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A stormy end to November

Paul Hudson | 17:31 UK time, Friday, 25 November 2011

The pattern of weather that is now establishing itself, dominated by westerly winds, is common across the UK in winter.

Vigorous depressions are likely to develop in the coming days, and the strength of the wind is likely to catch the headlines.

This weekend looks particularly stormy, with widespread gales likely from North Wales northwards tomorrow - with gusts as high as 65mph as far south as the North Midlands, around 70mph across the more exposed parts of Yorkshire, and possibly approaching 80mph in Northeast of England and East Scotland later.

Looking into next week, and early December looks set to stay unsettled, and turn generally colder, with the first snow of the season possible in places, mainly over northern hills.

But almost a year to the day since the beginning of last year's extreme cold, there seems little chance that next month will see a repeat of the weather patterns that led to the coldest December since 1890 (on the Central England Temperature measure), despite numerous headlines in the tabloid press in the last few months.

Comments

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  • Comment number 1.

    Squeaky bum time for Piers Corbyn it seems! Although he still seems confident.

    GFS models mobile westerly pattern into mid December, a classic mix of wet and mild mixed with wintry showers if this is indeed what we get.

    I've no idea how this will morph into the kind of cold blast we had last year, but then GFS didn't predict that too far out either, it had a short burst of cold and return to westerlies - but it kept going for nearly 5 weeks!

  • Comment number 2.

    Yes, the weather pattern this year seems very different from last year. Who knows, we may even end up with a mild winter.

    One of the most remarkable things, to me, about this autumn has been the almost complete lack of frost. Even where I live in a frosthollow at the foot of the Wolds, we only had a little bit in mid October (slight air frost) and since then, one transient partial ground frost a couple of nights ago. Night time temps have been remarkably high at times, particularly in November.

    As for these forecasters and their tabloid press friends - the weather says it all!

  • Comment number 3.

    Cheers Paul. That's the hanging baskets and trampoline taken down.

    Any view on the Climategate 2 emails. Did you get a mention?

    Have a nice weekend and good luck with the book.

    Piers Corbyn, like any "expert" who tries to predict the future of a non-linear, chaotic system is wrong. Although he seems less wrong then a lot of other experts the BBC seem to like more.,

  • Comment number 4.

    Was a bit cooler today and very strong wind for a Barnsley man riding back from Doncaster with a bit of Hail about lunch-time but it does not matter which Map you show it on we have a pretty good idea in Barnsley where the Humber is and draw a line across the TV screen for guidance :)

  • Comment number 5.

    to millennia #1

    Just a thought..... could the Corbyn weather have popped up at the "wrong" end of Europe again, do you think?

  • Comment number 6.

    "Looking into next week, and early December looks set to stay unsettled, and turn generally colder, with the first snow of the season possible in places, mainly over northern hills."

    Never mind next week and early December, my guest drove from Inverness to Edinburgh today through quite a lot of snow.

  • Comment number 7.

    "A stormy end to November"

    nice one Paul. Like a scaffolder, that works on a number of levels.

  • Comment number 8.

    So much for "solar considerations".

    Back to the drawing board Piers.

  • Comment number 9.

    slightly off topic but if you want an overview of the madness that is AGW read Booker in the Sunday Telegraph

    http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-5Y29RYGCUjM/TtFar2_L0RI/AAAAAAAAUdI/P-F036k57S0/s1600/Delusion1.jpg

  • Comment number 10.

    An article in the Daily Mail, which sheds some light on the bias towards AGW in the BBC.
    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2066706/BBC-sought-advice-global-warming-scientists-economy-drama-music--game-shows.html

  • Comment number 11.

    Given that the cold of last year was the coldest period for the time of year since records began it was always a bit of a stretch to anticipate a repeat anytime soon.

    Whilst we still enjoy jetstream positioning producing a nice southerly flow across western Europe the same synoptic pattern is producing colder than normal elsewhere.

    I tend to watch this map each year:

    http://www.wetterzentrale.de/pics/Rtavn125.html

    and I can assure readers that the extent and intensity of the autumn and winter season cooling area as a whole (not regionally) is greater than it was on the same map four years ago and which I printed out at the time.

    Like it or not there is a general slow cooling trend gradually working out from the poles each year. Probably in response to the less active sun.

    Think about this:

    http://climaterealists.com/index.php?id=8723&linkbox=true&position=3

    "CO2 or Sun ? Which one really controls Earth's surface temperature"

  • Comment number 12.

    Going on the last three years and the current cooling cycle we are going through. I am going to stick my neck out and say that we are going to have some record levels of snow again this winter, I hope you are ready for it. I suspect this year the winter will be a reverse of last year and the heavy snow will appear after Christmas. It would be great if we could also have a white Christmas and the book makers have to pay out.

  • Comment number 13.

    QV #10

    from the Daily Mail article you referenced it would appear that 2 of our elected representatives are taking an interest. Not before time.

    "Labour MP Graham Stringer last night said he would be writing this week to BBC director-general Mark Thompson to demand an investigation into the Corporation’s relationship with UEA. ‘The new leaked emails show that the UEA scientists at the Tyndall Centre and the CRU acted more like campaigners than academics, and that they succeeded in an attempt to influence the output of the BBC,’ Mr Stringer said.
    Conservative MP David Davis said: ‘Using research money to evangelise one point of view and suppress another defies everything I ever learnt about the scientific method. These emails go to the heart of the BBC’s professed impartiality... its actions must be investigated."

    I am not holding my breath but this is another step along the road to freedom

  • Comment number 14.

    and another brick in the wall

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2066720/David-Camerons-green-guru-Steve-Hilton-reveals-doubts-global-warming.html

    "Steve Hilton, the Prime Minister’s director of strategy and ‘green guru’, is the latest person to admit to doubts about climate change.

    ‘I’m not sure I believe in it,’ he announced at a meeting of the Energy Department, prompting one aide to blurt out: ‘Did I just hear that correctly?’ "

    As soon as it becomes cool to doubt climate change in public, you just watch, everyone and his wife will be jumping on the bandwagon

    smoke me a kipper

  • Comment number 15.

    #14. - Spanglerboy wrote:
    "Steve Hilton, the Prime Minister’s director of strategy and ‘green guru’, is the latest person to admit to doubts about climate change.
    ‘I’m not sure I believe in it,’ he announced at a meeting of the Energy Department, prompting one aide to blurt out: ‘Did I just hear that correctly?’ "

    What annoys me slightly is the implication that in order to be "green", you have to believe in "climate change".

    I consider myself to be "green", in that I am concerned about the way that the human race is treating the environment in general. However after an initial acceptance, I have become increasingly sceptical about "climate change".

    I actually think that concentration on "climate change" has distracted attention away from many other, more urgent, "green" issues.

  • Comment number 16.

    @12 Sheffield_city

    Your predictions so far this winter -
    2nd Nov - I see that within two weeks we are going to be in for some very cold weather and snow.
    3rd Nov - I think I must be psychic or using my common sense. Wait for the -20c's we are expecting in November.

    You need to stop reading the front pages of the Mail or Express. It must be great to be a forecaster in these papers who are never wrong, it's just the weather predicted has been delayed or it's as predicted just in the wrong place.

