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Extreme Weather In Europe Report–Strangely Quiet On Storms

October 27, 2013
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By Paul Homewood




Yesterday, I had a quick look at the report just published, “Extreme Weather Events in Europe: preparing for climate change adaptation”.

The Preface begins:


This study arises from the concern that changes in weather patterns will be one of the principal effects of climate change and with these will come extreme weather. This is of considerable consequence in Europe as it impacts on the vulnerability of communities across the continent and exposes them to environmental risks.


Does not sound as if they have got much of an open mind there then! I will be having a more detailed look at it later, but one thing I noticed straightaway. There is very little mention of storms.

The Executive Summary begins with a section called – “The current position: recent changes in extreme weather patterns”. Although heavy rain events are mentioned, there is no mention of storms at all, except that the insurance industry report more claims (a comment that is pretty meaningless).

Only when you get to the next section – “The outlook” – do you find this comment:


5. Climate model simulations indicate an increase in windstorm risk over Northwestern Europe, leading to higher storm damage when there is no adaptation. Over Southern Europe, severe wind storms are projected to decline.


Now this is all very strange, because there is a wealth of scientific evidence that storms in NW Europe were much worse than now in the Little Ice Age. And there is a very good reason for that – temperature gradients between the Arctic and tropical latitudes were much greater during the LIA.


HH Lamb, in “Climate: Present, Past & Future”, summing up the LIA, talks of “Evidence of increasing severity of the windstorms and resulting sea floods and disasters by shifting sand”.


And Brian Fagan , in his book “The Little Ice Age”, relates:

It was not only the cold that was a problem during the Little Ice Age.Throughout Europe, the years 1560-1600 were cooler and stormier, with late wine harvests and considerably stronger winds than those of the 20th Century. Storm activity increased by 85% in the second half of the 16th Century and the incidence of severe storms rose by 400%.

Perhaps the most infamous of these storms was the All Saints Flood in November 1570, which worked its way northeast up the North Sea.The storm brought enormous sea surges ashore in the Low Countries, flooding most of Rotterdam, Amsterdam, Dordrecht and other cities and drowning at least 100,000 people. In the River Ems further north in Germany, sea levels rose an incredible four and a half meters above normal.

In 1607 another storm caused even greater floods in the Bristol Channel with flood waters rising 8 meters above sea level miles inland.

Later in the 17th Century, great storms blew millions of tonnes of formerly stable dunes across the Brecklands of Norfolk and Suffolk, burying valuable farm land under meters of sand. This area has never recovered and is heathland. A similar event occurred in Scotland in 1694. The 1400 hectare Culbin Estate had been a prosperous farm complex next to the Moray Firth until it was hit by another huge storm which blew so much sand over it that the farm buildings themselves disappeared. A rich estate had become a desert overnight and the owner, the local Laird, died pauper three years later.

The Great Storm of 1703  is recognized as the most powerful storm ever recorded in England and caused immense damage there as well as across the North Sea in Holland and Denmark.


Back in 1362, there was the Grote Mandrenke:

The (1st) Grote Mandrenke (Low Saxon for "Great Drowning of Men") was a massive southwesterly Atlantic gale , which swept across England, the Netherlands, northern Germany, and Schleswig around 16 January 1362, causing at minimum 25,000 deaths. 16 January is the feast day of St. Marcellus , hence the terrible storm tide is also called the "2nd St. Marcellus flood". The "1st St. Marcellus flood" which drowned 36,000 people mainly in West Friesland and Groningen (today provinces in the north of the Netherlands) took place on the same day (16 January) in 1219.

An immense storm tide of the North Sea swept far inland from the Netherlands to Denmark, breaking up islands, making parts of the mainland into islands, and wiping out entire towns and districts, such as Rungholt on the island of Strand in North Frisia and Ravenser Odd in East Yorkshire.

This storm tide, along with others of like size in the 13th century and 14th century, played a part in the formation of the Zuiderzee, and was characteristic of the unsettled and changeable weather in northern Europe at the beginning of the Little Ice Age.


And in Britain, the Great Storm of 1703 is generally regarded as “ the most severe storm or natural disaster ever recorded in the southern part of Great Britain.”


There is actually a wealth of scientific work that backs up the case that the LIA was much stormier than in the MWP, and than now. There is a good selection here and here.


Nobody disputes that we are living in a warmer climate now than we were 150 years ago, and as a result there will be climatic changes, some bad and some good. The EASAC Report seems keen to point out all of the nasty things that have already happened, so why have they not mentioned some of the beneficial consequences such as reduced severity of storms?

  1. A C Osborn permalink
    October 27, 2013 2:34 pm

    Looking at what has and is actually happening doesn’t give them any headlines, so let’s use some Model output instead, there that is much scarier.
    It really is pathetic where so called modern Climate science has got to, how genuine scientists in the other disciplines aren’t calling them out I just don’t know, they should be ashamed.

  2. J Martin permalink
    October 27, 2013 8:19 pm

    Looking at the Steven Goddard graph on

    I noticed that the UK had its strongest storm in recent times in 1987 (The Michael Fish hurricane) when the US had its lowest recorded number of severe tornadoes, now the UK is about to get its second strongest storm in recent years, the same year that the US had its second lowest number of severe tornadoes.

    Probably just a coincidence.

  3. John permalink
    October 27, 2013 8:46 pm

    Check out the windspeeds of some UK storms in recent times:
    The ‘Glasgow Hurricane’ – 15th Jan 1968
    Capella – 2nd/3rd Jan 1976
    87J – 15th/16th Oct 1987
    Daria (Burns Night Storm) – 25th Jan 1990
    Vivian – 25th/26th Feb 1990
    Yuma – Xmas 1997
    Silke – Xmas 1998

    The storm later tonight looks quite weak in comparison.

    Storminess has declined remarkably since the turn of this century. So has Arctic sea-ice.

  4. Jim permalink
    October 30, 2013 3:02 pm

    Yes, you should find it odd that they’re not saying anything. If many would do some research I think you will find the weather events taking place today is progressing the same way it did during the Maunder Minimum and maybe best to invest in cold crop seeds and seeds that do well on cool weather and wet weather so find soil that drains well.

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