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NFU Vice President Forgets His History

November 16, 2014

By Paul Homewood  



h/t Joe Public




The NFU report on a Parliamentary event about climate change:


Climate change will increasingly pose serious challenges to Britain, but addressing climate change will bring significant opportunities for British business.

Guy Smith_170_255

That was the conclusion of a parliamentary event attended by NFU Vice President Guy Smith this week in response to the IPPC report, on weather and climate change.

Mr Smith, who farms near Clacton-on-Sea, Essex, spoke about the need for farmers to recognise that the weather is getting more volatile, as are the markets while the need to invest in farms to make them weatherproof is essential.

“In 2013 on my farm we had the wettest winter in living memory, the strongest winds since 1987, the highest tides since 1953. When you see all that come together in a short window you realise that maybe something is going on.”

Faced with volatility, he said that the art of farming becomes more speculative. “This leads to a lack of confidence in agriculture as to what the future might hold, and my worry is that that may lead to a lack of investment in our farms just when we should be investing more in terms of weather proofing them.”



What on earth has he been smoking? Surely a farmer, of all people, would have understood that weather has always been volatile.


Let’s take his claims one by one.



1) Wettest winter

The wettest winter in living memory? He obviously does not much of a memory then. It was actually wetter in the winter of 1989/90 in East Anglia, where his farm is.

Last winter’s total of 234.9mm does not come within spitting distance of the record of 288.3mm, set in 1914/15. Furthermore, prior to this winter just gone, there have been no unusually wet winters, nor indeed any trend to wetter ones.

Quite simply, the weather has been doing what the weather always has done.




And not just winters. Let’s take a look at the other seasons.






Apart from the dry spring of 2011, there has been nothing unusual, volatile or extreme about East Anglian rainfall in the last decade or so.



2) Strongest winds since 1987.

He seems to think it strange that you get windy weather when it is wet!

His statement actually shows that we have gone 27 years without encountering anything like the Great Storm of 1987. In other words, far from the climate becoming more extreme, the opposite is the case.

In any event, his memory seems to be letting him down again. Not only was the storm of 1987 much worse than the St Jude’s Day storm last year, which he refers to and which was the strongest storm in that part of the country last year or this, but other storms  in 1990 and 1993 were also much stronger.


This was last year’s storm. (I have highlighted Clacton, with my usual artistic ability!)





Now compare with the Burns Day storm of 1990.





The winter of 1993 was nearly as bad. At my old stomping ground of Southend, just down the coast from Clacton, the winds were so strong that the tide did not go out for 24 hours.







And just how much stronger was the Great Storm of 1987? 




The Essex coast took 80 kt gusts, much more violent than last year’s 59 kt.  


3) The North Sea Floods of 1953

He says that the tidal surge last year was the highest since 1953. Again, this simply proves that such events are no worse than they were 60 years ago, and that there has been nothing to match them since.

In what way then can global warming be making things either more volatile or worse?




Summing Up

What is it about climate change that makes otherwise sensible people talk such risible nonsense? 

Guy Smith is Vice President of the NFU, and as such is surely intelligent enough to check out the facts before uttering these sort of statements in public. Instead, he falls back into a lazy, subjective way of thinking, almost as if he had been hypnotised by incessant global warming propaganda.

Farmers in whatever continent and whatever era have always had to contend with bad weather. Why on earth does Mr Smith think today’s farmers should be any different?




All rainfall data from the Met Office

  1. Joe Public permalink
    November 17, 2014 8:36 am

    Maybe he grows weed, and was sampling his own product prior to making those statements?

  2. Philip Raffaelli permalink
    November 17, 2014 9:52 am

    It’s worth looking at the Office for National Statistics review paper entitled “Adverse weather conditions in December 2013 and January and February 2014” at
    The papers concludes that the weather was not a “statistical special event” and nor was the overall flooding effect in the UK exceptional which very much undermines the NFU report.
    As an interesting corollary, the ONS (which governs the use of national statistics) methodology defines Winter as the four months from December to March inclusive. If the Met Office was required to use the same methodology then its oft repeated claim that the 2013/14 Winter was the wettest on record, would not hold water.

  3. November 17, 2014 10:19 am

    I reckon that he has seen how much money all these researchers get for talking nonsense and wants a piece of that cake for his members. It can come from Brussels or Westminster, I don’t think he’ll worry which.

  4. John permalink
    November 17, 2014 10:45 am

    The NFU have an agenda
    They are part of a very effective lobby for farmers
    Never has a group of people received so much of taxpayers money via subsidy & the EU CAP

  5. November 17, 2014 1:34 pm

    Sadly NFU appear to have been hijacked and hoodwinked by the so called green renewable energy lobby, but there are now many farmers who are beginning to realise the huge spin being put on the so called renewable energy scam merchants feasting on subsidies…
    In addition to this there is the hidden ‘green agenda’ which is seeking to take absolute control over energy production and distribution, which if allowed to be enforced, will have lasting wide ranging catastrophic impacts far beyond any perceived threats…

    Like RSPB and other national NGO’s this dangerous ‘mantra’ is being deeply embedded into the Nation’s physic from top to bottom..

