Still no real sign of spring

Monday 25 February 2013, 16:13

Paul Hudson Paul Hudson

Winter, from a climatological perspective, ends on Thursday, but with no sign at all of noticeably warmer weather any time soon.

 

As a reminder (because it’s normally a bone of contention!) for the purposes of being able to make like for like comparisons each year, winter is defined as December, January and February.

 

But the technically correct definition of the start of spring is the moment at which the sun crosses the equator into the Northern Hemisphere and is called the spring equinox.

 

Contrary to popular belief, though, spring does not always begin on the 21st of March each year, in fact this year it falls the day before.

 

Likewise summer, autumn and winter don’t always begin on the 21st of June, September or December either; hence using this definition can mean that the seasons year on year can be of differing lengths, making accurate comparisons invalid.

 

Today’s static weather, with high pressure to the north of the UK feeding in cloudy and cold conditions from the northeast (although not in Scotland, Northern Ireland and the far north of England where it’s gloriously sunny) is actually quite common at this time of the year.

 

In fact, February is climatologically one of the driest months of the year, because of such ‘blocking’ weather patterns, and this month is turning out to be no exception.

 

Looking ahead, this pattern looks set to remain with us into early March, with pressure remaining higher than normal, and a distinct lack of milder air from the Atlantic.

 

This means that apart from the possibility of a little light rain at times, a lot of dry weather is likely but with temperatures remaining mostly at or below average levels for the foreseeable future.

 

That said some sunshine is likely, particularly around the middle of this week, and with light winds it will feel like a big improvement compared to today’s gloomy damp and cold conditions.

 

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Comments

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  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 1.

    "In fact, February is climatologically one of the driest months of the year"
    I wonder where the old saying "February fill dyke" comes from.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 2.

    Nice weather actually - something very satisfying about having to get wrapped up before going out for a walk - can feel it in my bones though that this is the last cold snap before spring weather starts to make an appearance

    Also, when are the BBC going to report on the fact the head of the UN's IPCC has now admitted - no global warming has taken place for 17 years!

    Truly astounding stuff - reported elsewhere I might add - and perhaps the reason why spring has not appeared yet

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 3.

    2.
    openside50 said;

    "Also, when are the BBC going to report on the fact the head of the UN's IPCC has now admitted - no global warming has taken place for 17 years!"

    Just the second comment and you start with the current favourite denial fallacy. This is exactly what to expect in a long term warming trend - it not 'no global warming' its just as much warming being offset by natural variability;

    http://www.skepticalscience.com/graphics.php?g=47

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u_0JZRIHFtk&feature=player_embedded

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 4.

    2.
    openside50

    Just thought - when you said; "the UN's IPCC has now admitted - no global warming has taken place for 17 years!" where you referring to the article in Murdoch's The Australian? Seems he says he was misquoted - and I think he should know what he meant even if he was misunderstood;

    http://www.skepticalscience.com/news.php?n=1889

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 5.

    "Also, when are the BBC going to report on the fact the head of the UN's IPCC has now admitted - no global warming has taken place for 17 years! Truly astounding stuff - reported elsewhere I might add - and perhaps the reason why spring has not appeared yet"

    More likely it is spin from the old blog rumor mill and isn't actually true.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 6.

    #3.Lazarus
    "This is exactly what to expect in a long term warming trend - it not 'no global warming' its just as much warming being offset by natural variability;"

    So you expected this all along did you?
    It'sstrange how this hiatus wasn't forecasted by most of the IPCC climate models, or specifically the UKMO decadal forecasts, until recently that is.
    I also don't recall any "climate change" zealots predicting this at any stage. If you know of any, please let me know.
    It's very easy to be wise after the events.
    On the other hand, some of us "deniers" have been saying that temperatures would not increase as rapidly as the models and the "alarmists" said they would.
    If you want proof, simply go back to the early stages of this blog.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 7.

    The January NASA/GISS temperature anomalies and changes since December, are as follows:
    Global = 0.61c, +0.16c
    N.H. = 0.74c, +0.38c
    S.H.= 0.48c, -0.03c
    After adjustment to 1961-90, these are equivalent to 0.50c, 0,68c and 0.34c respectively.
    The monthly changes are very similar to those in NCDC/NOAA and suggest a HadCRUT4 global anomaly of about 0.40c to 0.44c.
    The way this month's AQUA CH5 figures are going, we can expect a fall in the February HadCRUT4 anomaly figure to around 0.3c.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 8.

