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What's behind the 'coldest winter for 100 years' headline?

Paul Hudson | 15:16 UK time, Monday, 19 November 2012

Those of us with a keen interest in the weather can't fail to have noticed yet another headline in the Express this weekend, claiming this winter would be the coldest in 100 years, which you can see here.

Wherever I went this weekend, I've been stopped in the street by people asking me when the awful weather is likely to hit, whether they should buy winter tyres for the car, or go ahead with a planned visit to relatives at Christmas.

The headline in the Express came courtesy of little known 'Exacta Weather', a tiny private weather company, which bases its forecasts on, amongst other things, variations in solar output.

But the headline this weekend is almost identical to the one from this time last year, in which the same 'Exacta Weather' forecasted severe wintry conditions throughout last winter, leading to yet another front page headline in the Express.



In the end, last winter was milder than average.

Exacta Weather is by no means the only company to issue such forecasts.

The headline in the Express is one of over twenty in the newspaper in recent times, all claiming severe or extreme conditions were about to befall us, each one of them the result of press releases from small, private weather companies, and most of which turned out to be wrong or exaggerated.

So what's going on?

When I worked at the Met Office some years ago, I remember the press office contacted a tabloid newspaper to ask why they continued to print such weather stories which invariably turned out to be wrong.

Their answer was very honest, straightforward and unapologetic.

Weather sells newspapers they said; admitting that each and every time they had a front page story on extreme weather, their circulation went up by around 10%.

Whether the forecast was right or wrong didn't seem a concern, after all, the newspaper was only reporting on what was being forecast by the weather company in question. How did they know whether it would turn out to be right or wrong?

And one would assume that any small private weather company, in a difficult completely un-regulated sector which is dominated by the state-funded Met Office, is happy to get some free, valuable publicity.

So it's a mutually beneficial process.

The losers, of course, are the readers, and more importantly the whole weather industry itself, which gets tarred with the same brush as those who issue extreme, sensationalist forecasts, which rarely bare any resemblance to reality.

So will it be the coldest winter in 100 Years?

It's extremely unlikely and if it were to happen it would be a huge turn up for the books.

Of course, if it were to happen, the many, many misleading headlines based on questionable forecasts that have appeared in recent years would quickly be forgotten.

Follow me on twitter @Hudsonweather

Comments

  • Comment number 1.

    They produce a headline and then when it doesn't come true the Met Office gets the blame.

  • Comment number 2.

    So we can safely wait until next summer before we buy a snow shovel when the price comes down then Paul :) with the savings might be able to buy Christa a pot of tea with a Cup Cake

  • Comment number 3.

    Yes, one of these years, they will get it rignt and tell everyone, but if not, just keep quiet about it.

  • Comment number 4.

    Good news is in fact no news and when the myth becomes legend---print the legend. So what's the success of the MO then in relation to Bar B Q summers and children not knowing what snow will be like or forecast droughts and floods? Much of last May was cold, but the last week did not conform with Piers Corbyn's predictions. Both James Madden's and Piers Corbyn early predictions for severe weather last winter did not turn out as they suggested, but the cool October this year was predicted correctly as was the very severe weather of December of 2010. There are no perfect angels in the weather predicting business; private or state.

  • Comment number 5.

    @3 QV wrote:

    "Yes, one of these years, they will get it rignt and tell everyone, but if not, just keep quiet about it."

    Yup, that sums it up!

    BTW in the MO news blog on this issue:-

    “Responding to more ‘winter weather’ headlines”

    http://metofficenews.wordpress.com/2012/11/17/responding-to-more-winter-weather-headlines/

    I thought I had found the MO’s elusive 30 day forecast as they give the following link

    “a look at “our current 30 day forecast“ provides perhaps a more measured assessment”

    But it appears to link to their 5 day forecast?:-

    http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/public/weather/forecast/

    Hey ho!

  • Comment number 6.

    You flatter Exacta by calling it a 'company'. Isn't it one young guy (not a meteorologist), a laptop, and some singular suppositions?

  • Comment number 7.

    Greensand

    DW's theme on the reducing influence of TSI could be something to do with this:
    http://nextgrandminimum.wordpress.com/2012/11/10/russians-scientist-the-next-grand-minimum/

  • Comment number 8.

    speaking of forecasting legends . . . it's time to report on the Hollybush.
    With a couple of weeks left before the xmas decorations go up, there are only a few berries left this year. Now, contrary to conventional wisdom and common sense, let's see if last year's successful winter 'prediction' can be duplicated.
    Hollybush predicts that we are three weeks or so (around the 10th) from some significant cold. That this will bring UK wide snowfall that will last a week or so and we'll have slush on the roads leading up to Christmas. After that, a week of milder weather before the cold returns with a vengeance. Jan 5th - 20th will be our winter, and after that - nothing much to talk about except localised floods caused by relatively normal precipitation events falling on waterlogged land.

    PLEASE NOTE: THE HOLLYBUSH FORECAST HAS NO SKILL. IT IS FOR 'DARTBOARD' COMPARISON ONLY.

  • Comment number 9.

    @8.lateintheday

    Timely release, Hollybush forecast should make the a-wipe front pages tomorrow!

  • Comment number 10.

    BOM latest “ENSO Wrap-Up

    “Pacific Ocean likely to remain ENSO neutral”

    Issued on Wednesday 20 November

    “El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) indicators in the tropical Pacific remain at neutral levels. As ENSO events are usually well established by the end of the southern spring, the current neutral pattern is likely to persist at least until the end of the year.

    Although being below El Niño levels, tropical Pacific Ocean temperatures remain warmer than average. Atmospheric indicators, such as the Southern Oscillation Index, trade winds and tropical cloud patterns, have all remained at neutral levels through the winter and spring.

    Climate models surveyed by the Bureau of Meteorology suggest tropical Pacific Ocean temperatures are likely to remain neutral, but warmer than average, until at least early 2013….”

    http://www.bom.gov.au/climate/enso/

    Met Office GloSea Enso model forecast for November still not available:-

    http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/research/climate/seasonal-to-decadal/gpc-outlooks/el-nino-la-nina

    Is it getting later each month? Always seems to be later than the other forecasts.

  • Comment number 11.

    #5. - greensand wrote:
    "But it appears to link to their 5 day forecast?:-"

    Interesting.

    The one I got was the 5 day forecast for Wadebridge, but I don't know if that would be the same for everyone.

    I have e-mailed the MO asking for a link to the real 30 day forecast, given that the link in the blog is obviously wrong.

  • Comment number 12.

    #5. - greensand wrote:

    "But it appears to link to their 5 day forecast?:-"

    Apparently, in order to get to the 30 day forecast, you have to click on "text forecast", then "UK forecast day 6 to 30".

    The links to the various tabs are all the same, I don't know why or how that works in html terms.

  • Comment number 13.

    and further to the discussion on the last thread between Greensand and newdwr54 regarding the PDO/ENSO relationship, can I request that our host Paul Hudson puts up a post describing the PDO/ENSO in plain english.
    I'm sure I'm not alone in thinking that every time I see a comment (or a paper) referring to the PDO, Bob Tisdale pops up and tells them they've got it wrong.

    My latest understanding is that the PDO is an after effect (or side effect) of a 30year (ish) ENSO cycle. So for example, after an El Nino event, leftover warm water backwashes into the North West Pacific. During a 30 year period of dominating El Ninos, (and subsequent backwashes) the NW Pacific gradually accumulates more and more warmer than average water. This would be the Positive phase of the PDO.
    The negative phase would see slightly cooler than average water backwashing into the NW Pacific.
    The PDO phase itself, does not determine the dominance of El Nino or La Nina, it simply reflects it and to some extent, amplifies the ENSO effect on global temperatures by extending the geographical area and ocean lag influence of warmer or cooler water.

    No doubt, Bob Tisdale (or somebody here) will put me right.

  • Comment number 14.

    Firstly, Exacta Weather is very pleased that this blog and Paul emphasised on the HEADLINE of the newspaper from Saturday about the "coldest winter in 100 years".

