By Paul Homewood
It seems that every time we get some snow, another “scientist” is wheeled out to explain that, no matter how cold it gets, it is all down to global warming.
In the last week or so, we have had the International Arctic Research Centre announcing a study by three Chinese scientists, “Weakened cyclones, intensified anticyclones and recent extreme cold winter weather events in Eurasia “, with the headline “Climate change brings colder winters to Europe and Asia”. Then, we had WWF Russia blaming the blizzards in Russia on global warming.
But let’s, for one moment, remind ourselves of some of the “scientists” who have said the exact opposite.
UK Met Office
As recently as 2011, Julia Slingo and her team published an extremely thorough paper, “Climate: Observations, projections and impacts”. Running to some 153 pages, it looked at recent trends and future projections, both for the UK and the rest of the world. It made the following points:-
- Analysis of mean temperatures in the UK showed a warming trend during the winter months of 0.23C/decade.
- Describing the extreme cold in December 2010, it states:-
Severe winter weather affected Western and Central Europe throughout the first three weeks of December 2010, with the UK experiencing the coldest December for more than 100 years. This extreme cold weather was due to advection of cold arctic air associated with a strongly negative Arctic Oscillation.
The UK experienced two spells of severe winter weather with very low temperatures and significant snowfalls. The first of these spells lasted for two weeks from 25th November and saw persistent easterly or north-easterly winds bring bitterly cold air from northern Europe and Siberia. This spell of snow and freezing temperatures occurred unusually early in the winter, with the most significant and widespread snowfalls experienced in late November and early December since late November 1965. a second spell of severe weather began on 16th December as very cold Arctic air pushed down across the UK from the north.
- Continuing its analysis of the 2010/11 winter, it finds that:-
The distributions of the December-January-February (DJF) mean regional temperature in recent years in the presence and absence of anthropogenic forcings are shown in Figure 7. Analyses with both models suggest that human influences on the climate have shifted the distributions to higher temperatures. The winter of 2010/11 is cold, as shown in Figure 7, as it lies near the cold tail of the seasonal temperature distribution for the climate influenced by anthropogenic forcings (distributions plotted in red). It is considerably warmer than the winter of 1962/63, which is the coldest since 1900 in the CRUTEM3 dataset. In the absence of human influences (green distributions), the season lies near the central sector of the temperature distribution and would therefore be an average season.
- The winter time-series show a decrease in the number of cool days and cool nights.
So, to summarise, the Met Office believed that winters have been getting warmer, and that the winter of 2010/11 was caused by a natural event, the Arctic Oscillation, and, but for “human influences”, would actually have been a fairly average winter. (According to NOAA, similar conditions existed during the even colder winter in the UK of 1962/63).
Dr Myles Allen, and a few more!
In 2009, Dr Myles Allen, head of the Climate Dynamics group at Department of Physics, University of Oxford told the Daily Telegraph, during another spell of bad snow “Even though this is quite a cold winter by recent standards it is still perfectly consistent with predictions for global warming. If it wasn’t for global warming this cold snap would happen much more regularly. What is interesting is that we are now surprised by this kind of weather. I doubt we would have been in the 1950s because it was much more common. “
The report goes on to say “a study by the Met Office which went back 350 years shows that such extreme weather now only occurs every 20 years. Back in the pre-industrial days of Charles Dickens, it was a much more regular occurrence – hitting the country on average every five years or so.
This winter seems so bad precisely because it is now so unusual. In contrast the deep freezes of 1946-47 and 1962-63 were much colder – 5.3 F (2.97C) and 7.9 F (4.37C) cooler than the long-term norm.
And with global warming we can expect another 1962-63 winter only once every 1,100 years, compared with every 183 years before 1850. “
Meanwhile Dave Britton, a meteorologist and climate scientist at the Met Office, said: “Even with global warming you cannot rule out we will have a cold winter every so often. It sometimes rains in the Sahara but it is still a desert.”
Even Bob Ward, PR man for the warmist Grantham Foundation, keen to stop people thinking that cold winters did not mean global warming had stopped, said “Just as the wet summer of 2007 or recent heat waves cannot be attributed to global warming nor can this cold snap”
Don’t forget NCAR & NOAA!
