New winter temperature proxy in UK: “grit”

UPDATE: BBC and Reuters is reporting (h/t to reader FergalR) that:

‘Transport Secretary Philip Hammond said he had asked the government’s chief scientific adviser to assess whether the country was experiencing a “step change” in weather patterns due to climate change and whether it needed to spend more money on winter preparations.’

Maybe they’ll have a look at Met Office climate models and CRU with a real investigation.

Record grit reserves in Lincolnshire ’60% gone’

Sustained snowfall and how temperatures have meant gritters have worked round the clock. Image: BBC

More than half the grit stocks held by Lincolnshire County Council have already been used, officials have said.

Despite starting the winter with 31,600 tonnes – 8,000 more than usual – the council said it had already used about 60% due to persistent low temperatures.

It had spread almost as much salt this year as it did for the whole of the 2007-08 winter.

The council said the next delivery was not due until mid-January so resources would be used carefully.

Councillor William Webb, Executive Member for Highways and Transport, promised to keep main routes open.

He said: “We’ll keep on gritting whenever it’s needed – be that 1pm on Christmas Day or Midnight on New Year’s Eve – whilst ensuring that appropriate quantities are being spread and salt isn’t wasted.

“We greatly value the assistance of farmers, contractors and even private individuals in supporting our tireless efforts to ensure safety for motorists and pedestrians.”

The authority covers 1,869 miles (3,008km) of Lincolnshire’s main routes, including all A and B roads.

While the amount of snow seen at the beginning of the month is not forecast for the next few days, temperatures as low as -7C (19.4F) are expected to be widespread.

Related – On December 2nd, this BBC story said:

Road salt is ‘disappearing fast’, Welsh councils warn

Snow plough being loaded

The unseasonably early snow has led to pressure on councils' road salt supplies

At the London Evening Standard, it seems at least one official is confident though, or maybe he’s “hiding the decline” of grit:

Today Boris Johnson promised Londoners the capital was prepared for anything that the elements could throw at it. He said: “Even if it snows 24 hours a day, morning, noon and night for two weeks, which has never happened before, we have enough grit for our roads.

Forecasters said the second big blast of the winter could last until Christmas and warned London to brace itself for “the main event” tomorrow.

It takes “true grit” to make such predictions in the face of nature.

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138 Responses to New winter temperature proxy in UK: “grit”

  1. Jay Currie says:

    Winter.
    A season for True Grit.
    Won’t the Met Office be proud!

  2. JinOH says:

    OMG – now we have a global salt shortage! Save the salt! Tax everything!

  3. “resources would be used carefully”, presumably means “We won’t be gritting your road.” Down here in Surrey the B road that links us to the outside world was not gritted at all in this snowfall nor in the last one.

    Presumably the local councils have been continuing to believe the Met Office.

  4. Grumpy old Man says:

    I’m waiting for the Chief Scientist to apologise for misleading the public into believing that cold winters were a thing of the past – but I’m not holding my breath.
    BTW, does anyone have the figures for windfarm output as a % of maximum planned power production for the last 3 weeks?

  5. Juraj V. says:

    So instead of snow, it is the road salt which is ‘disappearing fast’. Sure, Dr Viner predicted exactly this.

  6. Kev-in-UK says:

    mighyt be more accurate than flippin tree rings! LOL

  7. rms says:

    When it snows in UK, everyone thinks “grit”. Few thinks “snow plough or plow” or “show shovel”.

    Grit on 20-30 cm of new, un-plowed snow is, well, just a mess.

  8. If it gets any warmer, we'll freeze to death says:

    Here’s the Daily Mash from a couple of months ago: councils begin not getting enough salt for winter

  9. Latimer Alder says:

    It always pays to take what Boris says with a little pinch of salt. His style is not the calm, considered bureaucrat.

  10. tonyb says:

    Breaking news-on the BBC

    Chief Scientist of UK has been asked by British Govt to re look at climate models bearing in mind the successive cold winters.

    A Chink of light or merely the excuse to blame global warming for the global cooling?

    Tonyb

  11. Phillip Bratby says:

    Down in Devon, in the mild south west of England, I can report that I have been cut off from the outside world by deep snow for the second time this December. It was -15.6degC last night. Last winter I recorded a minimum of -17.9degC, but I was only cut off once.

    The wind is not blowing and so all those wind turbines will be drawing power from the grid to stop themselves icing up. My oil tank level is falling at an unprecedented rate. Fortunately I took note of Piers Corbyn’s forecast for the winter, so I have stocks of food and oil. The Met Office is only 20 miles away and I ignored their forecast of a milder than normal winter.

    This Mann-made global warming is definitely worse than I thought.

  12. Phillip Bratby says:

    I should have added that the local authority leaves a few bags of salt at the side of the road and leaves it up to people to look after themselves. It’s tough if you aren’t in a town or on a main road. Most people live in towns and cities and their votes count more than fural folk.

  13. James Bull says:

    Yesterday I travelled from my home in Ashford Middlesex (under Surrey council) to Hounslow (a London borough) at the council boundary the road condition changed from a compact snow covering to broken up ice and slush and clear tarmac.

  14. tonyb says:

    Here is the link referred to in my 12.38

    http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/887a7b9c-0ae4-11e0-9b58-00144feabdc0.html#axzz18XxaT6hM

    Philip Bratby

    I am on the south coast of Devon-where are you?

    tonyb

  15. Robert says:

    “Road salt is ‘disappearing fast’, Welsh councils warns”

    Blame it on global warming, everyone else does :)

    Meanwhile in my own hometown an announcement from city-council
    http://www.maassluis.nl/index.php?simaction=content&mediumid=2&pagid=13&stukid=39185
    “Door schaarste momenteel geen strooizout voor particulieren” – wich says, we are running out of salt so we are not giving it to the locals anymore, wich is good because last week we made the headlines in national papers because of improper behavoir by those same locals when they found out that free salt means only a single bucket of free salt.

    Must be civil unrest caused by Global Warming, what else could it be?

  16. george says:

    well, here just outside Oxford we had about a foot yesterday. quite rare especially before Christmas. Anybody got any links to good climate catastrophe quotes from 20 years ago? I seem to remember someone saying something about not seeing snow in the UK again.

    ps grumpy old man, here is a good link to recent UK power production broken down by type

    http://www.geog.ox.ac.uk/~dcurtis/NETA.html

  17. John Barrett says:

    @James Bull

    Ah well, that’s the old UHI effect – from the depths of rural Surrey to the Metropolis
    (And if anyone’s ever been to Ashford Middx, they’ll appreciate
    the irony ).

    But really, Hounslow is required to keep the Heathrow Airport approach roads clear, despite there being no planes.

  18. JohnM says:

    To highlight why the met are wrong, again, here is a newspaper article from the start of this year….it seems the learning-curve is a bit straight:

    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/columnists/dominic_lawson/article6982310.ece

  19. Geoff Sherrington says:

    Feedback at work. The more salt is used, the further the trucks have to go on snowy roads until they reach a tipping point where the empty trucks can’t get to the salt. Is ‘tipping point’ the right word for these trucks?

    Is not salt a chemical that has more potentiasl harm than CO2? Better tell the USA EPA about it.

  20. Jockdownsouth says:

    Grumpy Old man December 19, 2010 at 12:12 am -
    “BTW, does anyone have the figures for windfarm output as a % of maximum planned power production for the last 3 weeks?”

    Look on the website below (it doesn’t work on Chrome for some reason but does work on Firefox) and scroll down near the bottom to a table headed “Current generation By Fuel Type”. As at 09:30 UK time on Sunday it shows wind 0.6% current (no pun!) and 0.8% for the last 24 hours.
    http://www.bmreports.com/bsp/

  21. JohnM says:

    And here is the National Grid page for windpower, no doubt somewhere in the site is the current amount generated by same but you’ll have to dig.

    http://www.nationalgrid.com/uk/Electricity/Data/WindPowerOperation/

    Here is the current demand data, updated regularly, with various national/international interconnectors shown:

    http://www.nationalgrid.com/uk/Electricity/Data/Realtime/Demand/

  22. Grumbler says:

    “Phillip Bratby says:
    December 19, 2010 at 12:42 am
    Down in Devon, in the mild south west of England, I can report that I have been cut off from the outside world by deep snow for the second time this December. It was -15.6degC last night. Last winter I recorded a minimum of -17.9degC, but I was only cut off once……”

    Be interesting to get an update on Otter farm in Devon, much heralded as the future of farming
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/agriculture/crops/5785670/Olives-and-peaches-blossom-in-Britain-as-farmers-adapt-to-climate-change.html.
    A few years ago the farmer went over to Mediterranean crops particularly olive trees. They die at -15C.

  23. David L says:

    tonyb says:
    December 19, 2010 at 12:38 am
    Breaking news-on the BBC

    Chief Scientist of UK has been asked by British Govt to re look at climate models bearing in mind the successive cold winters.

    A Chink of light or merely the excuse to blame global warming for the global cooling?

    Tonyb”

    Not a chink of light. Notice how they are saying “step change” and “climate change”. Handily they’ve already primed the public awhile back by shifting from global warming to global climate change. They’ll rework their models to say the northern hemisphere’s “global” climate will get colder and everyone else will get that much hotter. Damn the data, full steam ahead with the models!

