More evidence that a cold climate kills – while trying to sell “stop Brexit”

From the EARTH INSTITUTE AT COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY and the “Columbia’s press release writers have no shame” department comes this load of tosh presser trying to give readers a lesson on Brexit. On the plus side, the paper shows the MWP being warmer than today on Scotland and says nary a word about “Brexit”.

In ancient Scottish tree rings, a cautionary tale on climate, politics and survival

A 1600s famine with echoes in the age of Brexit

Using old tree rings and archival documents, historians and climate scientists have detailed an extreme cold period in Scotland in the 1690s that caused immense suffering. It decimated agriculture, killed as much as 15 percent of the population and sparked a fatal attempt to establish a Scottish colony in southern Panama. The researchers say the episode–shown in their study to have been during the coldest decade of the past 750 years–was probably caused by faraway volcanic eruptions. But it was not just bad weather that brought disaster. Among other things, Scotland was politically isolated from England, its bigger, more prosperous neighbor that might have otherwise helped. Propelled in part by the catastrophe, the two nations merged in 1707 to become part of what is now the United Kingdom. Such a famine-related tragedy was never repeated, despite later climate swings.

With Brexit now threatening to isolate the UK from the European Union, the researchers think politicians should take this as a cautionary tale. “By joining England, Scotland became more resilient,” said lead author Rosanne D’Arrigo, a tree-ring scientist at Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory. “The bigger message for today is arguably that as the climate changes, nations will be stronger if they stick together and not try to go it alone.” The study appears in the early online edition of the Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research.

Winching a long-dead tree from Loch Gamnha, in the Cairngorm Mountains. Scientists have found trees as old as 8,000 years preserved in cold, oxygen-poor lakebed mud.
CREDIT Courtesy Tree Ring Lab, University of St. Andrews.

The “Scottish Ills” have long been noted in history books. In some years, snow from the winter persisted on the ground well into summer, and frosts struck every summer night for weeks. The planting season was cut short, and crops were struck down before they could be harvested. Livestock had nothing to eat. The study quotes Mary Caithness, Countess of Breadalbane, describing “cold misty weather such as the oldest person alive hath not seen.” Other regions including France, England and the Netherlands also suffered unusually cold weather, but generally with less drastic results. In Scandinavia, however, tens of thousands died. It was “likely the worst era of crop failure, food shortage and mortality ever documented in Scottish history,” the researchers write.

Based on the width and density of tree rings the researchers collected, they showed that 1695-1704 was Scotland’s coldest decade in 750 years. This, on top of the fact that much of the northern hemisphere was already in the grip of the so-called Little Ice Age, when cold temperatures were the norm for centuries, until the 1800s. “Before this, we knew it was cold. Now we have an understanding of exactly how cold,” said coauthor Rob Wilson of Scotland’s University of St. Andrews, and an adjunct researcher at Lamont-Doherty. “The whole 17th century must have been a horrible time to live in Scotland, but this was the worst part.”

The researchers say that the Ills coincided closely with multiple large volcanic eruptions. Previous researchers have identified particles in ice cores that traveled long distances from eruptions that probably took place somewhere in the tropics in 1693 and 1695. And Iceland’s Mount Hekla darkened the skies for seven months in 1693. Scientists already know that large-scale volcanism throws sulfate particles into the atmosphere; these deflect sunlight and can lower temperatures far from the eruption itself for years. Thus, the researchers believe the eruptions would explain the chilly weather that hit Scotland and other northern hemisphere nations all at the same time. (Unsurprisingly, the tree rings also show that the warmest century of the record was 1911-2010, almost certainly due to human greenhouse-gas emissions.)

The findings are an outgrowth of the Scottish Pine Project, in which Wilson and his colleagues have been gathering tree-ring samples for the past 10 years in northern Scotland. In the desolate Highlands region of Cairngorms, they have drilled out cores from living trees going back to the 1400s. To extend the record back further, they have snorkeled along the nearshore bottoms of icy lochs, searching for long-dead trees that have fallen in and been preserved over the centuries in cold, oxygen-poor mud. Once they find specimens, they winch them out by hand and take out cross sections with chain saws. The team has also studied buildings whose timbers went back to the 1100s, though these were not included in the climate reconstruction. Their initial chronology was published in 2017. In the course of their work, the team has found trees in the lochs as old as 8,000 years. They are still collecting samples and working to construct a continuous climate record predating the Middle Ages.

A cross section of a tree trunk found in Loch Gamnha, Cairngorm Mountains.

In the new study, the researchers say that climate was not the only factor in the Scottish Ills. “The connection seems simple–volcanic cooling triggered famine–but the drivers toward famine are far more complex,” they write. They cite Scotland’s economic circumstances and political isolation from England as major factors. England had more good farmland and, at the time, better agricultural technology and organization for delivering relief to the poor. While also hit with cool weather, England did not suffer a famine, and probably would have come to the aid of Scotland had the nations been united. Scotland also unwisely encouraged the export of crops at a time when they were needed at home.

At the height of the Ills, the Scots developed an intricate venture to send colonists to the Darien region of Panama. Driven in part by the desperation of the famine, the idea caught on as a national mania, and people of all social and economic classes invested much of their assets–in all, as much as half the nation’s entire liquid capital. Starting in 1698, a total of 2,500 colonists began sailing to this malarial jungle coast. They were quickly cut down by disease, malnutrition (Scotland could ill afford to resupply the colony) and conflicts with Spanish forces, which already controlled much of South and Central America. The colony was abandoned after just 16 months; only a few hundred colonists survived; and Scotland was financially ruined. The inhospitable Darien region remains barely inhabited even today.

“At the time, the Scots saw the colony as a kind of Exodus, where they would start over somewhere new,” said D’Arrigo. “In the end, they couldn’t escape.”

Repeated proposals to unite England and Scotland had come up during the 1600s, but the Scots had resisted. As the famine came to a close, they finally gave in; apparently, many of the gentry making the decision figured that hitching themselves to a greater power would buffer them from further misfortunes. The Acts of Union, passed by the parliaments of Scotland and England, took effect in 1707. Scotland suffered other climate extremes in succeeding centuries, but never again collapsed in this way.

In 2014, more than 300 years after the union, the Scots took a referendum on whether to once again become an independent state; 55 percent voted to stay with the UK. Then came the 2016 UK-wide referendum that set Brexit in motion–deeply unpopular in Scotland, where 62 percent voted to remain in the EU. In last week’s UK parliamentary elections, pro-Brexit forces won overall, but lost resoundingly in Scotland. Many Scots now seem to be reconsidering independence–not because they want to stand alone again, but because independence might allow them to rejoin the larger community of the EU, and leave the isolationist English to fend for themselves. Calls for another independence referendum are already circulating.

“Scotland became more resilient when it became part of a union,” said Wilson. “It’s a cautionary tale from history.”


The Paper: (which contains no mention of Brexit)

  • 1690s coldest decade in a 750-year tree-ring temperature record from Scotland
  • Linked to volcanic cooling pulse
  • Known as the “Ills”, historical linkages to socioeconomic crises including famine
  • Spurred ill-fated expedition of Scots to Panama


Recent work has linked historical crises, both regional and local, with palaeoclimatic estimates of global and hemispheric climate change. Such studies tend to underemphasize the spatiotemporal and socioeconomical disparity of human suffering and adaptive capacity as well as the complexities of past climate change. We focus herein on the effects in Scotland of a severely cold climate episode in the 1690s, associated with major tropical volcanic events including a large unidentified tropical eruption in 1695. A tree-ring based summer temperature reconstruction from the northern Cairngorms region identifies the 1690s as the coldest decade in Scotland for the last 750 years. Archival sources meanwhile reveal the 1690s as likely the worst era of crop failure, food shortage, and mortality ever documented in Scottish history. The connection appears simple – volcanic cooling triggered famine – but the drivers towards famine are far more complex. Although the unusual coldness of the 1690s was near-hemispheric in scale, it had a differential impact across north-western Europe. Within Scotland, both lowlands and highlands experienced dire conditions, but distinct factors exacerbated the suffering in each region. We integrate historical and palaeoclimatic records to explore the influence of the volcanic cold pulse of the 1690s and its consequences in Scotland. We find that while cooling temperatures characterized the regional to larger-scale climate, vulnerability and response potential were diverse and shaped by local circumstances. The Scottish crisis of the 1690s, in the context of the kingdom’s failing economy, influenced investors from all parts of society, including the nobility and entire communities, to fund the ill-fated expedition to colonize Darien in modern-day Panama. The climate crisis and the colony’s collapse hindered Scotland’s already sluggish economy, motivating unification with England soon after.

