Skip to content

Despite Harrabin’s Hysterics, It Was Not The UK’s Driest Spring

June 2, 2020
tags: ,

By Paul Homewood

h/t Joe Public

 

image

May was the sunniest calendar month on record, and spring was the sunniest spring, the Met Office has said.

The UK enjoyed 266 hours of sunshine in May – surpassing the previous record of 265 hours in June 1957.

And it is even more extraordinary following a drenching winter, with record rain in February.

Meteorologists say they are amazed at the sudden switch from extreme wet to extreme dry – it is not “British” weather.

On average the UK gets 436 hours of sunshine between March and the end of May.

Since 1929, only 10 years have had more than 500 hours. And none has got more than 555 hours.

Scientists say the recent weather in the UK has been unprecedented and astounding.

This year we’ve bathed in an extraordinary 626 hours – smashing the previous record by a “staggering” amount, one Met Office worker said.

It is because the jet stream has locked the fine weather in place, just as it locked the previous winter rainfall in place.

 

Professor Liz Bentley, chief executive of the Royal Meteorological Society, told BBC News: “We’ve swung from a really unsettled spell with weather systems coming in off the Atlantic to a very, very settled spell.

“It’s unprecedented to see such a swing from one extreme to the other in such a short space of time. That’s what concerns me. We don’t see these things normally happening with our seasons.

“It’s part of a pattern where we’re experiencing increasingly extreme weather as the climate changes.”

Mark McCarthy, from the Met Office, said: “If we look at the difference in rainfall that’s fallen over the winter compared to spring it is the largest difference in rainfall amount in our national series from 1862.

“The sunshine statistics are really astounding.

“The stand out is by how much sunshine has broken the previous record – set in 1948. There’s been more sunshine than most of our past summer seasons. It’s quite remarkable.”

One of his colleagues described the figures as “absolutely staggering”.

 

The Met Office says this year is not an indicator of the future, because the jet stream might behave differently.

Scientists suspect man-made climate change may be implicated, but it is too soon to tell.

Some of them believe the rapid man-made heating of the Arctic, which has led to record temperatures and wildfires in Siberia, may be influencing the jet stream, although that is not proven.

Professor Joe Smith, chief executive of the Royal Geographical Society, told BBC News: “For many people, the recent long sunny spell is simply ‘nice weather’.

“In a wider context it’s a signal of the increasing unpredictability of the UK’s climate. Planning for the growing season is starting to resemble a night at the gambling tables.

“The fact remains that bold early actions to slash emissions can still cut the larger risks associated with climate change in the UK and around the world”.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-52877912

 

Is it climate change, or just weather? Indeed, is it even unprecedented?

Not according to the data for England at least:

image

https://www.metoffice.gov.uk/pub/data/weather/uk/climate/datasets/Rainfall/date/UK.txt

 

The biggest differential between winter and spring rainfall occurred in 1990, when it was both wetter in winter and drier in spring than this year.

The differential was also greater than this year as long ago as 1915, which had a much wetter winter. The pattern is the same for the UK as a whole, though this year’s differential was marginally greater than in 1915 and 1990.

Nevertheless, if the current weather in England is not unprecedented, then it clearly cannot be the result of climate change.

Moreover the long term data shows no evidence of this year’s phenomenon becoming more common. Instead this year is clearly just an outlier. There are of course hundreds of permutations from which unusual events can be plucked if you try hard enough.

We already know that winter rainfall was not exceptionally high in England, ranking tenth since 1862/3.

As for this spring, it has not even been the driest on record, only the fourth driest in England (and fifth in the UK). The driest spring was way back in 1893. Again there is no evidence that springs are getting drier.

image

https://www.metoffice.gov.uk/research/climate/maps-and-data/uk-and-regional-series

 

Harrabin evidently has some new useful lackeys to go to to support his hysterical outpourings. We already know about Liz Bentley.

Now we can add Joe Smith of the RGS to the list. He ludicrously claims that in a wider context it’s a signal of the increasing unpredictability of the UK’s climate. Planning for the growing season is starting to resemble a night at the gambling tables.