  24. David, UK says:

    “Transport Secretary Philip Hammond said he had asked the government’s chief scientific adviser to assess whether the country was experiencing a “step change” in weather patterns due to climate change…”

    Doesn’t it bug one that they always have to get that key phrase “due to climate change” mentioned (whether alluding to warming or cooling). He couldn’t simply have asked whether the country was experiencing a “step change” in weather patterns – and left it that, could he? It just makes you want to scream at them that the climate has always, is now, and always will CHANGE. It’s just what climates do, fickle bastards that they are.

  25. Nigel Brereton says:

    In the UK.

    Channel 4 news last night reported that emergency services were asking owners of 4*4 vehicles for assistance in ferrying staff, nurses and doctors, to their places of work as there was a serious problem with staffing levels at hospitals due to the snow.

    Those of us that own these ‘poluting’ vehicles pay double the amount of road tax than a standard vehicle because the government wants to reduce their numbers on the road!

    I have no problem at all in helping out at a comunity level and will gladly assist when needed. I only ask that government policy be re-evaluated in order to ensure that emergency services are provided with the vehicles required to meet their needs in this cooling climate and the taxation classes adjusted back to the pre green hysteria levels.

    Simple request, no pressure!

  26. Mark S says:

    I’m on the County Down coast in Northern Ireland. Because of the proximity of the sea, we don’t tend to get much lying snow. Yesterday we woke up to 10 inches of snow, with more in the drifts.

    After dinner last night we had more lightning than we had all summer.

    I’m told it struck a large wind turbine a few miles away.

  27. Phillip Bratby says:

    Tonyb: I am in north Devon, inland.

  28. oldseadog says:

    Grumpy old Man,
    Chrisopher Booker in the Sunday Telegraph today says “down to 0.1%”, so I looked at george’s link and Mr. Booker is right.
    But it didn’t go all that much higher, either, even when the wind was blowing.

  29. Stefan says:

    Well our politicians are framing all this in public as:
    - our power stations need replacing
    - we won’t let the lights go out
    - we need to attract business to invest in building new ones
    - we’re raising taxes, carbon prices, etc. to help bring business in, and tackle climate change

    Well I don’t know how the world works, but I wonder:

    Carbon emissions seems to be a cover. It is ideal because everyone accepts it politically so nobody can dispute it. The lights have to stay on, but we “have to be green”, and we need business and subsidies to build the plants, and we can’t have the public questioning big business, nor getting in the way of planning applications, nor questioning why prices are going up.

    On the plus side it sounds like all those wind farms are softening people up for new nuclear. I mean, once you’ve allowed your sacred conservation principles to be sullied with bird killing natural beauty destroying windfarms, what’s a few nuclear plants here and there? They look positively neat by comparison.

    And all those subsidies for “green” can open the door for subsidies for nuclear.

    The snow is perfect timing in that respect. It reminds the people that staying warm is vital to our nation.

  30. Cold Englishman says:

    The MET was telling us last night that we could see -4 or even -5C, but as I walked my Labrador this morning, my ears told me a different story, must have been well south of -10C. But I suppose if you let the WWF run Robert Fitzroy’s marvellous Met Office, what can you expect.

    I also saw the Minister for Transport on TV, whose name I can’t remember, he’s that brilliant, wailing that when it snows we should expect disruption.

    But never mind, we have a Prime Minister whose father in law owns some windmills, a Deputy prime Minister whose wife is a director of a windmill manufacturer, so what could possibly go wrong? Five years ago, when I retired from business, those details would have been considered a good old fashioned “conflict of interest”, but not today. What a travesty!

  31. Kate says:

    There is an interesting take on Can-con in the Daily Mail from AGW fanatic Fred Pearce -

    18th December 2010

    Sandal-wearers won’t save us from global warming – but greed and the U.S. Navy will
    FRED PEARCE,
    Environmental Consultant to New Scientist

    His steely eyes and jutting jaw speak of his determination. His medal-festooned uniform underlines his power. Rear Admiral David Titley is a sea warrior, but also a scientist with a passion. He is the U.S. Navy’s chief oceanographer and director of its climate change task force. Yes, the U.S. Navy has a climate change task force. With 450 staff.

    “We in the U.S. Navy believe climate change is real,” Titley says. “It’s going to have big impacts, especially in the Arctic, which is changing before our eyes.” He predicts an ice-free Arctic in late summer by 2020. Without a shield of permanent ice, the fabled north-west passage, the graveyard of Arctic seadogs for centuries, will become a maritime superhighway. And, with the shallow Arctic seabed cluttered with oil rigs, he predicts the Bering Strait between Alaska and Siberia “will have the same strategic significance at the Strait of Hormuz” – the entry to the oil states of the Gulf.

    As a military strategist, Titley is planning for this. But he also fears a warmer world. He fears more failed states, chaos if the monsoon switches off and hundreds of millions of Asians go hungry, and rising sea levels resulting in millions of angry migrants washing round the planet like environmental flotsam. He said all this in the U.S. government pavilion during the climate negotiations in Cancun earlier this month. The U.S. Navy top brass showed up in force in the Mexican resort.

    Whatever sceptical Republicans back in Washington may think, the Pentagon is deadly serious about global warming. It even has its own targets for cutting emissions of the greenhouse gases. Titley says he is fighting a new war – to protect America from climate change.

    Somehow, that is reassuring. At least someone in authority seems to be taking climate change seriously – because over two weeks in Cancun, the diplomats charged with putting together a new UN climate treaty to replace the Kyoto Protocol’s current emissions targets, which expire at the end of 2012, seemed to be living in a cocooned universe, where words were all that were needed to save the world.

    They don’t get the science in the way Titley does. For them, it was a triumph to fly home from the Moon Palace, a sprawling golf resort near a lagoon outside Cancun, with a piece of paper everyone could sign. Climate peace in our time – even if the agreed text ducked all the controversial issues, promising to discuss them at some future date. In Cancun, nobody agreed to do any more than they promised in the disastrous talks last year in Copenhagen. And Japan and Russia will do less, having announced they will accept no more targets. Now, none of the six biggest polluting nations – China, the United States, Japan, Russia, Indonesia and India – will accept legally binding targets on their emissions. Unless that changes – and nobody in Cancun could say why or when it might – then the UN climate negotiations, which have stumbled along for 18 years since the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, are doomed.

    Yet somehow, the climate diplomats convinced themselves, as the sun rose over the lagoon last weekend, that they had conjured up a triumph to make the world forget about Copenhagen. The conference chairman, Mexican environment minister Patricia Espinosa, basking in 5am applause, called it “a new era of international co-operation on climate change”.

    Nonsense. This was worse than Copenhagen. It was Copenhagen without the sense of failure. Without a sense of reality. Plan A, the UN plan for new legally binding emissions targets, looks headed down a blind alley.

    So are we doomed? Does Titley have to tell the Pentagon to prepare for war against future generations of climate terrorists? Maybe not. Because, as Plan A stumbles, Plan B is up and running. And Plan B may save us.

    Plan A, the UN process, assumes that fighting climate change is a big, expensive burden that all countries must share. But divvying out burdens is hard. Nobody wants them. That’s why negotiations grind on year after year. Plan B is not about burden-sharing. It is about profit-making, green growth and new technology. It is built on optimism rather than pessimism. And Plan B is taking off.

    I was in Cancun for the talks. But as the days passed, I spent less and less time chronicling the blather of the diplomats. It was moonshine at the Moon Palace. Instead, I cruised the numerous side meetings, where experts were discussing deeds rather than words. And what I heard was staggering. People you would never suspect of being wedded to fighting climate change – rear admirals and farmers, shipping magnates and loggers – were all discussing their plans to cut their pollution and create a new low-carbon world, without the UN or any other global agreement. Because they wanted to, and because it will make them money. Many environmentalists hate them for it. They want burden-sharing and hair shirts. They insist we must all suffer to fight climate change. But the truth is we are at a tipping point where green burden-sharing gives way to green profit-seeking. Green technologies will soon be cheaper than dirty technologies. Consumer power means companies need a clean image to sell their products. And governments are making big pledges to cut their emissions unilaterally, regardless of the UN.

    Take China. It won’t accept legally binding UN emissions targets because it can’t stand the rich world telling it what to do. But it is doing more right now to cut its carbon dioxide emissions than the UN would dare to demand. In Copenhagen, it promised to improve the carbon intensity of its economy by 45% by 2020. That means it will cut by 45% the amount of carbon dioxide it emits into the air for every dollar of GDP. Now that target is cemented in the next five-year plan, which starts next month. China is now the world’s biggest producer of wind turbines and solar panels. Green technology is its entry point into another global market. Soon it will be top in electric cars, too.

    You won’t spot it from the rhetoric coming out of Washington, but the United States is racing to catch up. President Barack Obama’s hopes of getting climate laws through Congress are dead, but America is the world’s top spender on research and development for low-carbon energy technologies. And the world’s largest wind farm is in the oil state of Texas. Spinning windmills are replacing nodding donkeys.

    OK, Americans haven’t given up their gas-guzzling cars. But California and many other states have their own anti-carbon legislation that is making them a lot cleaner. Two years ago, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger passed into law “cap-and-trade” legislation – providing economic incentives for reducing carbon emissions – that comes into force in 2012.