Fig. 1. A: Scottish NCAIRN reconstruction (Rydval et al., 2017) of July–August Scottish mainland temperatures (Jones and Lister, 2004). The three coldest and warmest decades are highlighted in blue and red, respectively (see Table 1). Yellow line is smoothed 20-year low pass filtered version; grey lines are error bars. B: Calibration between NCAIRN and Scottish mainland mean July–August temperatures (Jones and Lister, 2004). C: Spatial correlations (1850–2010) between the NCAIRN reconstruction (Rydval et al. (2017)) and July–August mean temperatures (HadCRUT4 (Morice et al. (2012), with Cowtan and Way (2014) infill). Black stars denote the NCAIRN study region (northern Cairngorms, Scotland) and Darien, Panama. (For interpretation of the references to colour in this figure legend, the reader is referred to the web version of this article.)
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Chris Hanley
December 17, 2019 10:35 pm

Scotland the timid.

David Guy-Johnson
Reply to  Chris Hanley
December 17, 2019 11:41 pm

Sums up the SNP to a tee. They want independence but once they get it, they’ll give it up to the EU.

Reply to  David Guy-Johnson
December 18, 2019 1:14 am

What’s amusing is that the reaserchers make the Brexit point, but nary a word about the second lunge at Scottish independence.

If the UK is better off in the EU then it follows that Scotland would be better off in the UK. There’s no chance they will get into the EU and will, therefore, be out in the cold, figuratively and practically, once again.

Ben Vorlich
Reply to  HotScot
December 18, 2019 1:31 am

Or Scotland would be better off in the EU without interference from London?

Reply to  Ben Vorlich
December 18, 2019 2:46 am

Ah.London interference, A £1200 a year subsidy to every man woman and child. Sure. Thery would be better off without that!

Bob boder
Reply to  Ben Vorlich
December 18, 2019 3:58 am

Yeah and i am sure all the scottish boys that were shipped off all over the world by the english to tame scotland were so happy with the deal made between scotland and england. This is a ridiculous article, england and scotland didn’t join to their mutual benefit, Scotland was destroyed by the english and eventually had no choice but to capitulate and join. The english literally emasculated scotland.

Reply to  Ben Vorlich
December 18, 2019 5:12 am


A rant straight out of the Mel Gibson school of history.

Gerry, England
Reply to  Ben Vorlich
December 18, 2019 5:47 am

Scotland will be bankrupt without the money from England and will not meet EU expenditure rules to be able to join. Most of us down south are hoping that there will be another vote on independence for Scotland but with the vote held in England. I think there would be a very sizeable vote in favour of telling them where to go. It would help if we rebuild Hadrian’s Wall to keep them from coming south as poverty bites.

M Courtney
Reply to  Ben Vorlich
December 18, 2019 7:19 am

Bob boder.

The fact is that Scotland tried to go it alone. Went bankrupt. And then joined England as an economic necessity.

No-one made Scotland invade Panama.

Andy Mansell
Reply to  Ben Vorlich
December 18, 2019 8:58 am

Except that Scotland has absolutely zero chance of being accepted into the EU on its own- the EU actually pointed that out during the last indy vote- it just wouldn’t be able to meet the requirements. Last weeks vote showed that the SNP actually polled 43% in Scotland, so hardly a strong demand for another vote, given that 45% voted in favour last time. Also, it was a ‘once in a generation’ thing, so I’ve no idea what Sturgeon thinks she’s up to, apart from delusions of grandeur. The economics make no sense- last time a halving of the price of crude oil was dismissed as irrelevant!- and they’d lose the £. I don’t believe the majority of people in Scotland want yet another referendum as they must be sick of voting by now and just want to get on with things, but if they do decide to go again, can we in England have a say this time? I don’t see why we should just have to wait and see if Scots want to stay with us again without being asked what we think. The result might just be surprising…..It’s like the joke I was told after the Brexit vote- there was an Englishman, Welshman, Irishman and Scotsman having a good time in a pub, but the Englishman just threw a tantrum and left. Maybe, just maybe, the Englishman got bloody sick of picking up the tab every time!

Reply to  Ben Vorlich
December 18, 2019 9:16 am

The Scots are a very important and much valued part of the most successful Democratic Economic, political and monetary union ever known in the world .

As part of the EU they would become a tiny nation in a large bureaucratic organisation with their own variation of English law being threatened by the Napoleonic code and the European Court of Justice.

They would also carry with them very large debts and to maintain their standard of living-at present they receive a much larger grant per head from the UK govt than does England- they would need to become one of the nations that receive subsidies from the EU

Why would the EU want to swap a nation -The UK-that has been paying large sums into the organisation by way of a £12 billion a year membership fee, and swap that for Scotland probably wanting several billion a year from their depleted coffers?


Reply to  Ben Vorlich
December 18, 2019 1:10 pm

Can’t say that leaving Panama to the tender mercies of the Spanish did much good for them.

Reply to  Ben Vorlich
December 18, 2019 7:43 pm

The Peoples’ Republic of Scotland under the thumb of unelected bureaucrats in Brussels and without Shetland and Orkney. No English subsidies. That will be interesting.

Walter Sobchak
Reply to  Ben Vorlich
December 18, 2019 8:15 pm

Leo’s got it. All talk of Scottish secession is pub blather. The Truth is that if they became an independent country. They would have to throw everyone off the dole. That is also why the EU will have nothing to do with them. They are feeding enough parasites as it is. The UK was net pay in. They are sad to see it go.

Patrick MJD
Reply to  Ben Vorlich
December 18, 2019 10:40 pm

I can’t seem to find an actual video clip, but this is the episode I have been looking for for ages. It describes the various contributions countries make to the EEC. It is hilarious!

Reply to  Ben Vorlich
December 19, 2019 12:55 am

How? Because London “interferes” how in Scotland? By every objective measure, health, education and the economy are worse in Scotland – where the powers have been devolved to the Scots.

Our government in Westminster may be pretty incompetent, but it staggeringly competent compared with the SNP in Scotland.

Ben Vorlich
Reply to  David Guy-Johnson
December 18, 2019 1:34 am

You may be u aware that Scotland spent 300+ years in a triple self defence alliance with France and Norway. The common enemy being England.
This included dual nationality until the Entente Cordial formally ended it.

Reply to  Ben Vorlich
December 18, 2019 3:12 am

Ben, I think that more important than political alliances was the Industrial Revolution starting in the 18th cent and the advances in physics, chemistry amd engineering that accompanied it. When you look at the people involved over more than 100 years it was clearly an Anglo-Scottish enterprise in which the engineering and entrepreneurial skills in Scotland benefitted the political and mercantile interests in London – feeding back to a constant demand for Scottish industry and employment.
However with the loss of Imperial trade, the insignificance of British political influence and the general loss of manufacturing throughout the UK the demand for Scottish skills has gone, and the market in England has disappeared. It was industry that bound the interests of Scotland and England together and the loss of it means that the only ties that remain are historical (eg monarchy) or based on individual families (like mine).
Perhaps a divorce would mean a better atmosphere between the 2 nations.
(BTW: not to leave anyone out: the Industrial Revolution would not have been as much a success as it was without the benefit of Welsh coal to produce the steel and smelt other metals and the Irish who built our canals and railways- amongst other contributions from those communities).

Reply to  Ben Vorlich
December 19, 2019 12:56 am

Yu seem to be unaware that James VI of Scotland become James I of England after the death of Elizabeth I.

Reply to  David Guy-Johnson
December 18, 2019 5:11 am

Does anyone else cringe, as I do, at “scientists” making the leap from ancient trees pulled out of a Scottish bog to commentary on a modern, complex political-economic event such as Brexit? How many intervening and confounding variables are left out of or confused by their analysis?

