Snow Trends At Woburn–Update
By Paul Homewood
I looked at snowfall trends at Woburn last week, using the Snow Survey of Great Britain, which gave data from 1947 to 1992.
It showed the number of days when snow was lying.
I asked the Met Office if there was more recent data, and they sent me data up to 1998/9.
So now the graph looks like this:
We can see that the 1990s were snowier than most of the years in the 1970s and 80s. This rather spoils the theory that there is a long term trend to less snow.
It also reinforces the view that there was a one off shift at the end of the 1960s.
This raises the question as to whether the 1950s and 60s were actually the exception.
Unfortunately we don’t have data since 1997/8, but we can get a clue from the monthly maps produced by the Met Office, which show days of snow lying.
These run from Jan 2001 to Dec 2010.
For instance, Jan 2001. Woburn is approximately circled.
The map works on bandings, but if we assume mid range, for instance 1 to 4 = 2.5, the new graph looks like this.
Note that there is no data for 2000. Also that the Met Office numbers from 1946 to 1999 are for snow seasons, beginning in October. My figures, collated from the maps, are in calendar years, as this allows me to maximise the number of years shown.
There seems to be little overall difference between the 1990s and 2000s. It is also apparent that we get a very snowy winter perhaps a couple of times every decade, but most years have five or less days with snow.
Certainly the last two winters have been unusually mild, but this is not exceptional in Woburn’s record. There were similar periods, for instance,1971-74, and later 1987-89.
Estimating numbers from the map is not ideal of course, but it is worth pointing out that Woburn is a genuinely rural site, and would certainly see more snow than the urbanised areas in the region. Therefore, my numbers are more likely to be underestimated if anything.