AccuWeather's Bastardi Argues Against Blaming Global Warming for Hurricanes

On the Tuesday August 21 The O'Reilly Factor on FNC, AccuWeather senior meteorologist Joe Bastardi poured water on claims that a global warming trend has been the cause of hurricanes of increased intensity as he contended that the Northern Hemisphere similarly saw periods of increased hurricane activity in past decades, going back to the 1890s. Bastardi: "We're back in the '30's, '40's and 50's. This back and forth cycle that occurs, we saw it in the 1890s to 1910. ... And people are just getting carried away and fascinated when, if they go back and look at what happened before, you can see the similarities." (Transcript follows)

After getting his guest to give a summary of the latest on Hurricane Dean, FNC host Bill O'Reilly turned the discussion to global warming. O'Reilly: "Of course, environmentalists are going to say this is global warming. And is the fact that the waters are warmer, is that going to make it a tougher fall for hurricanes for the USA?"

In his response, Bastardi brought up harsh hurricane seasons from earlier in the century. Bastardi: "We've seen this before. And I coined this term 'time of climatic hardship' because we are back in the 30's, 40's and 50's as far as the overall climate pattern in the Northern Hemisphere. You see, we've seen this before. The problem is a lot of people don't go back and look at those type of things."

He soon brought up the hurricane that hit New York City in 1938 as he predicted history will likely repeat itself somewhat soon: "You, as a Long Island boy, must have heard tales from your father about the '38 hurricane on Long Island. And that's what we're looking at, and the potential for that type of thing down the road. But if it happens, if it happens again, and I do think it is going to happen within our lifetime, and probably sooner rather than later, some kind of big storm like that, people will go out of their minds. Yet it was there before."

Bastardi concluded with his contention that similar cycles occurred in the later 19th to early 20th century, and that in modern times scientists are more able to measure the changes. Bastardi: "We're back in the '30's, '40's and 50's. This back and forth cycle that occurs, we saw it in the 1890s to 1910. But we couldn't measure it then. So we're measuring it now with all these great instruments. And people are just getting carried away and fascinated when, if they go back and look at what happened before, you can see the similarities."

Below is a transcript of a relevant portions from the Tuesday August 21 The O'Reilly Factor:

BILL O'REILLY: Now, I understand the water temperatures surrounding the East Coast of the USA are four to five degrees warmer than usual.

JOE BASTARDI, AccuWeather: Right.

O'REILLY: And, of course, environmentalists are going to say this is global warming. And is the fact that the waters are warmer, is that going to make it a tougher fall for hurricanes for the USA?

BASTARDI: Well, it always means that there's more potential because, for stronger storms. But we've seen this before. And I coined this term "time of climatic hardship" because we are back in the 30's, 40's and 50's as far as the overall climate pattern in the Northern Hemisphere. You see, we've seen this before. The problem is a lot of people don't go back and look at those type of things.

O'REILLY: So you don't see it as anything out of the ordinary as far as nature in its cycle is concerned?

BASTARDI: No, no.

O'REILLY: There's no more heightened danger in 2007 than there was in 1937?

BASTARDI: Well, it's funny you bring that year up. You, as a Long Island boy, must have heard tales from your father about the '38 hurricane on Long Island.

O'REILLY: Yeah.

BASTARDI: And that's what we're looking at, and the potential for that type of thing down the road. But if it happens, if it happens again, and I do think it is going to happen within our lifetime, and probably sooner rather than later, some kind of big storm like that, people will go out of their minds. Yet it was there before.

Now, let me show you this graphic I had. In the '60s through the '80s, we were what we call in the cold cycle of the Atlantic multidecadal oscillation warm cycle, the Pacific oscillation, which meant the Pacific waters were warmer than normal in the equatorial areas. You were cooler than normal up north, cooler than normal in the North Atlantic, more typhoons, more Pacific hurricanes, less Atlantic action. By the way, you know, it doesn't take a genius to say, well, if we got cool water up here and cool water up here, the continents in between are going to be cooler because, after all, they're surrounded by cooler water.

Now where are we now? Well, we're back in the '30's, '40's and 50's. This back and forth cycle that occurs, we saw it in the 1890s to 1910. But we couldn't measure it then. So we're measuring it now with all these great instruments. And people are just getting carried away and fascinated when, if they go back and look at what happened before, you can see the similarities.