Here’s one: could it be that the non-democratic rigid bureaucratic structure of the EU is actually keeping the UK, hence Scotland, from integrating successfully with the evolving world economy compared with a free, flexible post-Brexit UK? Imagine the UK with new free trade agreements with the US, Canada, and Mexico….then add on new agreements with Australia, New Zealand, India, and a host of other countries.

The EU may end up broken into pieces until it reassembles into a structure more democratic and flexible and with strong restrictions on its bureaucracy. The EU and its predecessors, the EC and also NATO, have given the Continent a peaceful era greater than any it has ever known. Yet the EU can and will some day be markedly improved upon.

Meanwhile, scientists should stick to the science reasonably attached to their data and real world evidence.

Reply to  kwinterkorn
December 18, 2019 7:13 am

I agree completely! The nonsense at the end was entirely unscientific, illogical and vacuous. How a researcher thinks that there is a continuity of thought from a weather event 300 years ago
to a political discussion today is about as stupid as it gets. Much less that it is appropriate to insert her demented opinions into this discussion.

Reply to  john harmsworth
December 19, 2019 4:59 pm


““The bigger message for today is arguably that as the climate changes, nations will be stronger if they stick together and not try to go it alone.”

A conclusion entirely based upon confirmation boas and not science.

Jean Parisot
Reply to  kwinterkorn
December 18, 2019 9:28 am

Is there an article on just the bog trees, without the political drivel?

Reply to  kwinterkorn
December 18, 2019 3:01 pm

I have a simple question. How can anyone know the year in which a tree died and fell into the bog? Using rings from living trees as proxies for past temperature only is dodgy but at least one can know the end date, How can that be known for long dead trees. Without an end year earlier years cannot be known.

Scott Swett
Reply to  Me@Home
December 19, 2019 8:16 am

They use computers to match the sequences of rings on a number of trees with overlapping date ranges. This allows the construction of a continuous record that, in the case of trees in Ireland, goes back more than 7,000 years.

Reply to  Me@Home
December 19, 2019 5:06 pm

“Scott Swett December 19, 2019 at 8:16 am
They use computers to match the sequences of rings on a number of trees with overlapping date ranges. This allows the construction of a continuous record that, in the case of trees in Ireland, goes back more than 7,000 years.”

A) Computers are not magical objects.

B) “match the sequences of rings on a number of trees with overlapping date ranges”; stuff and nonsense as stated.
Anyone who has cut down trees can attest to rings varying on different sides of the tree.

Without a unique and absolutely positive year marker, aligning tree rings gets very dicey.

Reply to  kwinterkorn
December 19, 2019 12:58 am

The idea that the UK will starve if there’s bad weather because we have left the EU is so absurd as to be laughable. It shows a total lack of understanding of the modern economy.

Roger welsh
Reply to  David Guy-Johnson
December 18, 2019 9:17 am

Don’t worry. The eu was destined to die and it is now in the throes !roger

Bemused Bill
Reply to  Chris Hanley
December 18, 2019 12:21 am

Scotland the timid.
Sadly I am in agreement, they are on their way to being good little socialists. Sad, they think they are seeking freedom by teaming up with the Nuevo Nazis.

Patrick Healy
Reply to  Bemused Bill
December 18, 2019 1:41 am

Bemused Bill,
“Well on their way …. to being socialist”
We have passed that final hurdle to being marxist some time ago.

Adrian Mann
Reply to  Patrick Healy
December 18, 2019 1:58 pm

Be honest Patrick – you have no idea what Marxism actually is. Obviously. Or you wouldn’t have said that.

Reply to  Bemused Bill
December 18, 2019 7:17 am

Their Socialism only works due to the subsidies it gets from the parent government. Meanwhile that same Socialism eats at the heart of Scotland’s self reliance and self determination and thus disables it. In Canada we have Quebec and the Maritime provinces. Same thing. Perpetual welfare states whose main industry is inventing grievance.

Mods. Once again my posts are not posting

December 17, 2019 11:01 pm

My great grand parents left Scotland in 1862 to emigrate to New Zealand .
They landed in Lyttelton in Canterbury and the many branches of the family are still there .
Many Scottish and Irish ,along with English came to New Zealand at this time as it was a English colony .
I cannot understand why the people of Scotland want to remain with the EU because they don’t like being told what to do by Westminster .
They have not thought this out at all.
They will be bullied by all the European politicians and be forced to assimilate economic refugees whether they like it or not .
At least they have a far bigger representation in Westminster than in Brussels .
this is my opinion from the other side of the world .
If there are some unexplained reasons you will tell me .

Reply to  Gwan
December 17, 2019 11:59 pm

Well, first, the EU is an association of equal partners – all get the same input into decision making.

Secondly there is tremendous economic benefit from being in the EU.

Goods pass between states with no more paperwork or tariffs than if they passed between 2 towns in the same country…

B d Clark
Reply to  griff
December 18, 2019 8:35 am

That’s not true griff the only part of the eu that’s representative is the parliament that has no policy making powers the parliament only debates policy, MEPs are proportional to the size of a country so the UK has a lot less members than other countries.

Andy Mansell
Reply to  griff
December 18, 2019 9:07 am

Equal? Seriously? Ask the Greeks what they think about that…..and economic benefit for whom? We can’t deal with anyone without Nanny’s permission at the moment. It is an undemocratic, bureaucratic monster that serves only itself and cares not one jot for any of the poor slobs it rules over.

Reply to  griff
December 18, 2019 9:31 am


Nonsense. The Uk pays a £12 billion a year EU membership fee in order to have an £80 billion trade deficit with them. How is that a benefit?

The EU formulated trade deals round the world and internally are stitched up to favour manufacturing when much of Britain’s trade is in services. To this day there is no proper single market in services, despite that being promised when Tony Blair gave up some of our rebate.


Reply to  griff
December 18, 2019 1:12 pm

“EU is an association of equal partners”

And you actually believe that?

Reply to  griff
December 18, 2019 1:18 pm

Its over soon , griff.

Get over it, you dopey socialist muppet !

Reply to  griff
December 19, 2019 1:03 am

If you believe that, you are utterly naïve.

Where is the benefit from being in the EU? Where is the data that shows that? Plenty of very wealthy countries not in the EU, plenty of disastrous economies in the EU. Where’s the correlation?

Where’s the data that shows that UK GDP, or UK trade, or the volume of UK trade has grown because of the Single Market?

The cost of paperwork is absolutely tiny compared to the value of goods and services traded. To claim that removing £40 of paperwork from a consignment of goods worth £1 million makes us very rich is simply absurd, and shows how little Remainers understand trade.

The befits of trade flow in the long term from increased competition , not a lack of paperwork, but the EU’s Custom Union prevents competition, hence the total lack of benefit from the EU for over a decade now.

Andy in Epsom
Reply to  Gwan
December 18, 2019 1:09 am

And because of the very unbalanced representation are being the biggest bullies in the UK.

Reply to  Gwan
December 18, 2019 1:42 am

“I cannot understand why the people of Scotland want to remain with the EU because they don’t like being told what to do by Westminster”

The whole identity of most people in Scotland is based upon hatred of the English. This leads them to a natural idea that dictatorship from the EU is better than anything coming from London. Hence, the ludicrous idea that they will gain independence from England then sign up to join the EU and this will bring them a sort of Scottish independent paradise – free from English “rule” – even though they have been running their own corrupt and incompetent show with English taxpayers’ money for a long time now.

The next time there is an international sporting event, notice all the T-shirts being sold in Scotland bearing the message “ABE” – Anyone But England.

Reply to  Sasha
December 18, 2019 6:39 am

The next time there is an international sporting event, notice all the T-shirts being sold in Scotland bearing the message “ABE” – Anyone But England

Probably doesn’t help that we play the United Kingdom National Anthem for England, even when playing against Scotland.

Reply to  RobH
December 18, 2019 9:07 am

I just want to point out that England has no monarch, no parliament, no anthem, and it’s flag is deemed “racist”.

Patrick Healy
Reply to  Gwan
December 18, 2019 1:49 am

Greetings Gwan,
A lovely country is NZ. Unfortunate government you have, just like here in Scotland.
Mention of NZ causes me to wonder how much global cooling that erupting volcano in White (surely not ?) Island is or will cause. Apparently it has been erupting for many years.
Unfortunate about the loss of life though.

