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The National Trust’s Climate Myths

December 29, 2016

By Paul Homewood




From the “How to confuse weather with climate” department:


From the National Trust:


Ten years ago the National Trust began conducting annual reviews of the impact of the year’s weather on our wildlife.  Although every year has been unique, bringing different wildlife winners and losers, some patterns have become clear.


Winters have become milder, and often wetter and stormier, with the exception of the more traditional winter of 2010-11.  Last year brought the mildest December on record.  After a cold start, this December has been tracking it.  Children in the south now rarely play in snow. 
Spring has jumped the gun and come earlier, and been more vulnerable for it – with cold or wet weather setting in after early, promising starts.  May has become a disappointing month. 
The UK last enjoyed a good summer back in 2006.  Since then, we have at best experienced blemished summers, with spells of fine weather ending abruptly as the jet stream suddenly jumped.  Whatever happened to the Mediterranean climate some of us thought ‘global warming’ would bring?
The most benign month of recent years has been September.  People planning on getting married would be wise to choose September. 
Climate change seems to be narrowing the gulf between our winters and summers.  The impact on wildlife has been enormous, and at a time when many species are declining sharply as farming as other land uses intensify.
This year was remarkable for the rampant growth of grass and other coarse vegetation, like bracken and bramble.  The last few years were strong grass growth years too, but 2016 exceeded them by far.  Our ranger teams battled to keep footpaths clear, and nature conservation grazing regimes were often found wanting as conservationists and their farming partners struggled with the excessive growth. 
Low-growing plants were swamped, especially diminutive annuals, and populations of insects associated with small plants, bare ground pockets or short swards plummeted.  That means it has been a poor year for many bees, butterflies, grasshoppers and other warmth-loving insects, particularly those associated with short turf or bare ground. 
It may well be that many insect populations were reduced by the mild winter, which prevented successful hibernation of larvae.  The knock-ons up the food chain will be significant, and what affects our insects today are likely to affect our tomorrow.
But right now, we are wondering: where’s winter?


Just every claim made about the weather is either wrong or cherry picked:


1) Winters have become milder

FACT –Since 2006 five winters have been colder than the 1981-2010 mean.

Although last winter was the warmest since 1910, no other one since 2006 has been in any way unusual.



2) Winters have become often wetter

FACT – The winter of 2013/14 was exceptionally wet, but precipitation was still only 8mm greater than 1914/15.

Clearly there is no connection with a warmer climate.

Other than that, since 2006 five winters have been drier than average.

Clustering of wet winters is not uncommon, for instance 1914/15 to 1915/16, and 1993/4 to 1994/5.



3) 2010/11 was a traditional winter

FACT – A ridiculous statement.

Not only was it much colder and drier than average, December 2010 was by far the coldest on record.


4) Last December was the mildest on record

FACT – This is pure cherry picking. The mild weather in December 2015 had no more significance than the cold of 2010.


5) Children in the south now rarely play in snow. 

FACT – Neither did they in the 1970s and 80s.




6) Spring has jumped the gun and come earlier

FACT – Since 2006, temperatures in March have been below average on five occasions.

March 2013 was the second coldest on record, behind 1962.

The warmest March weather came in 1938 and 1957.


7) The UK last enjoyed a good summer back in 2006.  Since then, we have at best experienced blemished summers, with spells of fine weather ending abruptly as the jet stream suddenly jumped.

FACT – Hot summers have always been the exception to the rule in England.



8) Climate change seems to be narrowing the gulf between our winters and summers.

FACT – The difference between winter and summer temperatures has remained stable since 1911, if anything slightly increasing.





Matthew Oates is apparently a nature expert, and I am sure he fully understands the impact of weather on nature.

Unfortunately, he clearly understands little about climate.

This is evidently yet another instance where preconceived prejudice is more important than facts.



Met Office graphs are available here:

  1. John Moore. permalink
    December 29, 2016 7:39 pm

    The writer of this article seems to be very young — please allow some one a little older to give a few recollections. 1934 was very hot. 1937/8 was a cold winter with about six inches of snow. 1944 was a disasterous summer — june was famous for bad weather on the 5th. Following the end of the war there was a good summer in 1946 followed by an horrendous winter with deep snow. And so it went on with snow every 7 to 10 years and very hot summers scattered in between…you get the idea!

    • chris moffatt permalink
      December 31, 2016 6:58 pm

      Ah the famous winter of ’47! I remember it well. However it was an outlier and growing up in the south of England snow was a fairly rare occurrence during my childhood. Playing in snow was a treat I remember on very few occasions. Even less commonly did it stay around for even a few days.

