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Summer Droughts Worst in 2100 Years Claim–Contradicted By Real World Data

March 17, 2021

By Paul Homewood



This looks like yet another “worse than ever” junk study!




Droughts in Europe during the summer are more severe now than at any time in the past two millennia, a new study reveals.

Researchers studied ‘chemical fingerprints’ – carbon and oxygen isotopes – in European oak trees to reconstruct summer climate over the last 2,110 years. 

They found that drought conditions suddenly intensified in 2015 beyond anything in the past two thousand years, likely due to climate change.

Europe experienced severe summer heat waves and drought spells in 2003, 2015 and 2018, which affected agricultural sectors and the wine and forestry industries.

Europe’s recent summer droughts have had ‘devastating ecological and economic consequences’ – and are set to worsen as the global climate continues to warm.

‘We’re all aware of the cluster of exceptionally hot and dry summers we’ve had over the past few years,’ said study author Professor Ulf Büntgen from the University of Cambridge’s Department of Geography.

‘But we needed precise reconstructions of historical conditions to see how these recent extremes compare to previous years.

‘Our results show that what we have experienced over the past five summers is extraordinary for central Europe, in terms of how dry it has been consecutively.’

Most studies attempting to reconstruct past climates are restricted to temperature – but this team analysed stable isotopes in tree rings.

Chemical characteristics of the rings inside a tree can reveal what the weather conditions were like during each year of that tree’s life. 

For the study, Büntgen and his colleagues from the Czech Republic, Germany and Switzerland studied more than 27,000 measurements of carbon and oxygen isotopic ratios from 147 living and dead European oak trees.

The trees, from the genus Quercus, covered a period of 2,110 years, ranging from 75 BC to 2018.

‘Generally, our understanding is worse the further back we go back in time, as datasets looking at past drought conditions are rare,’ said Büntgen.

Over the 2,110-year period, the tree-ring isotope data showed there were very wet summers, such as AD 200, 720 and 1100, and very dry summers, such as AD 40, 590, 950 and 1510.

Despite these ‘out of the ordinary years’, the results show that for the past two millennia, Europe has been slowly getting drier.

The samples from between 2015 and 2018, however, revealed that drought conditions in recent summers have far exceeded anything in the 2,110 years.


I’m always extremely suspicious when I hear claims that weather is far worse than anything in the past, particularly when they cherry pick just three events to make their claim. As these are all random meteorological events, it is inevitable that similar droughts would have happened many times in the last two thousand years.

We should also note this comment:

”Generally, our understanding is worse the further back we go back in time, as datasets looking at past drought conditions are rare”

In other words, they have not got a clue.

It is also hard to understand why they find that the results show that for the past two millennia, Europe has been slowly getting drier. Given the massive swings in European climate from Roman and Medieval Warm periods to the Dark Ages and Little Ice Age, I see no mechanism why it would be getting steadily drier. (We do know though that during the Little Ice Age, summers tended to be wet in Central Europe.)

But, above all, we know conclusively that the climate in Central Europe was much warmer than now for most of the last two thousand years, as confirmed by upper tree lines in the Swiss and Austrian Alps. Under their theory, droughts should have been worse in the past:


HH Lamb: Climate, History and the Modern World pp142


But as always seems to be the case with these sort of studies, they focus on models and ignore real world data. Below are precipitation charts for all of the Czech weather stations with data back to before the war. The charts show rainfall totals during summer.

Not one station shows the slightest evidence that summers are becoming progressively drier, or that recent droughts have been unusual:













These trends are supported by two recent papers, one of which uses data back to 1775. The first finds no significant linear trends in either seasonal or annual rainfall. The second concludes that summer rainfall has increased since 1961.






Only in the world of climate science would “scientists” ignore real world data, and instead believe tree rings. They’ll be reading tea leaves next!

  1. Paul Michaels permalink
    March 17, 2021 11:25 am

    and now a word from our sponsor Hans Christian Andersen…

    • March 17, 2021 11:48 am

      My favorite was our copy of The Red Fairy Book which was a compilation from Grimm and others. It also included Baba Yaga and her house on chicken legs and trolls under bridges.

      It should fit in nicely with today’s news.

      • Paul Michaels permalink
        March 17, 2021 3:21 pm

        Whereas in the USA they have tolls over bridges :))

  2. March 17, 2021 11:43 am

    Excuse me, but how can you have significant greening with significant droughts? Does not compute.

    • Yo-Poppa permalink
      March 17, 2021 1:02 pm

      Tree ring data can only reveal what the tree took in and metabolized. It does not tell us what was available. If the trees are using water more efficiently due to higher CO2 level then they will be using less water. Sounds like good green news.

      • Phoenix44 permalink
        March 17, 2021 4:27 pm

        147 trees to cover the whole of Europe over 2,100 years.