Patrick MJD
Reply to  Patrick Healy
December 18, 2019 11:22 pm

No, not erupting for years but has been continuously active since it was noticed. Most of the time you can see a plume of steam from the land around the bay. In terms of causing global cooling I would say not measurable, not big enough not enough ash etc thrown high enough. Now if Taupo or Mt. Ruapehu go up in a big way then maybe.

James Watson
December 17, 2019 11:11 pm

Following on with the weather and politics theme note that Scotland’s independence from England was reestablished in 1314 just at the end of the Medieval Warm period in Scotland.

David L Hagen
Reply to  James Watson
December 18, 2019 8:31 am

Cold is Deadly
Finland lost ~1/3rd of its population in the Great Famine of 1695-1697

St Ferd III
December 17, 2019 11:54 pm

Tree ring circus to quote Steyn.

How many issues are there with the Tree rings and their interpretations, not to mention tenuous connections with plant food as the great arbiter of their growth and size?

Science (fiction) is really a secular joke. All part of Eisenhower’s complex of interests he warned against, when Government funds everything.

Hard to believe that these quacks on the public payroll. Can we fire them and in good Brexit fashion, export them to the German Empire they love so much to reduce say, our Co2 emissions?

December 17, 2019 11:57 pm

If Scotland is more resilient as part of a UK, why is not the UK more resilient as part of the EU?

conversely you could argue that if it benefits the UK to regain sovereignty from the EU, then Scotland would be better off getting independence as a sovereign nation from the UK.

Meanwhile, the weather in Scotland has deteriorated due to climate change since 2000, with heavier floods, more storms and in this summer’s heatwave, Scots complaining it was too hot, with temps over 20 degrees C in Edinburgh in summer!

Reply to  griff
December 18, 2019 8:38 am

grifter sez:
conversely you could argue that if it benefits the UK to regain sovereignty from the EU, then Scotland would be better off getting independence as a sovereign nation from the UK.

Feckless argument.

Andy Mansell
Reply to  griff
December 18, 2019 9:12 am

‘Meanwhile, the weather in Scotland has deteriorated due to climate change since 2000’.
How the hell do you know that for a fact? I work with people in Scotland and not one of them has ever said anything remotely like that. The weather in Scotland has always been bloody awful!

Reply to  Andy Mansell
December 18, 2019 10:05 pm

I’m sure some people complain in Scotland. Here in New England it will be 80F, sunny, with a very slight breeze – what most people will call a perfect day – and some people will complain about how uncomfortably warm the weather is.

Patrick MJD
Reply to  Andy Mansell
December 18, 2019 11:57 pm

Griff likes to live in a dream world where he just makes stuff up, like half of New South Wales in Australia being on fire. Griff, constantly, demonstrates he is clueless, about everything pretty much. But he knows fossil fuels are changing global climate.

Reply to  griff
December 18, 2019 9:29 am

“If Scotland is more resilient as part of a UK, why is not the UK more resilient as part of the EU?”

For the same reason that though the UK will be equally resilient outside the EU, the State of Maine will be more resilient inside the USA.

This is a typical piece of bad logic and muddled thinking. To find out whether a given region is more resilient inside or outside a larger regional grouping, you have to look at it. In this case what you have to look at is the union of Scotland and England and Wales.

When you look at a different question, whether the UK is better off, more resilient, inside the EU, you may well get a different answer because you have asked a different question about a different country.

However the real point about Scotland, independence and the EU is this. In six weeks time the UK, including Scotland, will have left the EU. If Scotland then has a referendum for the third time, and if it votes for independence, this will happen at the earliest in late 2020. It will then have to be implemented. That will take quite some time. By the time its taken effect, Scotland and the UK will not only have left the EU, but the transition period will be over.

Scotland will now be an independent country. Its going to have to decide what currency to use. It will lose all the UK subsidies which it now gets. It will still be running a huge budget deficie – well beyond permissible EU fiscal rules.

The first thing it does, let us say, is apply for EU membership. That is a process which will take some time. At least another year or two, if its doable at all, because there will be opposition, particularly from Spain, who will worry about the Catalonian precedent.

But say the negotiations start to get serious. Then Scotland is going to have to accept the Euro, and the famous ‘four freedoms’, and membership of the customs union.

This means there will be a border between Scotland and England & Wales. There will have to be border controls, customs controls, tariffs, regulatory differences. England, Wales and Northern Ireland at this point are not going to be in the customs union.

How do you think its going to go down when its explained to the Scots by the SNP that there will have to be passport and customs controls a little north of Hadrian’s Wall? That trade with England etc is now subject to tariffs?

What the SNP desperately needed was to reverse Brexit. Then independence would have been of another country also in the EU. Scotland and the rest of Britain would then have still been in the customs union and Single Market. It would probably have worked.

If Corbyn had got a decent vote, the SNP would have supported him in a coalition government for this reason. But that plan failed with the Corbyn debacle. At this point there is no way for Scotland to make a success of independence. It cannot stand alone, and it is not going to be able to get into the EU, or not in time.

So, returning to Griff’s question, why are the two cases different? Because of the different trading and economic and social relations between the two nations. Scotland’s economy is much more closely integrated with the rest of the UK than the UK is with the EU. Far higher percentage of trade, more migration between the two nations.

The UK will take a small economic hit from leaving. Scotland, leaving the UK and then doing what it would have to do to qualify for independent membership in the EU would encounter austerity like that of Greece, or worse.

The SNP is made up of obsessives. Whatever the question, the answer is independence. If the referendum refuses, then you just ask again.

But if they got it, in the world as it is after Boris’s victory, it would be an economic and humanitarian basket case within months.

Reply to  michel
December 18, 2019 3:35 pm

But will the U.K. let them leave? As a resident of Texas I seem to recall two events in our history when we wanted to leave a country. Bloodshed in both cases, one successful, one not.

Nigel Sherratt
Reply to  griff
December 18, 2019 11:41 am

Short answer: The Euro, ask the Greeks.

Bryan A
Reply to  griff
December 18, 2019 12:22 pm

Scotland doesn’t require a political connection to England just for resilience in times of trouble.
Trading Partners can be such without Political ties.
Similarly GB doesn’t require Political ties to the EU to procure and maintain Trade Agreements with them.
Political affiliation is only required for governance and wartime protection. Though even the latter could be tended by physical agreement without Political Governance.

Reply to  griff
December 18, 2019 1:14 pm

That Scotland was more resilient is merely a claim by the authors, it’s not a proven. Much like your belief that every change anywhere in the world must have been caused by CO2.

Steve Keppel-Jones
Reply to  griff
December 18, 2019 6:07 pm

“Meanwhile, the weather in Scotland has deteriorated due to climate change”

That’s not how “weather” and “climate” work.

Phil Salmon
December 18, 2019 12:00 am

This is why science journalism is a corrupt, narcissistic and politicised genre. It is also pointless and is best ignored completely. In such science pieces always go straight to the abstract. Ignore the science-illiterate activist-journalist’s homily and just read the abstract only.

The purpose of science journalism (and probably all journalism) is for the journalist-activist to territorially urinate on the issue in question so that it stinks of him/her and stinks of their political opinions (inevitably ecofascist). Thus an article about proxy temperature reconstruction in Scotland becomes agitprop about Brexit.

Stephen Skinner
Reply to  Phil Salmon
December 18, 2019 12:54 am

Indeed. I was looking for the words.

Phil Salmon
December 18, 2019 12:10 am

“At the time, the Scots saw the colony as a kind of Exodus, where they would start over somewhere new,” said D’Arrigo. “In the end, they couldn’t escape.”

This will happen again when cooling climate with glacial inception will again threaten the habitability of Scotland, Scandinavia and other northern regions.

This winter again, against wishful forecasts of a mild winter, severe cold is building in Siberia that will likely overflow to outbreaks of freezing weather throughout the northern hemisphere:

Reply to  Phil Salmon
December 18, 2019 4:08 am

WE already have the freezing weather, Phil Salmon. Siberia can just take it back right now!!!

Now I’m happy to note that my distant ancestors migrated to North America instead of the tropics.

B d Clark
Reply to  Phil Salmon
December 18, 2019 8:54 am

8 days and nights of hill snow in Scotland not seen that for a while .

