The Dr. David Viner moment we've all been waiting for…a new snow record

WUWT readers surely recall this most often quoted prediction about snow. From the Independent’s most cited article: Snowfalls are now just a thing of the past by Charles Onians:

However, the warming is so far manifesting itself more in winters which are less cold than in much hotter summers. 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.

It seems despite the sage advice from that East Anglia CRU scientist, a new record for snowfall has been set for the month of December.

From the Rutgers University Snow Lab, we have this graph for the Northern Hemisphere for all months of December. December 2012 was a clear winner.

nhland12[1]

Source: http://climate.rutgers.edu/snowcover/chart_anom.php?ui_set=1&ui_region=nhland&ui_month=12

Increased evaporation combined with more heat loss in the Arctic due to a record low amount of Arctic sea ice is the likely cause.The Great Arctic Cyclone of 2012 was a big factor in this.

To be fair though, lets look at all the data for all months. The 70’s were peak years, so was 1993 (post Pinatubo eruption) as was the winter of 2002/2003.

anom_nhland[1]

Source: http://climate.rutgers.edu/snowcover/chart_anom.php?ui_set=0&ui_region=nhland&ui_month=12

While we surely don’t have a new annual snow record yet, the winter is not yet over and it remains a possibility. We’ll revisit this come spring.

h/t to Pierre Gosselin via Marc Morano

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Trevor Jones, UK skeptic

Dr Viner now runs the Climate Change programme at the British Council (the UK’s English Language and Cultural global outreach programme. You may well ask why such a programme exists, to which the only answer must be a BC adeptness at leaping on to a (funding) bandwagon. Their website offers Dr Viner for interviews, but if you request an interview and pitch in skeptical questions in advance, he refuses to talk. At least he did to me!

aaron

Consider the .2C temp anomoly for Dec. with all the latent heat released by the snow formation. Unless there was a whole lot of evaporation in the souther hemisphere the world has cooled considerably. Back to baseline for the first half of next year?

Frank K.

So, where is Dr. Viner now? Here he is, at Mott-MacDonald:
20 November 2012
Mott MacDonald appoints Dr David Viner as principal advisor for climate change

“Mott MacDonald has appointed Dr David Viner as principal advisor for climate change. An internationally recognised expert, David brings with him 20 years of experience working in the area of climate change.”
About Mott MacDonald
The Mott MacDonald Group is a diverse management, engineering and development consultancy delivering solutions for public and private clients world-wide.

David was a co-recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize in 2007 for his contributions to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change between 1993-2007.

Mott MacDonald’s uniquely diverse 1 billion global consultancy works across 12 core business areas.

So he is now a highly paid climate consultant (and, like Mike Mann, a co-recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize!). Long live the Climate Ca$h!
(PS: Mott-MacDonald is not affiliated with either Mott the Hoople or MacDonalds Restaurants…)

In defense of Viner’s prediction, all that’s required to set things right is to doctor the good doctor’s words in his prediction : replace “less” with “more,” “never” with “always,” and insert
“not” before each of his verbs. With these minor adjustments, see how close he came to being spot on? Amazing.

Byron

Trevor Jones
What was Your awkward question ? Was it anything along the lines of :
“So Dr Viner , now that snow is a thing of the past , what ARE We going to call all this cold white stuff My car is buried under ?”

Rhys Jaggar

Perhaps you’d also like to look at temperature records in NE Eurasia this winter – seems currently to be rather cold over there.

The Cryosphere Today Sea-Ice map, on Anthony’s “Sea Ice Page,” also shows snow-cover (although I’m not sure how accurate it is.) As the snow-cover first started extending south in September it was startling how swiftly nearly all of Russia was covered, right down into China.
On that same “Sea Ice Page” you can compare the current Cryosphere Today map with one from the low-ice year of 2007. While everyone else was focusing on the regrowth of the sea ice, I was noticing how much less the snow-cover was in 2007 than it is this winter.
Things have changed.

scott

Snow cover might not equate to snowfall, it might relate to snow cover “endurance”. I got one inch of snow before Christmas and that’s about it, and two weeks later there still is one inch of snow on the ground. Even the snow on the deck hasn’t melted. It was mostly cloudy and cold all those days but it seems rather odd that it isn’t melting.