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/paulhudson/2012/11/whats-behind-the-coldest-winte.shtml

    This was also corrected on our Facebook page, dated blog, and our loyal followers were also alerted with tweets on twitter. We also absolutely agree that headlines sell newspapers, but unfortunately we do not write or have any influence on the headlines that sell them. We personally can't see many people rushing out to buy a copy of something that was less appealing in nature.

    Our forecast actually states and always has since earlier this year (23rd June 2012 - First Issued) that: There is the potential for some of the coldest and snowiest conditions in at least a century AT TIMES during the upcoming winter (most likely to occur in the December to January period).

    Somewhat different to the COLDEST WINTER IN 100 YEARS!

    Our recently released private forecast from the 9th November 2012 also states:

    There is also the potential for some of the coldest and snowiest conditions in at least a century AT TIMES to be recorded in the December to January period of the upcoming winter. The January period is also slightly more favourable to experience the worst of the winter conditions in terms of snowfall and temperatures.

    We also expect February to be much milder after a potentially cold and snowy start to the month, which is also an official month of the meteorological winter.

    As for Mr Hudson’s comments about "little known Exacta Weather" and "a tiny private weather company", people are free to judge this for themselves in the following links below:

    http://www.journallive.co.uk/north-east-news/todays-news/2010/12/08/voluntary-forecaster-proves-the-met-office-wrong-again-61634-27786536/

    http://www.exactaweather.com/Accuracy.html

    http://www.alexa.com/siteinfo/exactaweather.com#

    Last year’s forecast may have contained unusually low accuracy in comparison to our usual success rate, but this is something that we have quite openly admitted to on many occasions. However, we certainly was correct about the winds that the Met Office failed to miss and also send out a relevant warning for

    http://www.scotsman.com/scotland-on-sunday/scotland/forecast-is-grim-for-the-met-office-but-are-they-at-fault-for-missing-big-gail-1-2043601

    For the others who have decided to contact us about the glorious summer that never happened

    http://www.express.co.uk/posts/view/321080/Glorious-summer-is-on-way

    Fortunately, this had nothing to do with us and we played no part in the production of this forecast or the headline, but it is funny how we get the blame and constantly reminded about this too (it works both ways Mr Hudson).

    However, a more accurate piece from early summer dated the 15th June 2012 actually stated:

    “James Madden, of Exacta Weather, said the rest of the summer would be “unsettled” as long as the jet stream – which is responsible for the washout – refuses to budge.” (Exactly what happened)

    http://www.express.co.uk/posts/view/326685/Summer-starts-in-September

    James Madden - From little known Exacta Weather & a tiny private weather company that has consistently proven the Met Office wrong on many occasions with their incorrect long range forecasts of mild winters and BBQ summers!

  • Comment number 15.

    13. lateintheday wrote:

    "can I request that our host Paul Hudson puts up a post describing the PDO/ENSO in plain english."

    Excellent suggestion LITD! Whilst I am aware that ENSO events are part of the PDO cycle it is my understanding that there are other variations, which along with ENSO result in a "positive" or "negative" PDO. However once established the phase then “intensify” of “diminish” the subsequent relevant ENSO events.

    Most of my understanding came from reading articles many years ago, one such:-

    “… El Niño and La Niña, which may occur every 3 to 7 years and last from 6 to 18 months, the PDO can remain in the same phase for 20 to 30 years. The shift in the PDO can have significant implications for global climate, affecting Pacific and Atlantic hurricane activity, droughts and flooding around the Pacific basin, the productivity of marine ecosystems, and global land temperature patterns. #8220;This multi-year Pacific Decadal Oscillation ‘cool’ trend can intensify La Niña or diminish El Niño impacts around the Pacific basin,” said Bill Patzert, an oceanographer and climatologist at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif. “The persistence of this large-scale pattern [in 2008] tells us there is much more than an isolated La Niña occurring in the Pacific Ocean…..”

    http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/IOTD/view.php?id=8703

    However “our” understanding may have developed further since then, so do hope our host takes up your suggestion.

  • Comment number 16.

    As regards ENSO I have put forward a novel suggestion previously.

    Due to the clouds of the ITCZ being on average north of the equator there is a difference in the amount of solar energy able to enter the oceans on each side of the equator.

    Over time the discrepancy builds up as extra warmth in the southern oceans and periodically it reaches a level whereby it can surge across the equator into the northern oceans.

    Then there is the phase change every 20 or 30 years whereby for a few decades El Nino dominates over La Nina then vice versa. The cause of that is not known at present.

    Then there is a longer term variability whereby each successive warming or cooling phase becomes stronger than the previous one to give upward or downward temperature 'stepping' over centuries.

    It is that last component that I put down to solar influences such that one would expect to see downward stepping from MWP to LIA and upward stepping from LIA to date.

    My hypothesis is that solar changes alter global cloudiness via mechanisms that I have described elsewhere so as to change the amount of solar energy able to enter the oceans. That change in energy input skews the balance of each successive positive phase in favour of El Nino or each successive negative phase in favour of La Nina, in each case for up to 500 years at a time.

    The tropospheric air temperatures just go along for the ride.

  • Comment number 17.

    @12 QV

    Thanks, found my way through!

    UK Outlook for Sunday 25 Nov 2012 to Tuesday 4 Dec 2012:

    "…..on balance, colder than average conditions are favoured, with an increased risk of frost and fog, and some wintry showers."

    UK Outlook for Wednesday 5 Dec 2012 to Wednesday 19 Dec 2012:

    "…..on balance, colder than average conditions are favoured, with an increased risk of frost and fog, as well as some wintry showers."

    Issued at: 0330 on Tue 20 Nov 2012

    Sort of what you would expect this time of the year?

  • Comment number 18.

    Both James Madden and Piers Corbyn charge for their services and if they fail consistently they will simply go out of business. However often the Met Office gets it wrong they keep getting large amounts of public money thrown at them.

  • Comment number 19.

    #17. - greensand wrote:
    "Sort of what you would expect this time of the year?"

    It depends on which "average" they are talking about, which I don't think is clear.

    I will have another look at it and might ask the question.

  • Comment number 20.

    Paul,
    "When I worked at the Met Office some years ago"
    Was that before or after they warned us to plant Mediterranean species?

  • Comment number 21.

    What are you suggesting, Paul? That the Express should print Met Office forecasts and still get it wrong?

  • Comment number 22.

    21 dispozest wrote:

    "What are you suggesting, Paul? That the Express should print Met Office forecasts and still get it wrong?"

    Hi,dispozest, may I, with due respect, correct that for you?

    "What are you suggesting, Paul? That the Express should pay the Met Office for forecasts and still get it wrong?"

    Sorry just could not resist!

  • Comment number 23.

    Let's put the handbags away. Forget the way any 'news' is reported in the media as it is almost always sensationalist and general.

    Also, why whenever there is such a story do folk over complicate it (eg 15 & 16 herein)?

    Basically, most long-range (>10 days) forecasts use stats and on retrospective analysis some outputs will appear more accurate than others (as in the highlights at 14 herein). But would you buy snow tyres or bbqs on this type of forecast - not really, it would probably be more financially beneficial to back an outsider running in the day's race-card.

    In most considerations the UK weather remains largely unpredictable (>10 days) and that is why it generates so much interest - and long may it do so.

    Ha ! GFS looks interesting from next Monday !! No doubt Mr Hudson will be commenting on 'his' media outlet - BBC LN - soon.

    And let's not forget with a little over 5 weeks to go no doubt Mr Hudson will be asked repeatedly on BBC LN to comment on the prospects of snow at Christmas - all in the drive to fill airtime.

  • Comment number 24.

    QV, if you are about, MO have posted their October at 0.518, also they seem to have revised Sept, May and April?

  • Comment number 25.

    #24. - greensand wrote:
    "QV, if you are about, MO have posted their October at 0.518, also they seem to have revised Sept, May and April?"