    Where are the -20's?

  • Comment number 17.

    QV

    what used to be true environmentalism was hijacked many years ago by activists pushing their agendas. You may recall that one of the founder members of Greenpeace (Patrick Moore) resigned because he was unhappy at the way Greenpeace had become politicised. I would wager that the vast majority of people do care for the environment and do want to look after the planet for future generations. I would include myself in such number. And that is precisely the reason why activists have taken over the NGOs. They believe that they will be seen as having the moral high ground and that they will therefore receive public support. Unfortunately for them Al Gore went and invented the internet and now everyone knows that they are more interested in changing society than they are in saving the environment.

    Whilst I acknowledge that mankind should take responsibility for the environment I believe fervently that our first duty is to our fellow man. The resources that have been wasted (and continue to be wasted) on windmills and solar panels and all that alternative energy crap could be so much better applied in relieving poverty both at home and abroad. The policies of the green activists are killing people today and every day and must be stopped.

    Health and wealth flow from affordable energy. A nation that is healthy and wealthy can deal with anything the weather can throw at them.

  • Comment number 18.

    Dear spanglerboy and Quaeso Veritas

    I thought ... Is this really worth getting up from the setee to respond to? But why not, it's Sunday evening and Ive had a nice day out walking in the autumn sunshine.

    Interesting link from that well known impartial and reliable source of info "The Daily Mail". Is this the standard text that underpins all sceptic theory? If so you have gone down in my estimation QV -- quite significantly.

    As for that piece in the "Telegraph" (the higher reading age version of "the Mail"). Most of it seemed to be little more than an emotional rant about how vexed we ought to be about changes in energy policy. Goodness! -and apparently, all based on "the greatest scientific scandal of our generation" - he wrote... LAST TIME!

    Well, that clinches it for me - AGW is definitely a complete falacy (and a BBC conspiracy to boot!).

    Still, I suppose that, following extensive investigations which exonerated all the "climategate 1" accused (several times), mentioning this might spoil a good story. A nearly dead horse may twitch if flogged hard enough.

    Wake me up when you have found something not based on hearsay and scandal mongering.

  • Comment number 19.

    12. Sheffield_city wrote:

    "I am going to stick my neck out and say that we are going to have some record levels of snow again this winter, I hope you are ready for it."

    Don't worry, we're ready for it. We've been ready for it since the 'no-show snow' of November that you predicted with equal confidence a month ago.

  • Comment number 20.

    #18. - jkiller56 wrote:
    I thought ... Is this really worth getting up from the setee to respond to? But why not, it's Sunday evening and Ive had a nice day out walking in the autumn sunshine.

    "Interesting link from that well known impartial and reliable source of info "The Daily Mail". Is this the standard text that underpins all sceptic theory? If so you have gone down in my estimation QV -- quite significantly."
    You assume that I agree with everything in the Daily Mail article.
    I said that it "shed some light" on the BBC bias (which I know exists), nothing more.
    How do know I didn't post the article with the purpose of causing controversy?

  • Comment number 21.

    11. Stephen Wilde wrote:

    "Given that the cold of last year was the coldest period for the time of year since records began..."

    December 2010 was the coldest period in the UK as a whole since records began in 1910.

    However in the CET, December 2010 was the second coldest, after Dec 1890. Nov 2010 was 97th coldest, and Nov/Dec 2010 combined were the 68th coldest in the 353 year old CET record.

    There was an exceptionally cold spell across the UK from late November to December 2010. However 2010 'globally' was the 15th warmest since 1850 according to HadCRUT; the 15th warmest since 1880 according to NOAA; the 11th warmest since 1880 according to NASA, and the 7th warmest since 1979 according UAH satellite data.

    Globally 2010 is officially the warmest year ever recorded by instruments according to NOAA. So this cold arising from "a less active sun" over the last four years is announcing itself in a highly peculiar way... in 2010 it warmed things up!

  • Comment number 22.

    17. Spanglerboy wrote:

    "A nation that is healthy and wealthy can deal with anything the weather can throw at them."

    Ask Texans about that.

  • Comment number 23.

    To QV #20

    Posted to cause controversy eh!

    Just like the "Daily Mail" then, a manufactured controversy to sell newspapers---- (though certainly not to shed light).

  • Comment number 24.

    Jkiller56 @ 5

    Ha Ha, oh you are funny! No, although Piers did say the pattern shifted west (hence we sat in the warm upwelling instead of cold plunge) even he said the backend forecast for November didn't happen. His confidence levels were about 70% for this period, so the 30% won out - it happens. His service never exceeds 85% confidence and has never existed as a day to day forecast for specific areas, so your previous comments about him failing because a weather type is off by 100 miles means you disingenuously misrepresent his circulation pattern predictions for local weather forecasts.

    Piers is sticking his neck on the line and having a press conference tomorrow reaffirming the cold December forecast. I have watched the GFS with interest over the last few days as it morphed from a full mild westerly into a series of cold plunges, the deepest of which now shows snow Monday to Wednesday next week.

    People seem to have already forgotten that when newspapers said the bad winter would start on October he came out and called the forecast rubbish, he had mild weather to mid November.

    So I reckon Piers is counting on that jet moving, yes, just a few hundred miles south and our weather will turn on a sixpence as first north westerlies and then arctic northerlies dig in.

    However as I have no access to the calculations he makes I have no idea what signals he is looking for, but I will reaffirm that last year in mid November I was waiting for his predictions to come true while GFS models showed a mild run into December, these then changed day by day until a huge cold plunge appeared from nowhere as the jet kinked south over us.

    At the end of the day the MetO have nailed their colours to the mast as said no way is there going to be severe cold weather in December. Piers has said extremes will happen. Unlike climate change, we don't have to wait 30 years to see who is right.

  • Comment number 25.

    On the subject of statistics, why is it 90% certain you won't see typos until after you've hit "post", even using preview first? :P

  • Comment number 26.

    QV @ 15

    I agree, the green movement has been badly damaged by dogmatic element of global warmers.

    That we can destroy the UK countryside with thousands of tons of concrete, steel, fibreglass, and rare earth elements (which have their own massive environmental impacts at the point of extraction and production) in the name of "green"; that the left throw themselves enthusiastically behind this cause when the result is wealth distribution from poor to rich the world over; that science is hobbled by politics, fights for funding (money again), and grandstanding (Nobel); all of these are a terrible shame.

    In a way I almost hope AGW does turn out to be true, because if it is ever finally refuted the damage done to a generation of science and innovation could put us into another Dark Ages.

  • Comment number 27.

    I use AccuWeather to see what the weather is going be for the next couple of days. I also used to refer to the BBC's page for the same info.
    But in the last few weeks the BBC seems to have dropped their 5 days predictions, and now give only the today forecast.
    Has the MET finally accepted that they can hardly predict the weather a couple of days ahead never mind a week or more?

  • Comment number 28.

    newdwr54 and john cogger. What is a few months, when weather cycles happen over a forty year period or more. The cold weather hasn't arrived yet due to the blocking that we keep getting, but it is on its way. The storms that we are getting are slowly opening the door. By the end of the winter we are going to be talking about records being broken again like last year. I was mocked when I said that the banking sector was going to crash big style and that was back in 2000. I always have the last laugh. Academical people can be too intelligent for their own good and lack common sense.