  6. November 17, 2014 2:42 pm

    Reblogged this on the WeatherAction News Blog and commented:
    Crop production is up so if this has been caused by ‘global warming’ it’s a good thing especially for cereal crops as Paul has shown. Cold meridional dips of the jetstream are not so good, especially for tender crops. The NFU may be happy to promote CAGW but had they followed that meme – espoused ad nauseum by the MetO and University establishment at CRU/UoR – they would have been preparing for more heatwaves and drought when the opposite happened.

  7. November 19, 2014 7:14 pm

    “…we had the wettest winter in living memory, the strongest winds since 1987, the highest tides since 1953.”

    The wettest winter in living memory: Say that “living memory” is the last 100 years. In 1913 CO2 was around 300 ppm.

    The strongest winds since 1987: When CO2 was 350ppm, right on McKibben’s target.

    The highest tides since 1953: When CO2 was 325ppm.

    I wonder what could possibly have caused that rain, those winds, and those tides when CO2 was so much lower?

    Guy Smith also says

    “When you see all that come together in a short window you realise that maybe something is going on.”

    It’s something called coincidence, Guy. That’s what allowed you to meet your wife and your friends, it’s what caused that road accident when some ****** pulled out just as you were passing, it’s what makes a slice of toast look like Jesus.

    But you did qualify your statement with a “maybe.” Maybes aren’t usually enough to justify economic ruin and hardship for billions of people.

  8. Edward Spalton permalink
    November 20, 2014 10:21 pm

    I was with a financial advisor recently who told me of a farmer client. He was making £5,000 per week from his solar panel array. Sheep could still graze the grass in the field and the panels provide shelter from the weather – hot or wet. I think this is the sort of opportunity the NFU has in mind . The iniquitous pricing of “renewable” energy means the cost is just added to all our electricity bills.

  9. Guy Smith permalink
    December 31, 2014 5:26 am

    Just for the record.

    The three month period October – December 2013 yielded 260mm of rain thus making it the wettest three months since we started taking records in the 1940s when we were a Air Ministry weather Station. In this period East Essex and Kent were twice as wet as East Anglia which is usually meant to denote Norfolk, Suffolk and Cambridgeshire.

    During the St.Judes storm we recorded gusts of 74 mph. Your map denotes Harwich. We are at Colne Point which is significantly more exposed to south westerly winds. These are the strongest gusts since 1990.

    My friend, Mr Tony Talbot, who is a commercial fisherman in the Colne estuary, recorded a tidal surge last December that was 5 cm higher than that officially recorded in Jan 1953.

    I haven’t an agenda, just a weather station.


    Guy Smith

    • December 31, 2014 11:17 am

      That’s strange, because just up the road in Lowestoft, the nearest station that the Met Office publish data for, there was 191mm of rain in Oct-Dec 2013, a 3-month total that has been exceeded 191 times before.

      For your interest, the record total was 356mm for Sep – Nov 1993.
      Oct – Dec 1939 come in second place and Sep – Nov 1974 in third.

      Across the Thames at Manston, the total for Oct – Dec 2013 was 322mm, but this had been exceeded ten times since 1934. In this case, the wettest 3-month spell was Oct – Dec 1966, considerably wetter with 436mm.
      The wettest month of all at Manston was an incredible 271mm in October 1939.

    • December 31, 2014 7:11 pm

      BTW, Guy

      Were you aware that the land in your neck of the world is sinking by between 0.5 and 1.00mm a year, as a result of glacial rebound? Since 1953, this would account for a sea level rise of between 3 and 6cm.

      As for the St Jude storm, I can only repeat what the Met Office had to say

      There have been 30 to 50 comparable storms in Southern England in the last 40 yrs

      Obviously where they hit is a lottery.

      (I would be grateful if you could send me any data you have for rainfall – it is one of my peeves with the Met Office that they only provide limited data for a few sites – and even then only monthly, not daily)

      Thanks and Happy New Year


  10. December 31, 2014 10:17 pm

    I have studied rainfall patterns at a number of places in the world
    it all goes up and down exactly like the pendulum of a clock:

    rainfall will start coming down after 2015…..

    Happy 2015 to you all !!!

  11. January 1, 2015 6:07 am

    the miracle is that rain will always keep falling…..
    the interesting part is trying to find out why there is a pattern.

    what, if, for example, current global cooling not stop?

    Click to access henryspooltableNEWc.pdf

    e.g. first graph shown on the bottom of the maxima tables

    At some stage it has to come to a dead end stop?

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