    Thanks, that's a bit earlier than usual, I hadn't checked yet. Recently they have been published near the end of the month.

    So global HadCRUT4 is virtually unchanged since last month, although HadCrut3 is down from 0.515c to 0.486c.

    That's pretty much in line with NCDC/NOAA and more or less what I expected.
    GISS is looking very odd in relation to the others and I expect a correction in November.

  • Comment number 26.

    AS I read it PH's response is quite reasonable and much more objective that Mr Madden's rather partisan attempted rebuttal.

    As a keen follower of met and climate, and a degree including significant elements of both, and with a long track record on several well established on-line fora, I have to be honest and say that Exacta, a.k.a. James Madden frequently irritates me. As PH points out, Exacta almost invariably forecast cold winters; last year was a classic example. The wording of the forecasts tends to be so vague as to permit almost any actual outcome to be declared a victory, and the fact that he includes on his web site an accuracy section is laudable. It would be far more laudable were he not marking his own work: he's good at extracting elements of his forecast that do align, and seemingly far less attentive across the wide swathes where he has been incorrect. He will get more of my attention, and support, as and when he opens up his forecasts for public, independent, assessment, and includes that on his web site.

    He is won't to be far too defensive when challenged, and if nothing else this suggests that he is probably impeded from reflecting on his performance, learning, and improving it. Instead, we get the same old, same old. As others have very saliently observed in other places, even a stopped watch is correct twice a day.

    Cold weather tends to excite people - hence it attracts the press: Christmas cards with weather scenes almost invariably show snow; people take unofficial days off work when it's snowy; we are nearly all fans. Indeed, I have often observed that Paul H is a cold weather fan, as one living in his broadcast region I often chuckle at his boyish enthusiasm for snow and cold, and he has published in this area too. Where he differs from James Madden, and many of his followers, is firstly that he does not allow this preference to bias his forecasts; and secondly, he has the technical knowledge - that frankly the vast majority of journalists and "joe public" do / does not - to technically assess the merits of Mr Madden's (or anyone else's) forecasts.

    The simple truth is that nobody has the skill or capability to predict with any useful accuracy and reliability (i.e. doing it over and over again - the law of large numbers dictates that in any given period some forecasts will come true, just as most weeks someone picks the lottery numbers for the jackpot) the weather for more than about 6-7 days ahead in detail, and perhaps a month ahead as a generality. I would suggest that accuracy / reliability probably declines exponentially, thus reliability at 4 days out is far less than tomorrow, at eight days out it is far reduced again. Get beyond two weeks and there's really not much left other than informed guesswork.

    What Mr Madden does deserve significant credit for is his rampant ability to generate publicity. The fact that many ill-informed readers will want his projections to come true doubtless helps, as does the aforementioned appetite of the press for exciting and attention grabbing headlines. Now that he is charging for his "services" he may find that memory starts to linger rather longer, and more acutely, than it has hitherto.

  • Comment number 27.

    Paul, you comment that Exacta Weather use solar variations amongst other things. So in your opinion the sun has little to do with climate?
    Poor deluded boy.
    As a matter of interest the latest NASA historic temperature graph shows a steady rise in temperatures to 1998, the highest. Which seems strange given their past graphs showed an increase to the 1930,s then a slight fall. There is a comparison on WUWT which shows what seems to be a deliberate alteration of data to show what is claimed by alarmists.
    (HADCRUT still shows the previous series but how soon will this change?)

    If the old data is required it can be downloaded from Anthony Watts' web page but it is no longer available from NASA.

  • Comment number 28.

    Re 27. I can't see how you can infer whether Paul is supportive of this as a factor in forecasting climatic variation and long-term weather: all he says is that Exacta use this; unless you can see something I cannot there is no specific judgment of this, nor, I suggest, can one be inferred: Mr H would need to clarify that one, but I think you're reading FAR too much into his post to suggest that he's deluded. There is a demonstrable link, but there are many other factors too; in particular the huge thermal impact of the Southern Oscillation. If I were to criticise Mr Madden it would be on his tendency to over-simplify the drivers of our weather and climate, and then to keep looking for one particular outcome - i.e. an ice age, or as close to it as we can ever expect to come.

    Re your comment on NASA's long term global temperature monitoring:

    http://data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp/graphs_v3/

    I cannot see anything here that suggests that 1998 was globally the warmest on record, though the temperatures spiked that year for the US and the inter-tropical zone.

  • Comment number 29.

    Whatver happened to all the predictions about us getting milder winters and hotter drier summers?

    Yes yes I know they change their stories to suit and have no doubt a whole host of revised theories to explain whats happened

    But the crux of the matter is that we were supposed to get warmer and rapidly, the exact opposite has in fact happened

  • Comment number 30.

    Re 27: "There is a comparison on WUWT which shows what seems to be a deliberate alteration of data to show what is claimed by alarmists. "

    There is a comparison on WUWT which shows what seems to be incompetent data analysis by WUWT.

    Fixed it for you.

  • Comment number 31.

    I told Paul in 2006 after working for a Carbon Management company, that Global warming by man is a hoax. It is nothing more than a stealth tax and creates worthless jobs for the boys. The sun getting warmer or colder, causes the earth to heat or cool, but you need to consider a 40 year plus period. I am 48 so have a lot better idea, than these computers that model over a 20 year period.

  • Comment number 32.

    #28 uponamoor.
    The southern oscillation, and the others around the globe, make contributions to climate round the world but where do these vast ocean current changes get their energy? It is the sun as no other source of energy is available, geothermal heat is a non starter, so the sun is the vital link in the climate chain. Claims that solar output is always the same so can be discounted has long been shown the bin so solar energy changes, in all its forms, must be investigated not ignored as the GCMs do. I think Paul was thumping the BBC consensus drum a little with his mention of Exacta checking solar output as if it did not matter.

  • Comment number 33.

    There is a massive lag when the sun heats up the oceans and land mass, which is stored for many years. As we reach a tipping point, we will get those very cold winters again for the next 30/40 years.

  • Comment number 34.

    Solar output doesn't vary as much as AGW.

    solar min to solar max is about 0.2wm-2 forcing. Doubling CO2 is over 3wm-2.

    So it doesn't make sense to insist we should pay attention to the Sun but not AGW.

  • Comment number 35.

    From the main blog, Paul says:

    "The headline in the Express is one of over twenty in the newspaper in recent times, all claiming severe or extreme conditions were about to befall us,..."

    Another noteworthy thing about them is that without fail they forecast exceptionally cold conditions. Is this possibly an example of 'wishcasting' rather than 'forecasting'?

  • Comment number 36.

    29. openside50 wrote:

    "Whatver happened to all the predictions about us getting milder winters and hotter drier summers... the crux of the matter is that we were supposed to get warmer and rapidly, the exact opposite has in fact happened"
    ______________________________________________

    According to the MO's official data, during the 30 year period 1982-2011 the UK warmed at a rate of +0.34C per decade. Although Decembers have cooled significantly in that period, winters (Dec-Feb) as a whole have warmed by +0.15C per decade, and summers (Jun-Aug) by +0.18C per decade. 2012 to end October is about +0.6C above the thirty year average.

    http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/climate/uk/datasets/

    To set that in context, over the same 1982-2011 period, the UK warmed at a rate about twice that observed on average globally (+0.17C per decade), and about +0.10C per decade faster than the northern hemisphere as a whole (+0.24C per decade).

    http://vortex.nsstc.uah.edu/data/msu/t2lt/uahncdc.lt

    The UK is getting warmer rapidly.

  • Comment number 37.

    "solar min to solar max is about 0.2wm-2 forcing. Doubling CO2 is over 3wm-2"

    Averaging TSI covers up other variations which may, I repeat may, prove to be more important than the consensus currently accept. Since you already know this to be the view held in certain quarters (Svensmark), why do you persist in flogging this horse?
    Additionally, UV light varies considerably and is known to have specific effects on atmospheric chemistry (Ozone) as well as penetrate the oceans to greater depth.