Trevor Jones, UK skeptic

For Byron, my awkward question was: ” I really liked your statement about winters being free of snow, because it felt like a falsifiable bit of prediction. In view of the run of cold winters we have had, what are your views now?”

jeanparisot

How do the GCMs implement an albedo change due to a change in snow coverage?

wayne

“winter is not yet over”
Had enough of it already Anthony? And I thought winter just started two weeks ago.

I doubt the missing ice theory. Today’s precipitable water does not come from that small bit of ice-free Arctic in September, but from bulk of Atlantic and Pacific oceans. There were both positive and negative records in 70ties, so an individual record is hardly *tiable* to anything specific.

Code Monkey Wrench

Frank K. says:
January 4, 2013 at 5:44 am
“…
David was a co-recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize in 2007 for his contributions to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change between 1993-2007.


Waitaminnit…

Peter Miller

To quote British Rail of yesteryear:
“It wos the wrong type of snow wot done it.”

Allen Cic

Wasn’t it Yogi Berra who said something along the lines of, “Predicting the future ain’t what it used to be.” Whether it’s snow, drought, rain, temperatures, sea level rise, or as in the case of predicting the number of salmon to return to the Sacramento River to spawn, the envirofools are almost never even close to correct. An yet, they keep their jobs, keep making massively wrong forecasts and the media keeps printing and broadcasting the baloney as if it’s the true, revealed word of God. Just as with the results of the last election, the only explanation is a truly ignorant populace that will believe anything.

G P Hanner

I lived in East Anglia from 1979 through most of 1982. While the winters were not as harsh as those I had experienced in the US upper Midwest (western South Dakota, to be exact), there was one near-blizzard storm that struck just before the winter solstice in December 1981. Unlike most of the snow falls we experienced, that one paralyzed transportation for a day or two and the snow was deep and persistent. At the time, the local response to a snow fall was “let it melt,” but that one didn’t oblige.

Jimbo

Increased evaporation combined with more heat loss in the Arctic due to a record low amount of Arctic sea ice is the likely cause.

and

The 70′s were peak years,…..

I have to ask what caused those peak years? I’m no weatherman, just asking.

ColdOldMan

Frank K. says: January 4, 2013 at 5:44 am

Mott the Hoople. . .

Showing your age there. Me too.

Crispin in Waterloo

@Scott
I have the same nit-pick. What is the snow mass v.s. what is the snow cover. Freezing water expels CO2. If there is a lot of extra snow and ice globally, then the CO2 level should rise. If you look at http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/gmd/ccgg/trends/ you can see the kicking upwards as the North goes into the winter freeze. If the slope of that line is steeper upwards than other years, we could surmise the amount of water freezing is greater than usual. If not, it is a dusting over a larger area.
I have been unable to locate a ‘snow mass’ and ‘ice mass’ index. We do have one WUWT reader here in Point Barrow AK who notes there is a relatively rapid rise or fall in the local CO2 level that might be caused by ice/snow. Perhaps he can commment. The low temps in AK right now should be pushing out extra CO2.

artwest

I tried quoting Viner at a warmist true believer at The Guardian recently only to be told that this was so long ago and predictions have moved on.
Of course they have, as soon as the predictions are proved wrong new predictions come along with zero change to the belief system which produced the wrong predictions in the first place or acknowledgement that they were talking rubbish then and equally might be doing so now..

Jimbo

In that very same Independent newspaper we have this EXCLUSIVE back in the day.

