The Winter Of 1947

“Climate disruption” before the current lunacy of “CO2 caused extreme weather” era

By Paul Homewood

A London bus that had to be dug out of a snowdrift in 1947

The Great Freeze of 1963 was the coldest winter in the UK for over 200 years. However, the winter of 1947, while not as cold, was one of the snowiest.

The UK Met Office describe what the conditions were like.

Thousands of people were cut off for days by snowdrifts up to seven metres deep during the winter of 1947, which saw exceptional snowfall. Supplies had to be flown in by helicopter to many villages, and the armed forces were called in to help clear roads and railways.

Between January and March that year, snow fell every day somewhere in the country for 55 days straight. Much of this settled because temperatures stayed very low, just above freezing most days.

No-one expected this winter to be severe, as January started with very mild temperatures at up to 14 °C recorded. This was soon to change, however. An area of high pressure moved over southern Scandinavia, setting up a weather pattern which dominated the UK for the rest of the month. The first snow came on 23 January, falling heavily over southern England. Blizzard conditions occurred across the south-west of England, leaving many villages in Devon isolated.

The cold, snowy weather continued through February and into March. Any breaks in the cold weather were short-lived.

February 1947 was the coldest February on record in many places. Woburn in Bedfordshire registered a low of of -21 °C early on 25 February.

If February hadn’t been bad enough, March was even worse. In the first half of the month, there were strong gales and heavy snowstorms, making for blizzard conditions. On 4 and 5 March, heavy snow fell over most of England and Wales, with severe snow drifts forming. On 6 March, drifts were five metres deep in the Pennines and three metres deep in the Chilterns.

On 10 and 11 March Scotland had its heaviest snowfall of the winter, with snow drifts up to seven metres deep reported by 12 March. The snowstorm heading over Scotland was to be the last over the UK for this cold spell, however. As it moved away, temperatures were already rising in the very south west of the UK. Temperatures rapidly got up to about 10 °C, and the leftover snow began to thaw rapidly. This created a serious problem. The ground was still frozen solid due to the weeks of cold weather, leaving the melting snow with nowhere to go.

As the warmer weather moved across the UK, the melt-water poured into rivers and caused many to burst their banks. Flooding problems began to spread across England from the south west, as a new depression came in from the Atlantic, bringing rain and severe gales. During the afternoon of 16 March, winds over southern England averaged about 50 knots, with gusts of 80-90 knots. This caused damage to buildings and caused even more problems as the strong winds created waves which pounded and even broke some flood defences.

River levels continued to rise. The banks of the Trent burst at Nottingham on 18 March and hundreds of homes were flooded, many to first floor level. While floods in the south-west England began to subside, other rivers continued to rise in eastern England. The Wharfe, Derwent, Aire and Ouse all burst their banks and flooded a huge area of southern Yorkshire. The town of Selby was almost completely under water. Only the ancient abbey and a few streets around the market place escaped inundation. Seventy per cent of all houses in the town were flooded. The flooding issues continued into the spring, bringing a nasty end to the cold and snowy winter.

For the future Rolling Stone Bill Wyman, growing up in Penge, South London, the atrocious weather meant that his bricklayer father was laid off work and no money came in.

‘There wasn’t enough food to go round, so he’d hit a couple of us, send us to bed without any dinner,’ one of Bill’s brothers recalled. ‘”Get to bed, don’t argue!”

Then you’d get hit, kicked up the stairs – vroom, that was it. And in the house we lived in, you didn’t want to go to bed. It was freezing, really nasty, with ice on the inside of the windows.’

Pictures, though, tell the story best of all.

Hardy cyclist David Joel cycling on a frozen Thames near Windsor Bridge in London during the 1947 cold snap

Winter test: A bus abandoned in a snow drift on the Poole-Dorchester road near Bryantspuddle in January 1947

Cold diggers: Men clearing snow on the Gravesend-Meopham road in Kent

1947 snow

Wrong type of snow: Tunnels to front door of a house covered by snow in the Peak District, Derbyshire in 1947

Snow drifts at Farley

The aftermath  – floods in York

The finest minds of climate science tell us that snow is caused by global warming. It really must have been scorching back in 1947!

93 thoughts on “The Winter Of 1947

  1. “very mild temperatures at up to 14 °C recorded”

    “drifts up to seven metres deep”

    This is nonsense – Britain had no idea what “°C” or “metres” were in 1947!

  2. Any chance of setting up a “Climates of Our Forefathers” movement on facebook? Kids in the climate cult might get pulled out if they knew the identities of people in these old photographs. The family connection is always the first to be severed by cults, and, the one used to bring people out.

  3. That picture of the Peak District reminds me of the stories my father used to tell. I was born that winter in an old stone cottage in the Peak District, and my father told of walking level with the tops of the telegraph poles to get to the village shop.