Again there is not one scintilla of evidence to back this up. In terms of rainfall, large year-on year variability has always been the norm. Nevertheless, with no justification, he tells us we must all drastically reduce emissions.

I wonder what difference that will make to spring weather in England?

 

The nonsense about all of this being caused by “Arctic warming” is just that – pure speculation which does not even deserve to be mentioned.

Indeed Harrabin inadvertently lets the cat out of the bag when he says:

It is because the jet stream has locked the fine weather in place, just as it locked the previous winter rainfall in place.

In other words, there has not been a massive swing in meteorological conditions, quite the opposite in fact. The only difference between winter and spring is that the jet stream moves polewards as summer approaches, thus bringing high pressure to the British Isles instead of low.

No doubt, if it had been an unusually dry winter, Harrabin would have jumping up and down, blaming that on global warming as well!

33 Comments
  1. Broadlands permalink
    June 2, 2020 6:57 pm

    “The fact remains that bold early actions to slash emissions can still cut the larger risks associated with climate change in the UK and around the world”.

    The fact remains that such ‘bold’ actions are already creating hazardous and dangerous social and economic conditions. The Covid-19 lockdown is responsible, along with ‘bold’ politicians around the world talking about climate change endlessly.

  2. Stonyground permalink
    June 2, 2020 7:01 pm

    They really are getting desperate now aren’t they? It is starting to look quite pathetic. Not British weather, really? As far as I know, being unpredictable and sometimes bizarre pretty much defines British weather.

    • June 2, 2020 10:27 pm

      Yes, British weather often depends on which way the winds are blowing that day, week etc.

    • Rowland P permalink
      June 3, 2020 10:23 am

      Climate is one of the most complex, non-linear, chaotic systems known to man. To ignore chaos is fraud. To claim that any extreme weather is due to man’s emissions of the benign trace gas, carbon dioxide, essential for all life on Earth, is fraud.

    • June 3, 2020 1:59 pm

      The BBC weather forecaster just informed us the 10C drop in temperature compared to yesterday and much of the last few weeks was ‘entirely due to the change in wind direction’. Now we have low pressure dragging in northerly winds.

  3. jack broughton permalink
    June 2, 2020 7:11 pm

    The higher sunshine hours that the western world has experienced in recent years is more likely due to the reduced dust and SO2 emissions that followed from the Clean Air Act (and similar worldwide), which led to massive reductions in cloud-seeding chemicals (i.e. dust and SO2). The effect of a minute reduction in cloud cover on the earth’s albedo is far greater than any nonsensical increase in the CO2-based radiative absorption.

    Cloud cover varies between 52% and 67% and the mechanics and actual values remain empirically based despite 30 years of theoretical outpourings about how the “Science is settled”. Like me, clouds are beautiful but misunderstood.

    • Broadlands permalink
      June 2, 2020 7:51 pm

      The Campbell-Stokes sunshine recorder…

      “When the sun is low in the sky it may not have enough strength to properly burn the card and thus can only measure the amount of bright sunshine as opposed to visible sunshine. This often occurs at dawn and dusk. Rain may cause the card to be torn when removing it and thus making it difficult to read. In areas of high frost and during periods of freezing rain the sphere may be difficult to clean and may not be removed before the sun is shining again. It is also susceptible to external, non-weather factors…. such as dust, dirt or dried bird droppings… accumulating on the glass sphere which requires frequent inspection and cleaning.

      The single biggest problem is in the reading of the cards. On days when the sun is alternately covered and exposed by clouds, the amount of burn on the card may be the same for 30 seconds as for 5 minutes.”

      Precision and accuracy? 🙂

  4. Geoff B permalink
    June 2, 2020 7:14 pm

    They could not claim hottest May (since records began), so the best they came up with was sunniest, as if that is a problem. What next..cloudiest, foggiest, haziest, dampest……

    • Mike Jackson permalink
      June 2, 2020 7:43 pm

      As I commented yesterday, they are comparing apples with oranges. The opposite of “wettest” is “driest” not “sunniest”. And an unusually sunny May this might just possibly have something to do with the lack of aircraft criss-crossing the skies.No?