    A car manufacturer may claim 55 mpg at a constant speed, but that tells you little about its performance at high speeds or in heavy traffic. Averaging isn't always usefully informative.

  • Comment number 38.

    If direct solar output changes (TSI) are smaller than the direct effect of AGW then why would people assume the Sun has a greater impact than AGW?

    It requires the assumption that some discovery will be made of a solar forcing at least 10x more powerful than TSI. Why assume such a thing exists? People who claim the Sun is more important than AGW are making this assumption.

  • Comment number 39.

    #34. - quake wrote:
    "Solar output doesn't vary as much as AGW.
    solar min to solar max is about 0.2wm-2 forcing. Doubling CO2 is over 3wm-2.
    So it doesn't make sense to insist we should pay attention to the Sun but not AGW."

    I think you may be confusing theory and reality.
    As we know, despite continuing growth in CO2 emissions, warming hasn't happened as quickly as it should have done in theory since the year 2000.
    Global temperatures are currently below the "commitment" scenario, (which assumes zero growth in GHG), MMM and below 13 of the 16 individual model runs in the scenario.
    So, although I am not necessarily an advocate of the solar energy theory, it may well be that warming is matching solar variation more closely than CO2 emissions.

  • Comment number 40.

    HADCRUT numbers now out for OCT. All four sets still show temperatures running around or below the 10 year average.

    http://notalotofpeopleknowthat.wordpress.com/2012/11/22/global-temperature-updateoctober-2012/#more-1974

  • Comment number 41.

    Newdwr54 wrote

    "The UK is getting warmer rapidly."

    Wrong. It WAS getting warmer up to about 2006. Since then temperatures have been drifting down again, and the long term trend is still only about half a degree more than the 1930/40's.

    http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/climate/uk/actualmonthly/

    BTW the current CET is running about 0.2C below the 30 yr av, not above.(It is running above the 1961-90 average, but this is about 0.5C colder than 1981-2010).

    If Dec is average, this year will be the 2nd coldest since 1996.

    http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/hadobs/hadcet/cet_info_mean.html

  • Comment number 42.

    Re 41:
    Last year was the 2nd warmest on record. It'll take many years of low temperatures to even suggest the warming has stopped, let alone reversed.

  • Comment number 43.

    39. QuaesoVeritas wrote:
    "it may well be that warming is matching solar variation more closely than CO2 emissions."

    CO2 emissions match warming far better than solar variation. Solar variation has been flat for decades and the recent sharp drop in solar output wasn't met with cooling.

    "As we know, despite continuing growth in CO2 emissions, warming hasn't happened as quickly as it should have done in theory since the year 2000."

    Not as quickly could mean 2C / doubling of CO2 instead of 4C. It would still mean the Sun isn't even in the same league.

  • Comment number 44.

    #42. - quake wrote:
    "Last year was the 2nd warmest on record. It'll take many years of low temperatures to even suggest the warming has stopped, let alone reversed."

    And the year before that, i.e. 2010, was the 257th warmest, or 97th coldest out of 354, colder than many years in the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries.

  • Comment number 45.

    #36. - newdwr54 wrote:
    "According to the MO's official data, during the 30 year period 1982-2011 the UK warmed at a rate of +0.34C per decade. "

    I'm not sure if you can use figures since 1982 as confirmation that predictions of warming were correct, since some of that warming had probably already happened when the predictions were made.
    Having said that, I am not sure exactly when the predictions were made, but I suspect that they were made during the peak warming period around 2006, and not before then, since when there has been a downward trend in annual CET figures.
    In fact, the trend in CET since as far back as 1989 has been approximately zero, which means that over that period, CET has not risen as quickly as global temperatures.
    So the fact is that the UK is not warming "rapidly". Of course, even if we were to have a run of cold years, that would probably be blamed on "climate change", "global weirding" or the latest term "climate disruption".

  • Comment number 46.

    #42. - quake wrote:
    "Last year was the 2nd warmest on record. It'll take many years of low temperatures to even suggest the warming has stopped, let alone reversed."

    And if we had several cold years, that would still be evidence of "climate change" in your mind?

  • Comment number 47.

    41. PaulHomewood wrote:

    Re: "The UK is getting warmer rapidly."

    "Wrong. It WAS getting warmer up to about 2006. Since then temperatures have been drifting down again, and the long term trend is still only about half a degree more than the 1930/40's."
    ____________________________________

    It's only 'wrong' if you give undue weight to short term trends Paul. The WMO says climate change is a statistically significant variation in the mean state of the climate "for an extended period (typically decades or longer)". Thirty years is regarded as the "classic period" by the WMO; it is the period the WMO recommend for basing anomaly references values in surface temperature data, for instance.

    The trend in the UK over 30 years is +0.34C per decade. The negative trend (-1.5C per decade) over the six year period 2006-2011 is part of that obviously, but too little time has elapsed, according to the WMO definition, to draw any conclusions about longer term direction.

    If you apply a rolling trend of just six years' to UK data there are literally dozens of ups and downs; 13 rolling six year periods have been negative in the UK in the past 30 years alone. The period 1982-1987 cooled at a rate of -2.3C per decade for example; 1989-1994 cooled at -1.4C/dec. Yet both these periods occurred during a thirty year period +0.34C/dec warming.

    Using a rolling 30 year 'average' the period ending 2011 is the warmest in the UK record, and if November and December reach their 30-year average this year, then 2012 will match that.

  • Comment number 48.

    41. PaulHomewood wrote:

    "BTW the current CET is running about 0.2C below the 30 yr av, not above.(It is running above the 1961-90 average, but this is about 0.5C colder than 1981-2010)."

    Thanks. I was referring to UK MO data, rather than CET. But having checked again I see that indeed I was wrong to say earlier that 2012 to date is warmer than the last 30 year average. I was mixing up whole year values. To date UK mean temperature data show Jan-Oct is -0.1C cooler than the 1982-2011 average. Still all to play for.

  • Comment number 49.

    Quake do you live in an alternative reality, because I don't think you live in the same universe as me. Since 2006 the UK hasn't had a decent summer and winters are going back to what they were like in the 60's, 70's and 80's.

  • Comment number 50.

    Interesting HadCRUT4 chart courtesy of HaroldW. Wanted to post a slightly different one but Imageshack have disowned me! Will look for an alternative.

    http://img208.imageshack.us/img208/121/hadcrut4trends.jpg

    Illustrates the present (Sept 12) 30 and 15 year trends. Shows the downtrend since 2003 of the 30 year trend and appears to show the oft mentioned 60 year cycle, next few years should be interesting. Past data suggests a rally in the 15 year trend but not sure if it will lift the 30 year above its last previous high of +0.179 degC/decade in Sept of 2012. All supposition of course as we do not know what the future holds.

  • Comment number 51.

    @50

    Apologies for duff info:-

    "of +0.179 degC/decade in Sept of 2012."

    should read

    of +0.179 degC/decade in Sept of 2010.

  • Comment number 52.

    "Since 2006 the UK hasn't had a decent summer and winters are going back to what they were like in the 60's, 70's and 80's."

    6 years isn't a particularly long time. short runs of X can happen just by chance. For example you mention winters going back, but last winter was quite warm.

  • Comment number 53.

    @52 Quake

    UKIP's alternative views on winter come up every year about this time. It's been pointed out many times that a few bad months does not equal a bad winter.

    It's alway good to get updates on the Sheffield Snow bunker...will it finally get tested this year?

  • Comment number 54.

    50. greensand wrote:

    One thing that be confusing about rolling trend charts is that they reflect changes in the *rates* at which temperatures rise and fall, but they don't say much about the actual temperatures. If you can plot the rolling 30 year trend in HadCRUT4 beside the rolling 30 year average temperature you'll see what I mean.

    While the rate at which temperatures change moves up and down all the time, there has only been one month in HadCRUT4 over the last 15 years hasn't brought a new 360 month record high (Feb 2011). You have to go back to February 1994 to find the next one.

