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“The link between climate change and Britain’s winter storms”–(Clue–There is not one)

February 16, 2020

By Paul Homewood



There is a very muddled piece in the Sunday Times today by meteorologist Simon Lee, which attempts to link winter storms with climate change:


Every winter Britain gets hit by a series of storms. Ciara and Dennis are just the latest — but with two key differences.

The first is their strength. Our storms get their energy from temperature gradients in the atmosphere over north America. Recently that gradient has been much greater than normal.

The second is good PR. In 2015 the Met Office decided to start naming storms, which gave them a much higher media profile.
In 1993 Britain had the powerful Braer storm. In 2013-14 we faced about 12 of these weather systems. But in other years there are hardly any, which is why this year might be feeling so extraordinary to people coping with flooding, high winds and lots of rain.

A key question: why does the number vary so much?
Part of the answer lies in the jet stream, the powerful westerly wind blowing about six miles above us which, driven by that steep temperature gradient, has accelerated and got bigger. That energy feeds into our storms.

On their own, Ciara and Dennis are not symptomatic of climate change or a global weather crisis. What climate change does is to alter the likelihood of such events.

Computer models of the impact of climate change predict an increase in winter rainfall for the UK, along with warmer atmospheric temperatures and changes to the tracks followed by storms across the north Atlantic. This year may not be a sign of things to come, but we will probably see more severe winter flooding in future.

January 2020 was the warmest or second warmest on record in every global temperature dataset. It was rivalled only by 2016, when there was a strong El Niño event in the Pacific that temporarily raised global temperatures. Given that there is no El Niño this year, these record global temperatures — up to 1.5C above pre-industrial levels — are a cause for concern.

It emphasises the rapid warming of the planet. These record temperatures are consistent with recent events such as the Australian wildfires, the rising temperatures in the Antarctic and the unprecedented lack of ice and snow in parts of Europe.

What does this mean for Britain’s weather? So far the world has seen warming of about 1C. That is going to continue and the best guess is that the world could be 4C-6C warmer by 2080.

That may not sound much – but multiplied by the area of the planet it means that the atmosphere will hold an enormous amount more energy.

That energy will not only be felt as heat. It will also power our weather like never before. That means more and bigger storms, stronger winds and changes in the temperature of the oceans, which will make the sea levels rise. If our weather is exciting now, it may soon be overwhelming.

Simon Lee is a meteorologist at Reading University 

Let’s take it apart:

1) He is right that storms get their energy from temperature gradients in the atmosphere over north America. However global warming theory (and observations) tell us that this gradient should be getting less, not greater, because the Arctic has warmed faster than temperate latitudes.

Lower troposphere temperature anomalies from UAH, however, show a much more complex picture. Alaska and Greenland were much colder than average during January, but tucked between them is a warmer than normal area in eastern Canada:



This is a classic example of a meridional jet stream, where it loops around, rather than flowing in a straighter zonal fashion. For more detail, see here.

In simple terms, Alaska and Greenland have been stuck to the polar side of the jet stream, whilst Canada has been to the south.


Global Jet Stream,55.57,712


Meridional jet stream patterns are a normal meteorological event, and have nothing to do with global warming. As well as being responsible for atmospheric blocking, they can also speed up the jet stream.

And because of the looping, they can bring the jet stream further south than normal, as has happened this month, along with associated storms where they can have more impact.

2) He then goes on to suggest that storms such as Ciara and Dennis are becoming more frequent.

Yet, according to the Met Office, storminess has actually declined since the 1990s.





3) Finally he invokes those climate models, which tell us we will end up with wetter winters, thus implying that this month’s storms have been made more likely by global warming. Lots of maybes and probablies.

But again the data does not support this conjecture:



The rest of the article is no more than childish imaginings of apocalypse, hardly worth commenting on.

Overall, Lee tries to give the impression that there is something abnormal about our winter weather in recent years.

Analysis of the data, along with historical observations, tell us that it is nothing of the sort.

  1. A C Osborn permalink
    February 16, 2020 12:27 pm

    Curently the Climate brigade and the MSm are in an all out War on Climate Deniers, whatever they are.
    Every day there are mutliple stories of Climate caused disaster ahead.
    It is an Agenda and we know it stems from the UN.
    But at the same time Environment & Climate are at or around the bottom of the list of what the general public worry about.