    • Phoenix44 permalink
      June 3, 2020 9:07 am

      Least not hottest.

    • Gerry, England permalink
      June 3, 2020 1:18 pm

      The words ‘straw’ and ‘clutching’ come to mind…..

  5. Mack permalink
    June 2, 2020 7:20 pm

    “Newsflash: having nipped into the RMS archives, Liz Bentley now admits that the UK weather this Spring is not unprecendented nor the least bit concerning and would like to thank Paul Homewood for pointing out the error of her ways. Apparently her dog ate her homework and she never believed in any of this global warming malarkey anyway but toeing the party line helps pay the mortgage etc etc.” Oh, and then I woke up…

    Seriously, it was interesting to see the meltdown of Monbiot, Mann and the green Pharisees after the recent Michael Moore documentary savaged the renewable Ponzi bonanza. I’m sure Ms Bentley is a sincere and studious adherent to the prevailing ‘anthropocene’ narrative but a few cracks are starting to appear in the dam. We just need a few Damascene conversions by Bentley type individuals in order to do a ‘Barnes Wallis’ on the whole rotten edifice. One can only dream…

  6. CheshireRed permalink
    June 2, 2020 8:17 pm

    ‘Make it up as you go along Roger and for God’s sake make it sound terrifying!’

  7. Jackington permalink
    June 2, 2020 8:20 pm

    Thanks again Paul for this forensic reposte to another one of Harrabin’s fairy tales.

  8. billbedford permalink
    June 2, 2020 8:32 pm

    This spring’s weather in southern England would be seen as normal for the time of year in the Northern Isles. Ther’s usually a high formed over Scandinavia in late march which brings cloudless skies until late May or early June, but because the winds are from the northeast the temperatures tend to be on the cold side. At the end of this period, the high collapses and the weather reverts to the normal cyclonic Atlantic pattern.

    • Mack permalink
      June 2, 2020 11:49 pm

      Indeed, it’s wonderful what a bit of high pressure or a wavy jet stream can do. Bugger all to do with man made co2, of course, but hey ho.

      I remember a few years ago when the whole of the mainland UK had a miserable, damp and cool summer, but the Isle of Lewis, off the northwest mainland coast of Scotland, had a scorcher. Well, in Scottish terms, by ‘a scorcher’ I mean the sun was out a lot and thermal underwear was only optional for the residents. The islanders were just on the right side of the wave, the rest of us on the mainland we’re on the bucket end! But, that would be weather. If you are brave enough to go skinny dipping now in the surf off the Isle of Lewis you’ll need certifying afterwards or a good hospital bed!

  9. Stephen Wilde permalink
    June 2, 2020 9:48 pm

    Historically, large divergences from the usual west to east progression of Atlantic depressions are usually associated with periods of global cooling.
    Such as during the Little Ice Age and the mid 20th Century cooling period.

  10. Charlie Moncur permalink
    June 2, 2020 9:49 pm

    Time to shut down the BBC and Harrabin? The best way to hold the BBC to its charter is to withhold the licence fee. No income – no BBC. The same is true for MSM – stop subscribing or buying newspapers. Otherwise, the battle continues to rage. Similar stance with UN bodies – withhold funding as per Trump and WHO.

  11. Ian Cook permalink
    June 2, 2020 9:59 pm

    The RGS gimp, Harrabin and all the rest need to reduce their bloody emissions. Believe me, England would derive great benefit and not just in Spring weather.