    It's a very small rise each month. For instance the 360 month period ended October 2012 was just +0.001C warmer than the 360 month period ended September 2012, and just +0.012C warmer than the period ended January 2012. But it's all going in the one direction and it's slowly mounting up. Go back ten years and the period ended Oct 2012 is +0.163C warmer than the one that ended November 2002. Go back fifteen years and it's +0.242C warmer.

    The downtrend in the *rate* of change you noted since 2003 simply is not replicated in the rolling 30 year average temperatures. The 30 year rolling trend has fallen from a peak of +0.20C per decade in 2003 to +0.16C per decade this month. But the rolling average 30 year temperature is +0.15C warmer this month than it was at any time in 2003.

  • Comment number 55.

    Thank you DW, I am indebted to you!

    For years you have been adamant that THE only pertinent metric is the anomaly based 30 year rolling or trailing trend.

    I predicted over 12 months ago that it would turn against you and that when it did you would throw it under the bus.

    I thank you because I very rarely make predictions.

    Irrespective of your change of allegiance the 30 year rolling trend will remain a pertinent metric. The MO quote it and report against it in all their model predictions

    So now to your NEW metric, “average temperature” please post a link to the source of your data.

    Just one little point:-

    If there actually was “a very small rise each month” then each and every month would be setting a new absolute high? Are they?

  • Comment number 56.

    http://www.express.co.uk/posts/view/359980/100mph-gales-set-to-batter-Britain (Friday's front page headline story)

    I hope this is hype and exaggeration, but there's undoubtedly some nasty weather on the way for England and Wales on Saturday and early Sunday.

    Meanwhile I fully expect a hyped headline for the Saturday edition of the newspaper - 'After the floods, Arctic blizzards to hit' or something along those lines (if not on Saturday, if they remain preoccupied with the storm system still approaching from Biscay, then probably on Monday).

  • Comment number 57.

    re32: We'll have to agree to differ on the inference of Mr H's comment re solar output, but I think the client phrase was "bases its output...". My issue with Mr Madden is his flagrant tendency to exaggeration and hyperbole, and, as I stated previously, an almost unfettered bias towards cold weather.

    Re your general point, by far the most significant energy source for the climate is obviously the sun. The "however" is that the atmosphere is the vital determinant of the overall net energy flux, and there is no sensible argument that increasing CO2 does not significantly increase the tendency of the atmosphere to retain energy. Warming oceans might be down to increasing solar forcing; equally, they would, over time, absorb excess energy in the atmosphere above - their thermal capacity being orders of magnitude larger than the far less dense atmosphere above.

    Interesting reading other posts above: nature is hugely variable in the short term, and the reason why statisticians favour larger data sets is because the innate variation usually found within all events starts to smooth out. Statistical inference and calculations of probability start to become much more robust once the size of the data set being analysed increases beyond 30; by 100 items it tends to be very stable. The "tit for tat" trading of individual data points to try to make an argument is about as useful as me inferring the general intelligence of the population by stopping and talking to the next person I pass in the street tomorrow!

    There is no doubt that the long average CET is currently warming far less rapidly than was the case between about 1990 and 2008. The warming then was almost unprecedented, and exceeded only by the period between about 1720-45, when we were coming out of the 'little ice-age'. It's worth noting that the thirty year average in 1750 was still less than the average in 1990!

    The last five years, assuming December comes in around 2.5C say, will have been the coolest in the CET record since the period ending 1991. Before that only the five years ending in 1962, and 1950, were warmer. Poor measure though the five years is, it's far too soon even on this basis to suggest warming is over. The rolling thirty year average, with the same December assumption, would be within 0.01C of it's all time year-end peak at the end of last year, and 0.07C above the level at the same time in 2008. The point to remember when considering individual years in a long term context is not their net difference to the year before, but to the value thirty years previous.

    One other general caution. Extrapolating from the CET to the global picture is fraught. Taking my earlier flawed analogy, it would be as if I then extrapolated from the conversation in the street to the mass of all humanity everywhere on the globe. The UK has an unusually variable 'climate', and for its latitude has about the warmest winter anomaly of anywhere on Earth, and a significantly cool summer anomaly. It's a few years since I've buried myself in climate models in detail, but it was certainly a hypothesis in those days that a consequence of global warming in the short-term could actually be slight cooling for the UK, particularly if the NAD was thrown by significant freshwater melt and loss of the polar ice cap. Global warming (or cooling come to that) does not dictate that each and every square centimetre of the earth move with the overall trend, and that it should do so each and every day inexorably onwards. The amplitude of the weather is much much bigger than the slow change in mood of the climate.

    It's far too soon to say what the recent run of slightly cooler years means for our UK climate, but globally there has been little let up in the inexorable rise in average temperature. Even in the UK, the recent cold winters need to be set in the context of the long term cycle - we have a reliable pattern of cold winters clustering about every 22-23 years, going right back until at least 1823; on that basis our winters should be cool at present. As I wrote in another place a few years ago, the right time to judge the significance of any given year is not in its immediate aftermath, but rather a few years downstream. Until then, it's no more than the last datapoint, and what may seem an outlier, or a continuation, may in fact turn out to be quite the opposite.

  • Comment number 58.

    Re 56: It's certainly looking bad for the weekend; with absolutely saturated ground, and water-courses well up, more prolonged heavy rain is likely to lead to some severe potentially exceptional, flooding. At this distance though it's still possible the the course of the storm may veer, but the MO and EA are right to post warnings. I agree that the outlook for next week looks cold - continuing the run in several recent years of very cold endings to November. Of course Mr Madden saw this all along!

  • Comment number 59.

    Quake. If you think 6 years isn't a long time do do comparisons, why do you think it is right for comparisons based on 20 years data, which is where the Global warming scare mongers come from. How old are you? I can go back to 1964 and the brain is a far more powerful computer than any computer on the planet. John Cogger. I wait for the day when you have to eat your own words, the next 30/40 years of winters will kill your argument.

  • Comment number 60.

    #56. - ashleyhr wrote:
    "I hope this is hype and exaggeration, but there's undoubtedly some nasty weather on the way for England and Wales on Saturday and early Sunday."

    I wonder if this will be as bad as the "Great Storm", of November 1703?

  • Comment number 61.

    This year seems to be turning out to be similar to 1703.

    From the introduction to "The Storm", by Daniel Defoe, edited by Richard Hamblyn:

    "The weather (in 1703), had been particularly bad that year, with what seemed like endless bouts of rain and strong winds, gusting in from the South and South-west.

    On May 26th, Richard Chapman, the vicar of Chesterhunt, preached a sermon on "the present War, and Strange Unseasonableness of the Weather at Present", in which he interpreted the prevailing weather conditions as evidence of divine displeasure, and predicted that there would be worse to come, should the country not turn wholeheartedly towards a renewed contemplation of God."

    The above sounds very similar to current talk of "weird weather", and worse to come if we don't change our ways, although instead of blaming God, we now blame CO2.

    Of course, all of that bad weather was followed by the Great Storm of November 26/27th, which cut a 300 mile swathe of destruction across southern and central England, killed 8000 people, destroyed a large part of the navy, and set windmills alight due to the strength of the wind.

    I have been half expecting something similar this year.

  • Comment number 62.

    61.QuaesoVeritas:

    According to CET May 1703 was 11.9C, which is +0.7C above the long term average and even +0.2C above average for the past 30 years (and above this year). Are you sure he wasn't talking about 1698, which at 8.5C I make the coldest May in the CET record?

    Maybe people just liked moaning about the weather as much back then as they do today.

  • Comment number 63.

    59. Ukip wrote:

    "... the next 30/40 years of winters will kill your argument."

    Am I right in thinking that you predicted this last year also? You're not by any chance a journalist at the Daily Express?

  • Comment number 64.

    @61 QV

    Thanks QV, just what I wanted to hear having just retrieved the last bits of my little lean-to greenhouse from next door! I will now have to go and have a look at 1703!

    I remember a conversation between two of my work colleagues back in Manchester. It was after a particularly stormy night:-

    “Woke up this morning and there was a dustbin lid in the drive”

    “One? There were two in my drive”

    “Ah, but this one had Durham County Council on it!”