Reply to  B d Clark
December 19, 2019 10:55 am

Join the club. Fairly damaging ice-storm here in spots of the central Appalachians. Won’t make any news (other than local) because the socialist Wash DC/megalopolis escaped it.

B d Clark
Reply to  beng135
December 19, 2019 11:07 am

Agreed any cold both sides of the pond rarely get mentioned. But I did find one

There was a video of the above on the BBC this morning ,its of course vanished

Phil Rae
December 18, 2019 12:11 am

Most Scots probably would still vote “No” to independence if asked again in a new referendum. It might be a closer result than last time, due to years of nationalist agitation & anti-English rhetoric by the crypto-Communist SNP (Scottish Nationalist Party). However, we Scots aren’t stupid – the economics of independence are difficult and Scotland runs a significant deficit. That fact alone would make it difficult, if not impossible, for Scotland to rejoin, or remain in, the EU, thankfully.

In the meantime, the SNP and their colleagues the Green Party have been breaking up Scotland’s industrial infrastructure and selling a nonsensical story of “renewables” based on wind turbines & (believe it or not) solar power. They have also effectively banned frac’ing (hydraulic fracturing) desire the fact that Scotland sits on significant hydrocarbon reserves that could significantly improve the economy.

Phil Rae
Reply to  Phil Rae
December 18, 2019 12:22 am

…..despite the fact…..

Reply to  Phil Rae
December 18, 2019 3:56 am

Depending on which surveys you put stock in (if any), Scottish independence trails remaining in the UK by a range of 1% to 10%. Then again, Brexit trailed remain by pretty wide margins in the surveys too. Many/most polling companies have turned towards a push-polling business model to produce whatever result makes their client happy.

December 18, 2019 12:26 am

This is not an argument against Brexit but it is an argument against Scottish independence. Maybe they are relying on global warming to keep the place habitable.

Bob boder
Reply to  Susan
December 18, 2019 4:05 am

logically speak, if we need to create unions to survive in a cold climate, would not the need for unions be less as the climate warms?

Reply to  Susan
December 18, 2019 8:11 pm

“Maybe they are relying on global warming to keep the place habitable.”

Keep? When was it ever habitable?

Henning Nielsen
December 18, 2019 12:30 am

What are these “Earthlings” up to? Mixing natural science with political speculation and moral admonishments? But how can tales of cold climate scare anyone today, when the planet is burning? Are they making a subconscious move towards re-inventing the global cooling hype of the 1970s?

December 18, 2019 12:53 am

What I’d be interested to know is how they start counting the tree rings.
I mean, the outermost ring is presumably from when the tree died. But how do they date that ?
Carbon dating ?

John Tillman
Reply to  Mo06
December 18, 2019 4:37 am

Yes, you can carbon date, but that gives a range. To get precise years, dendochronologists match ring patterns with trees of known ages.

Reply to  John Tillman
December 18, 2019 9:12 am

Of course, tree rings are not concentric, so the climate you get depends how you take the core, and what result you want.

Reply to  Hermit.Oldguy
December 18, 2019 12:09 pm

It is really amazing how unsound, science-free skepticism can manage to discredit, with no more than one superficial sentence, the work of so many hard working people.

Good grief!

Steve Keohane
Reply to  Bindidon
December 18, 2019 12:54 pm

Worked for Mikey!

Reply to  Bindidon
December 18, 2019 1:17 pm

Blind faith in the ability of “scientists” to fix any data, no matter how bad.

Reply to  Hermit.Oldguy
December 18, 2019 3:46 pm


The same remark as made above to DotOldGuy perfectly applies to you.

I can’t recall you having ever written anything else than negative, discrediting things.
Who isn’t able to give constructive critique merits no consideration.

Samuel C Cogar
Reply to  Mo06
December 19, 2019 10:01 am

Mo06 – December 18, 2019 at 12:53 am
What I’d be interested to know is how they start counting the tree rings.

Mo06, the simple answer is, …… it (dendrochronology) is a “fuzzy” method of reverse engineering.

“Fuzzy” meaning, …… the results are less than 50% accurate because of so many variables and unknowns. Same as glacial “ice core” research.

Stephen Skinner
December 18, 2019 1:01 am

” A tree-ring based summer temperature reconstruction from the northern Cairngorms region identifies the 1690s as the coldest decade in Scotland for the last 750 years. ”
The Little Ice Age was the coldest in about 11,000 years with the last time temperatures being equal to that was during the Eemian, 120,000 years ago!
It’s good to see that science journalism is expert in the subject being written about

Joel O’Bryan
December 18, 2019 1:12 am

”With Brexit now threatening promising to isolate the UK from the European Union, the researchers think politicians should take this as a cautionary celebratory tale. “

There. Fixed it.

A further note is that 1695 – 1704 was the Maunder Minimum. Cold kills. Deep solar minimums kill.

John Tillman
Reply to  Joel O’Bryan
December 18, 2019 5:15 am

Yup. The LIA wasn’t caused by volcanic eruptions, but by four solar mínima, of which the Maunder was the worst, with countertrend warm cycles in between.

The early 18th century warm cycle was greater in amplitude and duration than the late 20th century warming cycle of the Modern Warm Period, which secular trend followed the Little Ice Age Cool Period, which came after the Medieval WP.

The 1690s were the depths of the Maunder and LIA, but there were also historically frigid years in the 18th century.

Ben Vorlich
December 18, 2019 1:27 am

Scotland becomes more resilient in a union. Isn’t the EU a union with a get out clause Article 50 unlike the UK (a small union) and USA?
Patterson the architect of Darien bankrupted two nations and created the Bank of England and involved in founding Bank of Scotland. He’s unknown to most people.
At the bottom of virtually all Scottish peat bogs are oak stumps. Even in the Caithness Flow Country.
Scottish Parliament in 1707 were described by Burns as a Parcel of Rogues. Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose as the other half of the Auld Alliance says.

Reply to  Ben Vorlich
December 18, 2019 2:06 am

Can scientists be called educated if they lack the rudiments of history? They wrote:

… Scotland was politically isolated from England, its bigger, more prosperous neighbor that might have otherwise helped.

In the context of the depopulation of the highlands, that rings hollow. Thank goodness for the colonies that were able to absorb the tired, poor, starving, huddled masses of clanfolk. Depending on how you count, there are many more people with Scottish ancestry living outside Scotland than living inside Scotland. link

Ben Vorlich
Reply to  commieBob
December 18, 2019 2:51 am

Yes certainly are, I have distant cousins in Canada, USA, Australia, New Zealand and Chile that I’m aware of, probably more that I’m not aware of. Ancestry research is a wonderful educator.

Reply to  Ben Vorlich
December 19, 2019 12:09 am

The call for union (in the article) was politically inept, as there is a British union just as there is a European one and the Brexit vote means that both cannot be accommodated democratically.

The only way forward for Scotland, with no union, is independence outside of the EU. That hardly seems likely. Therefore, the choice is not for union, but for which one?

December 18, 2019 1:39 am

While I am skeptical about that tree rings can tell us very much, combined with written records they show a interesting period during the worst of the little ice age.

I am hopefully looking forward to what the 8000 year old trees will show us about the past.


December 18, 2019 1:44 am


the Scots bankrupted themselves over various egregious overseas adventures and the English bailed them out by offering Union via James I in 1603.

There was no resiliency by “joining England” Scotland noblemen had no choice. This episode was a century later.

Reply to  AleaJactaEst
December 18, 2019 2:49 am

Offering Union ?

James I of England was the closest living relative of Elizabeth I, by the marriage of HenryVIII’s (Elizabeth’s father) sister to James’ grandfather. So really the only candidate for the job since ‘The Virgin Queen’ died childless.

Whilst it was a union of crowns, it was not a political union, which did not occur until a century later under Queen Anne, another of the Stuart line.

Tom Foley
Reply to  AleaJactaEst
December 18, 2019 3:02 am

Can you give us some examples of the Scots’ egregious overseas adventures in the 1400s and 1500s? How did they become bankrupt? Mostly they seem to have been staying home and fighting off the English.

NB. Yes the name’s Irish, but one branch of the family was on the losing side at Culloden and were bounty migrants to Australia in the 1830s.

Reply to  Tom Foley
December 18, 2019 3:30 am

Starter for 10 – The Darien Scheme – what could possibly go wrong….

and who said anything about the 15th and 16th C?