  4. Ah, the winter of 1962. I remember it as if were, ahem, 1962. It snowed on Christmas night, and on boxing day I woke up to the magical sound of the silence of snow. For a snow-loving 10 year old it was nirvana. It was cold in my bedroom, frost on the inside of the windows, but that was normal. The snow lay for a month, right through the school winter holiday.

    In the town park, an amazing sledge run materialised. Solid ice from top to bottom. I’d go there in the morning, and come home after dark, soaking wet, freezing cold and exhausted. What fun! In retrospect, the sledge run was in a groove which ran from to to bottom of the hill. Wearing my geomorphology hat, I’d guestimate that it was an artefact, a product of centuries of townspeople sledging there.

  5. I remember the 1947 winter very well, I was a nine year old and walked to school every day in short trousers (US pants). I don’t remember the school closing.
    Today, if there is an inch of snow, the schools in the UK close.

  6. Do we have Any indication of what the Arctic region was like during the mid-40s? I also seem to recall there was a lack of temperature data in some regions during this time, due to the war?

    I know someone here had found detailed maps of the Arctic, year for year, but that there were gaps in the sequence.

  7. The real lesson to take from the winter of ’47 was not the severity of the weather, bad as that was. The biggest problem was that six years of all out war had left the UK flat broke and without the resilience to overcome what mother nature was throwing at us. We should remember that when warmists propose bankrupting the economy in the name of reduced CO₂

  8. Ice on the inside of windows,that was every winter
    in Nant-y-Glo Pennsylvania.To see out you would
    hold a penny to the ice.It would melt a nice round
    hole.Then you could peek out.School was never closed.
    Thats the way it was.Just another winter day. o]”?)

    Alfred

  9. Ahh, but most people’s memories only stretch as far as their own childhood, So things from the 40s aren’t relevent for anyone much younger than 75 to 80.

    Have you noticed how few of those seem to believe in AGW? It’s not old age, or dementia, or refusal to accept the science that stops them, it’s experience.

  10. I am old enough (4) to remember the winter of 1947. at the time I lived in Bolton – just west of the Lancashire moors at an elevation of about 500 feet. I remember the snow and the roads out of town being blocked (even our cul de sac)- my father was a car mechanic and spent most of his time with the breakdown truck digging out cars and unfreezing them! Like Bill Wyman we had ice on the inside of the windows and relied on a coal fire to provide all the heating – both water and living. Pipes (lead) regularly froze as a result and the toilet soil pipes as well. Deliveries of coal were few and far between and unless you “stocked up before winter chances are you would run out of coal. Most of the coal was “nutty slack” ie dust and very small pieces which was next to impossible to burn. The warmest place was in bed ( many old people died of hypothermia that year). To compound all this the supply of electricity was very intermittent ,,,, so called “load shedding” an alternative word for power cuts! Although Britain had huge reserves of coal there was a shortage of miners and where coal stock existed it was invariably frozen either at the mines or at coal depots. Hard times, I wouldn’t wish this on anybody.One of my main memories was cooking smoked haddock on a tine plate over a kettle of water on the only fire we had. There were also good times snow balling sledging was the main sport although I didn’t have long trousers and got “chapped legs” over the top of my wellies!

    great article brings back many memories

    Tony Berry

  11. I remember as a Trainee Draughtsman back in the 1970s, doing survey work for various Thames & tributary flood alleviation schemes being driven in a Land Rover along roads west of London where flooding was rife along the Thames etc! As said in previous post, Flood Alleviation schemes were all the rage back then, when the EPA didn’t exist & it was the responsibility of Water Authorities to maintain catchment areas, as well as supply potable water! I’ve heard of it & seen it all before!

  12. I remember it well. A few days after the melt had caused flood havoc the temperature dropped sharply in South London and much of the flood water froze. After a game of football instead of making our timely way home to Croydon, several teammates and I decided to go running across the superb ice fields on Mitcham golf course. Some thin ice broke and I went through into the freezing water. Fortunately my mates were able to extract me and strip me of my clothes.and get me home on the trolley bus that ran in those days, and handed me over to my very concerned mother. Ah, heady days!

  13. “The finest minds of climate science tell us that snow is caused by global warming. It really must have been scorching back in 1947!” I think you missed two points, it was either (a) just weather or (b) nature’s early warning about climate change, global warming or climate disruption that we failed to heed or (c) both. Only recent history counts. Things that may have happened in the dim, ancient past of 66 years ago do not count because they were natural. The same big storm now would be an anomaly brought on by climate change.

  14. I remember 1947, I was 6. London was under about 12 ins of snow, so had it easy. According to friends living in Lincolnshire at the time you could walk on the snow touching the telegraph lines. Oh those times of mild weather not driven by climate disruption. (Sarc. Off)

  15. It looks like solar cycle 24 will be similar to the Dalton Minimum. It is possible that next winter will be interesting.