    Have fun, stay safe.

  • Comment number 65.

    #50. - greensand wrote:
    "Interesting HadCRUT4 chart courtesy of HaroldW. Wanted to post a slightly Illustrates the present (Sept 12) 30 and 15 year trends. Shows the downtrend since 2003 of the 30 year trend and appears to show the oft mentioned 60 year cycle, next few years should be interesting."

    The 60 (ish) year cycle is more evident in the 50 year rolling trend and I have been able to replicate it to over 99% correlation, using a sine wave pattern.
    However, that doesn't really help as far as predicting individual annual temperatures or even 10 year trends, since the margin of error on individual years is huge. A very wide range of individual yearly figures can still produce a 50 year trend which is consistent with the apparent 60 year cycle.
    If you think about it, even if annual temperatures remained constant for the next 30 or 50 years, that would still produce a falling trend over those periods, but no actual fall in temperatures.
    Just out of interest, I projected the 50 year rolling trend, assuming that all future monthly HadCRUT3 anomalies (I haven't got around to HadCRUT4 yet), up to 2060 were 0.5c, and the 50 year trend follows roughly the same apparent cyclical pattern, reaching a new low in 2050. That is later than what would be expected from a 60 (ish) year cycle, but the monthly values are artificial.
    I haven't worked out yet what increases in temperature will be required to send the 50 year trend up again after that.

  • Comment number 66.

    55. greensand wrote:

    "For years you have been adamant that THE only pertinent metric is the anomaly based 30 year rolling or trailing trend."
    __________________

    That's not quite true GS. Yes, I've always said (following the WMO advice) that 30 years continuous data should be used to infer climate trends from temperature. But I've never said it was "the only pertinent metric", and I have frequently discussed the rolling average temperature on this site. I'm well aware that the 30 year rolling trend is currently falling, as it has been since early 2004.

    "I predicted over 12 months ago that it would turn against you and that when it did you would throw it under the bus."
    ___________________

    It generally "turned against" me in May 2004, with a few ups and downs since. But as I repeat, this is only a measure of a change in the 'rate' of warming. The warming itself is ongoing.

    "So now to your NEW metric, “average temperature” please post a link to the source of your data."
    __________________

    Every global data set there is. I used HadCRUT4 for the above post ('Global (NH + SH)/2, Monthly': http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/hadobs/hadcrut4/data/current/download.html

    "Just one little point:-

    "If there actually was “a very small rise each month” then each and every month would be setting a new absolute high? Are they?"
    _______________

    Yes.

    Just copy the HC4 data from that site and paste it on a spreadsheet. Use the 'text to columns' wizard on Excel. The global monthly data are in column 2. In a separate column type '=average' and highlight the first 360 months data (it's handier to do this if you type your first formula adjacent to the 360th month). Then just drag it down to the latest value, October 2012.

    Highlight this new column you've created and click 'Insert' and select 'line graph'. You will see that, with the single exception of Feb 2011, each and every new month since March 1994 has set a new absolute high record running 30 year average.

  • Comment number 67.

    newdwr54. We had about a number of years of mild winters for 10 years or so, but the opposite is now happening. Last year wasn't that warm a winter and the year before was the coldest I remember and I was born in 1964. I think everybody is in for a nasty shock in December and January. Luckily I now have an online business, so I am no longer dependent on whether I can get out of the house or not.

  • Comment number 68.

    65. QuaesoVeritas:

    That's exactly the point I'm trying to make. People look at 30-year trend graphs and see a falling line and assume that temperatures are falling.

    But of course they're not. All that's 'falling' is the rate at which temperatures are rising, if that makes sense. Since August 2005 in HadCRUT4 the lines of the 30 year rolling trend and the 30 rolling year average temperatures have been going in sharply opposite directions.

  • Comment number 69.

    I have found this a good site showing longer term where the temperatures are going http://uk.weather.com/weather/10day-Sheffield-UKXX0133. We are already starting to see temperatures dip and we haven't got into December yet. I get a feeling we will have a winter like the year before last, if not worse.

  • Comment number 70.

    A pattern of future HadCRUT3 average anomalies, which matches the projected 50 year rolling trend cyclical pattern, is as follows:
    2013-2030 = 0.4c
    2031-2040 = 0.5c
    2041-2050 = 0.7c
    2051-2060 = 0.9c
    2061-2070 = 1.1c
    2071-2080 = 1.2c
    2081-2090 = 1.3c
    2091-2100 = 1.2c
    So while the 60 year trend cycle does suggest a period of low temperature increase between now and 2030, it is not inconsistent with a further rise in temperatures after that.
    However, that rise is lower than the main IPCC scenario projections between now and 2099.
    A1B MMM = +2.9C
    A2 MMM = +3.7C
    B1 MMM = +1.9C
    COMMITMENT MMM = 0.72C
    (above are relative to 1961-90 approx.)
    So the estimated anomalies in 2099 based on the assumed cycle, are somewhere between scenario B1 and the "commitment" scenario, which assumes zero growth in greenhouse gasses. The difference between the projected anomalies based on the cycle and the IPCC projections is that IPCC scenario projections show an almost exponential growth.
    The projected anomalies based on the apparent cycle make no assumptions about the cause of the increase in temperatures, which may be a combination of natural cycles and some "greenhouse" effect, which is lower than in IPCC projections.

  • Comment number 71.

    quake, # various.
    The solar output is not just visible light but magnetic, and others, that effect other inputs to the earth system.
    To claim that AGW is important assumes that AGW happens and for that you need to believe in the theory of the GHE caused by those dreadful GHG's. Well you believe what you want but that theory is based on a model that is nothing like reality. Called the two plate model it assumes that the earth is flat and the sun is cold enough to keep the earth at -18C which is why the GHG theory is needed. But reality dictates that earth is a sphere, rotating once every 24 hours. This makes such a difference that solar input is only on half the planet supplying enough heat to maintain a temperature of +49C. So no GHG theory is needed only reality.
    For a fuller explanation see:- www.climateofsophistry.com hosted and written by Joseph E Postma a Canadian astrophysicist. All calculations are shown even those for Venus long held to be the GHG planet past its tipping point. (another non-scientific concept never found in nature)

  • Comment number 72.

    #62. - newdwr54 wrote:
    "According to CET May 1703 was 11.9C, which is +0.7C above the long term average and even +0.2C above average for the past 30 years (and above this year). Are you sure he wasn't talking about 1698, which at 8.5C I make the coldest May in the CET record?"

    No mention of the temperature in the quote. I think that the "unseasonableness" was more related to wind and rain.
    Of course of it was unusually warm, that would also be "unseasonableness" and would be consistent with a generally westerly wind direction.

  • Comment number 73.

    66. newdwr54 wrote:

    “I used HadCRUT4 for the above post ('Global (NH + SH)/2, Monthly': http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/hadobs/hadcrut4/data/current/download.html”

    So you didn’t use actual “average” temperature, you used an average of the anomaly. Which is good, I envisaged numerous discussions of how to produce an average of the actual temps.

    “Just copy the HC4 data from that site and paste it on a spreadsheet”

    Thanks DW, already have it in a spreadsheet and now I know what you have done looking at it is not an issue.

    "Yes"

    I think you and I are at cross purposes, when I refer to new “absolute” high for a month, year etc. I mean precisely that i.e. it has been the highest ever individual temperature recorded for that month or year. What I understand you are saying is that the “average or mean” of the anomaly is setting a new high. Well it would be, that is what you would expect as the planet has warmed, so it is only natural for the highest temps to be the latest in the warming pattern.

    However this does not mean that the rate of warming is such to cause alarm. If as you say it is at present +0.001 per month then that is +0.12 degC/decade, which is lower that any forecast and is also lower than the 30 year trend and also supports the reduction in the rate that you have noted since 2004.

    It is possible for each decade of the present century to be the warmest on record and the planet only have warmed by +0.10 deg C. All each decade needs to be is +0.01 deg C warmer than the previous decade.