Over in the US, they were just as keen to keep on message. An article in Phys.Org, “Experts: Cold snap doesn’t disprove global warming”, which was published in January 2010, had this to say:-
Whatever happened to global warming? Such weather doesn’t seem to fit with warnings from scientists that the Earth is warming because of greenhouse gases. But experts say the cold snap doesn’t disprove global warming at all – it’s just a blip in the long-term heating trend.
“It’s part of natural variability,” said Gerald Meehl, a senior scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colo. With global warming, he said, “we’ll still have record cold temperatures. We’ll just have fewer of them.”
Deke Arndt of the National Climatic Data Center in Asheville, N.C., noted that 2009 will rank among the 10 warmest years for Earth since 1880. Scientists say man-made climate change does have the potential to cause more frequent and more severe weather extremes, such as heat waves, storms, floods, droughts and even cold spells. But experts interviewed by The Associated Press did not connect the current frigid blast to climate change.
So what is going on? “We basically have seen just a big outbreak of Arctic air” over populated areas of the Northern Hemisphere, Arndt said. “The Arctic air has really turned itself loose on us.”
In the atmosphere, large rivers of air travel roughly west to east around the globe between the Arctic and the tropics. This air flow acts like a fence to keep Arctic air confined. But recently, this air flow has become bent into a pronounced zigzag pattern, meandering north and south. If you live in a place where it brings air up from the south, you get warm weather. In fact, record highs were reported this week in Washington state and Alaska.
But in the eastern United States, like some other unlucky parts of the globe, Arctic air is swooping down from the north. And that’s how you get a temperature of 3 degrees in Beijing, a reading of minus-42 in mainland Norway, and 18 inches of snow in parts of Britain, where a member of Parliament who said the snow “clearly indicates a cooling trend” was jeered by colleagues.
The zigzag pattern arises naturally from time to time, but it is not clear why it’s so strong right now, said Michelle L’Heureux, a meteorologist at the Climate Prediction Center of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
It seems to me that these these theories, that global warming will lead to colder winters, need to pass three tests before they can even cross the starting line:-
1) Explain how winters were as colder, or colder, and as snowy or snowier, in earlier periods such as the 1960’s and 70’s, when the NH was cooling, and Arctic ice expanding.
2) Explain how winters grew milder in the 1990’s and early 2000’s, at a time when the earth was warming, and Arctic ice was declining.
3) Prove what was wrong with earlier models that predicted milder winters.
Until these tests are passed, the theories really don’t get off the ground.
Looking more closely at the Chinese study, mentioned above, by Zhang, Lu and Guan, their abstract states:-
Extreme cold winter weather events over Eurasia have occurred more frequently in recent years in spite of a warming global climate. To gain further insight into this regional mismatch with the global mean warming trend, we analyzed winter cyclone and anticyclone activities, and their interplay with the regional atmospheric circulation pattern characterized by the semi-permanent Siberian high. We found a persistent weakening of both cyclones and anticyclones between the 1990s and early 2000s, and a pronounced intensification of anticyclone activity afterwards. It is suggested that this intensified anticyclone activity drives the substantially strengthening and northwestward shifting/expanding Siberian high, and explains the decreased midlatitude Eurasian surface air temperature and the increased frequency of cold weather events. The weakened tropospheric midlatitude westerlies in the context of the intensified anticyclones would reduce the eastward propagation speed of Rossby waves, favoring persistence and further intensification of surface anticyclone systems.
Their methodology also tells us that the data used is from 1979-2012.
What they are saying then is that, in the 1990’s, conditions changed to a weakened state of cyclones and anticyclones, and therefore milder winters. In the last few years, it has changed back to a strengthened state. Although they have not analysed data back, at least, to the 1960’s, (which seems an amazing omission, that hugely undermines their work), the implication is clear, that recent conditions have returned to close to the ones that existed prior to 1990.
But none of that stops Zhang from saying “Decreased sea-ice cover favours further extension of warm air into the central Arctic Ocean. When this warm air propagates to the lower-latitude Eurasian continent, it gets cooled due to radiative heat loss. Anticyclones accordingly form or intensify.”
Before going on to say “We need to evaluate whether climate models can realistically capture weather-scale physical processes”, which, translated, means “Please send us some more grant money”.