    Then there is Brazil. After China, it is the world’s fastest growing economy. Brazil is a staggering economic success story built on wrecking the nation’s natural resources – such as trashing the Amazon rainforest and ploughing up its vast grasslands, known as the cerrado. But here is a statistic you probably won’t know. In the last six years, Brazil has reduced the rate of destruction of the Amazon by 70%. It has satellites surveying every hectare and public prosecutors taking action against every fire-setter, illegal logger and chain-saw-wielding cattle rancher. In Brazil, there is a hugely influential zero-deforestation campaign. Manufacturers and retailers of everything from leather shoes to beef steaks and garden furniture are demanding raw materials untainted by deforestation.

    Last week, the country’s largest bank, Banco de Brasil, announced it will refuse credit to soya bean farmers invading the forests. Brazil is the cutting edge of a global transformation that has seen deforestation decline by 40% in the past decade. Its contribution to carbon dioxide emissions may now be below 10%.

    In Cancun, I heard Brazilian ministers give the details of a government plan to cut CO2 emissions to 39% below business-as-usual levels by 2020. They will do it by ending deforestation and turning tens of millions of hectares of farm soils from carbon emitters to carbon absorbers. Environment minister Izabella Teixeira’s boffins detailed schemes for absorbing carbon by rehabilitating cattle pastures and growing crops without ploughing – just planting the next crop in holes drilled into last year’s stubble. Brazil has probably the best agricultural researchers in the world. They have turned the country into the world’s biggest exporter of sugar, coffee, soya, beef, poultry and orange juice. So they will probably do it.

    What else is coming down the track? Europe has already passed into law its 20% emission cut. Mexico, Ethiopia, Indonesia, South Korea and many others have serious carbon reduction plans.

    During the economic slowdown, shipping line Maersk, the company with the huge container ships that bring our Christmas presents from China, started sailing its vessels slower. There was no hurry. Slow speeds turned out to cut emissions by 20%. Now Maersk says it will stay slow even as the economy speeds up. Cutting emissions also cuts fuel use – just one example of how carbon efficiency equals economic efficiency.

    In Cancun, an organisation called the “Carbon War Room”, set up by Richard Branson, published the emissions figures for almost the entire world fleet of commercial vessels – 60,000 ships. With the UN talks again failing to find a way to include international shipping and aircraft in future national emissions targets, the aim is to get the world’s shipping lines to go green by showing it is more profitable. Next up at the war room: aviation. Then other energy-guzzling industries such as steel, aluminium and cement. Branson, with his nose for the essentials, says we have to prevent 17 gigatonnes of carbon emissions by 2020 to keep the world on track to stop two degrees of warming. Only big business, acting in its own self-interest, can close that “gigatonne gap”. Plan B says it will.

    British climate economist Lord Stern says the world is entering an era of “low-carbon growth”. A UN deal could help provide sticks and carrots – like a carbon trading scheme to boost the market forces needed to close the gigatonne gap. But it could also hinder.

    The endless talk from the UN roadshow as it has moved from Nairobi to Bali to Poznan to Copenhagen to Cancun, with Durban next year and probably Doha the year after, seems to be getting in the way of progress. And we badly need progress. For the nightmare scenario is that, if we face millions of starving people and billions of climate refugees on the march, not all the ships and missiles in the U.S. Navy will save us.

    Fred Pearce reported on the Cancun conference for New Scientist magazine.

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1339475/Global-warming-Sandal-wearers-wont-save-greed-US-Navy-will.html#ixzz18Y5tlowI

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  32. Kevin B says:

    What needs to happen in the UK is for ratepayers and taxpayers to stop giving the state money until they start doing the jobs we pay them to do, rather than trying to force us into living our lives according to some utopian vision.

    Locally we should demand that Counccils close all the Climate Change departments and spend the money saved on keeping the roads clear and picking up the rubbish – you know, the things we actually employ them to do – rather than telling us what lightbulbs to use or spending money on issuing three or four diferent coloured bins for each houshold and then failing to collect them because the streets are blocked with ice and snow.

    Nationally, we should demand that the Government plan to provide us with abundant energy at the cheapest price in order to continue our development as a high tech society, rather than taking us back to the days of windmills, and if we are going to spend taxpayer’s money on science, spend it on ways to produce cheaper energy for the world in order to bring the developing countries up to our standard of living rather than drag us down to theirs.

  33. Phillip Bratby says:

    Grumbler. I was wondering about the olive farm near Ottery. I haven’t heard anything about it for over a year now.

  34. Richard111 says:

    All that salt will eventually end up in the sea.
    Now that is anthroprogenic polution.

  35. Metryq says:

    @JinOH: Peak Salt

  36. dwright says:

    Heh I grew up in southern Alberta, Canada
    The gravel trucks were the best thing to follow at night in a blizzard.
    When I got older I would pass them, looking at the upside down SUV 4/4′s in the ditch.
    A Shelby Daytona with good tires, just had to remember to not light the turbo in a corner, and never lift when it started to slide.
    Knowing how to drive is half the battle, folks.

    PS the front splitter made a great snowplow, 4 inches off the ground.
    POOF trough snowbanks at 80 mph. I miss that car.

  37. Sean McHugh says:

    ‘Transport Secretary Philip Hammond said he had asked the government’s chief scientific adviser to assess whether the country was experiencing a “step change” in weather patterns due to climate change and whether it needed to spend more money on winter preparations.’

    This means that the brutally cold winter needs to be due to Global Warming for there to be a need for grit preparedness. So . . . wait for it . . . if they conclude there is a need for grit preparedness, Global Warming must be the culprit! Obviously this is the ‘grit proxy’ for AGW measurement.

  38. Patrick Davis says:

    “tonyb says:
    December 19, 2010 at 12:38 am”

    I am confident that they will find that this winter, and the 3 previous, cold winters will all be inline with AGW theory and computer model predictions.

    Nothing to see here. Move along. Pay your carbon taxes and shut up.

    “rms says:
    December 19, 2010 at 12:30 am”

    Its not really grit, there is a large salt content, and it rusts cars out in no time. The real issues is that the salt causes the snow to melt, but with persistent cold as experienced in the UK these last few winters, it re-freezes to ice. If the snow is not cleared with a plough, it compacts, and turns to ice. Snow is relatively easy to drive on, if you know what you are doing, even without snowchains, but ice is a different ball game. Black ice you can’t see on the road, and if you lose traction on that, you’re just along for the ride.

    The last time I saw snow on UK roads was in 1994 on the M4, between Newbury and Swindon. A little snow flurry a couple of miles long across the motorway and we had people creating their own exit ramps into farmers fields.

    Not only is the education system being dumbed down in the UK (Australia and NZ too) the driving standards have been dumbed down too.

  39. Alex Cull says:

    We had about 3 and a half inches of snow yesterday here in West London, and very pretty it looks too (until Monday morning comes along, that is.)

    Here’s the link to that classic article in the Independent (sadly the comments have now been deleted):
    http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/snowfalls-are-now-just-a-thing-of-the-past-724017.html

    And here’s the poem London Snow by Robert Bridges that was quoted at the end of the article. I think this was published in 1890 (?), which would coincide with a rather chilly period here in the UK:
    http://www.poetsgraves.co.uk/Classic%20Poems/Bridges/london_snow.htm

    According to this site, the winter of 1890-91 was execeptionally cold:
    http://www.ukweatherworld.co.uk/forum/forums/thread-view.asp?tid=6544&start=1

    Re warmer winters and early springs, here’s a useful reference by Steven Goddard:
    http://arcticsnap.com/index.php?id=58

    I notice that the Potsdam Institute are theorising that the current cold winter, and the one before that, could be due to melting ice in the Barents-Kara Sea:
    http://www.pik-potsdam.de/news/press-releases/global-warming-could-cool-down-temperatures-in-winter

    That sneaky global warming! First it causes warm winters and sinister early springs. Then it shrinks the Arctic ice and gives us freezing winters (as revealed by computer models.) What will it do next? My greatest fear that it will start to give us a long series of boring average winters. That would be the worst scenario, because we’d know that it was just lurking somewhere, planning its next move. :o)

  40. Patrick Davis says:

    “Kevin B says:
    December 19, 2010 at 2:20 am”

    You can go to jail in the UK for not paying your “council tax”. I had one coucil threaten me with that very action. Received an unvieled threatening letter once claiming I had not paid my council tax. The councils prefer direct debit, but, at that time, a standing order was an alternative method of bank payment, but you have control over the debit although there is a little delay, which I chose. So I wrote a letter to my local council requesting my day in court and I would be bringing documentation proving I’d paid “on time”. Never heard back.

    I suggest continue to pay the tax, but write to the council. They are (Well were, not sure now) obliged to respond in writing. If you can get anough people to act the same way the councils might change their tone.

  41. george says:

    Cold Englishman, when the met office says -6 for Oxford, we generally get -10 or colder 4 miles outside. Last night was -11 (when I got up at 7) and Benson was -12 at 8.

    you can check the actual weather station temps here

    http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/education/teachers/latest_weather_data_uk_rolling_archive.html

  42. James Evans says:

    ‘Transport Secretary Philip Hammond said he had asked the government’s chief scientific adviser to assess whether the country was experiencing a “step change” in weather patterns due to climate change and whether it needed to spend more money on winter preparations.’