    #1.Doughnuts:

    "I wonder where the old saying "February fill dyke" comes from."

    It is true that average UK rainfall in February is lower than average, although precipitation is high in the winter, a lot of which may be in the form of snow, and it is possible that the quotation refers to dykes being filled from melting snow which has fallen over the winter, thawing in February. The ground in February may also be saturated, so that a relatively small amount of rainfall would fill the "dykes" more rapidly.
    That's my theory anyway!

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 9.

    One thing which does puzzle me about the Pachauri interview is that he is reported to have referred to "this year's record northern summer Arctic ice growth".
    Should this not have been either "winter", or "decline"?
    If this is mistake, it isn't clear whether it was made by Pachauri, or "The Australian" interviewer.
    Has anyone actually read the article?

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 10.

    #3 Lazarus

    "Just the second comment and you start with the current favourite denial fallacy. This is exactly what to expect in a long term warming trend - it not 'no global warming' its just as much warming being offset by natural variability;"

    I agree and once the various 'heat sinks' are full to capacity - maybe currently working nature's overtime to keep the system in balance - more significant warming might be measured.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 11.

    #10. chris

    "once the various 'heat sinks' are full to capacity"

    Hi Chris, any more info/detail on the nature and location of these "various 'heat sinks'?

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 12.

    7. QuaesoVeritas

    Thanks QV.

    I make that the 6th warmest January in the 134 year long NASA record (started 1880).

    The ten warmest Januarys have all occurred in the past 16 years (since 1998) according to NASA.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 13.

    ""This is exactly what to expect in a long term warming trend - it not 'no global warming' its just as much warming being offset by natural variability;""

    Laughable - 17 years without warming is suddenly natural variability

    17 years during which time we were told that as night followed day, increased warming, accelerated warming, followed an increase in CO2 emmissions

    what happened to the certainty, the consensus?

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 14.

    13. openside50 wrote:

    "Laughable - 17 years without warming is suddenly natural variability"

    All five of the main global data sets show warming over 17 years.

    Name one that doesn't.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 15.

    Skeptical Science has covered the alleged Pachauri comments mentioned at #2 above: http://www.skepticalscience.com/australian-pachauri-global-warming.html

    Pachauri is not quoted directly by the author, Graham Lloyd as saying he accepted a 17 year pause in global temperature rise. Indeed, why would Pachauri say this when it clearly isn't the case, as anyone who has access to the temperature data (which is everyone with an internet connection) can see for themselves?

    Lloyd has recent previous. In January he misrepresented a paper on sea level rise and the Australian was forced to issue a retraction: http://www.climatespectator.com.au/commentary/australian-s-climate-correction

    A pattern is emerging.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 16.

    from the link, Dana says . . .Had he said that global surface air  temperatures have plateaued and that this doesn't disprove global warming, he would be 100% correct.
    So even Dana agrees that surface air temps are not rising. And with upper 700m OHC flatlining since around 2003, SkS rely almost entirely on deep ocean heating to promote their 'continued global warming' position. This, despite the rather weak evidence due to sparsity of observations and lack of transparent mechanisms for the heat transport. But, even if this proves accurate, indeed even if it proves an underestimate, this heat isn't coming back up for centuries, if not millennia according to Gavin.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 17.

    "Indeed, why would Pachauri say this when it clearly isn't the case"

    Actually I can imagine him agreeing to it if he had been told it was something the Met Office had reported. I am not convinced Pachauri is the best person be fielding potentially trick questions about the science.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 18.

    QuaesoVeritas said;

    "So you expected this all along did you?"

    Of course, It has happened 5 times from the 70s alone;

    http://www.skepticalscience.com/graphics.php?g=47

    Do you really think any climatologist expected constant warming?

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 19.

    13.
    openside50

    "Laughable - 17 years without warming is suddenly natural variability"

    Didn't you understand the video? Perhaps you found some flaw in the information that was so obvious that it made you laugh?

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 20.

 

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Hello, I’m Paul Hudson, weather presenter and climate correspondent for BBC Look North in Yorkshire and Lincolnshire. 

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I worked as a forecaster with the Met Office for nearly 15 years locally and at the international unit, after graduating with first class honours in Geophysics and Planetary physics at the University of Newcastle upon Tyne in 1992. I then joined the BBC in October 2007, where I divide my time between forecasting and reporting on stories about climate change and its implications for people's everyday lives.

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