John Tillman
Reply to  AleaJactaEst
December 18, 2019 5:02 am

Scottish elites bankrupted themselves in the Darien adventure late in the 17th and early 18th centuries. England offered to compensate some of their losses if they voted in the Scottish parliament for Union. London also bribed other members outright.

The Scots opposed Union by about a 3/4 majority, but the suborned members of parliament accepted the deal, which left the Kirk and Scots law intact, while unifying currency and the military, with free trade.

The British Empire benefitted from Lalland Scots administrators and Highland bayonets. Until the clearances reduced the latter. “Ye ha’ preferred sheep to men; let sheep defend ye.”

My McEwen great-grandfather arrived in the US a penniless teenaged immigrant, but built a sheep empire in NE Oregon. Pendleton was the world’s leading wool railhead in the late 19th century. Hence the shirts and blankets.

The famed Scots Greys heavy cavalry regiment (founded 1707) destroyed at Waterloo was officially “North British” rather than Scots. The other two regiments in the Heavy Brigade were English and Irish.

December 18, 2019 1:45 am

There are some of us in England who would be quite happy to see the Scots quit the UK, providing that we can cease subsidising their playing at being a nation…

December 18, 2019 1:48 am

Many English would be glad to see the Scots leave. The Scottish State will then have to pay for its huge social security and public sector itself.

December 18, 2019 2:42 am

The Stuarts (Scottish) had been the ruling dynasty of both Scotland and England for nearly 90 years in 1690. So although no formal union existed, there was a fairly high degree of linkage.

Scottish independence will at the end of the day depend upon whether or not Scotland can support itself financially. Assuming it can, it would almost certainly be a close run thing, and one would have to assume that it may not have the money to support ‘Moocher’ scientists with the ease or in the style with which they may have become accustomed ?

So are we looking at Schlock Scientists against Indyref2 ? 🙂

Nigel Sherratt
December 18, 2019 3:05 am

When the weather improved we got the Enlightenment and the Industrial Revolution in both of which many Scots played a major part. The Scots did pretty well out of the Empire too. SNP have made a mess of education and NHS and all they have left is constant calls for independence via their disproportionate representation at Westminster. Looks like Boris plans to ignore their ‘blether’ and ‘greeting’ but that won’t lead any of them to ‘haud’ their ‘wheesht’ unfortunately. (For the avoidance of doubt my children were born at Ninewells Hospital in Dundee and we lived in St Andrews, home of the third oldest university in Britain, 1413.)

Reply to  Nigel Sherratt
December 18, 2019 3:39 am

Not forgetting the Scots have the biggest defecit in the EU, running at ~7%

How will they pay it back?

Nigel Sherratt
Reply to  fretslider
December 18, 2019 4:46 am

Indeed, the travails of the ‘PIIGS’ (just ask the Greeks) would have put an end to the discussion had it been based on logic or basic economics.

John Tillman
Reply to  Nigel Sherratt
December 18, 2019 6:14 am

The WX improved relative to the Maunder Minimum, but the Enlightenment and Industrial Revolution still occurred during the LIA. Indeed, some historians date the Age of Enlightenment from the Maunder, eg with the 1697 publication of Newton’s Principia, although he wasn’t really an Enlightenment figure himself. His contemporary John Locke (philosophical treatises from 1690), however arguably was.

Nigel Sherratt
Reply to  John Tillman
December 18, 2019 11:36 am

Newton was an enthusiastic alchemist and took a very unenlightened attitude to the coiners and clippers he hunted down as Master of the Royal Mint.

December 18, 2019 3:35 am

trying to sell “stop Brexit”

They’re a bit behind the times. That ship has sailed.

Even the most ardent remainers have thrown in the towel:

Michael Heseltine, the europhile former deputy prime minister, has admitted that the battle for Britain to remain in the European Union has been lost. The 86-year-old – who lost the Tory whip after urging people to vote against his party to stop Brexit – fears it will be 20 years before the issue of rejoining the EU is raised again.

Rosanne D’Arrigo is attempting to plug global governance. Is that the best they’ve got?

Bob boder
December 18, 2019 3:51 am

Wait, scotland was warmer in the middle ages then it is now? and scotland was colder during the LIA?
How is that possible did they forget how to build SUVs in the middle ages?
Until someone explains the LIA everything thing else is meaningless.

Reply to  Bob boder
December 18, 2019 9:37 am


This is a snippet from one of my articles crried here 8 years ago.

“Our modern bouts of amnesia regarding previous climatic conditions can be seen to be nothing new by reading the comments from the annals of Dumfermline Scotland from 1733/4, when it recorded that wheat was first grown in the district in 1733. Lamb wryly observes that was not correct, as enough wheat had been grown further north in the early 1500’s to sustain an export trade (before the 1560’s downturn).”


John Cherry
December 18, 2019 3:58 am

What a fascinating political narrative these climatologists produce. It would be refreshing if they would stick to the facts, rather than the internationalist politics. Their argument about the benefits of union seem rather contrived, but, taken at face value, they suggest that Scottish independence would be a mistake for Scotland. Like many Englishmen, I have grown weary of the incessant posture of whining victimhood adopted by the Scottish Nationalists while they take my money and mess up their public services. I would not go so far as to wish independence on them, though. They won’t get it, either. The general election polling showed 45% for the Scot Nats, not all of which voters would actually vote for independence in a referendum. As to rejoining the EU if they gained independence, it’s not going to happen because of the land border issue and the nature of their trade with England and Wales.

I have an imaginary political scenario which I shall offer in conclusion. A huge meteor is approaching the earth. Comments from the UK political parties are as follows. Conservatives: We shall work with the USA and other allies to destroy it with nuclear weapons. Labour: We shall work with Russia and China to destroy it with nuclear weapons. LibDems: We shall work with the rest of the world to destroy it by some means or other. Greens: Somebody else must destroy it without using nuclear weapons. Scot Nats: Another independence referendum now. Unfair? I think not.

December 18, 2019 4:09 am

A “Brexited” England can still trade when both parties benefit and agree, which will be no less possible after Brexit. There will be no starving Scottish when the Climate turns cold over the next 3-4 decades. For you communists out there that’s how free enterprise works. When trade benefits both parties it usually happens.

The Globalist Socialist tyoes dismissed, ignored, and abused the working classes in the US and Europe…and got Trump and Brexit and Yellow Jackets and Farmer revolts in response. This quaint and archaic Democracy thing is giving them trouble so they’ve started trying to get rid of its effects by Coup attempts and a ,”Trumped up” Impeachment attempt in the US…and just plain telling successful Brexit referendum voters go to hell in England…twice.

These ARE the exact same people who are trying to ram costly and freedom sacrificing and restrictive Climate Change “remedies” down our throats…the same people who have recently discovered that boys are girls (and vice versa) and they’ll dox you and destroy your life if you don’t agree with them. On.many American Campuses the handcuffs are figuratively already on — dissenters cannot speak freely without severe social cost.

These deranged and *evil* people are getting harder and harder to live with to the point of major push back. Peaceful Coexistence with these Globalist Socialists IS becoming more and more unpopular amongst the working classes.

The Climate Fraud folks will keep throwing everything they have at Trump… which is producing a backlash that appears to have increased Trump’s chances of reelection…we’ll see.

If they cannot abide the results of lost elections we’ll have to find other less traditional remedies…or we capitulate…and give away our freedoms and prosperity — to them.

If you can’t see how hard they are pushing their PLANS (Climate Fraud, “Woke” Identity Politics, EU ) you aren’t awake. If you can’t see how wrong they are and how serious the situation has gotten by now…you are lost.

B d Clark
Reply to  DocSiders
December 18, 2019 5:10 am


I agree entirely with your post, and Phil salmon posts.👍

Reply to  DocSiders
December 18, 2019 6:08 am

Thus spoke Zarathustra

John Cherry
Reply to  DocSiders
December 18, 2019 6:34 am

Agreed entirely, DocSiders. An attempt to impeach Trump was likely from the outset because of his politics, just as the failure to impeach Clinton was always equally likely and for the same reason. And isn’t it funny how precious, noble democracy suddenly becomes vile populism when the people vote the “wrong” way?

Reply to  DocSiders
December 18, 2019 8:23 am

Doc, I agree. And *evil* is the correct description.