        Note the Trojan number 27,000 measurements. But it’s still only 147 trees.

      • March 18, 2021 11:10 am

        The seasonal growth rings will reflect temperature and moisture.

        147 trees is a really small data base. However, the wizards of East Anglia’s Climate Research Unit managed to pull it off w/ 25 trees cherry picked from another small data base of 250. And one genius used just 3 of those trees in his studied pronouncements about CO2.

        “Despite these ‘out of the ordinary years’, the results show that for the past two millennia, Europe has been slowly getting drier” is a statement in the article. We are still coming out of the last glaciation. During glaciation, some areas are drier, however, during the episode, storms come off the glaciers bringing cold and moisture. I live 125 miles south of the terminus of the last glaciation. However, the climate of what is now northern West Virginia was greatly affected in that northern species “moved” south, sustained by the cold moist air coming off the ice sheets. With the warming and retreat, pockets of northern vegetation remained in some of the higher mountain areas as relic communities of northern species. Dolly Sods (where I will lead a tour in May for the WV Wildflower Pilgrimage), Cranesville Swamp and Cranberry Glades are examples of areas populated by northern species.

        Someone should challenge the author to scientifically define “ordinary years”. .

  3. Broadlands permalink
    March 17, 2021 12:35 pm

    Weather in Europe, July 1921. Press comments outside the US:

    BRITISH ISLES: London, July 10. England is sweltering and suffering the worst drought in a century. Today was the seventy-eighth virtually rainless day. For the third successive day temperatures have exceeded 100. The rainfall for the year is less than one-third normal to date.

    FRANCE: Paris July 12. The Senate yesterday… cancelled the usual July 14 military review in Longchamps owing to the extreme heat.

    GERMANY: Berlin, July 27. The potato crop has been the hardest hit of any in Germany by the prolonged dry weather..

    RUSSIA: July 17. Twenty million persons are on the verge of starvation in drought-stricken sections of Russia, subsisting mainly on moss, grass and the bark of trees, according to the Vossische Zeitung, which quotes information from “reliable Russian sources.” The parched earth, it is asserted, is opening up great crevices, and wells and rivers are drying up. Foliage is asserted to have withered on the trees, and a number of villages are reported on fire

    SWITZERLAND: Zermatt: July 26. The heat has not greatly abated. On the summit of the Wellenkuppe, above Zermatt, and 12,830 feet high, the temperature at 10 o’clock in the morning has exceeded 100°F., and this despite the summit’s being perpetually snow-clad… never do Alpinists remember such a variety of bright-colored butterflies in the high mountains as this year.

    ITALY: July 30. The principal phenomenon…was the intensely hot weather. An unprecedented heat wave continued to develop in its intensity of heat and in its length and duration.

    ITALY: Venice, July 30. The principal phenomena which prevailed [this week] was the intensely hot weather. An unprecedented heat wave continued to develop in its intensity of heat and in length of its duration. For several weeks the heat has increased until the past week the temperature has been up in the high nineties for day after day, and unofficial reports of over 100° have been frequent. The extremely high humidity has practically brought active business to a standstill, and has caused many deaths and heat exhaustions.

    The principal damage caused by the heat wave is the protracted period of drought which accompanies it. Agriculture is the chief sufferer from the heat and drought and no alleviation appears in sight. Weeks of cloudless scorching days have played havoc with the crops which were in progress when the heat wave began.
    from U.S. Consul at Venice.

    Atmospheric CO2 at pre-industrial level.

  4. NeilC permalink
    March 17, 2021 1:00 pm

    I blame the lack of investigation by so called journalists these days. the fairytale should have never been published. Oh and peer review is as bad in passing it without proper review of the real world.But that is the world we live in. Lies, lies and more lies.

    • Gerry, England permalink
      March 17, 2021 1:42 pm

      Peer review or was it really ‘pal review’? I guess with a COP this year there will be an upswing in the amount of climate drivel that gets published so that the believers can all say Hallelujah!

    • Gamecock permalink
      March 17, 2021 2:07 pm

      Yes, but there are two parts to it.

      The scientists have got themselves a new tool (toy), carbon and oxygen isotope ratios, which can be affected by drought. But they can be affected by other things, too. Making sweeping assertions about long term drought conditions based on a limited sample of trees in a limited area using a limited tool is ridiculous.

      Then, as you say, NeilC, they hand their report to Jonathan Chadwick at mailonline. He punches it up with ‘severe,’ ‘experts,’ ‘devastating,’ ‘heat waves,’ ‘suddenly intensified,’ etc. He also edits by choosing from the study what he wants to print.

      Thirty years of this junk science is wearisome. Especially Professor Büntgen’s rambling recitation of ‘climate change’ cliches.

    • Adam Gallon permalink
      March 17, 2021 6:59 pm

      By all means publish the fairy tale, however some real data, as presented here needs putting in.
      However, the churnalists these days, have neither the ability, desire or direction from above, to do this.

