Skip to content

Dunce’s Cap For Peter Stott

September 14, 2020

14 By Paul Homewood



What would we do without the Guardian?


This was what they wrote in 2012:




Seeing satellite pictures from Greenland last month, scientists from Nasa at first couldn’t believe what the data was telling them. About 97% of the Greenland ice sheet was melting. The rate was unprecedented, with the thaw more widespread than ever as unseasonally warm weather across the Arctic took effect.

“It was so extraordinary that at first I questioned the result: was this real or was it due to a data error?” wondered Son Nghiem, one of the scientists responsible for the research at Nasa’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena. In a normal summer, some melting is observed over about half the island’s surface area. This new data – from three satellites – raised serious concerns over the progress of global warming and the likely consequences.

For scientists at the Met Office’s world-renowned Hadley research centre in Exeter, the question was not just how fast Greenland was melting, but something much trickier. They have been crunching through years of data from dozens of satellites, trying to establish whether the conditions in the Arctic circle are related to the record-breaking washout of a summer in the UK.


The news could be disconcerting for fans of the British summer. Because when it comes to global warming, we can forget the jolly predictions of Jeremy Clarkson and his ilk of a Mediterranean climate in which we lounge among the olive groves of Yorkshire sipping a fine Scottish champagne. The truth is likely to be much duller, and much nastier – and we have already had a taste of it. “We will see lots more floods, droughts, such as we’ve had this year in the UK,” says Peter Stott, leader of the climate change monitoring and attribution team at the Met Office. “Climate change is not a nice slow progression where the global climate warms by a few degrees. It means a much greater variability, far more extremes of weather.”

A series of unusually wet and cold summers has afflicted the UK for several years. Remember the devastating floods of 2007, when some areas received double their normal rainfall for June? Or the predictions of a “barbecue summer” in 2009 that backfired badly on the Met Office as the (correctly anticipated) high temperatures were accompanied by heavy clouds and rainstorms? The impression that many Britons have had that summer weather has been getting worse in recent years is borne out by the data – five out of the last six years (2007-2012), have shown below-average sunshine from June to August, and in some cases well below average. All have had above-average rainfall – in some cases more than 50% above the long-term average. “It is not just a perception – we have had a run of relatively poor summers,” says Stott….

For the British Isles, the melting Arctic could hold the key to whether the weather is changing under human impacts. Recent poor summers have been strongly linked by scientists to a change in the usual position of the jet stream, a weather system that normally lies in high latitudes during the northern hemisphere summer.

This year, the jet stream moved much more than usual, passing south of the UK. It also persisted in this position for an unusually long time. If this pushing of the jet stream southward is indeed linked to less sea ice over the Arctic circle, as Hanna suspects, then the signs are that we will see many more of these wet summers in future.


Well, eight years, how did those predictions pan out?


Poor old Peter Stott, not for the first time, confused WEATHER with CLIMATE.

Since that washout summer in 2012, British summers have hovered around the average, none being unusually wet or dry.

And it was not just the UK which would suffer, according to the Guardian:

Nor has the UK been alone in suffering extreme weather. In the US, the eastern seaboard has been hit by heatwaves and storms but even worse has been the “dustbowl effect” in Texas and across much of the nation’s agricultural heartland. India’s monsoon failed to appear on schedule, leaving millions of farmers in the subcontinent facing destitution. Floods in Beijing, after the heaviest rainfall in 60 years, caused devastation to millions.

The consequences across the world have been and will be dire. A food crisis is now all but inevitable, according to the US agriculture secretary. Emergency plans are being discussed in India, while in China the clear-up is accompanied by concerns that environmental degradation may be making the country’s problems worse.


Well, how did that lot work out?

Since the hot, dry summer in 2011, Texas summers have either been wetter than normal or around average:



Tornadoes in the US have continued their long term decline:



India’s monsoon has done what it has always done, with the only drought years being El Nino related:


All India Summer Monsoon Rainfall based on IITM/IMD homogenous Indian monthly rainfall data


And global cereal production has grown by 16%



None out five would get most employees the sack, but in the world of climate science you get promotion and awards!