Independent Friday 27 June 2008
By Steve Connor , Science Editor
Exclusive: Scientists warn that there may be no ice at North Pole this summer
It seems unthinkable, but for the first time in human history, ice is on course to disappear entirely from the North Pole this year.
http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/climate-change/exclusive-scientists-warn-that-there-may-be-no-ice-at-north-pole-this-summer-855406.html

[My bolding]
Now what’s so shocking is he was wrong twice in the same sentence.
Below is evidence of ice free Arctic Ocean summers during the last ~11,000 years.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.quascirev.2010.08.016
http://adsabs.harvard.edu/abs/2007AGUFMPP11A0203F
http://geology.geoscienceworld.org/cgi/content/abstract/21/3/227

Oldjim

To be fair (for once) he was referring to the UK and we haven’t got much snow (other than in the far north of Scotland) just a load of floods and the second wettest UK since records began in the 1950’s.
Of course this rather mucks up the Mediterranean climate we were supposed to get with Global Warming

I hope we can get a lively discussion going about whether the evaporation of the Arctic Ocean contibutes much to snowfall totals. A few Ideas I’ve had, just thinking about it:
1.) It seems evaporation of the Arctic Ocean would contribute most in the early winter. Already a lot of the Arctic Ocean is frozen over.
2.) From memory, looking only at the Cryosphere maps, 2007’s “open” Arctic Ocean didn’t have the same effect. What was different?
3.) Another definate influence is whether you have a zonal pattern or a blocking pattern. A zonal pattern keeps the cold air bundled up at the pole, however a blocking pattern has big loops in the jet stream, which allows surges of cold to spill south and generate snowstorms.

Retired Dave

Isn’t it amazing how you can talk complete b*ll*cks about climate and climate change and then a few years later (without a trace of embarrassment) a different set of rubbish AND people still want to pay you for advice. It must be the nearest thing to perpetual motion you can get.
The UK has had a 2001 conference on how farmers will cope in a wetter world – 2012 conference on how to cope in a drier world (see article below)
http://www.fwi.co.uk/Articles/12/03/2012/131835/Climate-change-predictions-are-drying-up.htm
Now the UK is flooded only 9 months later- the old 2001 PowerPoint must be being dusted off ready to go.

Kip Hansen

Couple of odd things in the graph provided.
Note that it is FALL snow cover that peaks in the various past years, with the exception of what looks like 76 or 77, where Winter snow cover peaked. I think Curry et al did a study on Arctic sea ice cover and general snowiness in the Norther hemisphere.
A peek-a-boo analysis (eyes only) looks like the 21st century NH is having less snowy springs and summers, and more snowy falls and winters.
I have some doubts about the quality of the graph, as there are two instances of high SUMMER snow cover — 67 and 76 — I am having trouble remembering either of these summers with an extra 4 million sq km of snow.

Chris R.

To Oldjim:
Just wait, your turn is coming. Much of Asia and Eastern Europe is very cold right now.
When that air mass shifts West, watch out!

Paul Westhaver

Tell me Dr David Viner,
When you made the claim that snow was a thing of the past, were you expressing a scientifically based conclusion, or were you speaking as a Global Warming zealot [snip . . mod].
You are not a scientist. [snip . . mod].

DirkH

Viner Effect.

DirkH

Luckily Germany found a sweet spot of warmth and no snow at the moment. Even more bizarre, all our leftist groups including the Greens are due to local elections so fixated on class warfare rethoric that nobody mentions it. Maybe they printed so much class warfare material that they can’t turn around their campaigns to exploit the current snow-less situation.
So, we seem to be one of the few countries not affected by the Viner Effect (which is the abundance of snow caused by the prophecy of no snow ever again.)

Clowns like Viner should be ignored. It is obvious he uses the tools and tricks of illusionists to spread his dogma. I guess if the people of the UK are stupid enough to fund these people then they are receiving what they are paying for. But then any society that allows bankers to get away with swindling and massive fraud with only a slap on the hand fine instead of jail time must find it difficult to get much of anything right.

William Marshall

Onians of the Independent newspaper is a human rights issues journalist, not a scientific reporter! So if the newspaper did not assign the correct person to the task that’s the first mistake. To compound the mistake he goes on to quote bizarre sources such as, a toy shop, a skating club, a local historian, etc, and Viner, who does not offer peer reviewed evidence for example! Anyhow the interview may have happened over a ‘liquid lunch’ a typical journo exercise on expenses and Onians then made a mountain out of a molehill of Viners answers!

Jim G

“Predictions are very difficult, particularly if they are about the future.” You are all forgetting that global warming is out and climate change is in, so more snow is OK as it is caused by glo…er…climate change.

Gary Pearse

Oh the UEA, IPCC, and all the rest will be all over this, hauling out the old increased albedo chestnut as a “hider” of the strong CAGW trend.(sarc?)

Colin Gartner

Allen Cic says:
January 4, 2013 at 6:53 am
Whether it’s snow, drought, rain, temperatures, sea level rise, or as in the case of predicting the number of salmon to return to the Sacramento River to spawn, the envirofools are almost never even close to correct.
………………………………
It’s worse than that! When a prediction turns out to be false, the contrary evidence disproving the prediction is, they argue, “consistent with” cAGW. These people have no scruples.
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/topics/weather/4436934/Snow-is-consistent-with-global-warming-say-scientists.html

Ian L. McQueen

Would it be out of place for us to forward this posting (and Comments) to Mott MacDonald Group? (If it is okay, could we please have the e-dress to save us time looking for it?)
IanM

>Crispin in Waterloo says:
>Freezing water expels CO2
Sorry…WHAT?!??! That’s a new one on me – References please.
Jeff

jonny old boy

The main reason we get snow is that the Earth spins….and in doing so gives us frontal weather. Also basic physics seems to
elude to the fact that the vertical air currents on earth that circulate hot/cold air are not going to vary much if at all due to a modestly warming world ( if it ever does start to warm again ). BUT it would seem a plausible outcome the more you dig into these natural forces that a warming world would lead to extremes of heating at the equator , but then also modest cooling at the poles, then to follow the planets attempt to balance ( whilst still spinning by the way ) , the only result of this that keeps popping up in my fag-packet-jottings [ thats cigarette packet for my non uk chums ] is SNOW…. and LOTS of it…..

elftone

Dennis Nikols says:
January 4, 2013 at 8:47 am
Clowns like Viner should be ignored. It is obvious he uses the tools and tricks of illusionists to spread his dogma. I guess if the people of the UK are stupid enough to fund these people then they are receiving what they are paying for. But then any society that allows bankers to get away with swindling and massive fraud with only a slap on the hand fine instead of jail time must find it difficult to get much of anything right.

Sorry – although I agree with your assessment of Viner, I have to call you out on your sweeping generalisation: If you think the “people of the UK” have any say whatsoever in who gets funding, and on what happens to white-collar criminals, you are deluding yourself, and insulting a great number of good people. Dial it back, and actually think before you type. Unless, of course, you have some personal axe to grind?

Timothy Sorenson

Oldjim had a good point, that Dr. Viner could claim his comment is just about England. The Met office does have data on snowfall and since 2000 the UK has seen a good amount of snow, especially 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2012. But UK info on specific snowfall amounts I have not found.

jayhd

Elftone, Dennis Nikols is absolutely correct in his assessment of the general populace of the UK. As a matter of fact, he is also correct r.e. the good old U.S. of A. Politicians in the UK and US are elected. The politicians, or their appointees, make the decisions about funding the global warming crap. Therefore it is the people’s fault for the wasted money and other resources of the CAGW hoax. When the voters wise up, the CAGW gravy train will stop.

Jimbo

William Marshall says:
January 4, 2013 at 9:10 am
Onians of the Independent newspaper is a human rights issues journalist, not a scientific reporter! So if the newspaper did not assign the correct person to the task that’s the first mistake. To compound the mistake he goes on to quote bizarre sources such as, a toy shop, a skating club, a local historian, etc, and Viner, who does not offer peer reviewed evidence for example! Anyhow the interview may have happened over a ‘liquid lunch’ a typical journo exercise on expenses and Onians then made a mountain out of a molehill of Viners answers!

