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Climate Change Is Shrinking BBC’s Credibility

December 13, 2018

By Paul Homewood


More uncritical reporting by the BBC of the latest climate nonsense:



Snowy mountain winters are being "squeezed" by climate change, according to scientists in California.

Researchers who studied the winter snowfall in the mountains there revealed that rising temperatures are reducing the period during which snow is on the ground in the mountains – snow that millions rely on for their fresh water.

They presented their findings at the American Geophysical Union meeting – the world’s largest gathering of Earth and space scientists.

"Our winters are getting sick and we know why," said Prof Amato Evan, from the Scripps Research Institute in San Diego, who carried out the investigation. "It’s climate change; it’s rising temperatures."

Prof Evan studied the annual cycle of snow and melt in the western US from the early 1980s to 2018.

He found that the length of time snow is on the ground there is continually "being squeezed" into a shorter period. And the early arrival of summer, he explained, is a driving force behind sometimes devastating wildfires.

"Particularly in a place like California where we get all of our precipitation during the winter time, that means that our summers are growing longer," he told BBC News. "And really what that means is our fire seasons are growing longer.

"We’ve got less snow, we’ve got a longer fire season, we’ve got infestations [of pests that thrive in warmer temperatures] – these ecological issues; it’s a kind of perfect storm of really bad outcomes, which then result in – in some cases – these massively dramatic fires."

Donal O’Leary from the University of Maryland, who presented his research on what he called the "significant relationship" between snow and wildfire, agreed.

Earlier snowmelt, he said, "is leading to more wildfires, particularly in places like the Sierra Nevada in California".

Mountain snow is also what millions of people rely on for fresh water supplies – in California, particularly, the reservoirs are refilled by annual snowmelt.

Other scientists who have looked at global climate models have seen similar results across much of the Northern Hemisphere. And researchers say this signal from the snowpack is clear evidence that the impacts of climate change are now playing out in the mountains.


Even the headline image is grossly misleading. Comparing one year with another is merely weather, year to year variations, but the BBC have used it to deceive people into thinking that these are permanent, ongoing changes.

As for the body of the report, the first question that has to be raised is why the study only goes back to 1980? After all, that marked the time when the PDO switched to warm phase. We know warm PDOs tend to coincide with higher rainfall for California, much of which of course falls as snow.



If we look at winter precipitation in California back to 1895, we find that there is absolutely no trend at all.



Of course, this is all precipitation, both rain and snow. But it is a strong indication that 1980 is an improper base point.


Taking February snow extent for North America as a whole, the trend is actually upward since records began in 1967.




And snow extent for March, although showing a slightly reducing trend does not seem to have changed much since 1980.




It is claimed that the NH as a whole shows similar trends, but again the data says otherwise, with seven out of the last ten years having snow extent above the 30-year average.




As for wildfires, they used to be far worse in the US, until fire suppression began after the war:




The very same fire suppression that has led to the massive fires we now see. This is what the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection has to say:

Before the twentieth century, many forests within California were generally open and park like due to the thinning effects of recurrent fire. Decades of fire suppression and other forest management have left a legacy of increased fuel loads and ecosystems dense with an understory of shade-tolerant, late-succession plant species. The widespread level of dangerous fuel conditions is a result of highly productive vegetative systems accumulating fuels and/or reductions in fire frequency from fire suppression. In the absence of fire, these plant communities accrue biomass, and alter the arrangement of it in ways that significantly increase fuel availability and expected fire intensity. As such, many ecosystems are conducive to large, severe fires, especially during hot, dry, windy periods in late summer through fall. Additionally, the spatial continuity of fuels has increased with fewer structural breaks to retard fire spread and intensity. The increased accumulations of live and dead fuels may burn longer and more completely, threatening the integrity and sustainability of the ecosystems.

You would think that a science correspondent would have the gumption to check some of these facts out for herself. But this is the BBC.

  1. Europeanonion permalink
    December 13, 2018 3:38 pm

    I raised a complaint with the BBC in which the main point was that all of its news staff had been sent to a compulsory indoctrination session prescribed by the head of news and current affairs. The answer (below) preferred to answer their own agenda and not mine. When even the answers to what are legitimate concerns are treated in this was and rebuttal of the response is made virtually impossible you are party to the closed shop interface and mutual admiration society that is the corporation. Th e blog referred to is this one.