  2. February 16, 2020 12:59 pm

    I watch “dinosaur” things on YouTube. Recently I’ve been watching lecture series from the Royal Tyrrell Museum of Paleontology in Alberta, Canada. This one was from 2013 by Dr. John Harris of the George C. Page Museum, La Brea Tar Pits and concerned the extinction of the megafauna during the Pleistocene. He commented that one of the theories of that die-off was the LOW CO2 during the Pleistocene. He also showed a little statement: “Isotopic content of wod indicates plants under severe climatic stress because of low atmospheric CO2. Low plant productivity means less food for herbivores (Ward et al 2005)”. He further stated about 20,000 years ago, CO2 levels were less than for the preceding 200 million years. Not only did plants not grow well, they do not reproduce under those conditions. With less food for herbivores, the whole animal population was under stress which may be a major factor accounting for the end of Pleistocene extinction of megafauna about 11,000 years ago.

    I have found the Ward publication. Joy K. Ward (Duke PhD grad and now at KU) has had many more studies since the 2005 one. Another discussion is by Dennis Avery and appears in Whatsupwiththat: I was privileged to attend a forum on climate change hosted by my Congressman, David McKinley (PE engineer) from Wheeling, WV. Dennis was one of the guest presenters and Dr. John Christy participated via a skype system. David attempted to present “both” sides although he is aware that the whole climate change brouhaha is a hoax. I had a great chat with Dennis Avery who is an Agricultural Climate Historian with the Heartland Institute.

    There are a number of scientific articles dealing with the low CO2 of the Pleistocene and its effects on vegetation and thus other life. We certainly don’t hear much about it, do we? Guess it goes against the globalist agenda.

  3. John R permalink
    February 16, 2020 1:05 pm

    I am old enough to remember FEET of snow fell in Newcastle in 1047 and Global warming had not been invented Our street closed for weeks

    In the 60’s my driving test was put off repeatedly for weeks for bad weather SMH

    • JerryC permalink
      February 16, 2020 2:00 pm

      My, you have been around for a while.

    • Mike Jackson permalink
      February 16, 2020 5:49 pm

      I can’t quite match John R’s longevity (😉) but I can confirm that for a short time at least in the winter of 1947 snow was close to the top of the telegraph poles on the moors north of Morpeth. February 1963 was better only because we were 16 years further away from WW2 and the snow-clearing kit was much improved. My journey from Leicester to Morpeth for a family funeral was a nightmare!

      On the present subject my initial reaction was the same as Paul’s. According to “the science” the temperature gradient declines with global warming and storms should become less severe. But climate being by its nature chaotic, as the IPCC itself has told us(!), things aren’t that simple.

      Stick to facts, Mr Lee.Leave the politics to politicians!

      • February 17, 2020 8:34 am

        My father used to recount that in the winter of 1946/47 he walked from where we lived in Derbyshire level with the tops of the telegraph poles. I recall the winter of 1962/63 and how the snow was frozen solid and the weight broke phone lines and trees.

      • Mad Mike permalink
        February 17, 2020 12:14 pm

        I was a schoolboy in 1961/62 and lived in central London. I clearly remember for weeks walking down icy pavements and seeing snow/ice piled up on the sides of roads making them in to single track. It seemed to go on for ever and i was royally hacked off at being so cold and slipping every few yards.

        This was central London remember where temperatures would have been higher than in the countryside. If what we are now experiencing is due to CC then i’m glad of it. Certainly the 60s and 70s were colder than what we are experiencing now and I don’t need charts to verify that.

  4. martinbrumby permalink
    February 16, 2020 1:15 pm

    Is Reading the UK’s answer to James Cook in Oz?
    Looking like it, but all of Academia needs a ‘deep clean’ of the Ecomarxist scum.

    • Gerry, England permalink
      February 17, 2020 12:20 pm

      It is one of the UK institutions that has form when it comes to global warming crap. Everyone knows about East Anglia being home of the CRU and Phil Jones, but Exeter is another to distrust.

  5. NeilC permalink
    February 16, 2020 2:22 pm

    When will these people ever learn: Weather makes Climate, Climate does not make weather.

  6. tom0mason permalink
    February 16, 2020 2:57 pm

    Itemized here ( ) are more weather events showing how climate change has impacted the UK and other countries.

  7. dennisambler permalink
    February 16, 2020 3:00 pm

    “It emphasises the rapid warming of the planet.”

    They keep repeating these affirmation phrases until they convince themselves of the truth of it. “Every day in every way, it’s getting hotter, hotter and hotter…”

  8. tom0mason permalink
    February 16, 2020 3:05 pm

    The picture marked “Global Jet Stream” shows no such thing. It is showing only the northern hemisphere’s major jet stream.
    The link below the picture however can show the whole planet and the global Jet Streams about it.