  1. September 14, 2020 11:45 pm

    The climate game looks a lot like superstition where once a superstition takes hold every change or unusual event verifies it.

  2. Nancy & John Hultquist permalink
    September 15, 2020 1:26 am

    US Sec. Of Agriculture in 2012 was an Obama appointee from Iowa, Tom Vilsack – Democrat, politician, lawyer.
    Being from Iowa he ought to have talked to farmers. Apparently he did not. A fairly decent chap. Just not well versed in crops.

    • September 15, 2020 12:30 pm

      West Virginia’s Commissioner of Agriculture is Kent Leonhardt a retired Lt. Col. in the Marine Corps AND a real farmer near where I live. Four years ago, Kent replaced a Democrat political hack whose experience in farming was owning a lawn tractor–seriously. The changes have been amazing with emphasis on getting veterans into farming, niche farming, farm to schools and school programs which include growing and processing of vegetables and meats. He has modernized our labs and we can accommodate materials from other states. Although WV does not have land for major farming such as wheat, we are ideally situated near the cities of the eastern seaboard for the niche farming and growing. That is taking off with fruit from the eastern panhandle, various vegetables and even great goat and other cheeses. Before Kent, we did not know what the Commissioner of Agriculture in WV should be doing and was not….

    • spetzer86 permalink
      September 15, 2020 2:41 pm

      Vilsak allowed the Iowa countryside to be littered with wind turbines. Iowa is a small state, but actually had a small nuclear facility at the time. (This unit was damaged due to a severe storm a few weeks ago and will reportedly not reopen.) Vilsak’s big idea was to build wind power in Iowa and sell it to Chicago. Line losses seemed to have spelled to end of that dream, but not before the stupid towers went up.

  3. September 15, 2020 2:23 am

    If this pushing of the jet stream southward is indeed linked to less sea ice over the Arctic circle, as Hanna suspects, then the signs are that we will see many more of these wet summers in future.

    That was written in 2012, which fits with the experience during the solar minimum of 2010, since it usually takes a couple years for the researchers to collect the data and write papers about it.

    We know that in 2010 at the nadir of the solar cycle the jet stream was wandering like a drunk in Soho. The Great Moscow Heat Wave and the accompanying Pakistan floods that year were due to a sinuous jet stream and jet stream blocking. The same year in winter the whole UK was covered by snow, also due to jet stream sinuosity, leading to some fine satellite photos.

    Roll tape to 2020 and we’re back into solar minimum conditions. And we’re back into sinuous jet streams and the resulting weather events of alternating hot and cold. Here’s the latest one, which is a “hot”:

    UK heatwave alert: Met Office warns of ‘dangerously hot weather’ this week – Forecast (Express, 14 Sep)

    As soon as I saw the MetOrfice map this morning I though ‘jet stream’. Haven’t checked it with the jet stream sites but it’s a classic pattern. Enjoy the warmth UK people!

    (Here in the southern Newcastle it has been a nice Spring, the birds are breeding like mad and I’m hoping to go off for a bicycle ride this afternoon.)

  4. September 15, 2020 6:27 am

    Well we all know what “the Met Office’s world-renowned Hadley research centre in Exeter” is renowned for. Hint – it isn’t good science or good forecasting.

  5. Mike Jackson permalink
    September 15, 2020 9:14 am

    In the middle of France were are having what will probably be the last splurge of Summer. Mid-30s to the weekend then a rapid decline to the low 20s with minima around 12. Locals have been comparing it to 2003. Big problem is lack of rain. If we’re heading into a La Nina winter could be interesting.

    Everybody round here seems to think it’s just weather!

    • Phoenix44 permalink
      September 15, 2020 9:26 am

      Not sure where you are but last Autumn/Winter where we are in the Dordogne it wouldn’t stop raining! And summer was so late starting the grapes are late. But its farming/wine country so the long term residents have seen it all before. But the newcomers, the trendy organic winemakers, get terribly overexcited.