  12. June 2, 2020 10:29 pm

    This is a harraharrabinbin tour de force Let me dissect this Olympic standard piffle not with data ( Paul has already done that, but rather analyse the statements because I have never seen even him producing anything so shot through with anecdotes and uncorroborated testimony

    One comment before we continue. REAL scientists are conservative by nature and select their words very carefully. They are always write and speak in an unemotional way because by and large they really are not sure of anything and just present what the data says. If their analysis uses statistical methods then they cite the most likely outcome and inform as to the possible variance. They do not ever use hyperbol. Remember that because when I see supposed scientists using emotional language I know the statement is not a scientific judgement but a bought or paid for statement by someone who is clearly compromised.

    1. “Meteorologists say”! they are amazed at the sudden switch from extreme wet to extreme dry – it is not “British” weather.

    Note the emotional language.(see my comment above). Who says? Which meteorologists? Be specific Harraharrabinbin. Unattributed uncorroborated testimony…. so we have to take your word for it do we Harraharrabinbin, sorry NO!

    Next we get
    2. “Scientists say” the recent weather in the UK has been unprecedented and astounding.

    Notice the emotional language. (see comment above)So Harraharrabinbin are Meteorologists not also scientists? Which scientists exactly? Political scientists? Food scientists? Social scientists? Again unattributed uncorroborated comments from the doyen of the BBC Pravda(truth) factory.Do I accept that ? NO!

    3. Professor Liz Bentley, chief executive of the Royal Meteorological Society, told BBC News: “We’ve swung from a really unsettled spell with weather systems coming in off the Atlantic to a very, very settled spell.

    “It’s unprecedented to see such a swing from one extreme to the other in such a short space of time. That’s what concerns me. We don’t see these things normally happening with our seasons.

    Note the emotional language ( see my comment above).Seems she never visited the west coast of Norway and she never visited the Lakedistrict when the summer can and does just END in one day. A week or two great weather then bang it is autumn rolled into Winter. Ironically in Winter it can be surprisingly stable in both places. That being said it is a brave man who can predict the weather in either place.

    I quote from her very “lite” outline for the society. “I was born in Yorkshire and I’m sure my upbringing on top of the Pennines, where the weather can be a little more extreme”.

    Sorry but IF you are a meterologist you use that word “extreme” in a measured way. Also from Yorkshire she should know bad weather can suddenly become good and good suddenly bad.

    My dear changing every 5 minutes is NOT an example of extreme. It is an example of UNPREDICTABILITY.

    I am not impressed at all by her posturing and grandstanding.Not what I expect from a supposed professional of how many years exactly?

    Also final point before I move on. WHY is her opinion the one to go for? Surely it is the MetOffice who have the final say. She? She heads up a club with paid subscription. Could it be that she says what the “impartial” BBC want to hear when they ask for it?

    4. Mark McCarthy, from the Met Office, said: “If we look at the difference in rainfall that’s fallen over the winter compared to spring it is the largest difference in rainfall amount in our national series from 1862.
    “The sunshine statistics are really astounding

    Note the emotional language ( see my comment above) “astounding” and I am struggling here to understand this emotional term and put it into context. For something to be astounding it has to be “extraordinary” totally out of the normal range therefore more than 2 standard deviations away from the mean or median value. Is it??

    5. One of his colleagues described the figures as “absolutely staggering”.

    I laughed out loud when I saw this one. Why do you not name this colleague Harraharrabinbin? Among his colleagues at the Met where they breath the BS that We are all one team” there are cleaners and there are postal workers and office maintenance folks. More unattributed uncorroborated testimony and we only have the word of honest John Harraharrabinbin that he did not make it up!

    6. “The Met Office says this year is not an indicator of the future, because the jet stream might behave differently”.

    Now the Met Office has a voice! Which officebuilding is talking or is it their web page perhaps?? Where did Harraharrabinbin learn to construct sentences? I assume he refers to a comment made by a carbon based human life form so why not attribute the comment?

    “Scientists suspect man-made climate change may be implicated, but it is too soon to tell”.

    Oh them pesky scientists again! But where do these ones come from and who are they?
    But analyse that statement. “Scientists suspect man-made climate change may be implicated”. Let me get this straight. An unproven assertion (Man made global warming) causes another unproven linkage to claimed climate change and they try to say that is responsible for shifting ( or not) the JetStream? OK so your naughty SUV also controls the Coriolis force?