    “We cannot refer to external blogs and articles when considering a complaint. This is explained in our complaints framework, which states that the complaint must be made in your own words:
    However, it’s clear you take issue with the general premise of reporting on climate change and man made global warming in line with the current scientific consensus on its cause and effects.
    BBC News takes its editorial responsibility seriously when reporting on climate change.
    We acknowledge the weight of scientific consensus around climate change and this underpins all of our reporting of the subject. The scientific community has reached a significant consensus on man-made global warming. We therefore reflect that with due weight when reporting on the science involved.
    This does not mean, however, that we should never interview someone who opposes this consensus, especially if they are influential in the political debate about how to tackle climate change. There are times when it is editorially appropriate to hear from a dissenting voice.
    There’s no obligation to include an alternative viewpoint within each and every individual item or programme. Rather, we achieve due impartiality on the political angles – when required – over a reasonable period of time. The merit of doing so is decided by the editor with the specific context in mind on each occasion.
    The Director General has explained: “Our impartiality does not mean that we strike some sort of false balance – but that we reflect all contributions to a debate, and give each of them their due weight… We won’t give in to pressure to silence dissenting voices – nor allow those voices to be seen as mainstream.”
    We do value your feedback about this. All complaints are sent to senior management and I’ve included your points in our overnight report. These reports are among the most widely read sources of feedback in the BBC and ensures that your concerns have been seen by the right people quickly. This helps inform their decisions about current and future content.
    Thank you once again for getting in touch.”

    It is just the sort of emollient response you would expect from your own Auntie. Abandon hope all ye who enter here.

    • George Lawson permalink
      December 13, 2018 3:49 pm

      “We won’t give in to pressure to silence dissenting voices – ” Which is precisely what they did in their recent brief to their journalists not to cover the sceptic viewpoints on global warming.

    • Adrian permalink
      December 13, 2018 5:55 pm

      And do you keep paying them?

      • keith permalink
        December 14, 2018 10:10 am

        Well presumably we won’t have to suffer their interviewing Al Gore again, after all he is not a so called climate scientist!! Or will they I wonder, demonstrating their hypocrisy?

  2. George Lawson permalink
    December 13, 2018 3:40 pm

    I notice that the ‘researchers’ and the BBC do not give any indication as to how much the winter has been squeezed. A day, a week, a month ???

  3. Joe Public permalink
    December 13, 2018 4:05 pm

    Great news!!

    Climate is expanding Spring & Autumn.

    What’s not to like?

  4. December 13, 2018 4:31 pm

    It might be interesting to see what they say if England has an exceptionally cold brutal winter this year. And on top of that the electrical grid goes down in the middle of it. I am sure they will blame it on global warming.

  5. Gamecock permalink
    December 13, 2018 4:34 pm

    2002 pic shows heavy snow pack ON THE COAST.

    Cherry pick much?

    So we are to trust them to select images from the same dates? NFW.

  6. Broadlands permalink
    December 13, 2018 4:38 pm

    “”We’ve got less snow, we’ve got a longer fire season, we’ve got infestations [of pests that thrive in warmer temperatures] – these ecological issues; it’s a kind of perfect storm of really bad outcomes, which then result in – in some cases – these massively dramatic fires.”

    And what, pray tell, is the solution? Keep screaming FIRE in an increasingly crowded global theatre? That’s a big help.

    • December 14, 2018 12:06 pm

      This is brought to you in CA by a drought. It happens periodically.

  7. December 13, 2018 4:38 pm

    BBC credibility? LOL, the Wild Service is now saying that recent French protests are against … inequality!, it allows Jonathan Porritt to dismiss criticism of Germany and Japan for building power stations, in order to keep the “green” fingers pointing and wailing at supposedly right-wing govts: USA, Australia, Brazil and Saudi Arabia, and allows WWF to wail about Tanzania (which just happens to have a “right-wing” govt) building a dam to provide its people with electricity.

    Blatant politics by proxy, the real reason for climate alarmism.

  8. December 13, 2018 4:46 pm

    A “science correspondent” at the BBC is not supposed to know anything about science. They are schooled by Harrabin to be “climate change” propagandists. Her science training is in neuroscience, so she knows nothing about climate “science” and she clearly doesn’t seem to understand anything about the scientific method. She has never worked in science.

  9. Ian Magness permalink
    December 13, 2018 4:52 pm

    Thank you for another brilliant and incisive article. Apologies for nit-picking but you refer to PDO cycles whilst showing an ENSO graph. As far as I am aware (please could someone correct me if I am wrong), PDO cycles are independent from ENSO cycles and indeed PDOs can exaggerate or reduce the weather effects of ENSOs – it all depends on the phases of the two cycles at any one time. My understanding is that recent El Nino events have exaggerated weather effects as they have coincided with the present PDO’s (much longer) warm phase.

    • December 13, 2018 6:44 pm

      Warm PDOs tend to have more El Ninos, and cold more La Ninas.

      As I understand it, Californian rain tends to be influenced more by ENSO than PDO

      • Ian Magness permalink
        December 13, 2018 8:21 pm

        I haven’t seen that site Paul but I will look it up, thank you. Some authors do certainly try to link PDO and ENSO cycles but I’ve yet to see anything definitive. One information source I won’t be looking up is the Met Office. I recently had cause to write about Atlantic cycles and viewed their site. Oh dear! Many sentences contained reference to AGW and how, say, as such-and-such a factor was in a cool phase, it was cloaking the effects of AGW that we would otherwise see….yawn! Zero on the integrity scale.

  10. markl permalink
    December 13, 2018 5:41 pm

    Something is wrong with that picture. There is never any snow on the California coastline. I say it’s something else in the left picture….. like clouds ….. giving the impression of snow. Am I making a wrong assumption?

    • John F. Hultquist permalink
      December 13, 2018 9:26 pm

      First, you are supposed to be looking at mountain snow, that is the band on the right(northwest to southeast). Without checking, one might assume the photos are on or about the same day of the year.

      Much like any coast [ Fog Desert ] with a cold current, California has frequent inversions with fog. It is ocean and coastal fog you see in the lower left. Note the fog (not snow) over the ocean and in the lowlands. The Coast Mountains do not show as having either fog or snow.

      The white blob in the central area is fog also, just east of Sacramento. A change in topography is indicated on the east of that white fog. Compare Folsom at 67 m vs Cameron Park 365 m just 10 miles east.

      • markl permalink
        December 18, 2018 12:11 am

        Agree. I’m saying the what’s on the mountains in the left picture looks the same as what’s on the coast (and that blob) so it isn’t snow. My initial explanation was bad. And yes, timing is everything with the photo.

  11. thedude permalink
    December 13, 2018 7:21 pm

    Those pics are horseshit. Looking at the valley, it looks like spring compared to fall, or some other random dates (looks like they cropped them off). Then I just come across this: And this: That and I live here (and a fan of winter) and I haven’t noticed a difference. No one has. Everyone dreads shoveling drives and chaining up their cars year after year. They want us to believe we’re in a drought, but then we have a “storm of the century” every week in the winter. This is the BBC at maximum distortion – although they’ll probably out-do themselves next week.

  12. HuwT permalink
    December 13, 2018 9:32 pm

    I have just received another “we will not pursue this matter further” response from the BBC’s ECU. This was in reply to a general complaint about bias within BBC’s reporting on climate change. They stated that there is “no requirement to give undue attention to marginal opinion when reporting climate change” That’s it. Our opinions are just “marginal”. The BBC have been in been in breach of their own Charter for years. They are totally unrepentant. License fee payers are effectively funding a green propaganda machine within the Corporation.Their head of news and current affairs recently stated that “outright deniers “of the climate change religion have no place on the BBC.They are guilty of twisting the truth and doing a huge disservice to the people of the UK by not providing a balanced view of climate change. Perhaps a campaign to abolish the license fee is now the only way forward..

    • December 14, 2018 9:05 am

      I’ve just renewed my “no TV license needed” for another 2 years, no regrets whatsoever about not having it for the past two years. This is the only viable way to fight back, no chance that the current mix of “wet” MPs would vote to abolish a primary source of pro-EU and lefty/green propaganda.

  13. December 13, 2018 10:48 pm

    Snowy mountain winters are being “squeezed” by climate change, according to scientists in California.