December 18, 2019 5:52 am

Thig ar latha

December 18, 2019 6:13 am

All you need to know about just HOW unreliable tree rings are can be found in the various writings about Professor Flim Flam’s infamous Hockey Stick. Andrew Montford and Steve McIntyrer good writers to start with.

As for Scotland, if they really want out, just make the next Indy referendum UK wide. Guarantee we’ll vote them out.

December 18, 2019 6:56 am

It was very reassuring to hear Al Gore tell the climate change conference in Spain that “Brexit was the stupidest decision a country could take”. At that point I just knew the Tories would win the election and Brexit would be 100% assured, thanks Al !!!!!!!

December 18, 2019 7:05 am

Article sez:
With Brexit now threatening to isolate the UK from the European Union

LOL. Scare-mongering much? How did the poor UK ever survive before the EU & their bureaucrats running everything?

Reply to  beng135
December 18, 2019 11:59 am

Apparently the Times once printed a story with the following headline:

December 18, 2019 7:10 am

Is this headpost a climate post, or a political one? Fun either way.

If climate, then the researchers have surely entered a Scottish plea for global warming to proceed unhindered.

If political, and Rob and Roseanne insist on making their tree ring research a plug for anti-Brexit, we need to tell them that they are out of order. Not surprising, though, as I’ll bet that Brexiteers are as rare among the CliSci community as CAGW sceptics (Lewandowsky et al, 2021?).

The view of this English-based, Welsh ancestered, loves Great Britain, sceptic, is that it would be great for Scotland to go it alone – hopefully without making the mistake of tagging along with the EU. Probably good for England, too. The Scots have always pulled their weight, and more, within the Union, and arguably have contributed more to science and technology, per capita, than any other nation. And they THINK OF THEMSELVES as a nation, which is the key thing. Sure, they voted 55-45 against independence a few years ago. I think that was largely due to threats from all quarters of the loss of economic opportunity, and of the substantial funds from London – a forerunner of ‘Project Fear’ during Brexit. In fact, a tally of the economic plusses and minuses is the worst possible basis of all on which to judge the viability of independence. Just see Singapore, and HongKong, to get a taste of how huge strides can be made with near-zero natural resources, and near-zero outside money.

The downside of independence is that in Scotland there is a very big socialist majority (SNP is indistinguishable from labour in much policy), and that is a fear that may cause centrists and rightists to vote to stay. But a lot of that socialism may evaporate after independence, when Scots will have to face the realities of running a real country.

Of course I do hope they will stay, but that’s just emotion.

jim hogg
Reply to  mothcatcher
December 18, 2019 11:21 am

At last: a balanced view. Thank you Mothcatcher.

Reply to  mothcatcher
December 18, 2019 12:02 pm

Speaking from Glasgow, I love you too 🙂

Edwin Cottey
December 18, 2019 7:11 am

This remarquable cold period is echoed in the Central England Temperature record. It shows the decadel mean annual temperature falling over 1 degree celsius from 9.2 degrees in 1660 to 8.1 degrees in 1700. However, more interestingly, the next 40 year period saw temperatures bounce back by nearly twice that amount. By the end of the 1730’s they were around 9.9 degrees, a rise of 1.8 degrees celsius. The CET also shows that during the current warm period temperatures have risen by only 1.1 degrees over the 40 years from 1970 to 2010, going from 9.3 degrees to 10.4. So the current ‘man-made’- rise in temperature is not as great as the rise then. It also means, of course, that the current decadel mean (to 2010) annual temperature is only 0.5 degrees warmer than it was in the early 18th century. So much for the climate crisis!!

December 18, 2019 7:26 am

The medieval warm period looks clear in this non-Mannean reconstruction. Those peaks around year 1300 look warmer than the current warm spell.

Reply to  a_scientist
December 18, 2019 12:44 pm


“The medieval warm period looks clear in this non-Mannean reconstruction. ”

Correct! But… in the graph upthread

comment image?w=691&ssl=1

you see

NCAIRN: Scottish JA mean temperature reconstruction

Did you ever see in a hockey stick graph any mention of the data having been reduced to Scotland’s July/August mean? I can’t recall that.

December 18, 2019 7:54 am

But, but, but, the Manniac says there was no LIA nor MWP!

December 18, 2019 8:21 am

“volcano eruptions that probably took place somewhere in the tropics in 1693 and 1695. ”
That may explain the dip around 1690. However, what caused the steady decline beginning around 1500 from a point that is higher than today’s high????

Reply to  Usurbrain
December 18, 2019 1:09 pm


“However, what caused the steady decline beginning around 1500 from a point that is higher than today’s high?”

I think most specialists agree upon the decline having begun much earlier (remeber that you look here very locally at Scotland in July/August), probably around 1300/1350.

But as usual, there are two rather contradicting parties:

(1) – those telling the cause was a sequence of solar minima (Oort, Wolf, Spörer) preceeding the Maunder Minimum; you see their trace below, discovered with the help of 14C located in tree rings


(2) – those relating this decline to a rather tremendous sequence of huge volcano eruptions, starting with

– 1257 Samalas, Indonesia, VEI 7/8

and continuing with

– 1280 Quilotoa, Andes VEI 6
– 1452/3 Kuwae, Vanuatu, VEI 6+
– 1477 Bárðarbunga, Island, VEI 6
– 1563 Agua de Pau, Acores, VEI 5
– 1580 Billy Mitchell, Solomon Island, VEI 6
– 1586 Kelut, Island, VEI 5
– 1600, Huaynaputina, Peru, VEI 6
– 1641, Mount Melibengoy, Phillipines VEI 6
– 1650, Kolumbo, Greece, VEI 6
– 1660, Long Island, Papua New Guinea, VEI 6

and inbetween all these, about 35 eruptions with VEI 3-4.

According to their idea, these volcano eruptions disconnected ocean surfaces from solar irradiation through their huge amounts of aerosols having reached the stratosphere, what led to a rather global cooling.

Maybe it’s a combination of the two…

B d Clark
Reply to  Bindidon
December 19, 2019 5:06 am

For a volcano to have a effect on the atmosphere the ejection of aerosols would have to be above a certain hight to circulate in the atmosphere to have a meaningful effect,.and only certain types of volcanos, have this type of ejective capability, neither of which you have identified in your theory.

Nor have you identified/correlated volcanic eruptions that happen during/ just prior too and in SCs maxima /minima and effects the minima have on CRF effecting magma below the earths near surface .

B d Clark
Reply to  Bindidon
December 19, 2019 7:34 pm

Bindidon I see you failed to answer my questions yet again.apart from 2 of the above dates the volcano eruptions happened well within the little ice age. LIA approx 1290-1800 which enveloped the sporer,maunder .starting with the wolf GSM 1280,1350.approx with the dalton min 1790-1820 the whole LIA was dominated just before its beginning and just after its end by GSMs .to insinuate this extreme period of cold was started by volcanic eruptions simply is not true ,to state the volcanic actions were a consequence of GSM and Sm fits the evidence ,yet again another point you have failed to answer too is minima solar cycles that effect the planet with reduced TSI and CRF which effect the plasticity of magma chambers and charge tectonic regions no wonder you compiled a list of stratospheric volcanoes that blew their tops during the LIA,volcanic action is not a cause of LIA it’s a consequence, the next question is what effect did these stratospheric ejections have did they prolong the LIA ,unlikely aerosols from volcanos last typically 1-3 years in the atmosphere. they likely contributed to cooling within the aerosols time in the atmosphere, the prevailing cause of 500 years of cooling was rolling GSMs /SMs ,

For someone who likes to think hes a researcher predominantly trying to counter any evidence of past cooling and its causes and present cooling ,your failing miserably.

December 18, 2019 8:21 am

Bizarre article. Let’s say an independent Scotland gets hit with some sort of climate catasrophe such as the one mentioned in the article. The Scottish government would ask for help in the form of food supplies. Are we supposed to believe the reply from everyone they ask would be ‘Sorry, you have no political arrangement with us. We can’t help’.

Reply to  Charlie
December 18, 2019 12:05 pm

I’m sure Sir Bob would arrange a sing-song and pass the hat around.

Steve Richards
December 18, 2019 8:27 am

“and leave the isolationist English to fend for themselves.”