I’m not so sure you should let the Independent get away with it so easily. As I pointed out above here we have a science editor from the Independent who made a failed prediction and a factual error.
Now regarding the article from 2000 Dr. Viner said in quotes:

“a very rare and exciting event”.
“Children just aren’t going to know what snow is,”

Well, it’s not rare and children still know what snow is.

Stacey

@ Timothy Sorenson
The Met Office has snow data between the 1950’s and 1992 where it seems to stop?
Maybe they new then that it would be a rare and interesting event.
As to Viner he appears to have lost his job after the British Council came to their senses and cut their £2million a year on climate change nonsesnse to £3000.
Never mind Dave no doubt you amassed a suitable number of air miles whilst there?

Larry Ledwick (hotrod)

Kip Hansen says:
January 4, 2013 at 7:40 am
Couple of odd things in the graph provided.
Note that it is FALL snow cover that peaks in the various past years, with the exception of what looks like 76 or 77, where Winter snow cover peaked. I think Curry et al did a study on Arctic sea ice cover and general snowiness in the Norther hemisphere.
A peek-a-boo analysis (eyes only) looks like the 21st century NH is having less snowy springs and summers, and more snowy falls and winters.
I have some doubts about the quality of the graph, as there are two instances of high SUMMER snow cover — 67 and 76 — I am having trouble remembering either of these summers with an extra 4 million sq km of snow.

It of course depends on how they are defining “summer” presumably it is any snow that falls after the spring equinox and before the autumnal equinox. Here in Colorado we do have snows in the Denver Metro area as late as the first week in June and earliest snow the first week of September, both of which would qualify as “summer snow falls”. That coverage could easily be accomplished by both a late last snow and an early first snow in a calendar year covering several of the northern plains states, even if the snow only lasted for 24 hours in each storm.
Larry

MikeinAppalachia

Kip Hansen-
I believe the ’67 summer cover “high” figure was due to the lingering snow cover in the Rockies.

The other Phil

It doesn’t count it is rotten snow

Vince Causey

I’m sure Dr Viner was speaking about the UK. The temps over the last few days have been around 11 and 12C – almost like a UK summer. Could it be he was right? (nah!).