  16. What made 1947 feel worse than 1963 was that food and (I think) fuel rationing was still in place, so it was a miserable time for everyone.
    By the way, the bus on the Poole-Dorchester road is a Bristol-ECW LS which wasn’t made until the fifties. Probably a 1963 photograph.

  17. Post war and pre-war drop in temperature match variations in distance of aphelion Earth-Sun separation. Caused by major planets.

    This also can be seen in El Nino regions SST, suggesting that El Nino cycles are inertially driven.

  18. This kind of event will happen again…. and with modern society’s complete dependance on electricity, transportation and technology, it will be a tragedy of epic proportions.

  19. I never had heard about the winter of ’47 in the UK – but I grew up hearing about the winter of 1947 in Milwaukee, Wisc, where both of my parents lived at the time. The beginning of the blizzard of ’47 still ranks as the greatest 24 hour snowfall in the history of that city. My parents, who were children at the time, remember it as the great month long snow holiday for all children, since it took an amazing 46 days for the city to finally be cleaned up and returned to normal!

    http://www.jsonline.com/news/29480419.html

    So there were snowfall extremes across the northern hemisphere that winter.

  20. I wasn’t born in 1947 but I did arrive in Surrey to enjoy the winter of ‘63 after having lived the first ten or so years of my life in Mediterranean Tangier. I do remember it was frickin’ bitterly cold; the water pipes in our new home froze … no cooking water, no drinking water, no bathing water entered our house for days. We had no heat either ‘cause the door to the coal bunker was solid with ice and I was the eldest kid and couldn’t move it because I was so feeble and so cold and Dad was on a business jaunt in some exotic warm country and Mum was pissed off and that is the reason I now live in Australia.
    But I have to say that although 1947 looked pretty awful, I am glad that I wasn’t in Surrey during the Great Frost of 1683–84 when the Thames was frozen for two months and ice extended for miles off the coast. I do hope that we aren’t entering another ‘Little Ice Age’.

  21. The big drop in the AMO and in the northern part of the Gulf Stream seen here around 1947 bottoms out in the winter of 1947.

    They are slowly trying to adjust out/smooth out this big drop and the big peak in the late-1930s and early 1940s of course. Note that the northern part of the Gulf Stream SSTs has no increasing trend over time, only an up and down cycle, the only place I’ve found that has this pattern other than the ENSO regions.

  22. Steveta_uk:

    My reaction too. The use of metres and centigrade temps really grated as I read this post. These certainly would not have been used at that time. It spoilt an otherwise interesting article.

    I just slightly remember that winter; mainly a memory of a huge quantity of snow falling off the roof.

  23. There was an account written of the hardships of Birkdale Shepherds in a similar storm in 1836. It is to be found in Moor House records. I once spoke with a Canadian army man (Richards) who had been in Yorkshire in 1947 on the Yorkshire Moors, and he related to me that he had neever seen a worse storm, even in Canada!

  24. You people can mock global warming all you want, but here in New England we have a real problem that’s happening in real time, right here, right now. The CO2 that we are spewing into the atmosphere as though our jobs depend on it is now causing it to precipitate out of the atmosphere in the form of tiny, white CO2 crystals. I had to shovel the stuff out of my driveway this morning, and it’s no easy task, let me tell you — it turns wet and heavy when it comes in contact with our super-heated planet. My back is killing me. My neighbor has been using a “snow-blower”, he calls it — some relic from the olden days before we went on this planet-killing rampage. I went over to give him a piece of my mind, to let him know those CO2 gas particles he was releasing from his so-called Labor Saving Device were going to come back down with a vengeance, especially now that his car was free to add to the nightmare. And that would be both our driveways, nay, the entire block’s driveways — indeed, our children and our grandchildren’s driveways! Add to that there’s some strange chemical reaction occurring that seems to make the air cool near the ground. Something to do with the ozone hole, I’m guessing.

  25. I can (just) remember 1947 – and with my father taking our dog for a walk on the golf course at Carpenders Park in Hertfordshire – and the dog running towards what he thought was a hill – and disappearing into it..!
    Also (of course) 1963, when I was commuting with my mate by car from Bookham to college at Kingston. I seem to remember that the temperature didn’t go above freezing for about six straight weeks…
    Of course we’ll never witness such conditions again……

  26. steveta_uk says:
    February 25, 2013 at 3:36 am
    “very mild temperatures at up to 14 °C recorded”
    “drifts up to seven metres deep”
    This is nonsense – Britain had no idea what “°C” or “metres” were in 1947!
    ———————————————————————————————-

    The use of Centigrade in this piece is to illustrate temperature in modern terms and does not detract from the message so it is hardly ‘Nonsense’.

    However just to appease your sensitivities here are the press releases from the met office for the first 3 months of 1947:

    http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/media/pdf/7/l/Jan1947.pdf

    http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/media/pdf/7/s/Feb1947.pdf

    http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/media/pdf/8/k/Mar1947.pdf

    all temperatures in Fahrenheit!

  27. I was six years old in 1947 and remember going to school in the east end of London every day.. The snow at the end of six weeks was black like hard rock with the deposits from coal fires. No long trousers and a cap that was forever filled with snow and replaced on ones head by the older kids. Spring came and back on my skates which had iron wheels Jakko rubber wheel skates were much later.

  28. I was born in 1960 and one of my very first memories was waking on the FROZEN River Thames at Walton Bridge in Surrey with my parents and siblings ………. Now at age 53 I am looking forward to doing it again in the not to distant future !!!

  29. I was born in 1960 and one of my very first memories was walking on the FROZEN River Thames at Walton Bridge in Surrey with my parents and siblings ………. Now at age 53 I am looking forward to doing it again in the not to distant future !!!

  30. Norm Merton says:
    February 25, 2013 at 6:11 am

    Hey, Norm…I just cleared some of those CO2 crystals from my driveway this morning too! The climate scientists are trying to determine what these white crystals are, but they assure us that it is NOT what we used to call “snow” (which is impossible now on our human-induced hot house we call planet earth)…

    /sarc

  31. Well looking at my automotive grade model (ANSI/ASQC B1, B2, B3 1996) of NH winter snowfall unless next winter comes in at under a mean of 45 million square miles foe December to February. Then we can consider that the winters are now kicking out about 1.6 Million square miles more of snow cover than the long term mean since 1967.

    [img src=”C:\Users\Michael\Pictures\Snowchart.jpg”]

  32. One of the tribulations that made 1947 worse was that there was also a miners’ strike at the time. For me, it wasn’t so much that my school was closed, there was no way of getting there and I had a whole 6 weeks off. When eventually the roads were opened, in one section the wall of snow was higher than a double-deck bus.

  33. during the winter of 1947, which saw exceptional snowfall. Supplies had to be flown in by helicopter

    Count me skeptical. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bell_47
    Maybe a few flights were made to deliver medical supplies, but helicopters were very new and very few back then.
    —————————————————————————————————————–

    The RAF had helicopers (Sikorsky R4B Hoverflies) at RAF Andover from Jan 1945, so entirely possible they would have been pressed into service in a national emergency like this.

  34. ‘….It was freezing, really nasty, with ice on the inside of the windows.’

    For anyone who has not experienced this, you don’t know what you’re missing.I went through a period of ice on the inside of my bathroom windows’ sides back in the 1980s – before I got gas central heating. You really didn’t want to have a shower in the mornings.

    Now, some of the “finest minds of climate science tell us that” all this snow recently is cause by a reduced Arctic ice extent. But I retort that Arctic sea ice must have been in very bad shape during some of the UK’s worst winters i.e. 1829, 1836, 1876, 1947, 1963

    http://www.netweather.tv/index.cgi?action=winter-history;sess=

  35. Stephen Rasey says:
    February 25, 2013 at 7:16 am

    during the winter of 1947, which saw exceptional snowfall. Supplies had to be flown in by helicopter

    Count me skeptical. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bell_47
    Maybe a few flights were made to deliver medical supplies, but helicopters were very new and very few back then.

    The Wiki link says “…Bell 47 became the first helicopter certified for civilian use….” but I think it was the army involved in supplies.

    Met Office
    Thousands of people were cut off for days by snowdrifts up to seven metres deep during the winter of 1947, which saw exceptional snowfall. Supplies had to be flown in by helicopter to many villages, and the armed forces were called in to help clear roads and railways.

    http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/education/teens/case-studies/severe-winters

    Met Office
    Across Britain, drifts more than five metres deep blocked roads and railways.
    People were cut off for days. The armed services dropped supplies by helicopter to isolated farmsteads and villages, and helped to clear roads and railways.

    http://www.metlink.org/pdf/teachers/1947_1963winter.pdf

  36. As memorable as the 1947 winter was for UK., in terms of intense cold waves for Europe as a whole it only ranks 18 th.and was comparable to the very recent cold wave that hit eastern Europe just recently during January and February 2012. The 2012/13 winter for Russia will probably add to this list. Regionally the list will be different.
    The 5 most intense cold waves(based on duration of the cold wave and temperature and not on amount of snow) to hit Europe as reported by WMO were:
    31 january to 3 march 1929
    10 january to 9 february 1942
    30 january to 25 february 1956
    28 december 1939 to 23 january 1940
    01 january to 24 january 1893
    WMO reported on some 29 such worst cold spells for Europe between 1893 and 2012. While there were fewer during 1970-2000, there were 2-3 per decade in the period 1930-1960’s. We had 3 during 2010 and 3 during the 2000 decade. So intense cold weather is returning again . I think it shows that we all forget that severe winters and snow have always been with us and they are not due to global warming as the alarmists claim.

  37. Regarding deliveries by helicopter it’s most unlikely that more than a small number were carried out as the RAF had only recently started to acquire helicopters. In 1947 the airdrops of feed for farm animals for example was by fixed wing Dakotas. In the bad winter of 1955 Operation Snowdrop was a similar operation which did use helicopters which was also done in 1963.

  38. In various histories I read about the Winter of ’47. If I remember correclty, the UK was still practicing wartime rationing, the was a miner’s strike, and food was still in short supply. My own grand parents told me as a child that they still sent canned food and clothes to Europe well after the end of the war (they had relatives in Hamburg, and their church raised food and money for the UK). In one anecodtal story, an old timer living in Kent once quipped that Spam was the only thing on their table on many a night. And the stories about the poor heating situation reminded me of stories that my father told me about the Depression. His house was so cold at night that his gold fish bowl froze.

    Life was certainly much harder in those days. Unfortunately, our current energy policies (on both sides of the pond) are only going to repeat the mistakes of yesteryear. The only saving grace for us is that winters like those in ’47, ’63, ’75’-’78 are rare.

  39. I remember it well, 1946/1947. I was in bootcamp in Aarhus. It was dastardly cold and snowy. But it was followed by the summer of 1947 which was very warm and dry.

  40. The first picture is of the bridge at Windsor, which is about 17 miles west of London, not in London; the river is the Thames though. The far bank, left of picture, is Eton, the picture is taken from the Windsor side. The buildings don’t seem to have changed since then, but there is no traffic allowed over the bridge now. I wasn’t aware that the river had frozen there in 1947 (before my time), interesting to see if it happens again.

  41. Hey Norm Merton, those white co2 crystals are threatening Domino Pizza supplies. What is the world coming to? Why can’t we just have back that white fluffy stuff from the past. You know, that thing children aren’t supposed to know about.

    Please come back you thing of the past, all is forgiven. We can’t take anymore of this hot ice.

    Monday 25 February, 2013
    Bitter winds and snow flurries will continue this week as Britain is braced for one of the coldest winters in 20 years.

    The icy blast saw weekend temperatures drop to -7.2C (19F) in the Scottish Highlands and it was cold enough in London to freeze the Trafalgar Square fountains.

    http://metro.co.uk/2013/02/25/uk-snow-thousands-at-risk-as-icy-weather-threatens-the-old-3512105/

  42. Note that the term “cold snap” denotes the sudden onset of a brief spell of cold weather. Warmists like to use it to refer to months of sub-freezing conditions, implying that such winters are trivial and should not be taken as a sign that global warming is a fiction.

  43. My late father lived in the Peak District at the time. He told of a steam locomotive going up and down the railway line all through the nights to keep the lines clear. The picture of a house in the Peak District is actually of a pub – the “Devonshire Arms” is just visible. Not sure which pub though. The name is quite common in the area, as Chatsworth House – the home of the Dukes of Devonshire – is in the area.
    My mother was at high school in the far North of Scotland at the time. At least once a year I hear how show walked over a mile to school over 6 foot of snow to school, only to be sent home by the headmaster, who was the only other person to turn up that day.
    To have two metres (6’6″) of snow is very rare in Britain outside of the Scottish Highlands. The heaviest snowfall of the last winter was 30cm (1 foot) in parts of South Wales.

  44. “…The only saving grace for us is that winters like those in ’47, ’63, ’75′-’78 are rare.” –JP

    Of course, at the time, despite the temperatures, the winter of ’47 was still a time to rejoice that Great Britain would never be ruled by unelected European oligarchs from a city starting with “B.” Oh, wait…

  45. “Regarding deliveries by helicopter it’s most unlikely that more than a small number were carried out as the RAF had only recently started to acquire helicopters. In 1947 the airdrops of feed for farm animals for example was by fixed wing Dakotas. In the bad winter of 1955 Operation Snowdrop was a similar operation which did use helicopters which was also done in 1963.”

    771 Squadron Fleet Air Arm had been flying the Sikorsky H4 Hoverfly since Feb 1945 and handed them on to 705 Sqn FAA in May 1947. British built helicopters from Westland and Bristol were being acquired but weren’t in service before the early ’50’s

  46. I was born in March 1947 and my mother often talked about walking on the frozen Thames shortly before I arrived. In 1963 I was at a Scout camp near Biggin Hill Aerodrome and we got snowed in for a week sleeping in a freezing Nissen hut. We ran out of our own food but could buy cans of food from the camp at a fixed price each because the labels had fallen off and we never knew what we had bought until we opened the can. Usually beans, but sometimes we were lucky and it was mincemeat or something a bit more exciting.

    Eventually the guys at the aerodrome managed to plough a route in and we could walk out through drifts way above our heads, and my father had been contacted so he was there to take us home.

  47. To those of you who share my concerns about CO2 crystallization, I should add that in addition to the bothersome crystals, my family and I are also having to deal with an increased incidence of horizontally-driven CO2 gases sweeping across our neck of the woods at speeds approaching 200 MPH, in many cases not exceeding that figure. Thank you so very much, my fellow humans, for inconveniencing us in this fashion with your short-sighted Industrial Revolution. And so you don’t get the wrong idea, that it’s all about me, I note with interest that some of these anthropogenically-induced high-velocity molecules have been known in the Midwest to twist violently, in many cases with insufficient warning, travelling first in one direction and then, insidiously, in the other. When will we wake up, finally, to the reality of our selfishness and do something meaningful about… Jeepers! I think an old lady on a bike just flew by my window! Is that a DOG in the back? Gotta run…

  48. Much has been said about the lack of or not of helicopters in 1947.

    At least we had a lot of military personel to help out then.

  49. Fascinating footage of the UK winter of 1963 (in fact a entire documentary made for the BBC immediately after the event) is included in this episode of Winterwatch, a BBC nature program.

  50. @ Norm Merton,
    You forgot the ode to the deadly dihydrogen monoxide, also a byproduct of our evil industrialized luxury lifestyles.
    Other than that damn fine satire.
    I have been thinking about writing my local paper along similar lines, the cause can be mocked more effectively, by agreement than honest fact and science.
    I am still 1/2 convinced Mike the Mann is a sceptic, posing as a true believer.

  51. Sir John Houghton, former head of the Met Office said in 2007:

    Wales Online – June 30 2007
    “Snowlines are going up in altitude all over the world. The idea that we will get less snow is absolutely in line with what we expect from global warming.”

    George Monbiot, the expert Calamatologist said in 2010:

    Guardian – 20 December 2010
    “That snow outside is what global warming looks like

    Monbiot forgot that he said something entirely different in 2005.

    What isn’t “absolutely in line with what we expect from global warming”???

  52. For the many comments about helicopters, I can only say this is the official Met Office account.

    From many years afterwards, I do recall stories of airplane drops of food etc, though.

  53. Helicopters or not, that winter was what it was. It can’t have been easy with rationing still on, central heating not accessible to many, many toilets were outside in the garden, and people generally poorer than today. How many Warmists would like to live like that??? You’d better thank your lucky stars for fossil fuels.

  54. Jim says:
    February 25, 2013 at 10:51 am

    Fascinating footage of the UK winter of 1963 (in fact a entire documentary made for the BBC immediately after the event) is included in this episode of Winterwatch, a BBC nature program.

    —————————————————————-

    That was well worth a watch, Jim, thanks. There were a couple of rather worrying issues raised though.

    Firstly, at some point near the end, they estimated the number of deaths attributable directly to the cold to have been 120. According to the Metro link posted earlier, in 2008 / 09 that figure was about 36000. What would it be if a winter like ’63 DID happen again?

    Second was the matter of energy supply. Gas, electricity and coal all failed in ’63 but at least most people could burn things (assuming they had anything to burn). Today, with so few houses having fireplaces, without gas or electricity homes would quickly be as cold inside as out. Somehow I doubt that solar or wind would be contributing much of anything in those conditions either!

  55. Winter in the UK, 1955. I was 9 then. I remember my Mum opening the back door for me to go to school and being confronted by a white wall of ice which went above the door. I stayed home that day but went to school the next because my Father had shifted a lot of the stuff which had accumulated. Ice inside the windows? We loved the ferny patterns!

    Will the embed work?

  56. Today, people don’t understand how much poorer people were in those days and how little heating people could afford. Energy was much more expensive relative to income.

    I grew up on the northern outskirts of London in the 50s and early 60s, and 2 things come to mind. One was we measured how cold a night was by how far up the inside of the window condensation was frozen. On the coldest nights it would freeze right to the top. The other was my mother would hang the washing out in the morning, and it would immediately freeze solid and stay frozen all day. In 1963, this went on for weeks, and we had no other way of drying clothes. I remember it drove my mother to despair. No tumble driers or central heating in those days.

  57. And the next summer of 1947 showed in the Netherlands three terrible heat waves on a row. My mother told me because I was an unconscious being in the cradle.

  58. Elizabeth says “OT But this graph is probably the MOST important and significant graph to totally kill AGW should be posted everywhere immediately …“.

    I thought that once, but actually it doesn’t (kill AGW). What it shows is the year-on-year (y-o-y) changes in temperature and CO2. Temperature goes up and down, of course, and as it goes up so the oceans emit more CO2, or absorb less CO2. And vice versa. So, as is clearly seen in the graph, y-o-y CO2 lags those temperature changes.

    But it doesn’t kill AGW because the y-o-y changes in man-made CO2 are smaller, and the y-o-y changes in hypothesised CO2-driven warming are much smaller. So although they do not show in the graph, it doesn’t mean they don’t exist. To kill AGW you have to look elsewhere.

  59. 1947…. hmmm…. not too much CAGW at that point….the Guardian allowed this bit in a 2010 article:

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2010/jan/08/winter-1947-worst-snow

    Winter 1947: ‘The worst I’ve ever experienced’
    After being demobbed from the army in Belgium, David Sheridan returned to a Britain gripped in the throes of a freezing winter

    Sam Jones
    The Guardian, Friday 8 January 2010

    David Sheridan, who is now 88, has not forgotten the brutal winter of 1947. “You get bad winter days like today, but it was much worse in 47, no doubt about it. I’d experienced the war but I’d never experienced a winter like that….

  60. Mike Ozanne says:
    February 25, 2013 at 9:45 am
    “Regarding deliveries by helicopter it’s most unlikely that more than a small number were carried out as the RAF had only recently started to acquire helicopters. In 1947 the airdrops of feed for farm animals for example was by fixed wing Dakotas. In the bad winter of 1955 Operation Snowdrop was a similar operation which did use helicopters which was also done in 1963.”

    771 Squadron Fleet Air Arm had been flying the Sikorsky H4 Hoverfly since Feb 1945 and handed them on to 705 Sqn FAA in May 1947. British built helicopters from Westland and Bristol were being acquired but weren’t in service before the early ’50′s

    Precisely, which is why I think there were very few helicopter drops in 1947, there weren’t many of them and they didn’t have much carrying capacity, DC3 Dakotas did most of the feed drops. In 55 Snowdrop used Whirlwinds (and Sycamores) mainly with more capacity and I recall them being used in 63.

  61. For everyone doubting the use of helicopters in 1947.

    The Sikorsky S-4 became the first large-scale mass produced helicopter in 1944. 131 R-4’s were produced before being replaced by the R-5 and R-6. In all, Sikorsky would produce over 400 helicopters before the end of World War II. The R-4 was the only Allied helicopter to see service in World War II, primarily being used for rescue in Burma and Alaska, and other areas with harsh terrain.

    The German’s also used helicopters (in small numbers) during WW II, in fact the Flettner Fl 282 (“Hummingbird”), during the Battle of the Bulge a formation of five of these aircraft conducted the world’s first helicopter strike against armour. Operating low over the Ardennes Forest they destroyed two American tanks at a loss of two of their own, one to a British Spitfire, the other to groundfire.

    The first U.S. air-mail service to use a helicopter, Los Angeles Airways, was in 1947.

  62. Jimbo
    Houghton, former head of the Met Office said in 2007:

    Wales Online – June 30 2007
    “Snowlines are going up in altitude all over the world. The idea that we will get less snow is absolutely in line with what we expect from global warming.”

    I would not bet on this statement to hold water . CET WINTER TEMPERATURES have been in a slow decline since 1988 and and 4 of the last 6 winters have been below the norm of about 4 C

  63. I think it is great, every time a person such as Paul Homewood simply gives the history of past snows, (and hurricanes and droughts and what-have-you.) It is important, because in the simplest way it counters the propaganda of the various Alarmists, such as McKibben, who attempt to convince the gullible that we are in the midst of something “unprecedented.”

    It is odd to compare the probable intentions of such Alarmists with the recent history of China. The whacko idea that we can replace tried-and-true forms of keeping ourselves warm with gizmos such as wind turbines and solar panels is a bit like China replacing tried-and-true methods with “The Great Leap Forward.”

    Just as the “Great Leap Forward” was an unmitigated disaster, it looks like the energy policy of Europe is going to be an unmitigated disaster.

    And just as, in order to cover-up the “Great Leap Foreward’s” totally botched efforts to “improve” things, China next went through the “Cultural Revolution,” (which was a way of getting rid of all the teachers, historians, and elders who would, could and did point out things had been botched,) the people in Europe most responsible for the botched energy policies will seek to cover-up their failures by deleting evidence they botched things. (Hopefully they will only attempt to delete data, and not delete actual people.)

    The best way to resist such fools is to refuse to let them erase and delete the past, and keep them accountable. Just bring up the history of what the weather has done, and what they have done as people, and Truth becomes their judge.

  64. 1947, 18 years in the Pre-Mannian Era of Global Warming and 6 years in the Post-Hansen Era of Global Warming.

    Egads ! A major discrepancy ! Climate ‘SCIENCE’ is PERFECT and such discrepancies ABOMINABLE.

    Tisk tisk. The error is the square root of the sum of the square of errors !: Thus,
    Error = (18^2 + 6^2)^1/2, i.e. Error = 18.97 years.

    Therefore, Human Global Warming began in 1994 one measly year before the SAR !

    And Little Jimmy is still ‘Director’ of GISS ! What You Say !!

    XD

  65. I believe that the house/pub in the picture above is the Wanted Inn in Sparrowpit, High Peak, which used to be called the Devonshire Arms (it was renamed in 1956). Google Maps image from a similar vantage point of the pub today:

    http://goo.gl/maps/Xaw71

    Note the telegraph pole and chimneys that match the picture exactly.

    If anyone’s in the area, I can highly recommend it for good beer, and good food!

  66. Actually, the questions about snowy winters in the UK don’t depend on temperature other than it needs to be cold enough to snow, not rain, what it actually depends upon is one of three scenarios:

    1. A stable cold high pressure’s edge remaining over the UK, causing Atlantic depressions to stop when they hit it depositing snow.
    2. Fronts coming from Central Russia to the UK on Easterly Winds.
    3. A stable flow of arctic air bearing snow, assisted by a stable blocking high pressure to the West of Ireland.

    What people should actually look at is not UK snowfall but Europe-wide snowfall, US-wide snowfall, North Asian snowfall.

    Those big land masses are a far better indicator of temperature and snowfall than a maritime island on the edge of one of those land masses.

  67. Gerald Machnee says:
    February 25, 2013 at 9:27 am

    The really rough winter in the U.S., especially the western U.S., is yet known as the “blizzard of ’49”. This actually began as a blizzard at Thanksgiving 1948 and continued as a series of blizzards throughout the winter of 1949, the worst one of which was at New Year’s Day 1949. People now have confounded in their memories that winter season as one gargantuan storm. However, weather was awful into the Sonoran desert in Arizona and northern Mexico and into Eastern Oregon and Washington. The worst was centered in Wyoming, Colorado, the Dakotas and Nebraska I think.

  68. Serves to show such winters were there in the past, and history entirely.
    Now last 15 winters in Holland have been normal to record mild. Not even ten year periods exist before this where no cold winters ocurred.

  69. Alfred Alexander says:
    February 25, 2013 at 4:09 am
    Ice on the inside of windows,that was every winter
    in Nant-y-Glo Pennsylvania.

    I am glad to see that old Welsh names are still used in Pennsylvania. Nant-y-Glo means the Stream of Coal – i.e. a stream flowing through an area where coal is found. There is a village in Monmouthshire in southeast Wales with the same name.

    In 1947 Britain had a very large coal mining industry although, as one of the other comments on this blog mentioned, there were problems in distributing the coal to where it was needed. Today Britain has very few coal mines left. Wales no longer has any deep coal mines. The last one closed five years ago. Britain is now a coal importer. A significant proportion of our electricity supply comes from coal fired power stations but the British government, with incredible stupidity, has decided to close them all in the next few years in order to meet European Union targets for cutting CO2 emissions.

    The government imagines that wind turbines can make up the difference. Presumably when the wind is not blowing everyone feeling cold can go and blow on the turbine blades to generate some power! If you are reading this Josh how about using that idea for a cartoon?

    In contrast the German government has decided to build a lot of new coal fired power stations. For some reason it seems to think it is more important to keep Germany functioning normally than it is to reduce CO2 levels! How backward can you get?

  70. I was 19 in 1947 and lived in the City of London. There were helicopters belonging to the R.A.F and perhaps the Navy. Reported in the newspapers Only a few people had TV. I have a faint recollection of U.S Forces who had stations in the U.K helping out.with U.S helicopters but that might be 1963. The Cold War was beginning and we had U.S forces in the U.K and Germany.
    It was icey in the streets but the City streets were cleared by machine and hand shovel., open Squares were snowy though.
    Ice inside windows was common ( frost made beautiful patterns).and coalgas for heating and cooking supplies were low. What with pipes freezing it was quite a problem.

  71. jorgekafkazar says:
    February 25, 2013 at 9:40 am
    “…The only saving grace for us is that winters like those in ’47, ’63, ’75′-’78 are rare.” –JP

    “Of course, at the time, despite the temperatures, the winter of ’47 was still a time to rejoice that Great Britain would never be ruled by unelected European oligarchs from a city starting with “B.” Oh, wait…”

    Brilliant, JKK. Wish I’d said that!

  72. “Of course, at the time, despite the temperatures, the winter of ’47 was still a time to rejoice that Great Britain would never be ruled by unelected European oligarchs from a city starting with “B.” Oh, wait…” — jorgekafkazar

    Richards in Vancouver says: Brilliant, JKK. Wish I’d said that!

    Ta.

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