    That is why the the trend is, and always be, the metric by which the rate of warming of this planet is measured.

  • Comment number 74.

    68.newdwr54 wrote:

    "65. QuaesoVeritas:

    That's exactly the point I'm trying to make. People look at 30-year trend graphs and see a falling line and assume that temperatures are falling."

    I don't, I always quote that it is the rate of increase that is falling because it is the rate by which the planet is warming that is the concern. Not the absolute actual temperature that exists today.

  • Comment number 75.

    Of course, all of what I have said above is based on the assumption that the historic global temperature record is accurate and hasn't been manipulated in some way in order to increase recent temperatures, relative to the older ones.
    There is some evidence (although not as far as HadCRUT3/4 is concerned) that the trend has been manipulated by reducing the older temperature data, which of course is convenient, since there are no satellite figures available to verify whether or not those adjustments are valid.

  • Comment number 76.

    Re 71: "The solar output is not just visible light but magnetic, and others, that effect other inputs to the earth system."

    Why do you assume they matter?

    "To claim that AGW is important assumes that AGW happens"

    It has far better evidence going for it than the speculations about solar magnetic fields "and other effects" you assume above. So if you were to be consistent you'd throw out the Sun as an explanation too.

    "Called the two plate model it assumes that the earth is flat and the sun is cold enough to keep the earth at -18C which is why the GHG theory is needed."

    Even models with a rotating Earth show without the greenhouse effect the planet would be uninhabitable cold. It's a simple matter of energy balance. Without the greenhouse effect the Earth would be emitting more energy into space than it absorbs from the Sun and so would cool.

    "This makes such a difference that solar input is only on half the planet supplying enough heat to maintain a temperature of +49C. So no GHG theory is needed only reality."

    That ignores the night-side of the Earth which is strongly radiating energy (infrared) into space. If you take that into account you'll find the incoming solar is not sufficient to keep the Earth warm without a greenhouse effect.

    GCMs contain both sides of the Earth and a rotating Earth. All the detail. Without a greenhouse effect the Earth is too cold to be habitable.

  • Comment number 77.

    @ 70.QuaesoVeritas:

    I have not studied the "60 ish cycle" has not really been on my horizon as I try to stay with the actual observational data, what is happening in the here and now, or not happening, as the case maybe.

    I wonder what went into the IPCC “commitment scenario”. Is the +0.72C attributable to natural variations or is it thought to be a “residual” effect from the level of greenhouse gasses present when the call was made. Tried to read up on this before but got sidetracked.

  • Comment number 78.

    Coincidentally, Stephen Goddard has just blogged about 1703:

    http://stevengoddard.wordpress.com/2012/11/23/dirty-weather-in-1703/

  • Comment number 79.

    And Tallbloke has an interesting discussion on Solar variation . . .
    http://tallbloke.wordpress.com/2012/11/22/tim-cullen-the-problem-with-tsi-total-solar-irradiance/

  • Comment number 80.

    Post 60 I'm sure this depression won't be as bad as that of 1703. METEOROLOGICALLY speaking. Human impact is possibly another question.

    We can't blame the scaremongering Daily Express for missing the storm of 1703... Though I think they did, like most of the Met Office, also miss seeing the 1987 'hurricane' approaching Great Britain. But I suppose most of the self-appointed forecasters consulted by the Express today were still in primary school in 1987?

  • Comment number 81.

    Message 67
    Winter 2011-12 (Dec-Feb) in the UK was one of the warmest 20% or so since official Met Office temperature records began around 100 years ago - with a mean temperature of 4.58 C: http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/climate/uk/datasets/Tmean/ranked/UK.txt

  • Comment number 82.

    73. greensand wrote:

    "So you didn’t use actual “average” temperature, you used an average of the anomaly."
    _________________________

    I used the 30 year *rolling average*, as I have explained plainly in every post I've made on this subject in this tread. Just as the graph you posted uses the 30-year *rolling trend*. I thought that was clearly understood?
    __________________________

    "....when I refer to new “absolute” high for a month, year etc. I mean precisely that i.e. it has been the highest ever individual temperature recorded for that month or year."
    __________________________

    OK, but that's by no means clear from your original question, which asked: "If there actually was “a very small rise each month” then each and every month would be setting a new absolute high? Are they?"

    My answer to that was based on the understanding that we were talking about the rolling 30 year temperature average, which we were. I'm glad that you acknowledge that it is a fact that every month apart from one out of the last 224 months has failed to set a new absolute 30-year running-average temperature record.

    Nobody expects a new record high temperature to be set every month of every year, or even every year, or even every decade, or more...

    "That is why the the trend is, and always be, the metric by which the rate of warming of this planet is measured."
    ____________________________

    I agree, and the trend over 30 years is the one to keep an eye on. But you were confusing a trend in 'rolling 30 year trends' with a trend in temperatures. Those are two completely different things.

    HadCRUT4 is in near perfect agreement with all the other temperature data sets over 30 years: +0.16C (+/- 0.01C) is the 30-year temperature trend in UAH, RSS, NOAA and NASA. A very high rate of warming.

  • Comment number 83.

    74. greensand wrote:

    "... I always quote that it is the rate of increase that is falling because it is the rate by which the planet is warming that is the concern. Not the absolute actual temperature that exists today."

    The rate of increase in HadCRUT4 over the past 30 years is currently +0.16C per decade. I agree with the IPCC that that 'is' cause for concern. The average rate of increase per decade over thirty years across the whole +160 year HC4 period of record is +0.05C. So it's currently three times higher than the long term average.

    During a few brief periods ending in the 1940s the 30-year warming rate briefly reached +0.15C per decade (a total of 16 times), then fell sharply away. The IPCC has attributed most of this warming to natural variation (exceptionally high TSI).

    But the rate did not rise to +0.16C per decade until the late 1990s and it has remained at or above that level since; literally hundreds of consecutive 30-year periods of record high 30-year warming rates, and counting.

    All this warming has occurred during a period of relatively low TSI, and over the past 10 years there has also been a spate of naturally cooling ENSO cycles. So you're right: the rate at which the planet warms *is* cause for concern.

    I suppose this is why the UN IPCC, every national scientific academy in the world, and every geophysical society of national or international standing in the world are currently voicing concern?

  • Comment number 84.

    82. newdwr54 wrote:

    "I agree, and the trend over 30 years is the one to keep an eye on.”

    Good I am glad we agree about that!

    I am finding it interesting looking at the “moving averages”. Just plotted the “change per month” you mentioned and it seems to be roughly in agreement with the 30 year trend, showing the reduction in the rate of increase since Dec 2003, but it is noisy, will have to look at a smoothing factor.

    “HadCRUT4 is in near perfect agreement with all the other temperature data sets over 30 years: +0.16C (+/- 0.01C) is the 30-year temperature trend in UAH, RSS, NOAA and NASA. A very high rate of warming”

    Yes the HadCRUT4 - 30 year trend is +0.16C, whilst you describe this as a very high rate of warming, it is in fact considerably lower than it was 9 years ago when it peaked at +0.20C. It is also good that is is lower than the IPCC B1 scenario of +0.19C (ref QV – 70 above)

    How the future data will effect the trend is yet to be seen, but we do know the past data that is to come into the trend. A quick rough look back leads me to think that there will be a rally in the 15 year trend during 2013/4 even if actual temps remain flat. Not sure if this will show through into the 30 year trend sufficiently enough to break the present reducing trend. (as close as I get to making a prediction)

    Time will tell

  • Comment number 85.

    83.newdwr54 wrote:

    “But the rate did not rise to +0.16C per decade until the late 1990s and it has remained at or above that level since; literally hundreds of consecutive 30-year periods of record high 30-year warming rates, and counting.”

    It was April 1999 when the rate exceeded +0.16C per decade it continued to rise to +0.20C per decade in Dec 2003, it is now back at the 1999 level.