    A worthless pointless concoction by Harraharrabinbin.As usual trying to seed his piffle with statements of authority. I think he needs to stop smoking Weatabix and try ground up shreddies instead!

    Ye gods!

    • dave permalink
      June 2, 2020 11:25 pm

      The CAGW “show” had its “jump the shark” moment with Greta. Pretending good-weather stories are really bad-weather stories will not halt the gradual decline in ratings.

      • dave permalink
        June 3, 2020 3:01 pm

        Comparing hours of sunshine in May 2020 (266, apparently, after some obscure averaging over the five hundred miles of different North-South day-length and the marked difference between the West and the East of the UK when it comes to cloudiness) with June 1957’s hours (265):

        Traditional climatology has May as ‘the sunniest month.’ So one is not surprised by a sunny May. But one has to allow for the facts that, on the one hand, May has AN EXTRA day, and on the other hand, the days are SHORTER than in June. These facts almost, but not completely, cancel out.

        At the latitude of London, June has about 496 hours when the sun could be shining and May has 484 hours.

        After a little arithmetic, the sun shone, according to the calculations, for
        53.6 % of the time it could, in June 1957, and 54.9 % in May 2020. Hardly an astounding difference to show for 63 years of catastrophic climate change!

        Actually, both figures are quite low; it feels like it has been sunnier. An example of English psychology?

  13. dennisambler permalink
    June 2, 2020 11:02 pm

    The Jet Stream before it was the Jet Stream:

    S Wales Echo 3rd December 1891
    SEVERE WINTER PREDICTED. “Professor Walter H. Smith, the best known meteorologist in Canada, has made a prediction full of painful interest for all of us. He says that Europe will experience another very severe winter. Professor Smith also says that the Atlantic voyages will prove to be the roughest on record. The bad weather in England and the extensive drought in America are due, according to this prophet, to the exceptionally southern course taken by the great Continental and oceanic wind areas.”

    More predictions 6th October 1900
    SEVERE WINTER PREDICTED. “A severe winter is predicted by M. Jaubert, director of the Paris municipal observatories, as a not uncommon sequel to so dry a summer as that of the present year. M. Jaubert refers to July as a more than ordinarily hot month, and August as a comparatively wet one, although the rainfall was insufficient to counterbalance the drought of June and July.

    General conditions, he thinks, favour the prediction of a winter somewhat more rigorous than usual, though this is only a conclusion based on anterior observation.” Other experts dispute M. Jaubert’s record against June, 1900, as “the driest since 1870.” June, 1893, is, they say, certainly entitled to the palm for continued sunshine.”

  14. June 3, 2020 4:14 am

    Sarah Jackson from the Met Office confirmed that it did not discern any pattern that suggested Man-made climate change was at play in UK rainfall – although if temperatures rise as projected in future, that would lead to warmer air being able to carry more moisture to fall as rain.

  15. john cooknell permalink
    June 3, 2020 7:38 am

    Prepare for the deluge it is on its way!

  16. Phoenix44 permalink
    June 3, 2020 9:06 am

    I’m no meteorologist but I’m struggling to understand why its completely impossible to have a wet February and a sunny May in the UK without “Climate Change”? If we have small amounts of climate change so far, how could that possibly be enough to produce something the Met Office says is incredibly new and extreme? And why didn’t it happen last year? And will it happen next year? The Met Office has not done any actual analysis, just commented on observations.

    This is not science, its just irrational, illogical nonsense. I’m willing to look at whether temperatures have changed over time and whether they produce changes in climate, but this is pure propaganda, assertions made by people with an agenda.

  17. Colin MacDonald permalink
    June 3, 2020 9:21 am

    It’s meteorological summer now and the weather’s gone from balmy to baltic. I foresee another headline at the end the month about a freakishly cold June, and attributing this to AGW especially as it followed our May heatwave.