    Do these people really not get how stupid they sound? A couple of frigid winters and this must be a “step change” due to climate change. Before that we had a couple of warm winters, which had everyone in a panic, because our children would never, ever, ever see snow. Can we just get these people some sedatives or something?

  43. Darkinbad the Brightdayler says:

    Yep, differences between weather and climate taken as a given, the possibility of a step-change is really there in the last five years data, but, it must be only one possible model amongst many being explored in paralell.
    The trouble is, the media like to leap from one hobby horse to the next, certain that they are certain this time.
    A true statistician is comfortable with uncertainty.

  44. Patrick Davis says:

    “Nigel Brereton says:
    December 19, 2010 at 1:35 am”

    I drove 4×4′s in the UK practically all my driving life (And I really enjoyed my converion of a Land Rover 90 to V8 4-speed auto). I was always called upon to help out, recover vehicles, assist in bad “weather” or even simply clear the rubbish “fly tippers” and others drop on white roads, RUPPs and Byways so that Ramblers and Horse riders, and 4×4 drivers as well, could use the “roads” for their recreational needs. We always received sh*ttly looks from these types even though what we were doing was clearing things up for them.

    Now in Aus, I drive a Subaru.

  45. tonyb says:

    Philip Bratby

    Interesting the effects of the sea here-and of course we are the English Riviera Ha Ha.

    About plus 1C at moment. Heaviest snow the last few days here in the ten years I’ve lived here.. (a Couple of inches)

    tonyb

  46. Irish winter says:

    rms, you are right. Few thinks “snow plough or plow” or “show shovel”.
    The AGW with the “cold winter and snow is a thing of the past” didn’t help. They didn’t prepare.
    Ireland has a similar problem than the UK. I tried to buy a snow shovel here in Ireland but they were sold out and they might not get any new ones before next year. Footpaths and side roads were not cleared for about 2 weeks because of this.
    I guess the snow shovel industry collapsed because of AGW.

  47. M White says:

    “Maybe they’ll have a look at Met Office climate models and CRU with a real investigation.”

    LOL

  48. Roy says:

    When I was a boy at school in the 1950s and 1960s it was very unusual for schools to close because of snow, even during the winter of 1962-63 which was the coldest in Britain for over two centuries. I do remember my school being closed for a day once because the heating system wasn’t working because of leaks from frozen pipes. In contrast hundreds of schools have closed all over the UK after snow in the last three winters.

    Traffic levels were a lot lower in the 1950s and 1960s so it is probably somewhat unfair to compare the effects of snow on transport then and now. In other ways we are better prepared today. Only a minority had central heating in the 50s and 60s but now, although there are still quite significant numbers of people, mainly pensioners, who live in houses that they cannot afford to heat properly it is unusual not to have central heating. There have been improvements in insulation too. ( Ironically one of the main reasons for that is to save energy and combat global warming.

    Those improvements to house insulation are a positive benefit of the green campaigns against global warming but most people would agree that cutting back on waste and improving the efficiency with which energy is used are highly desirable goals regardless of what is happening to the climate.

    On the minus side I think there is little doubt that belief that global warming would make snow a thing of the past is a major factor in us being unprepared for winter whenever we have to venture outside our houses. The increases in taxes on energy and the waste of money on wind turbines that stand idle when they are most needed are other consequences of “green” policies.

    When the government’s chief scientific adviser is looking into the question of whether or not we should expect more cold winters (he would have to be pretty stupid to say “no, in a few more years snow will be a thing of the past) he would be neglecting his duty if he failed to consider why Piers Corbyn, who does not believe in the theory of man-made global warming, was able to predict that we would have a very hard winter whereas the Met Office which is staffed by global warmers failed to do so.

  49. Verity Jones says:

    There needs to be a reminder that AGW has been saying that the trend towards a Positive NAO (with mild winters in UK and Europe) was probably anthropogenic in origin and that models predicted a continuation of this tendancy. IF we revert to negative NAO dominance they cannot suddenly change their tune.

    http://diggingintheclay.wordpress.com/2010/12/18/nao-is-the-winter-of-our-discontent/

  50. M White says:

    Grumpy old Man says:
    BTW, does anyone have the figures for windfarm output as a % of maximum planned power production for the last 3 weeks?

    You may find some of the information you require here

    http://www.bmreports.com/bsp/bsp_home.htm

  51. 1DandyTroll says:

    @dwright

    ‘Knowing how to drive is half the battle, folks.’

    I’ll test that hypothesis once I have dug out my car.

  52. Vince Causey says:

    “Fred Pearce reported on the Cancun conference for New Scientist magazine.”

    Fred Pearce doesn’t live on the same planet as most of us. Where to start with this drivel? The only reason corporations want to ‘save the planet’ is because they see government subsidies and rigged markets which they are adept at exploiting. China loves AGW baloney because they have learned to game the system. Applying basic economic decision tools, they have made a major industry out of creating HFC 23, then destroying it. If anyone seriously believes that wealth is created by digging holes and filling them in, I suggest reading one of the many excellent discussions of Bastiat’s ‘Broken window fallacy.’ Google it.

    In the meantime, China has threatened to release the HFC 23 – 18,000 times more potent than co2 – into the atmosphere if the UN doesn’t come up with the protection money. Sitting here in subzero England, I say – yes, please do.

  53. Verity Jones says:

    Roy (2010/12/19 at 3:28 am)
    “Piers Corbyn, who does not believe in the theory of man-made global warming, was able to predict that we would have a very hard winter whereas the Met Office which is staffed by global warmers failed to do so.”

    Exactly my point (above) also. Their “climate change tinted glasses” make them blind to alternatives.

    For school closures, blame the “safety nazis” and “who can I sue?” culture. My daughter’s school closed becasue they did not have the manpower to clear all the path of snow and were concerned about the risk of children falling.

  54. What’s the most expensive?: That business halts for a while when the country gets buried in snow, or to have the resources at hand at all times to deal with snow even during winters with no snow at all?

    I’ve driven to work for many years and only once have I been late due to weather, about one hour late, after 50cm of snow fell overnight. And that was because I had to clear away the thigh deep snow in front of my own garage, not because the roads were inaccessible. But this is Norway. It’s expensive to have that much resources to keep roads open, but much of the country would have to shut down for half a year otherwise. For other countries it’s cheaper to lose a business day once a while than to be able to keep the roads driveable at all times.

  55. Jim Cripwell says:

    One of the things to remember is that English roads are not designed to be ploughed; this takes long range planning. Here in Ottawa, Canada, the road allowance for housing estates, is 6 chains (66 feet); I did say long range planning. You need 30 feet for cars to travel on, and this leaves 15 feet on either side of the road to dump snow. If you want a fence for your front yard, it has to be 15 feet from the road. This sort of situation hardly exists in the UK.

  56. DaveF says:

    Richard 111 2:21:
    “All that salt will eventually end up in the sea.”
    Although some of our road salt in the UK comes from a salt mine in Cheshire, a lot of it is shipped from Australia, where it is taken from the sea. Dave.

  57. rms says:

    @ Patrick Davis December 19, 2010 at 2:47 am

    Indeed it is called “grit” and yes, I understand they put salt in it. Details I do no know. I think the point I was trying to make is that the solution to the mess by most is to spread “grit”; but when it’s done on lots of snow without previously using shovels or snow plows, we just get a mess. There is also an apparently strategy (and state of mind) that there is no point trying to do any plowing until *after* the snow stops. Citizens and government seem to have that attitude. Big mistake.

  58. M White says:

    I spent several winters in Norway.

    In autumn they put poles on either side of the roads. The snow falls, the ploughs clear a path between the poles. You drive on several inches/feet of compressed snow keeping the nearest pole on the right hand side.

    Never saw any salt being put down. (Might be different in large urban areas)

  59. Annei says:

    We had about a foot of snow here in our part of the Cotswolds…..very pretty, all this Global Warming! It reminds me of the winters of ’47 and ’63, not to mention ’87. The thermometer just outside the back door was reading -6 not long ago.

    I’m sick to the back teeth with the way the warmists now interpret every type of weather we receive as due to global warming, alias climate change, alias global climate disruption. Whatever do they think the planet’s climate has been doing for all of its existence?

    I do believe we should not be polluting and wasteful; there is a lot of room for improvement in mankind’s behaviour; especially in regard to clearing forests. I believe that the planet’s climate has far larger influences from natural occurences than from anything we do. I also think there is far more to fear from cooling than from a smidgeon of warming.

    We are not alone in waiting for more heating oil deliveries. Our level has dropped at a rate we have never seen before while living here, despite trying to be careful in our use. Thank goodness we have a little stove in the sitting room and some coal (anthracite) to fuel it! We deliberately chose a flat top one in case we need to cook on it, as our cooking stove is an electric one (no gas where we are). We also keep plenty of candles and have a little camping gas stove for emergencies, and some stores of dry and tinned food.

  60. Billothewisp says:

    So Transport secretary Philip Hammond wants to have a good old panic.
    With the low winter temperatures for no less than two years running, it has to be all down to climate change.

    Perhaps we could do with a minister who reacts a little less like a hysterical end-of-the-world evangelist and more like someone who is being confronted by a natural phenomena.