Its an old argument to say that people who wanted BREXIT are isolationist or “Little Englanders”.

In the EU there are no trade deals for the 28 countries, all 28 states have a common deal with a non EU state.

You can imagine the horse trading that goes on among the 28 members trying to agree a common deal.

Out of the EU the UK will be able to negotiate a trade deal with any country in the world plus the EU, to suit the UK and the other country.

That is not isolationist it is internationalist.

We are looking worldwide to broker agreements with all countries that want to trade with the UK and avoid the tariffs within the WTO system.

Bring it on, it will be good.

PS: we like European countries we just do not want to be controlled by them, that’s all….

Reply to  Steve Richards
December 18, 2019 9:19 am


You will remember that the slogan at the referendum for Leave was ‘out of Europe and into the world’. Those claiming that England seeks isolation just did not understand Brexit. As you rightly say we love our European family but dislike the faction trying to control them


Patrick MJD
Reply to  Steve Richards
December 19, 2019 2:34 am

“Steve Richards December 18, 2019 at 8:27 am

Out of the EU the UK will be able to negotiate a trade deal with any country in the world plus the EU, to suit the UK and the other country.”

Not if the EU follows their plans to ban any EU member state from trading with the UK post Brexit if any of those products and services do not meet EU climate policy criteria. Not sure how they are going to police that. I do know someone here in Australia does not trade, selling electrical instruments like multi-meters, with the EU because of red tape. He still trades with America and Canada. I think the EU will suffer more given it’s simply a German-Franco love-in thing anyway. BTW, I found out recently that one reason why the German car industry can claim reductions in emissions is the fact many of the cars are made in other countries. The Mk6 Golf and the Polo are made in South Africa. The Amarok ute is made in Argentina. Many of the big EU makers make cars in other countries outside the EU as well as cheaper labour costs in countries in the EU like Poland.

B d Clark
December 18, 2019 9:49 am

I think Scotland needs a post to put its recent history in to context ( I have never lived or desire to live in Scotland) albeit under English rule.shipbuilding world renowned, farming , even producing grains in its harsh climate, the aesthetic arts and crafts movement again world renowned, it’s own law courts judiciary system, literary scholars poet’s, medical schools and scholars, universities world class, and extraction industries. that’s what comes to mind at the mo. And vast areas of mountains and lochs in a harsh cold environment, they achieved all this more or less under English rule.they have always had a nationalist element but this should not be confused with a proud culture, nationalism is driven in Scotland by politics ,its been a long time since the English oppressed the scotch and they achieved all of the above after them bloody days, the celts were thriving there, the Roman’s did not get a foot hold.if I was a scotch chap, I would think I have already more independence than any other UK nation , I can trade with my larger UK brother with no tariffs and border check points I have a parliament who can negotiate on my behalf and make decisions , why would I want to leave one union and swap it for another.

Loren Wilson
December 18, 2019 10:50 am

“Before this, we knew it was cold. Now we have an understanding of exactly how cold,” said coauthor Rob Wilson. Not if they are using tree rings. Too many factors affect tree rings to be able to claim that it is an exact thermometer.

December 18, 2019 11:01 am

(Unsurprisingly, the tree rings also show that the warmest century of the record was 1911-2010, almost certainly due to human greenhouse-gas emissions.)

Now that we have been unsurprised, does the author have any actual proof of this statement?
Couldn’t possibly also unsurprisingly been due to any natural variation now, could it?

Patrick MJD
Reply to  yirgach
December 19, 2019 12:00 am

It’s not a statement of proof. It was almost certainly made to secure more funding.

Steve Z
December 18, 2019 11:54 am

If the researchers pulled trees out of a Scottish bog to analyze their rings, how do they know how long ago each tree fell into the bog, unless there is some written record that tree X fell into the bog in year Y?

The tree rings would tell scientists how old each tree was when it died, but if no one knows in what year it died, they wouldn’t know which years were represented by the narrow rings.

Whether this cold period in Scotland around 1700 is a lesson for modern times is highly debatable. Both England and Scotland were agricultural economies in 1700, although England (and other European countries) derived considerable wealth from colonies in North and South America back then.

In today’s industrialized world, England is far more industrialized than Scotland, but the UK’s recent vote most likely means that the UK will separate from the European Union. There are no more colonies, but the UK can benefit from trade with the United States if trade with the EU is reduced after Brexit.

After Brexit, Scotland will remain the coldest and least industrialized part of the UK, so economically they have more to gain by remaining in the UK rather than trying to be an independent nation with a small land area, very little industry, and few natural resources. Whether the Scots realize this will be up to them.

Michael Carter
December 18, 2019 11:59 am

The solution is simple (where are those stupid diplomats?):

England is to adopt haggis as a national dish. Problem over. That’s how you court a man right?

“Haggis is a savoury pudding containing sheep’s pluck (heart, liver, and lungs), minced with onion, oatmeal, suet, spices, and salt, mixed with stock, and cooked while traditionally encased in the animal’s stomach”


PS . We (New Zealand) produce a lot of sheep’s stomachs. We are trying to breed emission-free sheep too.

Free trade deal please.

Patrick MJD
Reply to  Michael Carter
December 18, 2019 11:28 pm

Have you ever driven behind, or over taken, a cattle truck in NZ? I have, when the animal slurry is allowed to spill over the edge of the trailer on to the road or on to your car. Wonderful! That is more damaging, very slippery stuff to driver on, than any emissions from cattle!

Reply to  Michael Carter
December 18, 2019 11:49 pm

Haggis is quite possibly like Brexit.

A northern Pom* thing.

Or at least a pan-border job.

*English (translated for those outside of the Commonwealth).

Dr Deanster
December 18, 2019 12:47 pm

Read through a few post, figured someone would have jumped on it ….. maybe they did later ….

BUT ….. did anyone else notice it was warmer back in 1200 according to this tree ring chronology than it is today?

Patrick MJD
Reply to  Dr Deanster
December 18, 2019 11:31 pm

Yes, I did however, they are using tree ring proxy data and we already know treemometers don’t make good thermometers. How may trees were used?

December 18, 2019 1:55 pm

Dr Deanster

“BUT ….. did anyone else notice it was warmer back in 1200 according to this tree ring chronology than it is today?”

Yes! I did!

Rudolf Huber
December 18, 2019 2:38 pm

The evidence for drastic climatic changes over the last thousands of years is crushing. Temperatures have been a lot colder just about 300 years ago and they have been much warmer than now about 900 years ago. I have asked this many times and I will certainly do so many more times. All those extreme swings occurred before the industrial revolution and ergo before humans were supposedly able to alter the climate. CO2 was stable at all those times. It has never been the culprit for all those extreme changes. And now, a much more moderate change, it is blamed for the ills of the world? Come on.

Phils Dad
December 18, 2019 8:24 pm

Just to put peoples’ minds at rest; I am sure the EU will manage without us, even if the weather turns colder.

December 18, 2019 11:25 pm

‘Nations should stick together.’

Yes. And no.

Scotland may as well have taken their independence as part of the EU. Alba gu brath and all that.

But with Brexit, the landscape changes. The UK needs Scotland rather more now and Scotland would do well to wait and see, rather than rush out of the British union and back into the European one.

Mike Haseler (Scottish Sceptic)
December 19, 2019 12:10 am

There is not a single road or ferry link between Scotland and the EU & Scotland is massively funded by the UK, and the anti-fossil fuel lunatic SNP try to pretend “we’ll live on oil money” ??? They are barmy. For Scotland to leave the UK would be economic suicide and a nightmare.

So why have the separatist anti-English SNP grown the entire time the UK has been in the EU. Because we’ve been in the EU, and like the old Holy Roman empire, the game is to destroy the nation states and divide and conquer. That is why separatist groups have grown in the UK, in Spain and undoubtedly will grow in Germany, Italy, France etc.

So, why were the SNP against Brexit? The only reason the SNP could be against SELF-DETERMINATION for the UK, was either:
1. They don’t believe in self-determination (which would be daft – but stupidity is not in short supply in the SNP)
2. They hate the English and were just against it for that reason (which is undoubtedly true of some in SNP).
3. They knew that when the UK left the EU, it would become impossible for Scotland to leave the UK (which would make sense – but common sense and SNP are not fellow travellers).

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