  • Comment number 29.

    QuaesoVeritas

    I totally agree with you about being green and disagreeing with Global warming by man. When I worked in a Carbon Management company, I found out that it was false evidence appearing real. I had to laugh because the 8 staff there excluding me all smoked, thankfully they respected I was a non smoker and smoked outside. They seemed to have got their priorities wrong, the Carbon Management paid them that much, the directors could afford gas guzzling sports cars. Stress is one of the biggest killers but the government does little about that and I find acid rain and pollution of the sea and waterways a far bigger threat. Pesticides on food must contribute some what to the large amount of people who now suffer from cancer.

  • Comment number 30.

    #27. - pipcath wrote:
    "But in the last few weeks the BBC seems to have dropped their 5 days predictions, and now give only the today forecast.
    Has the MET finally accepted that they can hardly predict the weather a couple of days ahead never mind a week or more?"
    I'm not sure which BBC forecast you are looking at, but I don't think that is correct.
    The BBC have changed the format of their forecast to the previous "Beta" format, but if you click on "detailed forecast" on the main website page, you still get a 5 day forecast.
    If you then click on the individual day, you get a more detailed forecast for that day, although for the third day it is only morning/afternoon and for days 4 & 5 it is only day/night. I am not certain, but I think that is the same as it previously was.
    I normally use the MO version of the forecast, since it appears that the BBC don't update theirs as frequently as the MO, although they are essentially the same.
    The MO are also working on a "Beta" format, which I don't like as much as the current format.
    I tend to agree however, that the 5 day forecasts are not accurate for individual locations. The MO "claims" to be able to forecast 5 days ahead for specific locations, but in practice nobody, including the MO really knows how accurate they are, so any "claims" are unsubstantiated.

  • Comment number 31.

    #24. - millennia wrote:
    "His confidence levels were about 70% for this period, so the 30% won out - it happens."
    I am afraid that sounds a bit like the sort of excuses used by the MO.

  • Comment number 32.

    #17. - Spanglerboy wrote:
    "Whilst I acknowledge that mankind should take responsibility for the environment I believe fervently that our first duty is to our fellow man. "
    I am afraid that I disagree with the last part.
    In absolute terms, the human species is no more important than any other species, except to ourselves. Because we are the only species which is really aware of the damage we are doing, we have a duty to protect the entire planet, even if that means severely restricting our activities.
    Ultimately, human culture is of no real significance, despite all of the "achievements" we claim to have made, to any species other than our own.

  • Comment number 33.

    @28 Sheffield_City

    "The cold weather hasn't arrived yet due to the blocking that we keep getting"

    So the predicted weather didn't happen because other weather got in the way...

    When’s the cold cycle going to start? Where is this "current cooling cycle"? If you said we are in a plateau, flat spot, pause, you would have good figures to back you up... as it is we are in a year of 2 El Ninos but it will still come out warm.

  • Comment number 34.

    actually johncogger, this second El Nino is proving to be a shallow, unpredictable beast. The ensemble forecasts have been everywhere, changing dramatically from week to week. As it stands, it's only just beyond the event level status and has bobbed up and down without any significant direction for a while. If it goes back up a tad, we'll be back into neutral status and if it does that within a month or two, this won't even count as an El nino event.
    As for coming out warm . . well let's see how it pans out. As I debated earlier in the year with newdwr54, year to year changes in temps are limited (by and large) to a few tenths of a degree. Since the previous year had been close to record high, 2011 was always going to be relatively warm compared to the historical record.

  • Comment number 35.

    possibly of interest to jkiller . . .

    since quite a few people are throwing their hats into the ring regarding winter forecasts I shall offer the following observation, which may be completely stupid, but there you go.

    Seven years ago I cut holly and berries from a mature tree in my garden - at the start of December to use as decoration. I did this a for few years in a row in what I remember as relatively mild Lincolnshire winters. Over the last 2 or 3 years, this has not been possible, because all of the berries had gone by the start of November. I remember these as relatively cold winters.

    I notice this year that the berries are still around. What, if anything could we deduce from that?
    Okay - probably not much since it's just one observation from one tree in one garden, but I rather like the idea that my Holly bush could be used as a reliable winter forecaster. Can't fare much worse than anyone else at the moment.

    What say you - pure coincidence or something to do with birds, annual rainfall or temperatures?

  • Comment number 36.

    35. lateintheday:

    The holly berry situation might be more to do with fluctuations in the local woodpigeon population than variations in the weather.

    They strip my mum's holly tree bare by early November most years. This year a peregrine caught one and reduced it to a circle of feathers!

  • Comment number 37.

    I thought the number of berry's was more to do with past weather and conditions rather than upcoming weather?

  • Comment number 38.

    newdwr54
    damn! I was hoping for some research funding. Thought you or QV could have run the numbers whilst I observed the tree and made the coffee. My other great observation is the close correlation between winter temps and my fuel bill. Now if I could only just find a mechanism . . .

  • Comment number 39.

    la nina not el nino

    Re 35: Maybe the holly bush is telling us something about the weather - but perhaps it's telling us more about weather that's just recently happened rather than weather to come.

  • Comment number 40.

    whoops, apologies for 34 - Nino/Nina mix up.

  • Comment number 41.

    WOW!!! Just read a few of the articles re the BBC's tie up with CRU!

    I must say Mr Hudson you are a better man than I thought you were, how on earth a sensible unbiased (ho ho) chap like yourself has managed to keep things honest shows remarkable fortitude

    I bet you could tell a story or two, hope you write a book about it someday :-)

  • Comment number 42.

    Stephen Wilde

    I tend to use this selection of maps/videos to get an overall picture.
    West/North-Westerlies till the weekend then Northerlies from 5th
    look interesting.

    http://www.meteox.com/forecastloop.aspx?type=0

  • Comment number 43.

    A good time to remind everyone of the rules. If it's unseasonably warm it's man made global warming. If it's cold, it's climate change. Or is it the other way round?
    Either way it's been happening for millions of years!

  • Comment number 44.

    43. Hudsonfan:

    "Either way it's been happening for millions of years!"

    Yes, and always for a reason. And the reasons are often quite different.

  • Comment number 45.

    Correct 43.

    Arctic ice decreasing - global warming did it

    Antarctic ice increasing - global warming did it

    In the words of someone even when they are wrong they are right!

  • Comment number 46.

    To lateintheday #35

    Yes, I like this sort of "puzzle"!

    My best guess is that this will be something to do with the local bird population. I suggest that the reason the berries seem to go earlier in a year that turns out to be cold might be that Scandinavian migrants - such as fieldfares and redwings plus some extra blackbirds or even waxwings- arrive ahead of a surge of cold weather in particularly large numbers, since as a rule, the cold starts in north east Europe before it gets here.

    Some years holly berries seem hardly to be eaten at all - particularly if it is a mild winter and the birds can find food, like worms, more easily in the unfrozen ground.