    Just to help him out, that natural phenomena is called:
    A Cold Winter.

    p.s. hat tip to Jockdownsouth and JohnM for the wind-power links

  61. Oxonpool says:

    A couple of miles inland from the coast in Merseyside, a fairly mild place temperature-wise, I spent yesterday and some of this morning digging my way through 9 inches of white, frozen global warming. At the nearby Met Office station in Crosby, a record low of -17C was recorded overnight.
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-12031709
    Admittedly the records only go back to 1983, so this must be an example of weather, not climate. Despite that, even the most dense politician must surely be asking the obvious question. Perhaps our Transport Secretary has spotted that the global warming game is up.

  62. Patrick Davis says:

    “Irish winter says:
    December 19, 2010 at 3:17 am”

    Where in Ireland? I lived in southern Ireland, Waterford, in the late 1970′s, it was always wet, ultra fine drizzle, permiates everything, not experienced that in any other country (So far).

  63. DirkH says:

    Verity Jones says:
    December 19, 2010 at 3:45 am
    “For school closures, blame the “safety nazis” and “who can I sue?” culture. My daughter’s school closed becasue they did not have the manpower to clear all the path of snow and were concerned about the risk of children falling.”

    Make that the risk of children tipping over. The climate system has hundreds of tipping points. Hundreds of them (i read it in an interview with the late Dr. Schneider).
    And we might be passing one of them right now without even noticing (except for the ones that tip over).

  64. Ralph says:

    I always wonder about the size of the caverns they create while extracting this salt (this is Winsford, Cheshire, UK). There seems to be a lot of cavern, and not much pillar. A collapse would cause quite an earthquake.

    http://i.dailymail.co.uk/i/pix/2010/11/29/article-1334068-0C440417000005DC-795_634x395.jpg

  65. Nigel Brereton says:

    Patrick Davis says:
    December 19, 2010 at 3:05 am

    ‘I drove 4×4′s in the UK practically all my driving life’

    Up until Feb this year I had an Astra VXR, fantastic car, 240bhp low profile 19″ alloys, designed for the race track not for the state of UK roads now. Snow ice and potholes finalised the desicion to trade it in for a Grand Cherokee at a reasonable price. If you look at the adverts in the locals for 2nd hand 4*4′s you will see the trend is rapidly increasing.
    The UK government will realise the neccessity for the average citizen to have the ability to get to work by the time I retire. I have had many a fraught moment over the past couple of weeks watching the green cyclists still trying to prove their point during the comute into work, not only putting their own lives at risk but risking those of other road users as well in adverse weather conditions.

    There is a saying here ‘some people would bite their noses off to spite their face’.

  66. Ian Walsh says:

    “asked the government’s chief scientific adviser to assess whether the country was experiencing a “step change” in weather patterns due to climate change”

    Depends on what is meant by ‘Climate Change’, as the AGW’ers stole the term and have made it the eyes of most people an alternate name for ‘global warming’ or AGW.

    Of course us ‘deniers’ always ‘knew’ that Climate Change (original meaning) happens, and that the climate was likely to change to cold again on its own. This it seems is what has happened, and we can only hope that the “chief scientific adviser” is smart enough to see this.

    Ian Walsh (Torquay Devon)

  67. Irish winter says:

    Patrick Davis – In County Kildare
    I look out of the window and it looks white. Thankfully, most of the snow is gone after 2 weeks. However the temperature was minus 8 degrees last night and is just above zero degree right now. It’s now the third week and most of the time it was freezing cold. Schools had to close 2 weeks ago for a few days.
    It all started in the winter of 2007 that Ireland experienced colder temperature and a lot of snow.

  68. Viv Evans says:

    On Friday, Cardiff was in the path of the snow. We got 10 inches, measured by me in the back yard, with a ruler. No wind. Cars and people stayed at home, so yesterday the snow had not been compacted to ice and it was fun going to the park with the dog.
    Sadly, I hadn’t reckoned with the effort required to wade through 10 inches of snow piled up on the playing fields!
    There was no wind, but some soft, low mist over the snow before sunrise. The snow load was too heavy for a huge branch on one of the pines. It came crashing down with a loud noise and a huge cloud of snow. It scared the dog …
    There was some melt due to the bright sunshine – now there are icicles on some of the roofs.
    Overnight and today it has become noticeably colder. The snow has become compacted, so going out has become treacherous. There is a very pale sun peeping through the white sky.
    Oh – and there is still no wind here …

    I’m grateful that I’ve learned during my childhood and youth how to cope with a house cold due to restricted heating. With the UK government plans for ‘new energy’, adding another cool £500 to the already high utility bills, I wouldn’t know how to pay them when winters like these last two become normal again.

    Mind – two White Christmasses in succession should make the kids happy!

  69. Verity Jones says:

    Salt is also mined in Northern Ireland. According to a BBC video clip here it is even exported to the US.

  70. Joe Lalonde says:

    When the salt runs out, urine has some salt in it.

    :-)

  71. Atomic Hairdryer says:

    Re: Jim Cripwell says: December 19, 2010 at 3:49 am

    One of the things to remember is that English roads are not designed to be ploughed; this takes long range planning.

    A lot of English roads were barely designed for cars. We’ve also spent the last few years trying to calm traffic and prevent speeding by installing thousands of speed cushions, speed bumps and artificial chicanes which also make ploughing more problematic. Plus much of the work that used to be done by the councils is outsourced to private contractors who naturally want to minimise their costs and maximise profits.

    2-3 inches of global warming condensate for me in urban Berkshire though and an overnight low of -4C from my garden wall. I must be in the mild bit of the UK’s winter.

  72. vukcevic says:

    Don’t complain.
    Just move your fridge magnet, it may help.
    http://www.vukcevic.talktalk.net/MF-PV.htm

  73. frederik wisse says:

    The high priests of the global warming elite are so far away from reality and humbleness that we shall only receive more disasters as their way of thinking that humans are able to dictate climate on earth is an insult to mother nature and sound reasonable thinking . After nearly all pagan gods were abolished in our society , they erected a new one , the climate god , controllable by humans through a novel priesthood accepting zero critical attitudes . Should mother nature react stronger and throw us all into poverty as happened to previous fake-religions and older civilisations ? Where is the difference between stupidity and falseness ?

  74. MartinGAtkins says:

    Jockdownsouth says:

    “Current generation By Fuel Type”. As at 09:30 UK time on Sunday it shows wind 0.6% current (no pun!) and 0.8% for the last 24 hours.

    Generation Forecast:- 276 MW
    Total Metered Capacity:- 2430 MW

    A pathetic 11.36% efficiency.

  75. Ralph says:

    >>Joe
    >>When the salt runs out, urine has some salt in it.

    That is what is used at all airports, because sodium salt corrodes aircraft (it is the urea that deices). They used to use refined cow piss, but they now tend to use synthetic urea.

    Mind where you step….

    .

  76. RichieP says:

    Joe Lalonde says:
    December 19, 2010 at 4:55 am
    ‘When the salt runs out, urine has some salt in it.’
    And such pretty colours :)

  77. JohnM says: December 19, 2010 at 1:21 am

    His Times quote from Nigel Lawson is well worth spelling out. How knee-jerk paid-up warmists slay commonsense.

    A period of humility and even silence would be particularly welcome from the Met Office, our leading institutional advocate of the perils of man-made global warming, which had promised a “barbecue summer” in 2009 and one of the “warmest winters on record”. In fact, the Met still asserts we are in the midst of an unusually warm winter — as one of its staffers sniffily protested in an internet posting to a newspaper last week: “This will be the warmest winter in living memory, the data has already been recorded. For your information, we take the highest 15 readings between November and March and then produce an average. As November was a very seasonally warm month, then all the data will come from those readings.”

    George Orwell would salute this. But although we are in a period of depression regarding UK political integrity, business sense, and commonsense, Orwell himself wrote 1984 about his experiences in – 1948.

  78. johanna says:

    Yes, thanks to global warming you poor shivering Poms are buying our salt from Western Australia:

    http://au.news.yahoo.com/thewest/business/a/-/business/8284349/uk-traffic-flow-to-depend-on-pilbara-salt/

    We have plenty, and according to the article the local industry doesn’t have much chance of increasing output. Not only do we extract it from seawater, there are significant land based deposits, courtesy of the inland sea that used to cover much of central Australia.

    See, founding colonies in the old days was a good move after all!

  79. JohnM says:

    The “grit” has very little grit in it, it’s mostly rock-salt.
    The latest addition to the “grit” is molasses, to make it stick to the road.
    A lot of the roads in the uk were not designed at all, they just follow age-old footpaths.
    Quite a few were built by the Romans and have been “improved” over the years !

  80. M White says:
    December 19, 2010 at 3:56 am

    I spent several winters in Norway.

    In autumn they put poles on either side of the roads. The snow falls, the ploughs clear a path between the poles. You drive on several inches/feet of compressed snow keeping the nearest pole on the right hand side.

    Never saw any salt being put down. (Might be different in large urban areas)

    I spent several winters in Norway as well… :-)

    You are right about the poles. We (the locals) do it on the local narrow community road where I live, or else the snowplough driver is unable to see where the road is.

    You are wrong about salt use, lots of it is being distributed here. It is a major source of pollution as it kills vegetation along the road. When the spring comes, you can see all the brown hedges/trees that should have been green.

