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Where Did Your Big Freeze of 1963 Go, Mr Stanford?

March 2, 2016
tags: ,

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:

 Winter 2016 Mean daily maximum temp. 1981 - 2010 anomaly


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.




Daily Extremes

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.

  1. S Allnutt permalink
    March 2, 2016 10:38 pm

    Missed out ‘total and’ before the ‘utter’, Paul.

  2. tom0mason permalink
    March 3, 2016 1:29 am

    The Telegraph is showing its crystal ball gazing expertise with this article –
    Climate change: Global warming fruit and veg shortage could lead to 1,200 extra UK deaths a year by 2050

  3. AndyG55 permalink
    March 3, 2016 8:09 am

    Winter in the NH is 2C warmer for a year..

    …. how is this a problem ????????

  4. auralay permalink
    March 3, 2016 8:52 am

    You are totaly wrong here. Met office records began in 1910. This must be true – we hear it on the telly practicaly every night!

  5. March 3, 2016 10:12 am

    Soon people won’t be able to remember when the Telegraph was a serious newspaper 😉

    • David Richardson permalink
      March 3, 2016 10:25 am

      I like it oldbrew – nice one

  6. David Richardson permalink
    March 3, 2016 10:24 am

    As I said in comment to the original post – this guy gives dumbing down a bad name. Dumbed downed stuff usually has some small aspect of reality.

  7. Bloke down the pub permalink
    March 3, 2016 11:40 am

    I’m guessing that Feb max temps, more than most, are correlated to hours of sunshine?

  8. dearieme permalink
    March 3, 2016 12:57 pm

    Is Philip Eden trussed up in a Telegraph basement?

    Why was he replaced by this chump?

  9. March 3, 2016 8:04 pm

    Here, in the Appalachian backwoods where civilization is unexpected by the ruling class, we call January and February and even some of March—–winter. Temperatures spend a lot of time down, but then amazingly pop up once in awhile to the 50’s and upper 60’s and then down again–sometimes with snow (1-3″ predicted this evening). Every year is slightly different–some more so than others. This is what we refer to as “weather” in these here Appalachian hollers. Nothing to write about, nothing to name, nothing to wring our hands over. We just wait a month or so more and then we have something we refer to in the Appalachians as ——spring. And there you have it.

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