    Dare I mention that one of the observed "facts" of climate change seems to be that birds are changing their winter migration patterns. Some such as swans and geese no longer bother travelling as far as Britain - but settle further east instead. Others (best known being blackcap) that used to migrate south from Britain now remain all year and are even joined by their colleagues from the continent.

    regards jkiller56

  • Comment number 47.

    Have to laugh at the new emphasis on the almost impossible to prove one way or another 'climate change' now that 'Global Warming' as a lead line has lost its lustre

    What with the fact it hasnt warmed for 13 years, what was it someone once said

    Whatever happened to global warming?

  • Comment number 48.

    To Millennia

    Ok ok enough already! - just so long as you don't start getting excited if we get a bit of rough weather in the next few weeks!

    I think the MO are only saying that it is improbable (at the moment) that we will get severe weather LIKE LAST YEAR ... not that we will not get any severe weather at all. And they will readily admit to "uncertainty" which as Quaeso Veritas points out, does not seem that much different from the "wriggle room" allowed by Corbyn.

    So either he is a superior source of prediction or it is a lot of fuss over nothing. (NB- retrospective uncertainty doesn't count!).

  • Comment number 49.

    openside50 @ #45

    "Arctic ice decreasing - global warming did it

    Antarctic ice increasing - global warming did it

    In the words of someone even when they are wrong they are right!"

    My advice to you would be to refrain from mocking science that you clearly don't understand!

    More specifically, your second sentence should read:

    "Antarctic SEA ice increasing - global warming did it."

    Think about it. Ice in the Arctic is nearly all sea ice, but ice on the Antarctic continent is not. Consequently, when it melts and flows into the surrounding sea, salinity falls in the surface layers of the ocean, raising the freezing point and hence making it easier for sea ice to form.

    Similarly, an increase in the amount of ice over land or an advance in a glacier is not necessarily indicative of lower temperatures. On the contrary, it is frequently indicative of an increase in snowfall, which can be a consequence of rising temperatures.

    It's not difficult science, but it does show the importance of taking into account ALL of the facts.

    Paul

  • Comment number 50.

    jkiller56 @ #46

    I was going to suggest that birds were probably key to lateintheday's observation regarding holly berries. However, I'd say that you've covered it in the type of comprehensive manner that Chris Packham would be proud of!

    Paul

  • Comment number 51.

    openside50 @ #47

    "What with the fact it hasnt warmed for 13 years......"

    This was Dr. Richard Muller's recent response to that particular nonsense:

    “That’s incorrect...I mean, what they have done is an old trick. It’s how to lie with statistics, right? And scientists can’t do that because 10 years from now, they’ll look back on my publications and say, ‘Was he right?’ But a journalist can lie with statistics. They can choose a little piece of the data and prove what they want, carefully cutting out the end. If I wanted to do this, I could demonstrate, for example, with the same data set that from 1980 to 1995 that it’s equally flat. You can find little realms where it’s equally flat. What that tells me is that 15 years is not enough to be able to tell whether it’s warming or not. And so when they take 13 years, and they say based on that they can reach a conclusion based on our data set, I think they’re playing that same game and the fact that we can find that back in 1980, the same effect, when we know it [was] warming simply shows that that method doesn’t work. But no scientist could do that because he’d be discredited for lying with statistics. Newspapers can do that because 10 years from now, nobody will remember that they showed that.”

    Paul

  • Comment number 52.

    that bit about Antarctic sea ice increasing because land based ice is melting is baloney briscoe surprised at you, and nowhere in that piece does Muller say it is warmer now than 13 years ago in fact what he did say was

    "it was true that the BEST data suggested that world temperatures have not risen for about 13 years. But this might not be ‘statistically significant’, although, he added, it was equally possible that "it was" – a statement which left other scientists mystified.

  • Comment number 53.

    Jkiller56 - yep, fine, no excitement except at the prospect of a bit of snow as it is fun in small doses ;)

    GFS changed again and more of a cold plunge now Saturday to Tuesday (so in 12 hours it moves 24 hours). Let's see what this weekend brings. If it's a bit nippy with a few flurries of snow and then we get another mild westerly then let's call it a normal December pattern.

    I'll go with the MetO saying this year won't match the second coldest Dec on record, but then I don't think Piers said records would be broken, just that it would be extremely cold (lows of -15C in places like the Vale of York).

  • Comment number 54.

    #51. - Paul Briscoe wrote:
    "This was Dr. Richard Muller's recent response to that particular nonsense:"
    I am not sure which data set Dr. Muller is talking about, but none of what he says appears to contradict the assertion that it hasn't warmed for 13 years.
    What he seems to be saying is that 13 years of data is insufficient to prove that warming has stopped, which is an entirely different thing.
    I don't know if it hasn't warmed for 13 years, based on whatever dataset is involved, but I do know that tempeatures have declined or not risen, for over 10 years based on HadCRUT3, NCDC/NOAA, NASA/GISS and RSS datasets.
    That is a fact, but it is not a claim that warming has stopped entirely, only that it it is more likely that temperatures have not risen over that period, than that they have.

  • Comment number 55.

    openside50 @ #52

    "that bit about Antarctic sea ice increasing because land based ice is melting is baloney"

    Which particular aspect of the empirical science I related above is baloney? I suggest that you read:

    Zhang (2006); "Increasing Antarctic Sea Ice under Warming Atmospheric and Oceanic Conditions".

    Perhaps you have a peer-reviewed scientific paper that refutes this?

    Paul

  • Comment number 56.

    Antarctic sea ice coverage has been increasing at the rate of 100,00 sq kms per decade ever since satellite measurements began in the late 70's early 80's fer gods sake

  • Comment number 57.

    QV @ #54

    As I think you understand perfectly well, the argument used by openside50 at post #47 has consistently been used by those attacking the science to claim that AGW is dead and buried. This is utter nonsense.

    The point is that 13 years' of data is not sufficient to safely draw ANY conclusions about trends in such noisy data. Perhaps now is a good time to repost the link to this excellent video that discusses the subject in some detail:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=23iGJbkbzzE

    Paul

  • Comment number 58.

    openside50 @ #56

    "Antarctic sea ice coverage has been increasing at the rate of 100,00 sq kms per decade ever since satellite measurements began in the late 70's early 80's fer gods sake"

    The paper by Zhang clearly shows the increase...... as well as the increase in sea surface temperature. He then proceeds to provide the explanation for these apparently conflicting observations.

    In fact, increasing Antarctic sea ice isn't JUST due to increased precipitation and meltwater. Other scientists have proposed that the reduction in ozone levels has contributed as well.

    Paul

  • Comment number 59.

    57. Paul Briscoe

    Many thanks for the video, not seen it before.

    It is a few years old so that has to be taken into consideration. It is also unfortunate that the commentator does not address the warming aspects of the charts during the 1900 to 1940/50 period. But hey, ho we all choose the news we want to hear.

    In your comment you mention 13 years? Not sure it is that long to me 11 years, 12 at the end of this year show a distinctly different trend from the previous 18 years. The previous 18 years showed a continuing warming trend which the last 12 years have not demonstrated.

    In a 30 year trend that is not noise, that is a clear in direction, magnitude and length, it is more than 30% of the period.

