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Jet Stream Weirding – 1962 Style

June 27, 2013

By Paul Homewood




We probably all know now that the jet stream has shifted southwards in the last year or so. Many would like to blame this on “melting Arctic ice”.

In which case, they might care to explain why exactly the same happened in 1962.

From the Met Office’s paper issued in April, “Why was the start to spring 2013 so cold?” :-


It is informative to consider whether there are similarities in the global climate system in 1962(Figure 6) to this year’s situation (Figure 3). Comparison with the equivalent figures for 2013 shows a remarkable resemblance.

The hemispheric pattern of the surface air temperature anomalies is almost identical, as is the hemispheric pattern of mean sea level pressure anomalies. Again the negative phase of the NAO dominated the Euro-Atlantic sector in 1962, with the same southwards shift in the jet stream taking the weather systems into southern Europe and the Mediterranean.


None of this stopped the Met Office holding an urgent summit meeting of top experts from around the world to look into this.

I don’t have a problem with scientists getting together to discuss their research. But I find it astonishing that, despite billions in funding, supercomputers and the rest, they have no better understanding now about these matters than they did 50 years ago.

  1. tckev permalink
    June 28, 2013 3:38 am

    It maybe my age but back in 1962 the weather forecasts were every bit as good and bad as todays. I may be wrong but I doubt it. So how did they forecasts back then (and before then)? They slowly and painstakingly built up daily pictures of air pressures, temperatures, wind speed and directions etc., from all the regions, together information from ships and aviation, and from experience of known patterns of behaviors put together probable outcomes that would become the forecast. This method relied a lot on human experience and judgment but in the main it worked.

    As the 1960 moved on, computers and satellite data gained ground, pushing aside the old human judged pattern recognition ways, so that statistical modeling took its place. Today the Met Office relies heavily on these remote sensed, computerized statistical models almost exclusively.
    So what have we lost? We have lost something Professor H.H. Lamb and his colleges would know as second nature. They understood that there are many short, medium and long term cycles to weather. And IMO that is what is missing in the current methods of forecasting; they have lost that intimate feel for the way weather and climate is a cascade of slowly evolving cycles of change – AO, AMO, PDO, trade wind changes, etc. They all wobble and shake to their own individual rhythms but interact in concert to give us both our weather and climate.
    Hopefully now the Met Office see their error and will return to some of these old treasures.

  2. Jaap de Vos permalink
    June 28, 2013 5:17 pm

    I hope that the similarities between 2013 and 1962 will stop the coming months. Otherwise we get a hard winter 2013/14. I do remember me the winter of 1962/1963 as the most severe and long winter in my lifetime.

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