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Adapting To Climate Change In Yorkshire–Part III

November 23, 2013

By Paul Homewood





In Parts I & II, we looked at claims made in the Yorkshire and Humber Regional Adaptation Study about the changes we were likely to see by 2050 in temperatures and rainfall because of climate change.

We can now wrap up the last three claims.



CLAIM 1 – Significant reductions in the number of days of frost and snow.


The Full Report quantifies this reduction at around 40% from 1960-90 levels. Figure 1 shows the air frost days for N & NE England, using Met Office data.



Figure 1


There was certainly a downward trend in the late 1980’s, but for the last two decades there is little apparent trend. If anything, the trend has been increasing in the last few years.

The average number of air frost days between 1961 and 1990 was 62, and the current 5-year average is 56 days.

So again there is nothing in the record to justify the significant reductions projected.

The Met Office don’t publish snowfall data as such, but the idea that cold, snowy winters are a thing of the past is frankly laughable, as the Met Office’s Winter Temperature Chart for England makes clear. Four of the last five winters have been below the 30-year average.



Figure 2


CLAIM 2 – Marginal increases in winter average wind speeds


This is hardly even worth dealing with. The Report makes it clear that the projections are solely based on modelling , and admit that “The projection of winds is very difficult to achieve, particularly when considering long-term future conditions associated with climate change. Consequently, the projection of future wave climates, which is dependent on the future wind climate, is equally uncertain”



CLAIM 3 – Sea levels will rise by 0.35 metres.


The first thing we need to note is that the coast of Yorkshire is sinking because of isostatic rebound.




The Report gives this table for isostatic rebound at the Humber estuary.




So by 2050, we would expect to see a sea level rise of 31mm due to this rebound, (starting from 2010). An overall increase of 350mm, as projected, would imply a Eustatic Sea Level rise of 329mm, or 823mm per century. (Eustatic reflects the “volume of sea”).

The UK official body, PSMSL,  holds tidal gauge data for two sites in Yorkshire and the North East, which have long records – North Shields and Immingham, and this data is plotted below. (As it is further north, the isostatic adjustment for North Shields is smaller than Immingham, at around 0.5mm/year, but the coast is still sinking there).



North Shields






All three reflect a gradual long term increasing trend. Using North Shields as an example, as it has the longest record, we find that:


  Annual Mean Sea Level mm Sea Level Rise to 2012 mm/Century
1901 6812 182
1981 6987 94
2001 7019 Nil
2012 7016  


The rate of increase since 1901, 182mm/century, would be split into about 50mm for isostatic rebound, and 132mm for eustatic. (The latter compares to estimated global numbers of 150 – 200mm). Significantly though, despite the land sinking, the rate of sea level rise seems to have fallen in recent decades, and there has been no rise at all since 2001.

Of course, North Shields may be an outlier, affected by local bias, but the evidence from Immingham says the same. And this analysis of all UK tidal gauges came  to exactly the same conclusion.




The Regional Adaptation Study has made extreme claims about temperatures, rainfall, snow, winds and sea levels, which simply do not stand up to scrutiny as far as the evidence of the last decade or so goes.

Of course, nobody knows what the next four decades will hold in store for us, but wouldn’t it make sense for this Report to be chucked in the bin?

Climate always throws up nasties for us, and any sensible plan would build in sufficient flexibility and foresight to cope with the worst that nature can throw at us.

This Regional Adaptation Study, and no doubt the others prepared for the rest of the country, is a monument to a set in concrete, blinkered, inflexible and bureaucratic vision of the future.

The real danger is that this obsession with computer models and global warming will distract us from dealing with the sort of problems that have always faced us in the past, and will no doubt continue to in future.




1) Air frost data from the Met Office


2) Sea level data from the Permanent Service for Mean Sea Level

One Comment
  1. Billy Liar permalink
    November 27, 2013 11:29 am

    It’s all just a job creation scheme. Only bureaucrats using tax payers money benefit from people in offices sitting at desks making this stuff up. It keeps them off the streets, I suppose. How did people adapt before there was a massive bureaucracy telling them how to do it?

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