Where Did Your Big Freeze of 1963 Go, Mr Stanford?
By Paul Homewood
You may recall the Telegraph’s weather “expert”, Peter Stanford, warning us back in January of a repeat of the big freeze of 1963.
A couple of weeks later, he was still at it.
And the reality?
February temperatures turned out almost spot on average.
Stanford is rather like a rather naive 14 year old, who imagines every bit of weather is unprecedented, and then allows his mind to run riot wondering what might happen next. As for the childish names he makes up for weather events, surely the Telegraph can do better?
It is apparent since the outset that Stanford relies very little on anything actually factual or on reliable forecasts of any kind.
Back in the real world, despite all the hype about how warm the winter has been, the reality is a bit more mundane.
For the UK as a whole, the winter ranks only 3rd warmest, with the warmest still being 1988/9. Overall trends seem to have changed little in the last two decades.
The southern half of the country has seen the biggest warm anomalies:
But according to the CET, which lies in the heart of that area, this still was not the warmest winter on record. That distinction belongs to 1868/9.
We have heard a lot last month about rollercoasters and temperatures swings from one extreme to the other. But how does February compare from a historical perspective?
I have charted below the difference between the highest daily mean and the lowest, for each year since 1772, when daily records start. The result is probably quite surprising!
The warmest day last month was the 21st, with a mean of 10.4C, whilst the coldest was 1.5C on the 25th. Therefore there was a difference of 8.9C between the two extremes. This is actually a relatively low figure compared to the period back to 1772.
The most extreme February was in 1929. (You may recognise this year for the record rainfall that fell between October and December!). In February 1929, the highest and lowest daily mean temperatures were 9C and minus 8C.
More detail tomorrow. But it is clear that the idea that weather these days is more variable than in the past is, pardon the language, utter crap.