    Now we wait, a trend will continue until there is a change. For the last two decades of the last century whatever it was that was forcing the chart upwards was in the ascendancy. That has changed, either the forces pushing up have weakened or those pushing down have increased or one of the forces has changed sides or another force has been introduced, or one force in changing sides or strength and has had a detrimental effect upon the forces on its or the opposite side. This is just a little expression of a complicated non linear system and is far from being exhaustive.

    One or many or none of the effects above will dictate the next change in direction of the very emotive chart that we think represents Global Mean Temperature.

    We hypothesise we work up theories, we have our biases, but basically we do not know and to claim that we can control the temperature of this planet, well, we have admitted in our change of theories over the last 5 years that we are being just a little delusional.

    Don’t get me wrong, I understand the basic physics, but what I do not understand and from all the papers and debates I have been through nor does anybody else understand just how this planet deals with the infinite interrelations of the elements that make up our climate. One simple one is the number of learned debates about clouds, positive? Negative? Or both?

    So 13 years is noise? In the life of this planet abso-bloody-lutely! But in the quoted 30 years +or- degC per decade it is 43.3% which is sure not noise.

  • Comment number 60.

    When Richard Black of all people is forced to say the following in one of his articles

    "But when you get down to specifics, the academic consensus is far less certain."

    You know the game is up

  • Comment number 61.

    greensand @ #59

    In fact, it was openside50 who quoted 13 years, whilst I think Muller's comment was in response to a claim by the Daily Mail. I suspect that the choice of period has a lot to do with the fact that 1998 saw an exceptionally strong El Nino, making the start of the period artificially high!

    As Muller pointed out, even in the midst of the period of rapid warming prior to 1998, it is still possible to find a period as long as 15 years where the trend was apparently flat. However, it's not just Muller saying this. Santer et al (2011) concluded that you need a period of at least 17 years to detect the anthropogenic signal. Easterling and Wehner (2009) concluded that there will be "periods of a decade or two where the globally averaged surface air temperature shows no trend or even slight cooling in the presence of longer‐term warming".

    In other words, people are trying to read FAR too much into recent short-term trends.

    For me, the key take home point in the video I linked to was this: if you artificially add a gradual warming trend to fluctuations caused by natural processes, you see periods where there is no warming or even apparent cooling....... even though you KNOW the trend is gradualy rising. The true trend only becomes apparent in such noisy data when you look at a much longer period.

    "we have admitted in our change of theories over the last 5 years that we are being just a little delusional."

    I'm not aware of any change of theories over the past few years. Instead, I see people using the discredited argument that AGW has "stopped" with the actual scientific explanations being ignored.

    Regarding cloud feedbacks, nobody knows for sure whether they are positive or negative. However, yet again there is a limit to the uncertainty. Most scientists are actually pretty confident that they are not strongly negative; if they were it would have been impossible for the Earth to get as hot as it sometimes has in the past.

    "But in the quoted 30 years +or- degC per decade it is 43.3% which is sure not noise."

    On the contrary, the scientific literature indicates that it could very well be noise. As stated above, it is far too early to conclude anything from such a short period.

    Paul

  • Comment number 62.

    openside50 @ #60

    "When Richard Black of all people is forced to say the following in one of his articles

    "But when you get down to specifics, the academic consensus is far less certain."

    You know the game is up"

    Did you actually read the article you're quoting? If you were to do so, you might realise that what Richard Black was actually saying was something every scientist already knows - that there are key areas where the science IS settled, whilst there are still plenty of details (eg regarding clouds, climate sensitivity and the regional effects of AGW) that require further work to constrain the uncertainties.

    There's nothing controversial in this. Rather it is a statement of fact.

    Paul

  • Comment number 63.

    Paul, I will start at the end, 43.3% of any trend, repeat any trend is not noise. The 43.3% is the last 43.3% i.e. it is at present the only indication of which way the trend may continue. Until it breaks either up or down nobody knows!

    You may guess if you want to I will wait until it changes.

    I have no interest in Muller, and even less in the Daily Mail. The BEST papers have not yet been reviewed or published and when they are they only address 30% of this planet. BEST has a long, long way to go.

    The 1998 cuts both ways, the trend over the last 12 years that I quoted does not include 1998, but the 18 years of warming does. So it is the warming favour, not in the status quo that I refered to.

    "For me, the key take home point in the video I linked to was this"

    I repeat, it ends in 2009 and does not address the example of warming from 1900 to 1940/50 which is at least comparable to the period to which it does address. Again we choose our news about the past. But we cannot choose what is happening now. The present trend is factual, it is the only thing a 12 year old has ever experienced. No warming, fact.

    "In other words, people are trying to read FAR too much into recent short-term trends."

    I am not trying to read anything into anything, I am just stating facts, nothing more, nothing less. The rate of increase in the Global Mean Temperature of this planet for the last 11/12 years is nil. Fact, not interpretation just a plain and simple fact. Over the last decade+ the planet has not warmed. Now we wait and see.

    "I'm not aware of any change of theories over the past few years. Instead, I see people using the discredited argument that AGW has "stopped" with the actual scientific explanations being ignored."

    I did not say few, I said 5 years, but lets just have Hansen's 2011:-

    "Indeed, the most important outcome from the energy hunt may be that researchers are chronically underestimating air pollution's reflective effect, said NASA's James Hansen, head of the Goddard Institute for Space Studies.

    Recent data has forced him to revise his views on how much of the sun's energy is stored in the oceans, committing the planet to warming. Instead, he says, air pollution from fossil fuel burning, directly and indirectly, has been masking greenhouse warming more than anyone knew.

    It is a "Faustian bargain," he said, and a deal that will come due sooner than assumed."

    Just one, and I am sure that you were aware that previously Hansen was of the opinion that there was not enough variablity in the Sun to contribute to a change in the energy balance.

    "Regarding cloud feedbacks, nobody knows for sure whether they are positive or negative. However, yet again there is a limit to the uncertainty. Most scientists are actually pretty confident that they are not strongly negative; if they were it would have been impossible for the Earth to get as hot as it sometimes has in the past."

    Paul, if you read your own words you will understand why people make challenges:-

    "nobody knows for sure whether they are positive or negative." Yup, agree just what I said.

    "However, yet again there is a limit to the uncertainty" What is the limit? What is the uncertainty? How can there be any of either if we do not even know if the effect is negative or positive?

    Paul, we are not as far apart as you may think, I try very hard to just stick to the facts.

  • Comment number 64.

    @ Paul Briscoe #49

    "Similarly, an increase in the amount of ice over land or an advance in a glacier is not necessarily indicative of lower temperatures. On the contrary, it is frequently indicative of an increase in snowfall, which can be a consequence of rising temperatures."

    So using this logic and inverting it are you suggesting that a decrease in the amount of ice over land or a retreat in a glacier (as is often reported as evidence of GW) is not necessarily indicative of higher temperatures but, on the contrary, it is frequently indicative of a decrease in snowfall, which can be a consequence of falling temperatures?

  • Comment number 65.

    also @ Paul Briscoe #49

    "Think about it. Ice in the Arctic is nearly all sea ice, but ice on the Antarctic continent is not. Consequently, when it melts and flows into the surrounding sea, salinity falls in the surface layers of the ocean, raising the freezing point and hence making it easier for sea ice to form."

    Ok, I've thought about it. So it's warm enough for ice to melt on the land but cold enough for it to refreeze in the sea where, due to residual salinty, the freezing point will still be lower than the land it's just melted from? Do I understand this correctly? And this all happens during the same season?

  • Comment number 66.

    greensand @ #63

    "Paul, I will start at the end, 43.3% of any trend, repeat any trend is not noise."

    The 30 year period up to 1998 is almost universally accepted as having been one of strong warming, yet Muller was able to identify a period of 15 years within it when the trend was apparently flat - that's 50%!

    Meanwhile the peer-reviewed literature on the subject, plus the video I linked to, clearly demonstrate that you would EXPECT quite extended periods of zero increase (or even a slight fall) within such a long term warming trend. So you cannot justifiably conclude that the recent slow-down is not simply noise due to natural variations. Indeed, you cannot safely draw ANY conclusions from such a short period - PERIOD!

    I have no problem at all with yourself and QV analysing these short term trends, but I do wish you would make it clearer that there is nothing in these trends that casts doubt on the science.

    Now regarding the rest of your post......... on the last thread I pointed to 2 reasons why we might expect the warming trend to have slowed in recent years - reduced solar activity and increased aerosols. So it may well be that the model projections will prove to be on the high side and we may find them adjusted downwards in IPCC AR5. However, this does not represent a shift in theory. Rather it means that Man is not yet able to predict certain things in advance.

    Yes, there IS uncertainty over the size of the negative forcing from aerosols, but this is nothing new and it doesn't undermine the basic science as aerosols tend to be short-lived in the atmosphere, so their effect on long-term warming is constrained.

    As the following article explains, Kevin Trenberth doesn't agree with all aspects of James Hansen's recent assessment (which was not peer-reviewed, by the way):

    http://www.skepticalscience.com/settled-science-and-uncertainties.html

    However, these differences over the details do not undermine the established science of AGW. All they do is demonstrate the uncertainty in the rate of future warming.

    ""However, yet again there is a limit to the uncertainty" What is the limit? What is the uncertainty? How can there be any of either if we do not even know if the effect is negative or positive?"

    The point here is that cloud feedback would have to be STRONGLY negative for climate senstivity to be as low as claimed by Lindzen and Spencer. The indications from the Earth's past climate are that this cannot be the case. Hence the reason why I said that there are limits to th

  • Comment number 67.

    I lost the last sentence of my post above. It should have read:


    "The point here is that cloud feedback would have to be STRONGLY negative for climate senstivity to be as low as claimed by Lindzen and Spencer. The indications from the Earth's past climate are that this cannot be the case. Hence the reason why I said that there are limits to the uncertainty - it means that climate sensitivity is very unlikely to fall below the range quoted by the IPCC."

    Paul

  • Comment number 68.

    Mateybass @ #64 and #65

    Your inverted logic doesn't necessarily follow in the case of glacier retreat, just as I pointed out that glacier advance CAN (rather than invariably does) occur alongside an increase in temperature. The point is that you have to look at ALL of the details pertaining to each individual case.

    Regarding land and sea ice in Antarctica, they are 2 separate entities. Clearly, meltwater comes mainly in the summer months. However, as you probably know, fresh and brackish water are significantly less dense than sea water and will tend to produce stratification. The less saline surface layer will then freeze at a higher temperature, resulting in an increase in sea ice as the seasons change. Indeed, it's difficult to see how increasing sea ice could ever be consistent with the observed increase in sea surface temperature without this effect.

    Paul

  • Comment number 69.

    well, the Holly bush weather prediction theory seems to have been thoroughly 'debunked'. Thanks for all the comments.

    A further note for jkiller. A couple of threads ago you mentioned that locally, the elephant grass was trying to flower. If by that you mean the appearance of beige feathery plumes at the tops then for your info, around here in Lincs these plumes are abundant.

  • Comment number 70.

    Paul, Greensand, interesting discusion.

    Paul, i'd say that you're entire argument (and those of the climate scientists) STILL relies on their assumptions being correct; i.e. that co2 has a strong forcing effect (either directly, or indirectly through water).

    You rightly state that there is little evidence for a strongly negative feedback (though you're wrong that the feedback would NEED to be strongly negative- ocean temps would easily make up for that), but incorrect, i think, to state that the actual limit will not be at the lower end of the IPCC predictions (or indeed off the end).

    Every new estimate i've seen recently ha been revising the figure down. I.e. the more we know, the lower climate sensitivity becomes.

    Greensand- Pauls right, you WILL expect pauses in the warming trend and it is not 'safe', statistically speaking to say that the current stalling in temps is indicative of anything. It ALLOWS, the possibility of a cooling planet, but does not, expilicitly, provide evidence for it.

    Once (and if) the current hiatus exceeds more than the average length of previously recorded hiatus', THEN it becomes significant, and THEN it can be used as evidence. I'm not sure what that length is, having not looked into it myself- but 10-15 years seems sensible given the 30 year cycles.

    Finally, a point to both, even if the warming resumes, this doesn't prove man is the cause. Paul you're very keen to site the well established and settled science, i think this position is becoming less and less tenable. Appeals to authority in science rarely work, especially recently.

  • Comment number 71.

    "Ok, I've thought about it. So it's warm enough for ice to melt on the land but cold enough for it to refreeze in the sea where, due to residual salinty, the freezing point will still be lower than the land it's just melted from? Do I understand this correctly? And this all happens during the same season?"


    Its like I said, even when they are wrong they are right

  • Comment number 72.

    labmunkey said
    "Greensand- Pauls right, you WILL expect pauses in the warming trend and it is not 'safe', statistically speaking to say that the current stalling in temps is indicative of anything."

    Actually, I don't think Greensand said it was indicative of anything - he/she was just reporting the facts/numbers in context over different time periods as far as I could see.

  • Comment number 73.

    65. Mateybass wrote:

    "So it's warm enough for ice to melt on the land but cold enough for it to refreeze in the sea where, due to residual salinty, the freezing point will still be lower than the land it's just melted from? Do I understand this correctly? And this all happens during the same season?"

    No, the Antarctic ice sheets melt in spring and summer, adding billions of tonnes of fresh water to the surrounding coastal waters.

    Since this water is lighter than sea water, stratification occurs, with buoyant fresher water layered on top of heavier saline water.

    In autumn and winter, when air temperatures plunge, this fresher water freezes quickly, because less salty water freezes at a higher temperature than more salty water.

    This ice provides a 'cap' on the ocean surrounding the Antarctic, preserving its heat content.

    In spring and summer this new sea ice melts completely back to where it started from and billions of tonnes more fresh water is added to it from the land.

  • Comment number 74.

    72. lateintheday

    "he/she was just reporting the facts/numbers in context over different time periods as far as I could see."

    Thanks, that is what I try very hard to do, stick to the facts and not express opinions. Sadly I am not always successful.

    Just for info it is “he”

    Paul Briscoe & LabMonkey, many thanks for your comments it is an interesting discussion

  • Comment number 75.