      • Ben Vorlich permalink
        September 15, 2020 2:12 pm

        Similar in Haute Vienne, very wet first half of the year, not that warm. Very little, almost none, rain since June. But fields not as brown as this time last year. Two successive dry summers might be a problem if there’s a drier than average winter.
        There weren’t many really hot days this summer.
        What has been noticeable is the low wind speed for long periods

  6. El Toro permalink
    September 15, 2020 9:14 am

    “Son Nghiem, one of the scientists responsible for the research at Nasa’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena”
    What’s JPL got to do with Greenland’s weather?

    • El Toro permalink
      September 15, 2020 10:21 am

      Silly me, it’s about the Jet Stream!

  7. Phoenix44 permalink
    September 15, 2020 9:22 am

    The depths to which science has sunk are so depressing. A year or two of weather is extrapolated for fifty years, then when we get a year or two of different weather thats extrapolated for fifty years.

    As for ice and the jet stream, they don’t seem to consider that cause and effect are the other way round – the jet stream is meandering more for some reason and thats having an impact on the ice.

  8. Mad Mike permalink
    September 15, 2020 9:48 am

    “Recent poor summers” A While back I thought they were telling us that our summers of the last 2 or 3 years were some of the hottest on record. Like the coronavirus rules, I really can’t keep up with the latest truth.

  9. CheshireRed permalink
    September 15, 2020 10:22 am

    The evidence suggests they erm, don’t actually have any evidence for their assertions.

    It’s almost as if they’re just Making It Up As They Go Along to secure hysterical headlines in fawning ‘reports’. Surely not?!

  10. pochas94 permalink
    September 15, 2020 12:56 pm

    Everything goes in cycles. At least I think it does.

    • dennisambler permalink
      September 16, 2020 11:54 pm

      What is it about 97% that makes it such an all encompassing number in any situation.

      • dennisambler permalink
        September 16, 2020 11:56 pm

        This wasn’t a reply to pochas94!

  11. Gerry, England permalink
    September 15, 2020 2:55 pm

    At this point you could use the phrase ‘you couldn’t make it up’ except that you have been beaten to because they did!

    I was appalled to see that Attenbollox’s latest book is being serialised in the Mail on Sunday. Added to that former BBC Today editor Sarah Sands is now writing a column. Has there been a left-wing coup there?

  12. Francis permalink
    September 15, 2020 4:21 pm

    In the real world, there has been no consistent change in the earth’s average temperature. How could there be a consistent change in local conditions?

    What to believe: Observed reality or climate models???

  13. Broadlands permalink
    September 15, 2020 9:11 pm

    “This year, the jet stream moved much more than usual, passing south of the UK. It also persisted in this position for an unusually long time.”

    When will they accept that the jet streams (like the ENSOs) are part of the Earth’s natural variability and are not controlled by the CO2 that humans have emitted?

    • September 16, 2020 9:52 am

      Simple answer is: never.

      CO2 has gone from 0.03% to 0.04% of the atmosphere in two centuries, but the tail wags the dog in climate fantasy land.

  14. saighdear permalink
    September 16, 2020 8:59 am

    Oh dear, the waffle here: In N Scotlan, Inner Moray Firth area we have had a WET-ish summer, definitely Cooler than usual: after a miserable winter we hadfalse promise of a good Spring Summer. Ample fruit blossom but very little set. NO Pears, few apples, FEW Plums and NO Plums of some varieties, ONE Hazel/Cobnut, ONE Pint of Elderberries from 10 Trees, Grass growth until last weeks warmer rains was poor…… and so on But we just call it awful weather:Cold and windy with cloudcover so we never saw much sunshine and heat… Was the Guardian correct then? No more so thante Metoffice with their nonsense just about EVERY DAY. Always seems to be a BIG GAP in their forecasts for our area -It’s a Lucky-bag ‘Take yer pic’ forecast for us. – like Covid too – it is ALL WRONG dor our LOCAL AREA ( which is Geographically quite big) ……

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: