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The unfortunate ‘climate anomaly’ of the First World War revealed

September 24, 2020

By Paul Homewood


h/t Ian  Magness



WOW!! And no mention of CO2!


The First World War was made more bloody by a "once-in-a-century" climate crisis which rained death on Europe, a study has found.

Many of the 700,000 British lives lost in the conflict ended in the “liquid grave” of mud-choked battlefields, and the desolation of places like Passchendaele have become part of the imagery of the First World War.

Even on the Turkish coast at Gallipoli troops were immobilised and killed by appalling weather, drowning in their trenches and succumbing to exposure and pneumonia, as well as enemy bullets.

Using laser technology to examine glacial ice, Harvard and Climate Change Institute (CCI) analysts have discovered that Tommies fighting the world’s first global conflict also endured a freakish “climate anomaly” which "substantially" increased casualties.

The relentless rain which flooded battlefields like the Somme and inflicted famine on civilians was swept over from the Atlantic in rare periods of extreme precipitation caused by changes in the circulation of atmospheric air.

With peaks in rain, the Harvard-led study found, came peaks in deaths in bloody campaigns and the Spanish Flu pandemic which followed.

A new research paper states this anomalous weather coincided with battles where: “The mud and water‐filled trenches and bomb craters swallowed everything, from tanks, to horses and troops, becoming what eyewitnesses described as the ‘liquid grave’ of the armies.”

Prof Alexander F More, who led the research for Harvard, explained: “Atmospheric circulation changed and there was much more rain, much colder weather all over Europe for six years.” “It was a once in a 100-year anomaly.”

This anomaly wreaked havoc on battlefields beginning with the First Battle of Champagne in 1914 , where British, French, and German troops suffered flooded trenches and frostbite while mud “slowed down the movement of troops and artillery”.

The Somme and Verdun in 1916, and the Third Battle of Ypres-Passchendaele in 1917, were slogged out in quagmires caused by the freak downpours which increased casualties.

Royal Artillery signaller John Palmer described his trauma at seeing men “sinking into the slime, dying in the slime” on the Western Front.

Even the Anzac troops in the usually Mediterranean climate of Gallipoli suffered floods, snowfall and frostbite as the “significant climate anomaly”, which brought cold and wet marine air from the North Atlantic in the “highest concentrations in a century”.

These high concentrations brought by an Icelandic low pressure system were pinpointed by analysis of glacial ice cores taken from the Alps which present a frozen record of climatic conditions during the conflict.

As well as causing problems for warring armies, researchers have argued  this unusual six-year weather pattern caused famine and the 1916-17 “Turnip Winter”, in which the German population depended on root vegetables amid a failed harvest.

Research by the universities of Harvard, Maine, and Nottingham has also found that the once-in-a-century weather may have impacted the migration of mallards, keeping ducks infected with Spanish Flu concentrated in Europe.

“It is likely that they stayed put for much of that period,” said Prof More.

This lingering infected bird population was added to:  “Abnormally high precipitation and cold temperatures in the years preceding the onset of the pandemic, in 1917, and during its deadliest wave in 1918.”

Researchers have argued that the climate events that made the war more deadly also increased mortality in the Spanish Flu pandemic, which killed up to 100 million people worldwide.


Nowadays, the Met Office blame one wet summer on global warming!

  1. LeedsChris permalink
    September 24, 2020 10:40 am

    The other major anomaly in this era was shortly after WWI… we had the year 1921, which is probably the driest year in the last three centuries, with total rainfall in one or two spots in SE England below 300 mm for the year (about half normal). This was also a very sunny year and with a very warm, sunny summer. But it was sandwiched between 1920 and 1922, which were exceptionally wet, dull and cool. Who says extremes are a recent thing.

    • Graeme No.3 permalink
      September 24, 2020 10:55 am

      Iceland started growing barley in 1924 after 400 years of unsuitable weather. Obviousy a rebound in the local climate. Svalbard (then called Spitzbergen) was ice free in winter in 1924 (as well as summer). Contrast that with current difficulties relieving climate “scientists” this last summer.
      But thanks to “THE SCIENCE” we know that it couldn’t have been that warm then.

      • LeedsChris permalink
        September 24, 2020 11:03 am

        January 1916 in the midst of WWI also remains the warmest January in the 300+ year record of the Central England Temperature Series

    • Thomas Carr permalink
      September 24, 2020 10:55 am

      So, LeedsChris, how will we know that anyone at the Met Office reads The Telegraph or is aware of Paul’s efforts to inform us of the Met Office’s indifference to the facts which are not theirs?

      • LeedsChris permalink
        September 24, 2020 11:00 am

        Good Question. I have a feeling that for many of them weather data don’t exist before about 1960 – that’s as far back as their MIDAS (Met Office Integrated Data Archive System) goes back…

    • Broadlands permalink
      September 24, 2020 1:51 pm

      And the very warm year of 1921 was only four years after the coldest year, 1917.

  2. Pancho Plail permalink
    September 24, 2020 10:42 am

    Obviously fake news – everyone knows there are no glaciers left in the Alps from which to take ice cores.

  3. jack broughton permalink
    September 24, 2020 10:45 am

    The horrors of the trenches are fortunately outwith our experiences. However, this article raises an interesting question that often seems to be abused: “When is weather weather and when is is climate?”. The traditional WMO definition is 30 years of weather = climate, but the worlds dominant climatic-cycle seems to be about 60 years, which really shows how slowly climate really changes over the long period. This cycle can be seen in temperature records, sea level rise and to some extent in rainfall, it is covered in HH Lamb’s works, but seems to be forgotten by today’s politico-climate-scientists.

    • Gamecock permalink
      September 24, 2020 11:24 am

      Correct. They had bad weather. Had double ought zero to do with ‘climate.’ But ‘climate’ is the in-word today.

    • Robert Christopher permalink
      September 24, 2020 11:29 am

      In this video, at 1 minute 2 seconds, there is a paper suggesting that there is a 60 year cycle in meteorite fall frequency: what a coincidence!!! 🙂

  4. Robert Christopher permalink
    September 24, 2020 11:32 am

    In this video, at 1 minute 2 seconds, there is a paper suggesting that there is a 60 year cycle in meteorite fall frequency: what a coincidence!!! 🙂

  5. Mack permalink
    September 24, 2020 12:32 pm

    I believe 1913 was also a turbulent year weather wise which, if repeated today, would have all the grim reapers from the doomster collective absolutely salivating. America alone endured what was then called a ‘climate catastrophe’ with thousands perishing due to flooding, tornados, drought and also witnessed the highest temperature ever recorded, whilst the weather throughout the Great War here in the U.K. lurched from one extreme to another. Just as well the green loons weren’t around then otherwise the Kaiser would’ve had a free pass.

  6. bobn permalink
    September 24, 2020 2:18 pm

    Regarding the 60yr climate cycle, the likely culprits are Jupiter and Saturn. They have ellliptical orbits and take 11.86yrs and 29.45yrs respectively to orbit the Sun. As they approach and recede from the Sun they cause the centre of mass of the solar system to move which is often outside of the Sun. The two planets come into conjunction relative to the Sun every 19.86yrs. Every 3 of these conjunctions (60yrs) the 2 planets are aligned together and exerting maximum gravitational pull on the Sun. Reseach continues but the planetary cycles having the same harmonic (20yr and 60yr) as observed in Earth climate cycles puts them in the spotlight. Combining the planetary cycles with Earths own orbit and milankovich cycles and the Sun’s magnetic pole flipping every 11yrs shows the likely reasons for Climate Change are extra-terrestial and not related to minute traces of a near inert gas that is essential for life on Earth.

    • Gamecock permalink
      September 24, 2020 10:49 pm

      WHAT climate change? Point to one place on earth which has had its climate change in the last 100 years.

  7. Duker permalink
    September 25, 2020 2:54 am

    The mud was because places like the Somme are low lying ( the Germans occupied the high ground) and any sort of trenching will immediately be below the water table.
    The military action also destroyed the drainage systems built by the farmers and even the roads were on raised causeways. Low lying areas drained by canals were deliberately flooded as a military tactics

    Part of northern France and north Belgium from the Pas-de-Calais to the Scheldt estuary had been known as Flanders since the eleventh century. West of a line between Arras and Calais in the north of France lie chalk downlands covered with soil sufficient for arable farming, and east of the line the land declines in a series of spurs into the Flanders plain. By 1914, the plain was bounded by canals linking Douai, Béthune, Saint-Omer and Calais. To the south-east, canals run between Lens, Lille, Roubaix and Kortrijk, the Lys river from Kortrijk to Ghent and to the north-west lies the sea. The plain is almost flat, apart from a line of low hills from Cassel, east to Mont des Cats (Katsberg), Zwarteberg (Mont Noir), Rodeberg (Mont Rouge), Scherpenberg and Kemmelberg (Mount Kemmel). From Kemmel, a low ridge lies to the north-east, declining in elevation past Ypres through Wijtschate (Wytschaete), Geluveld (Gheluvelt) and Passendale (Passchendaele), curving north then north-west to Diksmuide where it merges with the plain. A coastal strip about 10 mi (16 km) wide is near sea level and fringed by sand dunes. Inland the ground is mainly meadow, cut by canals, dykes, drainage ditches and roads built up on causeways. The Lys, Yser and the upper Scheldt have been canalised and between them the water level underground is close to the surface, rises further in the autumn and fills any dip, the sides of which then collapse. The ground surface quickly turns to a consistency of cream cheese and on the coast troop movements were confined to roads, except during frosts

    General Mud and Colonel Winter have always played their part in European battles, which up to the Napoleonic era was conducted in the summer.

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