    One week ago…

    Snow, flooding and mudslides create traffic nightmare for Californians
    By Eliott C. McLaughlin, CNN

  14. Fudsdad permalink
    December 14, 2018 9:30 am

    You need only look briefly at the two photographs to see how green the country is in the first with the larger snowpack. It shows only that there had been more precipitation and says nothing about warming!

    • George Lawson permalink
      December 14, 2018 10:26 am

      What is the white area that appears on the left of the left hand picture and not on the right hand one? Is it on the coast? if so their must have been ice there for the snow to give settled coverage. And how do we know that the pictures were taken on the same day of each year?

  15. December 14, 2018 10:28 am

    One of the problems with sceptics (and people on the Right perhaps as well) is that we treat this sort of stuff literally. But this story is not about snow cover: it is about climate change happening now. That is the new meme, the new attack point from those who really couldn’t care less about the science but want immediate action now.

    If the activists admit that the bad stuff will happen in the future and that current greening us good, their chances of getting real serious action now dwindle every time prices increase -as we have seen in France. So the bad stuff has to be happening now, it has to be an immediate threat.

    This is politics not science. The only people listening to us discuss this paper as science are sceptics already.

  16. Tony Budd permalink
    December 14, 2018 10:52 am

    Does anybody know what actually starts a wildfire? Presumably with less precipitation there would be fewer thunderstorms (or vice-versa), and so fewer lightning strikes. Oh no! Not human-induced fires as well? Cigarettes, camp fires, discarded glass fragments … And just think of all that carbon dioxide from the fires!

    • MrGrimNasty permalink
      December 14, 2018 11:05 am

      I think arson by morons is high up there.

      The archaic electricity infrastructure has been substantially to blame in California of late.

      Some of the European fires are undoubtedly pyro-terrorism, but the BBC etc. won’t dare mention that.

  17. Edward B permalink
    December 14, 2018 11:02 am

    2 days ago, the BBC trumpeted “Climate change: Arctic reindeer numbers crash by half” on their radio news and website:
    This sounded familiar to me. I note that the BBC had to apologise in January for carrying virtually the same erroneous story about a year ago:
    Was it Groundhog Day?

    • Tony Budd permalink
      December 14, 2018 12:23 pm

      I thought groundhogs were a threatened species – with Climate Change nothing is ever the same as it was before: every year is warmer than the last.

  18. BLACK PEARL permalink
    December 14, 2018 11:25 am

    Its a pity some wealthy guy / consortium couldn’t fund a TV channel reporting all the alternate political & climate change facts News etc which would more easily inform the public majority who dont have the time / interest / to find out for themselves.
    Eg “Scientists say” CO2 has little to no effect
    “Scientists Say” we could all be freezing our butts off as the Sun goes into a new cycle
    “Scientists Say” the Arctic Ice cover is increasing and polar Bears are fine after the Inuit stopped hunting as many
    “Scientists Say” ….. we were wrong to misinform the public, but we need a job !

    But the EU 4th Reich & its UK puppet Govt would withhold a licence with it not being in the “public interest”

  19. December 14, 2018 12:28 pm

    As one who has a PhD in Ecosystematics (Plant Ecosystems) from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, I want to commend the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection for their absolutely correct portrayal of the conditions and previous actions, or lack thereof which led to them, in the final statement of the article in bold italics.

    Much of California vegetation is the formation known as “Mediterranean Sclerophyll” or locally as Chaparral. The plants are mainly shrubby ones with thick coriaceous (somewhat woody) leaves containing resins. While this makes the plants unpalatable to herbivores and drought resistant, they are prime for fire. When fires are allowed to sweep though on the regular basis which would occur in nature, the formation is maintained as the plants re-sprout from roots and “damage” is very controlled by the lack of available fuel.

    In their superior “wisdom,” the Wizards of California have ignored reality and are now hit with a large dose of it.

  20. December 15, 2018 4:56 pm

    The BBC approach to Brexit is similar to its climate change style, i.e. try to ramp up the fear without offering any genuine evidence for it.

  21. yonason permalink
    December 16, 2018 8:02 am

    I gave up on the BBC about 2 decades ago, and not just for their “climate change” deceit.

  22. December 17, 2018 2:49 pm

    Reblogged this on Climate Collections.

  23. tom0mason permalink
    December 17, 2018 11:37 pm

    Contrast and compare to the BBC report on the Sierra Nevada mountains for this year by NASA …

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