Two prominent meteorologists, the National Hurricane Center’s (NHC) Chris Landsea and WeatherBell’s Joe Bastardi publicly responded - the former cutting ties with Heartland and the latter maintaining support.
Landsea, NHC’s Science amd Operations Officer, emailed Heartland, requesting a web page (cached version) listing him as a Heartland expert be removed. The email was posted on the website BigCityLib Strikes Back. Excerpt:
The billboard campaign that you all have recently been displaying is not in good taste nor is it furthering the advancement of better understanding of how our climate fluctuates and changes. Please remove my name from your list of Experts.
The web page listing Landsea as an expert is no longer accessible.
This is not the first time Landsea has disassociated himself with an organization after taking exception with their climate change communication tactics.
In 2005, Landsea resigned from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) because he felt 1) its lead author on Observations, Kevin Trenberth, “push[ed] an unsupported agenda” connecting hurricane activity and global warming in a public forum and 2) the IPCC “dismissed” his concerns after he voiced them. In his letter of resignation, Landsea wrote:
I personally cannot in good faith continue to contribute to a process that I view as both being motivated by pre-conceived agendas and being scientifically unsound.
While objecting to what he perceives as overstatements connecting recent hurricane activity and warming, Landsea believes global warming “is real” and man plays a role He published the following statement on the Hurricane Research Division website:
...there is substantial evidence - in my view - that mankind has caused a significant portion of this warming through greenhouse gas emissions such as carbon dioxide and methane. I do not know whether the human contribution toward the warming is relatively small (~a quarter) or large (~two-thirds), but do agree that there is quite a bit of evidence that mankind is altering the global climate and will continue to do so in the future.
Landsea wrote that warming may influence hurricane activity in the future, but to a small degree:
...overall changes that may occur are relatively tiny and are several decades away, in my opinion. These conclusions are similar, though slightly smaller, than those indicated by a review panel of the topic of hurricanes and global warming that was recently published in Nature Geophysics in which I participated
Bastardi, chief forecaster at WeatherBell and formerly AccuWeather, is standing behind Heartland. He issued the following statement Friday:
I firmly believe that in an enlightened society there should be only civilized discourse on issues where people disagree. While I can understand the provocative nature of the advertisement, it does not change my support for an institution that has been dedicated to exposing the flawed science being used by global warming activists. I myself have suffered from vicious attacks by opponents of the position I espouse, so I understand why some people might have been upset by the billboard. However, I also think that by focusing so much attention on a billboard that is objectionable, rather than on the core issues of the global warming debate, we lose sight of what the discussion should be about. As such, I will be honoring my commitment to speak at the Heartland Institute conference so that our society can learn the facts about climate science.
Bastardi is listed as a keynote speaker at Heartland’s Seventh International Conference in Climate Change in Chicago next week.
He believes natural patterns are behind most of the climate changes in recent decades. On Fox News last year, he said: “Why have we gone up [warmed] overall in the past 30 years? Because we’ve been in a warm cycle in the Pacific.” (source: Media Matters)
Now Bastardi thinks we’ve gone into a cooling phase. In a recent blog post he wrote: “My problem is the climate is NOT WARMING . . . the temps are now trending down.”
A number of Bastardi’s public statements about climate change, especially with respect to the properties of greenhouse gases, have been sharply criticized by prominent climate scientists. The website Media Matters has compiled several strongly-worded reactions assailing the credibility of the viewpoints he has expressed.
Bastardi is popular among those unconvinced manmade global warming is real or a problem. He appears frequently on Fox News and his writings are featured from time to time on the climate skeptic blogs WattsUpWithThat and RealScience.