    Salt use is however different in different places. It is common to see signs along the road “Salting opphører” (“salt distribution ends”), so you have to adapt to the driving conditions. Also, salt is of no use when you have low temperatures like we have had in December this year (about -11C on average here).

    Of course, everyone is using winter tyres November to April over here. No amount of salt/grit will save you if you drive on snow with what we call “summer tyres”.

  81. Jim Cripwell says:

    Ralph says ` but they now tend to use synthetic urea. `

    I am not sure how to interpret this remark. I use urea all the time for getting rid of ice. It has some virtues; it tends not to rot concrete and similar materials, and does not harm grass and flowers. However, one needs to use it when temperatures are not much below 0 C. Otherwise it is not very efficient. It may or may not be of much use in the UK.

  82. jaymam says:

    Well if anyone is going to use grit as a temperature proxy, make sure it’s not used upside down like Michael Mann used the Tiljander sediment series.
    More grit = colder!

  83. Severian says:

    The Met Office lied, people and cars slide!

  84. Jimbo says:

    Grumpy old Man says:
    December 19, 2010 at 12:12 am
    I’m waiting for the Chief Scientist to apologise for misleading the public into believing that cold winters were a thing of the past…

    Maybe there’s hope.

    27 January, 2010
    John Beddington: chief scientist says climate change sceptics ‘should not be dismissed’
    Climate change sceptics should not be dismissed, the Government’s chief scientific adviser has said, as he called for more openness in the global warming debate.
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/environment/climatechange/7081039/John-Beddington-chief-scientist-says-climate-change-sceptics-should-not-be-dismissed.html

  85. Richard Wright says:

    To Transport Secretary Hammond: On what weather forecasting services do you rely? If only the Met Office, you are doing your job poorly. Today there are numerous weather services in Europe and North America that provide alternative weather information. A wise Secretary would subscribe to multiple services, and take the time to compare and contrast the various forecasts. Further levels of analysis could then be developed. Some forecasters may be rated more reliable than others, or rated stronger in certain situations than in others. Obviously the goal is to have the maximum amount of credible information on which to make important transportation decisions. How do you perform your job?

    With hurricane forecasts, there are numerous alternative tracks forecasted by various sources and models, and all are given some weight. Hopefully you, Mr. Secretary, are now using multiple weather services.

  86. Paul N says:

    From the latest edition of Private Eye No.1278 re the performance of wind power in the UK right now:

    “Old Sparky likes his Christmas lights to burn brightly in the cold December nights, as well as his two-bar electric heater.

    “Turning, then, to the website of Exelon, the company responsible for balancing electricity supply and demand on the National Grid, we can easily find the various contributions to the nation’s electricity requirements from all the different forms of generation. Coal, gas, nuclear, imports from France, wind – they are all tabulated there, hour by hour.

    “And what’s this? On a bitterly cold day, with demand close to maximum, at the time of writing we have just gone a full 24 hours where the UK’s wind turbines have provided barely ONE TWENTIETH of their notional capacity, their output never once rising to as much as even a tenth of their capacity throughout the day and thus contributing nothing but uncertainty to the nation’s supplies.

    “That’s the trouble: cold snaps frequently coincide with periods of very little wind. But never mind: we shall be paying handsomelyfor ever more of these highly subsidised white elephants, with an ever greater dependence on supposedly unreliable gas imports when the wind lets us down. (A good job Russian gas supplies have proved so reliable over the decades, eh?)

    “Keep warm!

    “‘Old Sparky’”

  87. FergalR says:

    Minister Hammond gave a interview just now:
    “And I have asked the government’s chief scientist to give us a report on future weather assumptions – whether we should simply assume for future winters that we are going to experience multiple bouts of extreme weather and if is answer is ‘yes, that should be our assumption’ then we will have to sit down collectively and decide how to rerioritise(sic) our investment in the transport infrastructure to focus it towards winter resilience.”

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-12031224

    A possible answer might be: “We haven’t got a clue. We never did. It’s probably the Sun; but we can’t say that now after rubbishing the idea for twenty years. We both know it was a scam all along. Why are you even asking me this?”

  88. Robuk says:

    ‘Transport Secretary Philip Hammond said he had asked the government’s chief scientific adviser to assess whether the country was experiencing a “step change” in weather patterns due to climate change and whether it needed to spend more money on winter preparations.’

    Does he mean similar to this one.

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2009/07/23/surge-in-global-temperatures-since-1977-can-be-attributed-to-a-1976-climate-shift-in-the-pacific-ocean/

  89. Robuk says:

    Temperatures set to hit record low of -26C as forecasters say this could be the coldest winter on record

    Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1339937/UK-snow-weather-update-Temperatures-set-hit-low-26C.html#ixzz18ZVNcMXX

    These two likes are best viewed together.

    http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/snowfalls-are-now-just-a-thing-of-the-past-724017.html

  90. Pamela Gray says:

    Grit would be a pretty good proxy for development more so than temperature. More development, more grit needed. I wouldn’t use it so much for a temperature proxy. It might overestimate drop, not because of plummeting temps and snow everywhere, but grit needed in now-developed land tracks where it wasn’t needed before. Let’s not make the same mistake AGW proxies make.

    [I would not , as a long-time southerner residing in the US, recommend using grit as a proxy for anything weather-related, as it is impervious to destruction by any known means to man, and, once congealed upon the plate, known to resist all removal methods up to and including sandblasting and TNT.... Given the "peak salt" and"peak sand" crisis now upon us, grit may alleviate that shortage somewhat. 8<) Robt]

  91. Eric Gisin says:

    Any more warming like this and we will hit “peak salt”, to be followed by “peak sand”.

  92. Dave Springer says:

    December: A Time to Remember

    http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/snowfalls-are-now-just-a-thing-of-the-past-724017.html

    Snowfalls are now just a thing of the past
    By Charles Onians
    Monday, 20 March 2000

    According to Dr David Viner, a senior research scientist at the climatic research unit (CRU) of the University of East Anglia,within a few years winter snowfall will become “a very rare and exciting event”.

    “Children just aren’t going to know what snow is,” he said.

    Epic FAIL.

  93. 3x2 says:

    Transport Secretary Philip Hammond said he had asked the government’s chief scientific adviser to assess whether the country was experiencing a “step change” in weather patterns due to climate change and whether it needed to spend more money on winter preparations.

    With people like this spending our tax money, what could possibly go wrong?

    It’s like watching a train crash in slow motion, the outcome is obvious and there isn’t a thing you can do about it. Give it a few more years and it will be time to assemble the scaffolds outside Whitehall.

  94. Jim Cripwell says:

    Carsten Arnholm writes “Also, salt is of no use when you have low temperatures like we have had in December this year (about -11C on average here). ”

    I think we need to be careful what “salt” is. If you mean sodium chloride, I suspect you are right with respect to temperatures. But calcium chloride is a different issue. That operates at lower temperatures. I think it is also more corrosive.

  95. James Evans says:

    ‘When the salt runs out, urine has some salt in it.’
    And such pretty colours :)

    The use of the plural there may indicate that you need to see a doctor.

  96. Gordon Ford says:

    Here on the left coast of Canada (AKA The best place on earth) the highways contractors use what looks like minus 10 mm crush laced with a bit of salt which in turn is (or was) treated with ferrocyanide to prevent clumping. Every Spring you get a new windshield (AKA windscreen).

  97. Ralph says:

    >>Paul
    >>From the latest edition of Private Eye No.1278 re the performance of
    >>wind power in the UK right now:

    Well that is progress. Private Eye used to be a fully paid up member of the Church of Global Warming, and anything the high priests said from the pulpit, they printed.

    All we have to do now, is take over the offices of the Grauniad.

    .

  98. FergalR says:

    Here’s a video interview with the Minister where he repeats the scientific advice bit at 2:30:
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-12032681

  99. Martin Brumby says:

    Kate says: December 19, 2010 at 2:12 am

    “His steely eyes and jutting jaw speak of his determination. His medal-festooned uniform underlines his power. Rear Admiral David Titley is a sea warrior, but also a scientist with a passion. He is the U.S. Navy’s chief oceanographer and director of its climate change task force. Yes, the U.S. Navy has a climate change task force. With 450 staff.”

    Hmmmmm

    I wonder if “Titley” is a diminutive form of “Tit”?

    Seems to fit……

  100. Allan M says:

    Ralph says:
    December 19, 2010 at 5:28 am

    >>Joe
    >>When the salt runs out, urine has some salt in it.

    That is what is used at all airports, because sodium salt corrodes aircraft (it is the urea that deices). They used to use refined cow piss, but they now tend to use synthetic urea.

    Mind where you step….

    I’m thinking of writing a crime novel called “Yellow Stains in the Snow.”

  101. vukcevic says:

    Hey Mike Lockwood just said (on Channel 4 News) we are in for 100 years of cold winters, even mentioned Maunder min. But he is wrong, cold and warm winters are frequent sequence. On this graph blue dots are winters.
    http://www.vukcevic.talktalk.net/CET-D.htm

  102. Les Johnson says:

    I have a scanned pdf copy of a paper published in Nature, Vol 223, Sept 20, 1969. (I am pretty sure I got it from behind a pay-wall) The New Look of Climatology (H.H. Lamb)

    Lamb was the founder of CRU, and the progenitor, if you will, of Wigley and Phil Jones.