  18. Mikep permalink
    June 3, 2020 9:27 am

    Can’t say I’ve heard anyone complaining about the sunniest May on record! Quite the opposite, in fact, most people I know have said that the sunshine was the saving grace of ‘lockdown’!

  19. Ray Sanders permalink
    June 3, 2020 9:43 am

    I love the concept of the sunniest “calendar” month with 31 days of the calendar month of May 2020 beating by just one hour the 30 day calendar month of June 1957.
    I wonder what was the actual sunniest 30 or 31 day period outside of the somewhat artificial and irrelevant parameter of “calendar” month.

    • David Parker permalink
      June 3, 2020 10:26 am

      June 1957 had 0.27679… MORE hours per day of sunshine than this May, if I have done the maths correctly. Note the previous comment about the problems reading the cards on sunshine recorders. Totally irrelevant anyway.

      • MrGrimNasty permalink
        June 3, 2020 10:49 am

        These ‘records’ are always dubious when the entire data collection over the years does not use exactly the same instruments and procedures and methodology. Goodness knows how the MO calculates an average number of hours over the whole of Eng., UK, etc. – but it’s not even a real thing, because obviously it varies from place to place.

  20. June 3, 2020 10:44 am

    Its a form of coercion. If it sticks it was “I told you so”, if it doesn’t it is easily forgotten. This is what we are getting increasingly from our free press. Nothing sells copy so well as a lurid headline. That so much of what is manufactured news come to nowt is not surprising. The news machine can suggest or assert that such and such an outcome will occur but nothing transpires. But if it were to predict correctly once then, in whatever respect, and we will be assured it was right all along.

    When it is fashionable to hold a certain point of view it is difficult to counter. We have seen how those of little specific knowledge are exercised by any counter to their ‘beliefs’ and can be voluble in regard to the future of our children etc. Notoriety is a precious commodity these days and our news world is littered with prognosticators (I am reminded of the Punxsutawney Groundhog that was looked to for indications that Spring had arrived). Harrabin seems to fall into this category. Were he not the child of the BBC he would be an irrelevance.

    It is a reflection on the sad decline of our newspapers that the business of capturing the zeitgeist has become such a demand amongst editors. Dog bites man is not enough and the merest hint of a man biting a dog becomes the measure. TV stations are overly long and inevitably have to be attached to drama and pictorial representation. Threat, in the form of climate change, is the drama and endless filmed footage of some weather occurrence in some place and some time is dragooned in to fill space. What is common knowledge or understanding is in fact little known as producers of news will only broadcast that which supports their assertion, hence the BBC not daring to interview real climatologists and statisticians. The proof that racism exists will inevitably centre on interviewing a bigot who comes to represent the current public view. An individual whom it may have been difficult to seek out. The only survivor of a heap of recordings piled on the editor’s office floor.

    It is self-evident that Paul, here, is increasingly frustrated at the antics of those whom he sees as having ignored the scrupulousness of his research and the bravery of assertions. But he has to persist. History is full of those who stood out against populism and bigotry. People such as Frank Whittle who had to battle the government’s scientific community; the evocation of the Circumlocution Office that Charles Dickens conjures in his Little Dorrit novel. A thing of which we are all conscious of and which, carried along by the swell of emotion or preoccupation, seems, at times, to be blind to fact, to learning even to hopefulness. Cromwell knew the way of the world, “If we fight 100 times and beat him (Charles I) 99 he will be King still, but if he beats us but once, or the last time, we shall be hanged”. The only way to face down insistence is to outlast it. When you are faced by necromancers and fantasists it is that much harder. Persistence and bravery outweigh all. We hear that Germany has opened a coal fired power station. After Covid, our finances in ruins, it may be the time to ensure that our own fossil fuel industry is opened up as a matter of a national emergency.

  21. Eddie P permalink
    June 3, 2020 12:32 pm

    Seems that all the experts on climate have forgotten that the British climate is divided into four indistinguishable seasons. Variation is the norm.

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: