CRU's forecast: UK winter snowfall will become "a very rare and exciting event"

Richard North from the EU Referendum writes of a curious juxtaposition of forecasts, then and now. I thought it worth sharing here since it highlights the chutzpah with which CRU botched their forecast in March of 2000. At least they didn’t claim that UK snowfall was in a “death spiral”.

From The Independent on 20 March 2000 we got the headline: “Snowfalls are now just a thing of the past”. 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”.

Then, from the Telegraph online today we get: “Snow and ice to hit Britain at New Year.”

The mercury is set to drop to 28°F (-3°C) in most of England and Wales on Thursday night, New Year’s Eve, and 17°F (-8°C) in Scotland, with widespread snow showers also predicted. New Year’s Day will also be chilly, with the northern half of Britain’s struggling to get above freezing during the day, while London will do well to reach 39°F (4°C)

The forecast follows a spell of snow, sleet and ice which has gripped Britain for more than a week but relented in most parts over recent days.

It is so good to see in The Independent that the CRU is living up to its justly acquired reputation for accuracy.

I’ll also point out that this “very rare and exciting event” happened in London last year also.

Snow blankets London for Global Warming debate – first October Snow in over 70 years

Above: London 10/29/2008


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They should have forecast a decline in cold deaths, but the little that are known are significant:
And if one talks about excess winter mortality in the UK, it even gets worse: last year was the one with the biggest excess winter mortality in the last 9 years. Let’s see what will happen this year:


Yep, Winter ice to be replaced by Summer ice 😉

Claude Harvey

In keeping with the logic on display in the CRU files, the obvious conclusion is that there is something wrong with your measured snow data. When measured data and climate model projections disagree, the most likely suspect is the data. In fact, the ONLY suspect is the measured data because the science of the model is “settled”. Your snow data clearly needs to be “adjusted” and the boys and girls at the CRU are just the folks trained to do it.

Ian Cooper

Even though it has only been ten years since the Independent article was written we see some of the same lines being used again today. “Eight of the 10 hottest years on record occurred in the Nineties.” Sound familiar? Except now they talk about the Noughties!
Those people are nothing if they aren’t consistent. They just keep repeating the same old line only changing the dates to make it seem more relevant.
I think I’ll see if I can find out whether or not the Fenland Indoor Speed Skating Club have had any outdoor meets lately. Somehow I figure that they may be some of the people who are really enjoying this latest blast of global warming!

Met Office Press Release 25 February 2009
Coldest winter for a decade
Mild weather is expected to see out what remains of winter. Despite this, it is expected to be the coldest UK winter since 1995/96, according to provisional Met Office figures.
Peter Stott, Climate Scientist at the Met Office, said: “Despite the cold winter this year, the trend to milder and wetter winters is expected to continue, with snow and frost becoming less of a feature in the future.

One of the IPCC 2001 reports told under ‘Global Climate Projections’:
“Cold episodes are projected to decrease significantly in a future warmer climate. ”
and also:
“It is very likely that heat waves will be more intense, more frequent and longer lasting in a future warmer climate.”
Next weekend, another special heat wave will hit the East Coast.


Ecotretas (00:12:09) :
That is not a controlled study. There will probably be more cold related deaths this winter just based on the economy, not the weather.
Man, we have to refocus our energy.

Pamela Gray

Snow or no snow for today is weather. Snow or no snow over a period of years is weather pattern variability. The fact that London is not known as the Aspen of Britain is called climate. Whether it is two degrees warmer or colder in London’s climate, will not turn it into the Sahara Desert or Aspen.
Such knicker twisting!

Met Office
Helping you meet climate change head on
18 June 2009
UK Climate Projections New climate projections underline the need to prepare the UK for a warmer future and to take action now to limit the severity of change, Environment Secretary Hilary Benn announced today.
The UK Climate Projections 2009 (UKCP09) confirm that the UK is likely to see hotter, drier summers and warmer, wetter winters coupled with more frequent extreme weather such as flooding, heatwaves and droughts.

Peter Hearnden

Yes, it’s been cold in the UK for a few weeks, but here in my part at least we’ve seen very little snow. We have had a freezing rain event of some note (for us) but this winter is far from some white Armageddon.
I think Dr Viner and the article is (like all the science) broadly right. Over time snow will be seen as being more and more exceptional – for weather enthusiasts in the UK this spell of weather this is indeed an exciting and unusual event, pointing out that reality. Of course it wil still snow in the mountains, and Scotland but in lowland England much less so.

Phillip Bratby

Piers Corbyn is the only one to get it right. No model on a super computer, just physics and common-sense.
Save millions: scrap the Met Office, Hadley Centre and CRU.

Almost Certainly – What does that mean?
Met Office
5 March 2008
A significant drop in global average temperature in January 2008 has led to speculation that the Earth is experiencing a period of sustained cooling.
A brief look at the graph depicting January global average temperatures reveals large variability in our climate year-on-year, but with an underlying rise over the longer term almost certainly caused by man-made emissions of greenhouse gases.


The fact is we can’t explain the amount of snow that we’re reciveing. And it’s a travasty that we can’t…


Pamela Gray (00:42:55) :
Thumbs up for you Pamela.

I predict that the CRU will loose more and more of its credibility.
It will become a very rare and exciting event when the CRU’s predictions will actually come true.

There is something odd about Met Office-CRU files (recently released); most of UK records for the most of locations are truncated. I looked through many of them, only one with continuous record from pre 1900 to date is Lerwick in Shetland Islands. Places like Oxford, Cambridge, Royal Obs. Edinburgh, York, Plymouth etc have incomplete records.
In some files complete records 2000-2009 have been obliterated by -99.


Oh, come on! Dr. Viner also said “Heavy snow will return occasionally”.
So, literally, – at the end – he said something about the frequency of snowfall in GB. I guess we have to wait for next year or somme more years to falsify him.
@ Ecotretas:
“… but when it does we will be unprepared.” is the continuation of the above cited sentence. So – what does the death toll tell us?


I don’t recall where I saw the cartoon, but I’m sure UK residents will identify with the illustration of those stuck in traffic due to heavy snow. The caption a simple pep rally cheer of: What do we want? – Global warming – when do we want it? – NOW!!!


Peter Hearnden (00:45:04) :
In a word. Codswallop!
I’m not old enough to remember personally but I know enough older folk that do remember the ’30s & ’40s to know that a similar pattern was followed then.
These older folk remark on the similarity of the last 15 or so years to those times & that the current weather seems to mark the cooling of the late ’40s.
I believe their anecdotal evidence more than the mannipulated data from CRU.
Changed my nick to find if it’s that or my email that’s flagged by the spam-filter.

We have a number of joke organisations and businesses over here in England, and the Independent newspaper is one of them – complete rubbish.

somebody please dig up Monbiot crying the end of Winters when he spotted some flowers in February in 2005 or so


Why do you think that Anthony keeps posting G. P. Bear goes to Washington? Can he not tell by the lack of comments that nobody is interested? That and the river thing post kind of tells me that some people may get posted if their donations are sufficient enough. Just saying.
Reply: That is one of the silliest suggestions I have ever heard and you should be embarrassed for having made it. ~ charles the moderator.

Oldgifford, except that since 1979 we HAVEN’T seen hotter, drier summers and wetter winters! We’ve seen the REVERSE! It doesn’t matter how many times Stott says it, his own data shows he’s wrong.


“this “very rare and exciting event” happened in London last year also.”
As well as earlier this year in February
“South-east England has the worst snow it has seen for 18 years…”


oldgifford (00:48:12) :
“Almost Certainly – What does that mean?”
Means absolutely nothing. Just weasel words like could, possible, perhaps…etc.
The sort of thing one tends to say when one doesn’t have a clue – probably.


Average global climate change is just a man-made abstract construct, which has some meaning when looking at the history of events, but because of deterministic chaos, no value when looking more than a few days forward.
Climate/weather are only experienced by an observer locally in the current split-second of time we call now.


Many of these people who issue these forecasts tickle me in an odd sort of way. I have imagined them on a roller coaster at an amusement park. The ride begins to rise and they become afraid because they believe it will continue to rise forever, they will run out of oxygen and die, and somehow it is all their own fault. It must be horrible to live such a life. And then the roller coaster turns downward and they forget all about what happened when it was rising. Now the coast must surely plummet forever and again, it is all their own fault. If only they had driven a different car to the park, maybe they would not be condemned to burn up deep in the Earth’s mantle. But then the ride begins to rise again, and the drop is forgotten and it is back to everlasting increases in altitude.
When you have a population that has a collective memory span of about two weeks when it comes to what is in the news, this is the sort of thing that happens. And I would not be surprised if in the future, the old news is scrubbed from the archives when it no longer applies to the current reality.

Peter Hearnden

Piers Corbyn is the only one to get it right.” Well, yes according Piers that’s right… According to everyone else, those who monitor the ‘accuracy’ of his forecasts, he’s just a fine self publicist and arm waver.
No model on a super computer, just physics and common-sense.” slight problem, Philip, he’s usually gets it wrong – or rather his language is so over the top what with his ‘catastropic floods’ here and ‘record’ everything else there every month, it’s obvious he’s mostly wrong and just shouting.
Save millions: scrap the Met Office, Hadley Centre and CRU.” Work for Piers do you you 😉


Off topic, perhaps for a new thread:
Science@NASA :Colliding Auroras Produce Explosions of Light
Colliding Auroras Produce Explosions of Light
A network of cameras deployed around the Arctic in support of NASA’s THEMIS mission has made a startling discovery about the Northern Lights.
“Our jaws dropped when we saw the movies for the first time,” says space scientist Larry Lyons of UCLA, a leading member of the team that made the discovery.


Joe Romm over at CP is melting down:
“JR: Thanks. I don’t understand what the Politico is doing, really. Why can’t they just do a straight story? The truth is plenty interesting, even if not black and white.”
Strange things are happening as people are learning the real truth. Progressive truth is starting to disintegrate before their eyes.


ked5 (01:00:29) :
You mean this ?
Must be my email that’s flagged & I’m not changing it LOL


I like one of the comments at the bottom of the 20 March 2000 article from alexcj38.
“Hello? Charles Onians in 2000? Don’t ask me to explain but I’m posting this back to you via a time warp from December 2009. Yes, the future! You probably won’t believe me and will think I’m mad or joking, but get this. Britain is suffering its second extremely cold winter in a row – we have enough snow, ice, frost and freezing fog to cobble dogs with (whatever that means.) Far from being “a very rare and exciting event”, snowfall has become a major hazard in this country twice this past year – and we haven’t even got to February 2010 yet. Also (again you will probably think I’m joking) but the CRU has just become a liability to climate science – leaked e-mails and files have revealed a web of deceit and manipulation that threatens to undermine the theory of Anthropogenic Global Warming itself. I urge you to pull this article immediately, as it will become a laughing stock in years to come. Charles? Hello? Hello? … Rats, I’m probably too late.”

P Gosselin

In the aftermath of Climategate, the CRU is one institute that has been rendered a complete laughing stock by a few sophomoric “scientists”.
And if Joe Bastardi is right, then the CRU is going to once again look incompetent.
CRU: Clueless Research Unit


Anyone compiling a list of failed AGW predictions? AGW scare storys often have time parameters of 10,15,20 years. Since they started making runaway warming claims back in the 1980s, many of these failed predictions are ready for havesting. Time to look through all the AGW articles from the ’80s and early ’90s.

P Gosselin

Way to call em out, Anthony!


Time the Met Office manned up and admitted that factoring AGW into its models have trashed their credibility and useability of forecasts recently. Since the summer of 2007 every single seasonal forecast has been badly busted, a record that would be incredibly impressive if they were seeking to do so.
Politics has infested every part of the weather and climate bureaucracies in the UK, and AGW religionists keep popping up in key roles.
Meanwhile I look outside my window in one of England’s largest cities, and see we still have ice/snow cover from way before Christmas. 13 days and counting of consecutive snowcover! The roads and pavements are like ice rinks, and councils on the back of Met Office mild forecasts did not stockpile enough grit or salt.
They said this winter would be milder than average thanks to their AGW models, and yet we’re over 2c below average.
They should hang their heads in shame.