    One of the reasons Lamb founded the CRU, was concern about cooling of the climate, and the effects on weather and crop production. This concern permeates this paper.

    Lamb talks of climatology in general. About the warmth of the first 1/2 of the 20th century, and of the cold period in the 1700s, solar influences, shorter growing seasons, and much more.

    This is a quote:

    …concern in Iceland over the regrowth of the Arctic pack-ice in the 1960s and the anxiety in New York, as well as Rhodesia and the Transvaal, about the the droughts of this decade and in East Africa over the rising lakes.


    In England there have been debates about how much money should be spent by high-way authorities on snow clearing equipment and road salt, whilst the Scottish skiing centres have been developed in a run of years far more favourable to the enterprise than for long before.

    This quote is telling too.

    The more obvious pitfalls of planning for the future either on the assumption of climate remaining constant (that is, subject to only year by year fluctuations) or on blind extrapolation of some recent trend….

    My emphasis.

    Oh, and he says that more study is needed.

  103. Douglas says:

    Nigel Brereton says: December 19, 2010 at 1:35 am

    Channel 4 news last night reported that emergency services were asking owners of 4*4 vehicles for assistance in ferrying staff, nurses and doctors, to their places of work —–
    I have no problem at all in helping out at a comunity level and will gladly assist when needed. I only ask that government policy be re-evaluated —to meet their needs in this cooling climate and the taxation classes adjusted back to the pre green hysteria levels.

    Simple request, no pressure!
    ———————————————————————————
    Nigel Brereton. I love the irony but I hope that you are not holding your breath.

    Douglas

  104. stumpy says:

    “whether the country was experiencing a “step change” in weather patterns due to climate change ” I thought it was just weather, and besides more extreme cold weather was expected due to climate change! (sarc)

    Unless its a heatwave, flood, drought, forest fire, dead animal somewhere – then it is definetly climate change…

  105. P Walker says:

    [Robt] , If you add cheese to your grit , you could probably substitute it for stucco .

  106. AdrianS says:

    KevB said
    What needs to happen in the UK is for ratepayers and taxpayers to stop giving the state money until they start doing the jobs we pay them to do, rather than trying to force us into living our lives according to some utopian vision.

    I couldnt agree more— well said buddy

  107. Frank Kotler says:

    “If the salt runs out, urine has some salt in it.”

    Are you suggesting that this be applied to the roads, or to the politicians who failed to stockpile enough salt?

    Best,
    Frank

  108. Douglas says:

    Annei says: December 19, 2010 at 4:00 am

    I’m sick to the back teeth with the way the warmists now interpret every type of weather we receive as due to global warming, alias climate change, alias global climate disruption. Whatever do they think the planet’s climate has been doing for all of its existence?
    ———————————————————————————
    Annei. The AGW conjecture (I won’t give it the dignity of calling it a theory) is akin to the miasma notions of the middle ages, IMHO. The miasmatic theory of disease remained popular in the Middle Ages. As late as the 1850s, miasma was used to explain the spread of cholera in London. The disease was said to be preventable by cleansing and scouring of the body and items. Dr. William Farr, the assistant commissioner for the 1851 London census, was an important supporter of the miasma theory. He believed that cholera was transmitted by air, and that there was a deadly concentration of miasmata near the River Thames’ banks.

    We have our modern day equivalents of Dr. Farr today – all quite wedded to the notion that co2 is the cause of the warming of the late 80’s and 90’s. Unfortunately there is lots of money (through taxes) to be made by adhering to this nonsense. I think it will take a lot of ‘cooling’ to cool their ardour for this belief.

    Douglas

  109. vukcevic says:

    This year was the coldest for nearly quarter of the century (since 1986).
    http://www.vukcevic.talktalk.net/CET-D.htm

  110. Sean Houlihane says:

    The quote from Philip Hammond is slightly inaccurate. What I think he said was ‘as a result of something like climate change’, which is significantly more correct than blaming it specifically on something we are supposed to have done.

  111. old44 says:

    Being Australian will you pardon my ignorance in matters concerning salt and grit on roads, but does the government provide for the area around the UEA were there obviously was not going to be any predicted snowfall by 2010?

  112. Mike McMillan says:

    vukcevic says: December 19, 2010 at 5:09 am
    Don’t complain. Just move your fridge magnet, it may help.
    http://www.vukcevic.talktalk.net/MF-PV.htm

    Hmmm. Butterfly effect?

  113. Douglas says:

    FergalR says: December 19, 2010 at 7:17 am
    Minister Hammond gave a interview just now:

    then we will have to sit down collectively and decide how to rerioritise(sic) our investment in the transport infrastructure to focus it towards winter resilience.”
    ——————————————————————————–

    WTF does he have to talk like this? Can’t he speak in plain English?

    Douglas

  114. Steven Mosher says:

    anybody from Chicago remember why Jayne Bryne lost her re election bid? hehe

  115. roger says:

    Phillip Bratby says:
    December 19, 2010 at 2:21 am
    Grumbler. I was wondering about the olive farm near Ottery. I haven’t heard anything about it for over a year now.

    I am certain that I heard or read ( may have been the Daily Telegraph in the arch idiot Geoffrey Lean’s witterings) in the past two weeks that the guy with the peach farm, olive grove, etc., had gone into liquidation. I remember the warm glow of satisfaction that it gave me at the time! Never did suffer fools gladly.

  116. Mike McMillan says:

    Steven Mosher says: December 19, 2010 at 11:34 am
    anybody from Chicago remember why Jayne Bryne lost her re election bid? hehe

    Wasn’t it because she wanted to convert Chicago’s downtown business airport, Meigs Field, into tennis courts? <sarc>Thank goodness we threw her out and saved the airport.</sarc>

  117. CRS, Dr.P.H. says:

    To Philip Bratby, TonyB & other chums in Devon:

    Here’s the local paper: http://www.thisisexeter.co.uk/news/Weather-disrupts-workers-commute/article-3019928-detail/article.html

    I lived & worked in Devon in the early 1990′s, so I know Exeter, Budleigh-Salterton, and other towns/areas very well! Lovely area, I feel so sorry for all you folks!!

  118. biddyb says:

    “MartinGAtkins says:
    December 19, 2010 at 5:18 am
    Jockdownsouth says:

    “Current generation By Fuel Type”. As at 09:30 UK time on Sunday it shows wind 0.6% current (no pun!) and 0.8% for the last 24 hours.

    Generation Forecast:- 276 MW
    Total Metered Capacity:- 2430 MW

    A pathetic 11.36% efficiency.”

    And did you see the projected output for Monday? 104MW!!!! I can’t be bothered to work out the exact percentage as no calculator handy but it’s less than 5% of capacity. Just what you need in this extreme cold when demand rockets up.

    I imagine that Old sparky in Private Eye is Christopher Booker. My copy hasn’t arrived as the postman has given up but I am always eager for it to appear.

    By the way, where I live, the council is experimenting with adding sugar to the salt, to make it stick to the road and last longer. No doubt it will stick to the underside of my car for longer and aid corrosion.

  119. Gillie says:

    When you hear what Hammond said, it was “due to climate change, or something”. Those last two words, which are very telling, have been omitted by the press – funny old thing.

  120. matt v. says:

    The graph noted below is a graph taken from a paper called Predictions of Global Mean Temperatures & IPCC Projections by Girma Orssengo and was previously posted on WUWT . It is a mathematical model or over-fit empirical model based on curve fitting for the GLOBAL YEARLY MEAN TEMPERATURE ANOMALY[GMTA]. Although it is not based on any measurable parameters, physics, energy mechanisms or physical realities underlying the equation ,it is still an informative graph to some degree. It is based actual empirical data[hadcrut3] since 1980. There is no guarantee that any future projection of this graph will actually materialize[ neither do the current computer models] however, it may still be useful. It is like the “poor man’s “global temperature model and indicates the following;

    * There exists a repetitive 60 year climate cycle of 30 years of warming followed by 30 years of cooling.
    *There could be two cooling cycles before we reach 2100 which may dwarf and over-ride any greenhouse gas warming
    *It is probably more useful and accurate in the short term [next 10-30 years]
    *We have peaked on the previous warm cycle and seem to be headed for possible cooling for the next several decades to about 2030
    *The just past warm period is similar to other past warm periods that seem to occur naturally
    *It seems to be validated by actual observation of measurable data that the planet is actually cooling while IPPC have predicted the opposite
    * notice the big dip in temperatures in the 1940’sand 1950’s when the curve last went negative after a warming peak[ like we just had?]

    My advise to the Transportation Secretary – cut back your expensive green energy projects, keep you fossil fuel power plants running until they have to be replaced due to age [but convert to clean coal] and with savings buy UK proper snow and ice clearing equipment for the roads,cities ,airports and railroads . Just think how much money has been lost to date for not having them for the 4 past winters now and there is a high probabilty that more of this weather is coming for the next several decades.

    http://wattsupwiththat.files.wordpress.com/2010/04/predictions-of-gmt.pdf

    http://noconsensus.files.wordpress.com/2010/04/image2.jpg

  121. Dr T G Watkins says:

    Thanks ‘George’ and ‘Jock’ for the energy links. I can access bmreports (Neta) but the tables and graphs say ‘no info. available’. Is it my Mac. or are they too embarrassed to show the figures.
    Regards from snowy Wales.

