours show areas with less snowfall than usual for the time of year.

The warm Arctic this winter and the amount of snow falling over Greenland are linked. Warm air can hold more water vapour than cold air. Projections from climate models suggest that as the atmosphere warms, there will also be increased snowfall over Greenland (particularly in the Southeast), however there will also be more melting and the question is really how far do these two processes balance each other. To date all model projections for the future suggest that melt and runoff will dominate over the increased accumulation of snow in a warmer world leading to retreat of the ice sheet and sea level rise. However, it’s important to remember that unusual winters like this one reflect regional weather patterns and on a climate timescale there is still significant variability from one year to another.

As we have stated before, the surface mass budget of the ice sheet is best viewed over a year or longer to get a sense of what is happening to the ice sheet – it is the difference between looking at weather and climate. When viewed over the year the three most important months for the annual surface mass balance budget are the summer ones of June, July and August. The amount of melting in the summer is much more important in determining the mass budget over the ice sheet than the winter months.  It is therefore still far too early to suggest that the Greenland ice sheet will not lose more mass than it gains this year.

Finally, we should be clear that the period over which the observations or model simulations are made is important. On the polar portal we currently use a model reference period of 1990-2013 (the grey band in the top figure) that is relatively short and covers a period with relatively low precipitation when compared with the few longer records available from DMI weather stations. In the next few weeks we expect to update the surface mass balance product to reflect a newer improved version of the underlying model and this will also be referenced to a more standard 30 year period of 1981-2010.

Polar Portal is collaboration between DMI, GEUS, DTU-Space and DTU-Byg with funding from the Danish Energy Agency (Energistyrelsen).

17 Responses to “Denialist Forecaster Bastardi Continues Record of Deception, Stupidity”

  1. Tom Bates Says:

    It snowed in the Sahara. That is enough to support the idea the world is not going to become an oven anytime soon. Lets just ignore the STAR data which shows cooling for decades.

  2. Tom Bates Says:

    When did you folks lose all ideas of what science is all abou?. You make a headline about how your favorite boogeyman of the week is so bad and than a paragraph or so down say weather variability does not make climate yet you use the weather to attack the guy on the current ice conditions in Greenland.

  3. curiousaboutclimate Says:

    It should be pointed out that surface mass balance doesn’t include calving glaciers. For the full picture of Greenland ice mass changes, look here

    • Paul Whyte Says:

      Thanks, CAC, I was wondering why for most years there was more precipitation than loss over a year. Your link shows why.

      Just a quick notice from your link. It’s only been about 8 -11 Gt of CO2 per year increase to effect a change of about 3000 Gt in Greenlands Ice sheet in the last 10 years.

      If there was anything at all to the deniers story the ice sheet would not be in long term and increasingly rapid decline. Some people seem to have a need to push “it” up hill.

  4. Lionel Smith Says:

    Greenland snow and ice way above normal even while arctic ice well below. 2 sides to every story

    How to Bastardise weather and climate reporting. Hey Joe, there are more than two sides to this but you miss most of them.

    Oh, and your tweets are irritating from your mangling of language.

  5. Interesting article about loss of Antarctic sea ice – record low ever recorded.

    Some cherry picked quotes: “There is about 10 per cent less sea ice in Antarctica this year than the previous record minimum – a stunning reversal after new highs were set in 2014.

    The sea ice extent around the southern continent has shrunk to 2.1 million square kilometres on Tuesday, Jan Lieser, a sea ice scientist at the Hobart-based Antarctic Climate and Ecosystems Co-operative Research Centre, said. The switch from a sea-ice maximum around Antarctica to its annual low is “one of the biggest natural cycles we see in the world”, with as much as 90 per cent of the ice only a year old at the most.

    In the southern winter of 2014, sea ice around Antarctica reached a record large extent. At the time, climate change sceptics were keen to highlight the increase in the south as a counterpoint to the more steadily decreasing Arctic ice.

    Last winter, though, ice around Antarctica began thawing about a month earlier than normal. Minimum air temperatures have been breaking records daily since about early November in a region of the planet where global warming has been amongst the most rapid, Dr Lieser said.

    The Ross Sea is virtually ice free and half the Weddell Sea ice has gone, Dr Lieser said.

    While the loss of floating ice doesn’t affect sea levels, its absence leaves shore-based ice shelves exposed to faster melting and accelerated glacier movement. “It opens up the vulnerability of the ice shelves around there,” Dr Lieser said.”

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