Rhys Jaggar

I have to say that in the 1970s, which in the US had some of the coldest years of the century, we only had snow three times in NW London.
1970 just before Christmas.
1975 or so, 1 overnight fall in May.
1979 – a major pre-Christmas fall, with very low winter temperatures.
It wasn’t very frequent then either.
The eighties saw more – notably 1981, 1984/5, 1985/6, 1986/7.
The nineties? 1991 certainly, 1997, but not much more.
I might be helpful for someone to actually DOCUMENT the snowfalls in London since, say, 1950 to see whether anything has really changed.

John Rowell

You want Monbiot in all his glory ?
Here he is, spilling the beans:
Couldn’t be plainer !


Peter Hearnden (01:26:57) :
Thanks for proving your Ad hominem’s against Piers Corbyn with zero proof. It really shows your true self.

Never mind Snow and ice in the new year. We’ve had it on the ground for well over a week already. I can’t remember snow staying on the ground for so long before Christmas in my lifetime in Northern England.

meemoe_uk (01:44:48)
Try this for starters:
I bet the Warm Mongers simply can’t stand look at that page!

Peter Hearnden

‘Gtrip’ please do feel free to post the independent analysis of PC’s forecasts you have. Presumably you can thus prove the claims PC makes?
Oh, and btw, I’m only telling it how it is. PC’s forecasts a littered with over the top language.


Dear Peter Hearnden:
where I live in the UK (low-lying north-east England), we have had persistent, ground-covering snow now for nearly two weeks (if it’s still there tomorrow, it will have reached 14 consecutive days). Now if you’re down in the south of the country thinking “So what, it’s cold up north?” I can tell you that this is very, very unusual. When it got to 7 consecutive days snow cover (nearly a week ago now), I emailed the Met Office to ask them when the last time was that this had happened in December (no reply yet but hey, it’s Christmas). Because whilst I can remember a week or so’s snow cover happening occasionally (I think the last time was perhaps January 1986), this has generally been in the depths of winter, In January or February. I can’t ever remember a week’s snow cover early in the winter in December. And now it’s persisted for nearly two weeks and counting. That’s nearly half of December snow-bound for us. In an El Nino year. Only weeks after the Met Office forecast an 80% chance of an average or warmer than usual winter. And this follows on from last year when we had snow in October and then heavy snow falls throughout the winter (though generally not persistent). But that’s fine because acccording to you, the fact that it’s perishing cold actually proves that it’s getting warmer and warmer. Nice one.


Met Office records show average days of snowfall here:
You can see the average for 1961-1990 and also 1971-2000. There is a noticeable difference.


tallbloke (02:02:58) :

Never mind Snow and ice in the new year. We’ve had it on the ground for well over a week already. I can’t remember snow staying on the ground for so long before Christmas in my lifetime in Northern England.

You’re just not old enough mate 😉

Ian Cooper

checked out the Fen skaters and it looks like they had a return to outdoor skating back in January this year for the first time since 1997.
The pictures in the second item sure look nice. I hope for their sake that they are enjoying similar conditions now.
In the meantime on the other side of the globe here in N.Z. El Nino is putting on his worst face with strong, persistent westerlies. This why our latitude is known as, ‘The Roaring 40’s.’ After reading Capt Cook’s notes from his first voyage here it must have been a bad El Nino back in 1769 with the strong winds he encountered through the Oct-Jan period that year. I’m surprised that he came back twice more after that. I don’t recommend visiting here during an El Nino spring/summer. It didn’t put Capt Cook off though so I guess that they bred them tough in old Whitby town.

Nik Marshall-Blank

I’m sure that by the summer this cold spell will have been “statistically smoothed” and will not appear in any records any more.

P Wilson

This is what the Met office said last february -that snow was a rare event ne’er to be repeated in the UK. That goes against what independent forecasters said in October, who, looking at the historical trend, predicted snow for the uk on the basis that harsh winters in the tend to occur in clusters, regardless of whether we’re in a cooling or a warming trend. (Much like summers – which tend to be cool in the uk over the past several years, yet blisteringly hot during the cooling trend of the 70’s)

Phillip Bratby

30,000,000 hits and still counting. Well done Anthony!!


This is _obviously_ an attack by snowmen that were paid by Big Oil!