  122. lapogus says:

    For those asking about how the UK’s wind farms have been performing in the last few weeks, on Dec 6th 2010 at 5.30pm, when GB demand reached 59.7GW, the max output from all the GB windfarms was a paultry 193 MW. On Dec 7th, iirc the peak at 5.30pm was 59.9GW and the total wind contribution was c. 126MW.

    (These at least show consistency – the peak demand in winter 2009-10 (29th December) was 57GW, and the total contribution from windmills at this time was 147MW). Brownouts and blackouts are now only a few years away, and millions are already in serious fuel poverty, at least in part due to having to fund the very generous ROC subsidies to the renewable companies and landowners.

    The total installed capacity for UK windfarms is now about 4.2GW, but I notice NETA suggests the maximum available output is about 3GW. I assume the missing GW is due to there always being 1/4 of the windmills shutdown for essential maintenance/ repair. Also worth noting that the maximum GB grid demand forecast for winter 2010-11 was 55GW, which has already been exceeded more than a few times.

    As for the maximum output from wind in recent weeks, I haven’t been checking regularly, but the most I have seen them manage is about 400MW.

    As for the farmer who went into liquidation after planting olive trees in Devon, well the same fate has struck the hotelier on the south-side of Loch Tay (Ardeonaig), who planted 400 or so vines, as he was hoping to start make Scottish wine in a few years time. Not sure how cold it was in Ardeonaig last winter, but temperatures here got to -20C, and there were reports of -22C nor far away in Glen Lyon and -24C in Rannoch. So far this winter we have had a few -16C s.

    Oh, like in Norway, we also use poles to mark high level roads in Scotland so that the ploughs know where they are.

  123. Patrick Davis says:

    I mentioned it before, summer snow in Australia. Well, surprise surprise, its been reported in the Australian MSM.

    http://www.smh.com.au/environment/weather/summer-snow-falls-at-perisher-20101220-192bg.html

  124. johanna says:

    Patrick Davis says:
    December 19, 2010 at 3:53 pm

    I mentioned it before, summer snow in Australia. Well, surprise surprise, its been reported in the Australian MSM.

    http://www.smh.com.au/environment/weather/summer-snow-falls-at-perisher-20101220-192bg.html
    ———————————————————————-
    Patrick, this is unusual but certainly not unknown. It has happened at least once before in the last 15 or so years that I know of – and that was bang on Christmas.

    I live a couple of hours drive away from there (Canberra), and light snow has been reported around the region here as well. Not good for farmers, whose summer crops are not keen on snow.

  125. John F. Hultquist says:

    Ralph says:
    December 19, 2010 at 4:14 am with link to photo
    the caverns they create while extracting this salt …

    In the USA there are numerous salt mines from NE Ohio on to the SW toward the middle of the country. This is a clue to the seas that once occupied the region. I’ve not been in a salt mine (only a zinc and silver mine in Idaho and so the structure is different). Movies I have seen of a salt mine near Cleveland, OH that goes out under Lake Erie show a grid of about 33 meters wide and leaving pillars of the same – so you have a square pillar.
    In the St. Louis region they use old mines as warehousing and a few tourist attractions. Links:
    http://videos.howstuffworks.com/discovery/35563-howstuffworks-show-episode-9-salt-storage-video.htm
    Visit one:
    http://www.undergroundmuseum.org/index.php

  126. keith says:

    old44.

    UEA has had snow in the past – I was there in the late 80′s. Fond memories of ‘controlled’ slides in an old 1L (well 998cc) Mini Metro…

    BTW if you want to see ‘pro’ sliding – get a taxi in Stockholm in mid winter…

  127. AusieDan says:

    Kate
    Thank you for that very well written report on the Cancum conference, from the viewpoint of the true believer.
    You put the case very well.

    There is only one small problem with your analysis.
    That’s the bit about the economics of switching from old style energy generation and vehicle propulsion, to less economic alternatives.
    Certain companies are jumping into this with their ears back because they expect to get a good return on their investment, before the scales fall from the eyes of the politicans providing the essential subsidies and restrictions on more economic industries.

    To me, that’s a very big gamble, as the scientific evidence supporting the rather strange idea that CO2 is causing “catastropic dangerous global climate disruption” (there I hope I have that right) is now being shown to have little or no basis in reality.

    I’m not much of a gambler.
    I’m in the process of reviewing my investment portfolio with a view of selling shares in companies that are wasting their capital on foolish dreams.
    how’s your investment portfolio going these days?
    What about catastropic future potential losses from the collapse of uneconomic investments?

    Do you remember the DOT COM bubble?
    Time to get practical.

  128. AJB says:

    Mike Lockwood interview on Channel 4 News – Sun affects Jet Stream.
    http://bcove.me/nfvx2rjo

  129. Geoff Sharp says:

    AJB says:
    December 19, 2010 at 6:13 pm

    Mike Lockwood interview on Channel 4 News – Sun affects Jet Stream.

    Lockwood says the cold winters could last for 200-300 years. I would like to know his reasoning for this statement, sounds ill informed to me.

  130. lapogus says:

    Geoff Sharp says:
    December 19, 2010 at 11:49 pm

    AJB says:
    December 19, 2010 at 6:13 pm

    Mike Lockwood interview on Channel 4 News – Sun affects Jet Stream.

    Lockwood says the cold winters could last for 200-300 years. I would like to know his reasoning for this statement, sounds ill informed to me.

    Could well be. But who is to say these winters are not the beginning of the end? The Holocene has to end sometime, and it looks to me like we are living on borrowed time:

    http://www.foresight.org/nanodot/wp-content/uploads/2009/12/vostok.png

  131. Paul N says:

    biddyb: I would be surprised if ‘Old Sparky’ in Private Eye is Christopher Brooker, as I understand he fell out with that organ many years ago.

    On the other hand, Private Eye has for some months been detailing not just the folly of wind and solar power, but the vested commercial interests of the politicians forcing it on us, so perhaps his influence has returned.

    I too would be without the current edition of the magazine if I were relying on the postman. I live in rural Somerset and deliveries have ceased owing to the snow. I had to trudge a mile through the snow to the motorway services to get a copy along with essential supplies. Since then we have had another dumping, and I haven’t seen such a depth of snow since 1962-3.

    To me it just demonstrates how weather just runs in decadal cycles, while climate, on the scale of a human life, remains stable. The UK is still an island with a temperate, maritime climate having warmer and cooler periods within it. No climate change at all.

  132. Patrick Davis says:

    “Paul N says:
    December 20, 2010 at 3:15 am”

    And no significant sea level rises (Assuming no changes in land levels – not likely in these regions, but possible I guess all the same) in hundreds and hundreds of years. Look at Emsworth (Very low lying land, not quite Pays-Bas, but not far off), Portsmouth, Gosport, Exeter in the UK etc etc…

  133. Geoff Sharp says:

    lapogus says:
    December 20, 2010 at 1:51 am

    Mike Lockwood interview on Channel 4 News – Sun affects Jet Stream.

    Could well be. But who is to say these winters are not the beginning of the end? The Holocene has to end sometime, and it looks to me like we are living on borrowed time:

    But then he should have predicted 90,000 years which is quite different. Sun induced cold via grand minima as he discussed is different from ice ages as a result of orbital changes. But granted the two might work together otherwise it might be hard to explain the steep rise and fall. Over the Holocene there does not look to be a continuous period of 300 years of solar downturn and looking at my data I would say we are in for 20-30 years of cold winters….perhaps he added a zero?

  134. marchesarosa says:

    How about this reminder from young Simon, scion of the Met Office Establishment, making a stupid remark a while back, based merely on his own VERY short experience? It bears repetition.

    Young Simon is telling the Cbeebies that snow is a “very rare event” but he’s nobbut a lad is, he? And the kiddies have even LESS experience of normal weather variation. I call this sort of “news” abuse of the innocence of the young! and I include Simon himself in that category!

    I ws born at the end of March 1947 after three months of arctic weather. My pregnant mum had to wear socks over her boots when venturing out on the ice.

    I had a sledge as a kid, made by my dad, like all my pals, and we used them nearly every year.

    Weather “normality” covers quite a wide range of variation over time, let’s not forget that, Simon.

  135. Richard Wright says:

    So the Transport Secretary will ask the government’s Chief Scientific Officer for his opinion. How can he answer? Will he note the “uncertainties?”

    It is generally thought that humans can not predict future earthquakes and volcanic eruptions. Climate change is another natural event, like earthquakes and volcanic eruptions. What is the evidence that humans can accurately predict future climates? Who has asserted that humans have this skill, and is there any credible evidence to to support their assertion?

  136. Hexe says:

    @douglas re the Miasma and Cholera: A lot of the ‘AGW theory’ is the new fashion of alchemy, check this book out: http://librivox.org/the-story-of-alchemy-by-m-m-pattison-muir/ you’ll see some amusing parallels (and the history is also cool)

  137. Mike says:

    Don’t forget that the salt runoff will cause a marine environment on the verges that the the WWF will attribute to rising sea levels……………

  138. Thanks Mr. the article is beautifful… I visitor from Indonesian….

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