  2. Tony McKenna permalink
    December 29, 2016 8:30 pm

    When I moved to Somerset in 1991 I used to walk in Kingswood near Cheddar. This is an ancient hunting ground. There was a very informative NT information board which explained that we know it is ancient because of the population of small leaved limes which have not been able to germinate since the medieval warm period and still can’t.
    The board was ripped out in the mid 90s and replaced with the usual “look at the pretty flowers/ isn’t man wicked” nonsense.
    There will be a lot of re-education to do.

  3. December 29, 2016 8:43 pm

    And September has always been a benign month! I have planned my late summer gardening chores holiday in this month for the last 25 years!

  4. Colin permalink
    December 29, 2016 10:52 pm

    If you plot summer temperatures over the past 30 years you can achieve a nice increase of 2 celcius, frankly I’m surprised I havent seen this killer fact in the media, although if I read the Guardian more diligently I’d probably have seen it there. Alas the liberal press are hopelessly beset by cherry picking, and are blissfully unaware that they can misrepresent the facts, all the while convinced that any one who challenges their opinion is “post truth”.

  5. December 29, 2016 10:56 pm

    There may be different behaviour of the jetstream in recent years.

    Of course climate alarmists will try to link it in to their ‘man-made’ arguments but there seems little if any evidence to support that.

    IIRC Piers Corbyn reckoned there was a link to the reduction in solar wind speed but I may be misquoting.

  6. December 29, 2016 11:32 pm

    Playing factual whack-a-mole with warmunists gets boring after a while. They are almost never correct, but that almost never makes an impact on them. Lets devize better impact strategies. Ridicule seems to work. Schmidt’s 2015 hottest ever with a 34% chance of being correct (page 1 versus page 4 of his announcement is an example. Unassailable sound bites seem to work not on them, but on onlookers. Except for the now rapidly cooling 2015-16 blip there has been no warming this century–except by Karlization. Catching them out in outright cheating/deliberate lying is almost as good as ridicule, and as warmunists grow more desperate gets easier and easier to do. David Rose’s recent articles on rapid cooling after the 2015-16 El Nino blip are a very recent example.
    CAGW is a political more than scientific/factual game. Lets play it as such.

  7. Tom Dowter permalink
    December 30, 2016 12:58 am

    A quick check on the NT’s myths is provided by the Central England Temperature series. This shows that the warmest January since 1900 occurred in 1916. 2016 ranked only 26th warmest.

    Likewise for February, the warmest occurred in 1990 with 2016 coming in at 44th.

    We do not, of course, have the results for December 2016.

  8. Athelstan permalink
    December 30, 2016 1:06 am

    The Met office is bad enough, it is replete with warmunistas and pscientists, their global warming bulletins are pure cow clap, why then is that another quango decides it can do an equally poor job of forecasting climate themageddon?

    Hmm Quentin has the answer and as you will probably expect, it’s down to the leadership and all about advocacy and some idiot wanting to score greenie [as was brownie] points in the green agenda mythology dept – in Whitehall/Westminster, all unbridled, savagely naked ambition and filled to the brim of bird brained mush but that’s never stopped her, government opportunities abound for those who clarion the “soooo on message” UNEP agenda 21 propaganda.

    Dame Helen singled out her concern about coastal erosion. She noted that the Trust is a leading owner of Britain’s coastline and she was worried that great lumps of it keep collapsing into the sea. Er, right. How does this Queen Canute intend to stop that happening?

    She also fretted that the absence of ‘crisp, cold winters’ means little bugs such as silverfish are no longer being killed off in stately homes and are eating the carpets. It is possible Trust members will soon be chewing the carpets themselves if this once-apolitical body suddenly turns into a twee version of Friends of the Earth.

    In general, I am irritated by people who say ‘I told you so’ but, at this point, I need to say it myself. I told you Dame Helen was going to be trouble.

    In 2013, when she had been at the Trust a few months, I forecast in these pages that her dubious record in Whitehall suggested a plodder who was a swallower of received wisdoms. I suggested it was likely that she would try to impose metropolitan-elite political concerns on this old and revered institution.

    At Westminster, there were doubts about her appreciation for agriculture and rural concerns. I reported the comment of one former government minister that Dame Helen was ‘more at home in court shoes than gum boots’.

    Here in the DAILY MAIL

    As if life ain’t hard enough, these ever so precious di@kheads running large institutions for the UK administration public peculation sector – not only do they fill their boots on the taxpayer ticket and over generously at that. Ghosh and her crony bombasts, they also feel the need to advocate the warmist sh*te that they regurgitate via the vehicle of their particular fiefdom. Good grief, they’re; unassailable, unaccountable but actually they are a damn menace.

    The question is, when is someone in HMG going to get a grip, stop wasting money on these idiots the paper clip counter show boaters, its wages and bloody well defund the friggin’ lot of them – “enviro” quangoes.