    TBF we are at least making progress, they do now admit that warming has stopped/paused however they dress it up

    decadal hiatus etc

    Thing is their predictions made 20 years ago have not happened and the ones made 10 years ago have happened even less!

    The theory needs major surgery imvho

  • Comment number 76.

    @ lateinthe day.

    Quite right you are to. Apologies, and to greensand for misrepresenting the position.

  • Comment number 77.

    In 1988 Hansen et al predicted that the largest reduction of sea ice would be at the Antarctic.
    This may still prove to be correct but that possibility is becoming increasingly unlikely.

    Similar reasoning applies to many of the models used in the IPCC ensemble. The recent levelling of temperatures has made it near impossible for some of the models to reach their predicted temperatures suggesting that the multi-model mean is almost certainly too high.

    We are now reaching the point where the latest estimates of climate sensitivity are closer to the values predicted by scientists labelled as sceptics or worse than to the original values predicted by Hansen.

  • Comment number 78.

    76. LabMunkey

    No worries and I do take your point about long term significance. Now we wait.

  • Comment number 79.

    LabMunkey @ #70

    "Paul, i'd say that you're entire argument (and those of the climate scientists) STILL relies on their assumptions being correct; i.e. that co2 has a strong forcing effect (either directly, or indirectly through water)."

    Well that appears to be one thing that all active researchers in the field agree on, including Spencer, Christy and Lindzen. I also think there is ample circumstantial evidence in the fossil record to show the forcing effect of CO2.

    "You rightly state that there is little evidence for a strongly negative feedback (though you're wrong that the feedback would NEED to be strongly negative- ocean temps would easily make up for that), but incorrect, i think, to state that the actual limit will not be at the lower end of the IPCC predictions (or indeed off the end)."

    I'm not sure where you get the idea that ocean temperatures could "make up for that". Over the longer term (which is certainly what we're discussing when looking at the fossil record), oceans can only respond to external forcings, not themselves determine the equilibrium global temperature. Also, what I said was that climate sensitivity was unlikely to be below the lower limit proposed by the IPCC - the range proposed is intended to take into account the various uncertainties.

    ".....you WILL expect pauses in the warming trend and it is not 'safe', statistically speaking to say that the current stalling in temps is indicative of anything. It ALLOWS, the possibility of a cooling planet, but does not, expilicitly, provide evidence for it."

    Exactly. It is entirely possible that the recent fall in solar activity and the rise in aerosols WILL cause the current stall in temperature to continue. Equally, though, we could be in for a sudden jump in temperatures in the next few years. The truth is that it's impossible to say.

    "but 10-15 years seems sensible given the 30 year cycles."

    Both Santer et al and Gavin Schmidt have proposed a period of 17 years.

    "Finally, a point to both, even if the warming resumes, this doesn't prove man is the cause. Paul you're very keen to site the well established and settled science, i think this position is becoming less and less tenable. Appeals to authority in science rarely work, especially recently."

    There is rarely absolute proof in science, only evidence. Most scientists accept that observations can only be explained by anthropogenic warming. Having weighed up the evidence, I agree.

    Paul

  • Comment number 80.

    RobWansbeck @ #77

    "In 1988 Hansen et al predicted that the largest reduction of sea ice would be at the Antarctic. This may still prove to be correct but that possibility is becoming increasingly unlikely."

    I would agree on the basis of observations to date. However, it might not take a great deal of further warming of the oceans around Antarctica to completely change that picture. So I suppose that Hansen could still be proven right in the long term.

    "Similar reasoning applies to many of the models used in the IPCC ensemble. The recent levelling of temperatures has made it near impossible for some of the models to reach their predicted temperatures suggesting that the multi-model mean is almost certainly too high."

    IF the current short term trend in global temperatures were to continue, you would certainly be correct, but it is still too early to draw such conclusions for exactly the same reasons stated above. Also, as I stated in post #66, you may find the model projections adjusted down as part of IPCC AR5 to allow for the lower solar activity and higher aerosols, which were not allowed for in previous scenarios.

    Paul

  • Comment number 81.

    I see from today's press release that the Met Office has stood by its previous prediction that half the years in this decade would be warmer globally than 1998, the warmest year to date.

    2011 will be less than 2010. This means 5 of the next 8 years in this decade must exceed 1998 levels to meet the Met. Office prediction.

    Wow! There will have to be a radical warming of global temperature for 5 out of 8 years to be hotter than the 1998 El Nino year.

  • Comment number 82.

    81. NeilHamp:

    Where in today's press release does the Met Office say that?

    http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/news/releases/archive/2011/2011-global-temperature

  • Comment number 83.

    newdwr54,

    They haven't said that explicitly, but they haven't withdrawn it either, from which we must assume that it still applies.
    However, the following quote from Phil Jones seems to hinting at a possible retraction:
    "Phil Jones, Director of the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia, said that due to natural variability we do not expect to see each year warmer than the last, but the long-term trend is clear."
    That reminds me, I have recently specifically asked the UKMO if the prediction still applies but I haven't had a reply yet. Must send a reminder.
    The news release is yet another example of the UKMO twisting the facts in every way possible to make the case that it is still warming. Clearly this propaganda has been published in connection with the Durban conference.
    At least they do seem to have accepted that this year will be 11th warmest according to HadCRUT3 and NCDC/NOAA and 9th based on NASA/GISS, although that remains to be seen. But no sign of any explanation of why their prediction of 0.44c for this year is so far out.

  • Comment number 84.

    dw & QV

    "Climate could warm to record levels in 2010"

    10 December 2009

    "Looking further ahead, our experimental decadal forecast confirms previous indications that about half the years 2010-2019 will be warmer than the warmest year observed so far - 1998."

    http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/news/releases/archive/2009/record-levels

  • Comment number 85.

    And about half of the years to 2015:

    http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/news/releases/archive/2009/global-warming

    Although it isn't clear whether the above included 2010 or not.

    I suspect that the MO are hoping that people will forget about these predictions (but we won't!), and won't explicitly ever admit they were wrong. In fact. they will probably twist the facts to prove that they were correct.

  • Comment number 86.

    QuaesoVeritas

    With the qualification "our experimental decadal forecast confirms previous indications" I took the Dec 09 prediction to have superseeded the previous predictions and have only kept the latest in mind. Well the latest that I can find?

    Thanks for the reminder, have re-read and you are right it is not clear. It will be interesting to see if you get any clarification.

  • Comment number 87.

    to lateintheday#69

    Yes, in my experience there is usually a reasonable explanation for these sort of natural curiosities, if you work on the principle that nature reacts to past events rather than anticipating the future.

    Thanks for the note re: elephant grass. I do indeed refer to the plume - like tops (the flowers). Particularly interested that your Lincs. plants have bloomed well. Here in E Yorks, blooming is actually very meagre in comparison. It is a good illustration of how significantly the "quality" of the growing season improves a little further south.

    Actually this is quite an obsession of mine which keeps me well amused on any otherwise dreary long train or car journey. It might surprise you to know just how significant small changes in location and latitude can be.

    Doncaster is generally about week ahead of Hull in spring plant growth. Hull is often nearly a week ahead of parts of rural E.Yorks. This implies that between Donni and rural E Yorks there could be about 4 weeks difference in the length of the growing season (adding autumn cooling - a reverse process). An astonishing and significant amount - which no doubt helps to explain the abundant flowering of your grass compared to here.