Crispin in Waterloo

@JKrob says:
>>Crispin in Waterloo says:
>>Freezing water expels CO2
>Sorry…WHAT?!??! That’s a new one on me – References please.
This is not complicated at all. Consider the ice cores everyone is happy to talk about. Inside the packed snow (eventually ice) are tiny pockets of air that contain ‘air samples’ from long ago. They analyses these little packages to find out what the CO2 was centuries ago. They to not analyse the ice because there is no CO2 in the snow or the ice. Why? because ice and snow contain no CO2 at all, zero.
Each time water freezes it kicks out its absorbed CO2. When ice melts it almost immediately (within a few seconds of contact with air) picks up about 450 ppm CO2 (the average in the seas – yes, it is temperature dependent). So when for example the Greenland ice sheet melts, it will absorb:
3.5 million cubic kilometers x 1 billion tons per cubic km x 1000 kg per ton x 420 ppm =
1.47 x 10^15 kg of CO2 (if it is available at 390 ppm in the atmosphere)
or 1.47 billion tons
or 1.47 x 10^18 Petagrams as some like to measure it.
It is an about equal to 1/2 the total CO2 in the atmosphere at present. If Antarctica were to go ice-free, it would absorb about 8 times that of the melted Greenland ice sheet.
There is a heck of a lot more snow and ice out there than is present on the Greenland ice sheet. My question is, “What is the mass of water cycling into and out of the form of ice and snow each season?” And also, “How much CO2 is expelled by land+sea ice and snow seasonally?”
It is often said (Willis repeated it today) that the CO2 rise and fall in the atmosphere is due to biomass growing in summer. Really? Well, how much biomass is cycling into and out of growing seasons (i.e. sub-tropical and tropical are not included) and much CO2 does it ‘draw down’ each year? Compare that with the amount of CO2 expelled by sea ice (volume and mass known) and snow (volume and mass unknown) and groundwater that freezes. Maybe it is not much after all. Maybe it is a lot. The temperature of the sea water has an influence, right? Maybe the colder water more than makes up for the ice. Let’s see some numbers.
As the amount of snow and ice in the southern hemisphere changes comparatively little from season to season, the northern hemispheric contribution dominates and there is a clear cyclical variation in the overall CO2 level. As soon as the most northerly ice stops melting, the CO2 stops dropping. As soon as it starts freezing, the CO2 start rising again. Why? Because ice does not contain CO2 but the water from which it froze did.
We have record snow cover in December for the NH. That means the ground moisture froze down to some point as well. What is the average moisture content of soil frozen down 4-10 feet in Canada and Siberia? Plus the mass of snow and ice upon it? Plus the sea ice? Freezing pushes out CO2; it’s as clear as the line on that chart from Hawaii.
Please have a look at http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/gmd/ccgg/trends/ Can you see that the December 2012 (the last month shown) rise in CO2 is at a greater pace than other Decembers? Is it because of a colder than average December with unusually large amounts of NH water freezing? If it was drawn down by growing biomass in summer, why would the biomass hand it back in winter? Do trees shrink in winter? I think not. Household heating systems? No chance! Mere blip. Numbers are way too small. It can’t be emerging from the cooling NH oceans because they are taking up CO2 right now. The seasonal variation is 4.9 x 10^13 kg or about 6ppm. I think it is kicked into the air by water freezing. Ocean water can’t react fast enough to stabilise it completely.

elftone

jayhd says:
January 4, 2013 at 10:27 am
Elftone, Dennis Nikols is absolutely correct in his assessment of the general populace of the UK. As a matter of fact, he is also correct r.e. the good old U.S. of A. Politicians in the UK and US are elected. The politicians, or their appointees, make the decisions about funding the global warming crap. Therefore it is the people’s fault for the wasted money and other resources of the CAGW hoax. When the voters wise up, the CAGW gravy train will stop.

I see your point (although it fails to address the white-collar crime comment he made), but have to say that if voters in the UK and US were actually presented with a choice, then they could vote for something other than “meet the new boss, same as the old boss”. But that won’t happen in regard to CAGW, as it is seen as “the greatest revenue stream” in living memory by politicians. It’s a way to gain enough money, both for the respective government and personally, to get out of the staggeringly large debt holes they’ve all put us in. These are the same people who let their banking chums off with a slap on the wrist and a loan to help the poor dears out.
So, no, Dennis is not correct, because the mechanism to remove these shysters has been removed (by said shysters). Until such time as a viable alternative to the current political monopoly (and its unholy alliance with CAGW alarmism and that wonderful tool of control, the Precautionary Principle), we are stuck with twerps like Viner making really, utterly stupid pronouncements. Makes me spit.

Berényi Péter

“Children just aren’t going to know what snow is,”
Dr David Viner must have meant children would be extremely dumb. They would not know that cold white fluffy stuff falling from the sky was snow, actually (due to brain damage brought over by increasing carbon dioxide levels, of course). Is it not worse than we thought?

Man Bearpig

If you think this is bad … Just look at the Met Office winter forecast from last november ..
http://metofficenews.wordpress.com/2012/11/12/whats-in-store-this-winter-responding-to-the-headlines/
The last paragraph in particular says ..
”Ultimately, we’re heading into winter and we expect winter to be colder than the rest of the year – but it’s too early to say exactly what temperatures we can expect or where and when we might see snow.”
Yes, they are expecting Winter to be colder than the rest of the year. Has that ever happened before ?