    • February 16, 2020 5:06 pm

      Yes, that’s correct. I simply zoomed in on the relevant bit

  9. Malcolm Bell permalink
    February 16, 2020 3:57 pm

    Not liking conspiracy theories; but I have started to wonder. Is all this anti fossil fuel campaign being orchestrated to wreck, not capitalism but, the middle eastern economies? Without oil sales they are dead in the water. Is that the real plan: anti Islam?

    For reasons nothing to do with global warming or politics I am against using fossil fuels primarily because it is finite. We have to find other and better ways to capture sunlight. Probably by artificial leaves. That needs lots of sunlight, good for middle eastern economies. Maybe that is why it is not being pushed?

    • Gas Geezer permalink
      February 16, 2020 6:59 pm

      The US Information Administration estimates that methane hydrates contain more energy than all other fossil fuels combined . They could hold between 10,000 and 100,000 trillion cubic feet of gas . By contrast,they estimated that there are 7,000 trillion feet of recoverable shale gas.Some of us have no concerns about “peak oil” or “peak gas”.”Peak oil” was calculated on the basis of successful vertical oil wells . Many old and exhausted oil fields are now being drilled with horizontal wells and fracking of these wells has produced huge new reserves.The limiting factor for cheap efficient energy on planet earth is common sense . Extract from- not for greens – by Ian Plimer.

  10. tom0mason permalink
    February 16, 2020 4:06 pm

    “Climate is what you expect, weather is what you get.”

    ― Robert A. Heinlein

    [ ]

    IMO — “Climate is to what nature and humanity adapts, the weather is from what you have to survive.”

  11. February 16, 2020 4:08 pm

    Reblogged this on WeatherAction News and commented:
    I once respectfully asked Simon Lee on twitter if using the term denier was helpful, linking to a Cliff Mass blog piece (Cliff is anything but a skeptic but might as well be Voldemort to these people):

    Some terms are simultaneously hurtful, destructive, counter-productive and misleading.

    Climate denier is a good example of such an inappropriate phrase, and one that is unfortunately in vogue among some climate activists and media outlets.
    The solutions to greenhouse gas emissions are not name calling or laying on guilt trips. The solutions will be technological, with new energy sources displacing fossil fuels. And eventually we will learn how to pull CO2 from the atmosphere on an industrial scale..

    Putting down other people and calling names, might make some folks feel better, and perhaps represents “virtue signaling” in some quarters (such as with the staff at the Seattle Stranger tabloid), but it is counterproductive, without scientific basis, and hurtful.

    Time to drop the “D” word.

    For that he blocked me. That speaks volumes for the character of today’s climate “scientists”. They can neither engage other people, not of their ideological mindset, nor engage an alternative hypothesis.

    Besides, as Paul has shown, they get the science hopelessly wrong when they attribute events, well within the bound of natural variability, to the bogeyman.

  12. February 16, 2020 4:57 pm

    All climate attribution – other than to natural variation – is assertion, to a large degree. After that it’s a question of how loud the message is.

    Part of the answer lies in the jet stream – yes, it would be interesting to know if/how the patterns have changed within the last two weaker than normal sunspot cycles.

  13. martinbrumby permalink
    February 16, 2020 7:12 pm

    Don”t kid yourself.
    I”ve no doubt most “middle east economies ” have enough salted away in Swiss bank accounts to allow their ‘elites’ to live their lives out in the most sybaritic luxury for generations.

    I see plenty of evidence that the aim is to destroy Western society. Absolutely none that the ecomarxists want to destroy the middle east (except Israel of course).

    • tom0mason permalink
      February 16, 2020 11:33 pm

      Western bankster (Rothschild group, Builderberg, and the 13 largest global financial banks, etc.) are aligned with and push the One World Government (OWG). They wish to corrode then control Middle Eastern banks and their private saving because the oil rich mostly do not want OWG, and it would appear that because of that the BIG banksters initiated (via Bush (family history in banking), then Obama) for wars to be started and exacerbated in the Arab controlled areas. Who controls the banks in Libya, Iraq, etc now? What pipelines were supposed to go through these areas but were not originally financed by the big banks?

  14. donald penman permalink
    February 16, 2020 9:13 pm

    A rise of 4-6 degrees c by 2080 seems totally ridiculous to me given any warming we might have had so far.

  15. February 16, 2020 9:53 pm

    Simon Lee might have a word with his colleague at Reading University – Prof. Mike Lockwood.

    Low solar activity link to cold UK winters (2010)

    Professor Lockwood said that there were a number of possibilities that could explain the link, but the team favoured the idea of a meteorological phenomenon known as “blocking”.

    But, he added, if the jet stream is “blocked”, and pushed further northwards, then cold, dry winds from the east flow over Europe, resulting in a sharp fall in temperatures.

    “This… ‘blocking’ does seem to be one of the things that can be modulated by solar activity,” he said.

    The year 2010 was at the bottom of the solar cycle. We are now in the depths of the next solar cycle minimum and we’re again seeing similar jet stream related weather events.

  16. StephenP permalink
    February 16, 2020 10:04 pm

    Just finished watching a Channel 5 programme about Extinction Rebellion.
    It was all about how they organised their protests and not a single explanation of the reasons behind their protests. The only comment made was ‘scientists say’, without any explanation of what they said.
    It was interesting to see the reaction of the general public to their blocking of the underground trains and stopping them getting to work.
    Apart from that I felt it was a bit of a waste of an hour when I could have been watching Endeavour.

    • Gerry, England permalink
      February 17, 2020 12:26 pm

      The XR dolly that was given a pasting by Andrew Neil – and he was being very soft as per BBC climate edict – in an interview only offered up the legendary Hookey Stick, fraudulent Nobel prize claimer and general climate crook Michael Mann as a ‘scientist’ to heed.

      • StephenP permalink
        February 17, 2020 5:36 pm

        I see ER are now digging up Trinity College, Cambridge, lawns as they object to a development on some land owned by the college.
        They certainly seem to be spreading their net wider to find things to object to.

  17. Ben Vorlich permalink
    February 17, 2020 9:33 am

    According to the Anglo Saxon Chronicle 1047 had damaging wildfires in Derbyshire and other places and 1048 a severe winter. Could have been 1047/48 or 1048/49

  18. Sheri permalink
    February 17, 2020 1:34 pm

    The link between storms and Britain’s climate is called MEDIA PROPAGANDA.

  19. Gamecock permalink
    February 17, 2020 2:12 pm

    Gross speculation masquerading as science.

    And The Times is not embarrassed at all.

  20. MrGrimNasty permalink
    February 17, 2020 2:25 pm

    Meaningless weight ascribed to ‘records’ again. BBC news was gloating that the River Wye was supposedly at its highest level ever. The 1795 sign level was submerged they said (which firstly assumes that the sign is accurately positioned). Presumably this:-

    Well 1960 was within inches at this location anyway.

    Is it not highly suspicious that apart from 1795 all the marks are in the 1900s, presumably people just didn’t bother recording it in the 1800s?

    It is just one location on the river under a very specific set of circumstances – any blockage/debris/bank alteration/dredging/silting up at any point in the river differing to 1795 would render an accurate year on year comparison impossible.

  21. February 17, 2020 2:35 pm

    “The link between climate change and Britain’s winter storms”–(Clue–There is not one)”

    And the link between climate change and Britain’s floods (same clue)

  22. MrGrimNasty permalink
    February 17, 2020 5:02 pm

    Almost to the day 1946.

    And Pathe is a near bottomless pit of similar films!

  23. Jason permalink
    February 17, 2020 9:49 pm

    It is such a lie to say wetter weather was predicted. Only hotter weather was predicted along with talk of councils having to start buying palm trees. It was global warming. In the mid 90s the BBC were filming dried up rivers and lakes and telling us it would never rain properly in Britain again. The.predictions ALL fIled and they are rewriting their pathetic history of failed predictions.

  24. Post BREXIT permalink
    February 18, 2020 3:40 pm

    Clealry. e are seeing and hearing stories which amount a ClimateGate Continutity project.
    That they got away with ClimateGate so easily has simply emboldened their approach to carrying on:
    There are still far too many people in positions of authority afraid to challenge the thoughts of St Greta for fear of being ‘frozen’ out as the late David Bellamy was:

  25. February 19, 2020 10:19 am

    Simon Lee was called out on twitter by Andrew Montford for his false claim that

    “the best guess is that the world could be 4C-6C warmer by 2080.”

    In response, Lee tried to claim that this was a mistake and in the version on his blog he has now edited it to say

    “the best guess is that the world could be — in a worst-case scenario — 4C-6C warmer by 2100.”

    This makes no sense of course. How can a worst case scenario be a best guess?

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