    More curious still, if you travel north from here (even much further) differences are hardly noticable. - Now, there IS a puzzle!

  • Comment number 88.

    "More curious still, if you travel north from here (even much further) differences are hardly noticable. - Now, there IS a puzzle!"


    As one goes north the areas one crosses are generally of lower altitude until one reaches the Southern Uplands of Scotland.

    Puzzle solved ?

  • Comment number 89.

    "So I suppose that Hansen could still be proven right in the long term"


    And so could the views of those who disagree.

    And you want to ration global energy supplies, drive billions into poverty and early death and dismantle western civilisation on that basis?

    Mind you, much of that has already been achieved by financial incontinence/incompetence.

  • Comment number 90.

    Stephen Wilde @ #89

    I suspect that you may have taken my comment regarding Hansen out of context - it was specifically regarding a prediction he apparently made about Antarctic sea ice.

    "And you want to ration global energy supplies, drive billions into poverty and early death and dismantle western civilisation on that basis?"

    I'm not sure why you would presume that I want that any more than you do. However, having worked in industry, I know that there is plenty of scope to reduce energy consumption simply through improved efficiency. Also, it is surely in all our interests to find ways to reduce our reliance on fossil fuels, given that reserves are limited.

    Paul

  • Comment number 91.

    Stephen Wilde#88

    Puzzle solved?

    Not really. The vale of York, Hull etc is about as low as you can get. Going north, unless you closely follow the A1 corridor, land soon rises east & west towards the N York Moors/ Pennines and north, beyond Darlington, the coastal plain is pretty tight. To the south, by contrast is the lazy wide undulation of the N& E Midland plain, then the Fens etc.

    But this is quibbling. I would make allowances for altitude. If I were to compare say, Hull with Darlington, Middlesborough, Newcastle - my experience is that there is far less difference (in plant growth) between Hull and these districts, than between Hull and Doncaster or Nottingham, for example, all these places being of similar altitude.

    Obviously these are only subjective observations - but it is almost as if the Humber marks a dividing line between what I might term a "Midland" climate and a "Northern" climate and that the division seems surprisingly abrupt.

  • Comment number 92.

    83.QuaesoVeritas:

    The MO were certainly wrong about 2010 using their own data (HadCRUT3). The specific predictions they make all seem to be based on HadCRUT.

    However the MO has already accepted that HadCRUT3 is currently running 'cool' due to the way it averages temperatures in the Arctic. Both NOAA and GISS have 2010 as the warmest year on record, not 1998.

    If 2010 was 'actually' the warmest year on record, then the MO prediction that half the years between 2010-2019 will be warmer than 1998 is on target. 1/2 of then have been so far.

    However it's not true using the MO's own temperature data. Some clarification of what their actual prediction is and what data they prefer to use is required.

  • Comment number 93.

    I quite agree newdwr54, the press statement doesn't re-affirm the 5 out of 10 year claim. I was basing my comment on the Times newspaper report:-

    Peter Stott from the Met.Office said “This year we have seen a very persistent and strong La Niña, which brings cooler water to the surface of the Pacific Ocean. This has a global impact on weather and temperatures, and is one of the key reasons why this year does not figure as highly as 2010 in the rankings.”
    He added that the Met Office stood by a previous prediction that half the years in this decade would be warmer globally than 1998, the warmest year to date.

    QV has not been able to get them to confirm the statement.
    I wonder if the Times caught Peter Stott of gaurd?
    I notice the "he added" statement is not shown inside quotation marks

  • Comment number 94.

    jkiller56 @ 91

    Point noted. I wasn't quite sure of the height of the locations referred to in your earlier post. In light of the clarification I would suggest it might be something to do with the foehn effect on the lee side of the Pennines and Lake District.

    Paul Briscoe @ 90

    Agreed about better efficiency but I think most alarmists go somewhat further than that.
    Accepted that your earlier post was limited to the Antarctic so my broadening of the issues went beyond the scope of your earlier post.

  • Comment number 95.

    HaHaHaHaHaHa - Oh God.....

    Right, you all saw it coming so here is the *updated* summary for December from Piers:

    "Cold and snowy mainly in Scotland and the north of England, but rain further south. Boundaries indistinct with some milder stormy interludes. Generally temperatures below normal but not as exceptional as originally forecast ;), becoming very mild towards month end"

    SO, basically a pretty normal December (against the milder ones we used to get) with alternating cold and mild spells and some snow "ooop north".

    let the flaming begin :)

  • Comment number 96.

    95. millennia,

    On 19th October Morgan predicted with 80-85% confidence that from 27th November - 28th December Britain and Western Europe, probably including Spain, would be "exceptionally cold". This cold would be accompanied by "huge snowfalls" around the 1st-3rd December.

    Apparently this 'miss' was due to "a rare giant 800,000km filament across the
    Sun" on Nov 17th (even though this apparently was not ejecting any material in the direction of the earth). So on 24 November Weather Action deferred the predicted "exceptionally cold" spell until 29th November. A promised update on 29th November has not yet materialised.

    On Weather Action's site they boast of Piers' "astounding accuracy" and say "these forecasts don't come without unparalleled effort" followed by a subscription offer...

    You first!

  • Comment number 97.

    newdwr54 . . .never did think much of Piers Morgan's (sic) forecasts.
    (I'll let you off since its still early - grab another coffee)

  • Comment number 98.

    re: the puzzle
    not so much another possible answer as showing my ignorance here, but might it have something to do with spherical geometry. Some engineer type once tried to explain to me how/why daytime length doesn't lengthen or shorten at a constant speed throughout the seasons. That is, you don't simply add (or subtract) a couple of minutes everyday.
    I ended up nodding in agreement just to shut him up since this was clearly not something that I could understand without a diagram!

  • Comment number 99.

    98. lateintheday:

    In the case of your holly bushes no. The amount of insolation striking the earth at higher latitudes is much lower in terms of W/m2 because the same intensity of sunlight is spread over a wider surface area than at lower latitudes.

    This does change slightly over time because of earth's tilt cycle, but this cycle takes about 44,000 years to complete, so is unlikely to produce the dramatic effects you describe on local vegetation over the space of a few years (or even a few hundred years).

    Although the tilt cycle is in its decreasing phase, the minimum won't occur for another 8,000 years. The holly bush should be ok for a while yet.

  • Comment number 100.

    newdwr54
    thanks, but that's not was I was trying to say.
    I was thinking more along the lines of the 'spread over a wider surface area' part of your comment. I remember on QI (think) that spring had been calculated to 'move' northwards at about 2miles an hour. They painted the mental picture of starting to walk north when the daffodils opened in Devon. Since the daffs open say a week later in York due to latitude, theoretically you would be walking past freshly opened flowers all along your northward journey.
    What they didn't say was whether you would have to speed up (or slow down) gradually on the walk. From the 'spread' comment, I assume that it's more likely that you'd have to speed up the further north you went. This would fit with jkillers observation that the difference in flowering times reduces as you go north.
    For a change, this is intended to be completely unrelated to AGW.

 

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