    Come on may, hammond, the UK executive: do something.

  9. December 30, 2016 7:08 am

    After being members for over 30 years, Helen Ghosh wasting our money on climate change related issues and associated propaganda caused us to give up our membership. We’ve not been to one of their paying properties since.

    • Athelstan permalink
      December 30, 2016 8:39 am

      The politicization of public bodies such as the National Trust is mendacious as it is wrong, paying some political shill on the make to do all she can to push an agenda which most of the taxpaying public are rightly very deeply cynical about is unconscionable. But that, just about sums up our wonderful…. political claque who are in the sway of vested interests – on the pay, as feckless, and as gormless as they are brainwashed, to the guff of modern mores and ideologically driven though nebulous nostrums and concepts. The only way to halt the “Long March” though UK institutions is to yank out and thus staunch the public money hose.

      I’ve always been a bit of a bird fancier, I gave up with the membership of the RSPB in protest, a similar disgust ………………….and advise friends and family to boot their membership of the NT into touch – I have never been a member though I’ve visited hundreds of sites and some many more times than once.
      Though here I am conflicted because, I firmly believe that “we” as a nation need to preserve ancient sites and buildings which allow us a glimpse into our heritage and past lives of our forefathers. In conclusion, I ask, do we need a “national” organization like the NT to do preserve, conserve the past and I am not convinced that we do, at all, imho local is always best.

      • December 30, 2016 9:55 am

        I gave up on the RSPB before the NT. I’m clinging on to the RHS and my local Wildlife Trust, but only just, as they are both heavily influenced by the Greenblob.

      • Colin permalink
        December 31, 2016 9:50 am

        In Northern Scotland the RSPB is absolutely notorious for its harassment of farmers who dare impinge on their territory. If you think the state can be bossy and domineering wait till you see the RSPB. They are an interfering NGO supercharged by the pockets of one million suburnite Anglo Saxon twitchers.

  10. Ex-expat Colin permalink
    December 30, 2016 8:33 am

    The BBC World Service were at it again last night…two of them on CC wailing with no alternative view. Just wonder who listens to it apart from me and some mud huts somewhere…by accident!

    • December 30, 2016 5:01 pm

      Science in Action was obviously fishing for Global Warming attribution uotes using the rule that if you ask enough scientists you’ll eventually get a dramatic quote.

  11. 1saveenergy permalink
    December 30, 2016 8:54 am

    NT will have to waste more of our money re-educating us on the virtues of CO2 soon.

    See this interesting piece from Bob Tisdale at –

    & from Steve Case, December 29, 2016 at 7:12 am

    Here are links to the Internet Archives WayBack Machine’s version from October:

    Climate Change and Wisconsin´s Great Lakes [October 2016]

    and as it is today:

    The Great Lakes and a changing world [December 2016]

  12. davec permalink
    December 30, 2016 10:25 am

    This and actions like it are exactly the reason I ended my membership of the NT.

  13. Singer beneath bridges permalink
    December 30, 2016 11:02 am

    There appears to be a variation in weather phenomena that falls between weather and climate. This is most evident looking at the snow data – there are periods of many years with low or no snow interrupted by shorter periods with more snow. This clustering could be an expression of randomness or represent real clustering. I wonder if it is these clusters that influence our view that climate is changing. If you grew up during a period of high snow you might feel winters have become less snowy, but over a longer period there may be little discernable change.

    When I arrived in Norwich at the end of the 1980s we experienced a succession of autumn/winters with simply horrendous fogs -fogs so thick that when driving you couldn’t see the nearside edge of the roads. I have not experienced such fogs since – over the past few days we have had fog/mist but thin, watery stuff. I wondered if this was a climatic change, but now I speculate it might be another clustering phenomena.

  14. Gerry, England permalink
    December 30, 2016 11:20 am

    Visiting NT properties is probably good as they get the gate money. Becoming a member means you pay into central funds. When visiting they will no doubt ask about membership so the answer is to say ‘No chance while Ghosh is in charge’. You could also make use of any freepost envelopes appealing for membership to make the same point.

  15. December 30, 2016 12:06 pm

    It has been below freezing in Lincolnshire for the past few days and before then so this winter has certainly arrived & seems pretty normal for December..

  16. December 30, 2016 12:48 pm

    And now a word about wildlife. In botany, we say that species are “genetically predisposed” to survive certain things such as glacial episodes. It means that if a species has survived something it has the genetic capability of doing it again.

    The bees and bunnies are far older as species than several glacial (where it gets really cold and snowy) followed by interglacial (when it becomes verrry warm and rainy) episodes.

    I wonder if those on the left get tunnel carpel syndrome from wringing their hands so much?

  17. December 30, 2016 4:27 pm

    It’s just endless isn’t it?