    “All this warming has occurred during a period of relatively low TSI, and over the past 10 years there has also been a spate of naturally cooling ENSO cycles. So you're right: the rate at which the planet warms *is* cause for concern.”

    So you will therefore be pleased now that natural variations are having an increasing effect upon the rate of warming?

  • Comment number 86.

    85. greensand wrote:

    "So you will therefore be pleased know that natural variations are having an increasing effect upon the rate of warming?"
    _______________________________

    I'm not sure about "pleased" GS. And I'm also not sure about "are having".

    As for 'pleased'; I'm neither pleased nor displeased. As for "are having"; looking at the global data sets and applying 30 year trends and averages, per the WMO, I think possibly "have had" may be more appropriate than "are having".

    Global average temperatures fell between 1982 and 1986: http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/wti/from:1982/to:1986/plot/wti/from:1982/to:1986/trend So the start period of the new thirty year global trend is about to enter a relatively cool period. The top end of the thirty year global trend, where we are at the moment, has been relatively warm.

    That may raise the linear trend a little over the next few months and years. I'd be surprised if it falls below +0.16 in the next four years, but not surprised if it rises to +0.17 again, or higher.

  • Comment number 87.

    86.newdwr54 wrote:

    "That may raise the linear trend a little over the next few months and years. I'd be surprised if it falls below +0.16 in the next four years, but not surprised if it rises to +0.17 again, or higher."

    It would not surprise me either, as I said earlier in this thread.

    “Past data suggests a rally in the 15 year trend but not sure if it will lift the 30 year above its last previous high of +0.179 degC/decade in Sept 2010., all supposition of course as we do not know what the future holds.”

    It needs to break the last high in order to break out of the present 9 year downward trend.

    Time will tell

  • Comment number 88.

    @ 88.

    I should also add that the 30 year trend could stagnate below it last previous high, but the past data does promote this. If the future remains flat the 30 year will rise for awhile, not sure about 4 years but, as I stated earlier, should rise through 2013 & 12 after that it will depend mostly on the future numbers as the past data starts to fall again.

    Not sure if that is actually English, but you will get the drift:-)

  • Comment number 89.

    I see the Express have been persisting with the scaremongering tactics in Friday's and today's paper. " 100 mph gales " was the headline yesterday and it was that other well known amateur, Jonathan Powell from Vantage Weather services who suggested we would see those winds. I don't think so Jonathan, 70 or 80mph will be the top values and yes they will cause damage, but I suppose a headline of "70 mph gales to hit Britain" is not as eyecatching.

    In todays, paper we are back to the winter theme with " Now for the big freeze".
    Yet another misleading headline which states we'll see temperatures of -15C, which again is misleading. Further on in the article Jonathan Powell is quoted as saying it will feel like -15C, well thats not the same is it ?
    There are so many inaccuracies I haven't got the time or patience to mention them all.

    However having just looked at the latest 16 day GFS forecasts, there is scope for some colder conditions than of late but even up to the 10th December the lowest thickness values over Lincolnshire are only 521 Dm and the lowest min temp -3C, which is nothing out of the ordinary.

    I've also managed to aquire a copy of Exacta weather's winter forecast from a friend and if true, it spells the end of civilisation as we know it, but as Paul said Mr Madden was quoting a similar story last year. I suppose he might be correct one winter, lets hope it's not this one !

  • Comment number 90.

    #89

    The media's thirst for sales drives their sensationalism - see my earlier post #23 first paragraph.

    Sadly they don't need to use the "100" to make a point in the minds (if they have one) of their readership. They could have simply chosen to describe the current low pressure as producing "storm force winds". Such a description would have been consistent with the Beaufort scale - ie storm force gusts to 60mph (52 kt) and portrayed the "little bugger" now off the Lincs coast - without the need to re-invent terminology.

    During my ten years with Met Office such weather was always exciting and this one is no different. Strong easterly until the early hours, almost calm as centre passed followed by the WNW back end as surface pressure rises "70". (7mb in 3 hours). Of course, the days of "falling 100+" were/are even better.

    GFS (as stated at #23) has been consistent with the cold theme for end Nov beginning of Dec but then it struggles with the warm air/cold air battle. The 850mb temperature is key to form of ppn at or below -5c more likely solid.

    And what of HadCRUT4? . . . let the musers muse.

  • Comment number 91.

    #88. - greensand wrote:
    "If the future remains flat the 30 year will rise for awhile, not sure about 4 years but, as I stated earlier, should rise through 2013 & 12 after that it will depend mostly on the future numbers as the past data starts to fall again."

    Was the above based on an actual numeric projection?

    I have calculated the 30 year trend based on a flat 0.5c monthly HadCRUT3 between now and 2020, then a flat 0.4c until 2030, and the 30 year trend rises to about 0.16c/decade by 2014, then falls to about 0.12c/decade by 2020.
    If the 50 year trend is to approximately follow the 60 year cycle, then the 30 year trend will need to be zero by 2030.

  • Comment number 92.

    #90. - chris wrote:
    "And what of HadCRUT4? . . . let the musers muse."

    And what of HadCRUT4?
    Don't tease us!

  • Comment number 93.

    Trends and anomalies assume that climate never changes but it certainly does. Any particular climate at any time will have its temperature band, max to min, that is correct for that climate and that climate will be trended into and out of as the climate cycles change.
    Too much is focused on trends and anomalies because these do not mean a lot to the planet as a whole only those whose income depends on the alarmism to generate more income.

  • Comment number 94.

    Just noticed. Technically the Express headline on 17 November was 'Coldest winter IN 100 years on way'. That is they - and ONLY they not even the amateur forecasters they routinely consult for alarmist soundbites - were saying it would be colder than December 1962-February 1963, the coldest recorded since 1910. So the actual prediction is 'Coldest winter for 50 years on way'.

    I think this November 2012 flooding event is probably as bad meteorologically speaking as autumn 2000. But we seem better prepared now and I suspect there have been less flooded homes and less human casualties.

  • Comment number 95.

    A difference of opinion.
    http://tallbloke.wordpress.com/2012/11/25/french-meteo-forecast-for-nov-30-it-aint-pretty/
    Is this within range of accurate forecast?

  • Comment number 96.

    91. QuaesoVeritas wrote:

    “Was the above based on an actual numeric projection?”

    Sort of, but without much quality control, just stuck a flat +0.518C into my spreadsheet through to 2020.

    “I have calculated the 30 year trend based on a flat 0.5c monthly HadCRUT3 between now and 2020, then a flat 0.4c until 2030, and the 30 year trend rises to about 0.16c/decade by 2014, then falls to about 0.12c/decade by 2020.
    If the 50 year trend is to approximately follow the 60 year cycle, then the 30 year trend will need to be zero by 2030.”

    Well if and it is a big unknown if, it stays at a flat +0.5C through to 2030 then the 30 year trend will be zero.

    Clues will come from shorter term trends, if the 20, 15, 10 year trends remain below the 30 year trend it can only reduce. If any of the shorter terms rise up through the 30 year change it may signal a change, until then the 30 year trend will continue to reduce.

  • Comment number 97.

    Re my last comment. Actually what the Express were predicting was the coldest winter since the last winter that was COLDER than 1962-63 - whenever that was, and we can't really be certain.

  • Comment number 98.

    #97. - ashleyhr wrote:
    "Re my last comment. Actually what the Express were predicting was the coldest winter since the last winter that was COLDER than 1962-63 - whenever that was, and we can't really be certain."

    I suspect that the "coldest winter for 100 years" claim was based on the extent of the UKMO temperature data series which goes back to 1911 in the case of winter temperatures, since 62/63 was the coldest winter in that series and the only one with a negative temp.

    However, the CET series goes back to 1659, and according to that series, 62/63 was ranked 3rd with a figure of -0.33c, with 1739/40 2nd, at -0.4c and 1683/4 1st, at -1.17c.

    So if the Express was saying that this winter would be colder than 62/63 but not colder than 1739/40, they could presumably have said that it would be the coldest winter for over 270 years, based on CET.

 

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