    What is most concerning about instances such as this one – which is merely yet one more of countless thousands – is the asymmetry in the situation.

    Someone in some house magazine delivered to an audience likely already to be inclined toward a poorly-informed belief in anthropogenic catastrophic planetary overheating, simply has to write a shallow incorrect piece like this, and will be believed. It’s so easy.

    To counter the untruths however requires a considerable depth of knowledge, an equally considerable mustering of manifold facts, and a careful unpicking of the propagandist techniques employed in the original piece.

    The riposte will not then be published directly to the original audience because of editorial bias.

    Thank Heaven for the internet ! It is the only hope for some equalizing of the arguments, in the face of the propaganda of the mainstream media.

  18. December 30, 2016 5:03 pm

    Today’s Times about Well known Global Warming lobby organization that looks after historic buildings in its spare time : The National Trust.
    The taxpayer is to pay £4m to the owners of a painting that was on loan to NT when Clandon Park burned down last year.
    For its own paintings the NT will claim £50m from insurers, but some others it owns weren’t covered for loss.

  19. December 31, 2016 1:57 am

    Reblogged this on WeatherAction News and commented:
    To add to Paul’s deconstruction I’m picking up on a couple of Matthew Oates howlers;

    Winters have become milder, and often wetter and stormier, with the exception of the more traditional winter of 2010-11.

    According to the Met Office Winter Summary Winter 2010/11 it was;

    less cold than winter 2009/10 which was 1.6 °C but still the second-coldest winter since 1985/86 whilst the December was exceptionally cold across the UK; the coldest December in over 100 years, with the highest number of air frosts in at least the last 50 years.

    Quite ‘traditional’ indeed, so it’s worth reminding Matthew Oates what the colder winter of 2009/10 was like:

    The mean temperature for the winter [2009/10] was 1.6 °C, which is 2.0 °C below average, making it the coldest winter since 1978/79 (1.2 °C). Over England and Wales it was also the coldest since 1978/79. Over Northern Ireland and Scotland, winter 2009/10 was comparable with 1978/79 and 1946/47, with only winter 1962/63 significantly colder in series from 1910.

    Going back to 2008/09;

    Mean temperatures over the UK were 1.1 °C below the 1971-2000 average during December, 0.5 °C below average during January and 0.2 °C above average during February. The UK mean temperature for the winter was 3.2 °C, which is 0.5 °C below average, making it the coldest winter since 1996/97 (also 3.2 °C).

    The most benign month of recent years has been September. People planning on getting married would be wise to choose September.

    It has nearly always been so.

    Philip Eden;

    most thinking people would regard as preposterous the notion that the atmosphere can remember how it behaved on a particular date in previous years so that it can do the same this year. Put as starkly as that, the idea is certainly irrational and unscientific. But a gargantuan heap of statistical work over the last century and half has identified some significant tendencies to unusual weather at particular times of the year. These seasonal tendencies are called ‘singularities’ a word coined by the German climatologist, A.Schmauss, in 1938.


    Rigorous statistical techniques were applied to daily sea-level pressure patterns over Europe and the north Atlantic over a period of 60 years. The end result was that several key periods were identified throughout the year when these synoptic patterns deviated markedly from the normal seasonal progression. The events certainly did not happen every year, nor were any exact dates set in stone, but more than 20 singularities which occurred in more than half the years of the analysis were detected in the British climate:

    Early-Sep warmth 1-17 Sep 82%
    Mid-Sep storms 17-24 Sep 60%
    Old Wives Summer 24 Sep-4 Oct 64%

    Trevor Harley;

    “September contains the hottest day of the year just under 10% of the time. On average, somewhere Britain reaches the magical 27C (80F) every couple of years. Is September cooling down? Whereas before 1974 somewhere in Britain exceeded 30C on average every 5 years (16 times between 1895 and 1973), it has only happened once since (just, in 1999). It has been more than 50 years since 32C has been exceeded, yet this happened several times in the first half of the twentieth century. September certainly doesn’t show much sign of getting any warmer, unlike most other months. Overall September tends to be the second most anticyclonic month of the year (after May).”

    Surely someone can lend poor Matthew a copy of Hubert Lamb’s The Changing Climate (1966). He might learn something.

  20. It doesn't add up... permalink
    December 31, 2016 12:34 pm

    You could always try having a chat to them about it:

  21. j martin permalink
    December 31, 2016 6:43 pm

    I found the graph of December temperatures interesting, in that there is a reasonably clear straight line downwards trend line for the minimum temperatures that crop up every 20 to 30 years or so. I wonder if that ties up with anything else such as the match between the downwards curve for obliquity and our interstitial temperatures by Marcott et al.


  1. The National Trust’s Climate Myths | The Global Warming Policy Forum (GWPF)

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