  5. Vic Hanby permalink
    March 17, 2021 2:03 pm

    I’d be interested to know more about the ‘devastating economic and ecological consequences’ – what exactly are they ? Of course everything has to be expressed in hyperbole these days.

    • Dave Andrews permalink
      March 17, 2021 4:48 pm


      It can’t be hyperbole because they say ‘for the past two millenia, Europe has been slowly getting drier’ and that’s so incredibly fast isn’t it that, er. wait a minute……

  6. Mack permalink
    March 17, 2021 2:19 pm

    I note that the lead author of this study is a Czech and many of the proxies used to form this study’s conclusions came from Czech oak trees. Aside from the usual concerns about tree ring proxies, perhaps he would have been better advised to base his research on ‘real world data’ such as Hunger Stones. The banks of the River Elbe in the Czech Republic, for example, are littered with these old stones along the river bed denoting historical periods of low water and drought. One such stone, uncovered in 2018, had the message ‘If you see me then weep’ chiselled into it alongside twelve different dates between 1416 and 1893. So, nothing unprecedented about the odd drought there then.

    Alternatively, the authors could have perused the records from several historic Central European witch trials. As any alarmist climate scientist will know, aside from causing hail stones, initiating droughts was a regular pastime of the witches and warlocks in olden times long before pesky fossil fuel burning climate deniers got in on the act. My personal favourite quote comes from a witness at the long running Szeyed Witch Trials in Hungary in the 1720s, following a long period of drought, when he announced, with all the certainty of Michael Mann, that “the drought was not from God but, in fact, the rain was sold to Turkey by the witches”. Sounds perfectly reasonable to me, just like this paper.

  7. Jack Broughton permalink
    March 17, 2021 2:22 pm

    The power group behind the AGW / climate change Fear-campaign have scored another point in their attempts to control public opinion. This junk-science ought not to appear in any scientific journal or be reported in Newspapers, but it is.

    In commercial law cases experts and scientists are used by both sides of the case and it is accepted that for every expert (or scientist) who sees the subject as black there is one who will swear it is white: the judges problem is to weigh up the two sides claims and come to a judgement. This is true of scientific claims also, but not when it is political-science that one is dealing with.

  8. MrGrimNasty permalink
    March 17, 2021 2:30 pm


    Is government strategy one of delay, to ensure the mine is banned while COP is in town, but then be ‘forced’ by the courts to allow it later? Or has he just let the cat out of the bag, they have made a political decision upfront that it will not be allowed?

    Seems it’ll be a right mess/scandal now whatever occurs. And this is scarcely even an opening skirmish in the war that will ensue as they try to impose ‘The Great Green Reset’.

  9. cookers52 permalink
    March 17, 2021 2:52 pm

    I thought the latest extinction fashion was for never ending flooding, perhaps they are referencing that well known historical scientific journal The Old testament.

  10. March 17, 2021 3:14 pm

    Local news across the country is amplifying Kwasi’s tweets
    ‘Look Greens, we really love you, we are throwing all this grant money at YOUR LOCAL areas’

    This is typical Boris-talk,
    promise 110% in 5 years
    and deliver 30% in 15 years

    eg The Humber has super heavy industry so is UK’s worst cluster for emissions:
    but instead of just saying “we’re doing a programme to reduce it”
    The PR people have gone to the extreme.
    #1 “Oh we are going to be NET ZERO”
    #2 ” the world’s first net zero carbon industrial region”

    eg If you listen to BBC Radio Humberside news headline you think there is a green earthquake
    “The Humber is about to play a key role in reducing CO2 emmssns
    by becoming the WORLD’S first net zero carbon industrial region
    We are talking tens of millions of pounds being invested”

    FFS £34m to a region that has a steelplant and zero electric railways
    Sure you can reduce CO2 by 20% with offsetting tricks
    eg the waste to fuel plant.
    but you are a million miles from Net Zero

  11. March 17, 2021 3:17 pm

    @EmmaHardyMP Labour just tweeted
    The govt are finally providing the @ZC_Humber project with funding, after:
    ✅ a joint letter from the 3 Labour Hull MPs
    ✅ at least four calls for support in parliament from myself
    ✅ meeting with the Shadow Minister Ed Miliband

    News story
    “£34m boost for Humber’s grand carbon capture ambition as both Energy Estuary projects backed by BEIS
    Zero Carbon Humber nets £21.5m and Humber Zero £12.5m as ambition is recognised in Westminster”

  12. March 17, 2021 4:18 pm

    WordPress is pushing this at me

    The UK’s Green Industrial Revolution
    essay by Carl Scandelius won an internal Year 11 competition

  13. Phoenix44 permalink
    March 17, 2021 4:20 pm

    Summers over the last few years have not been exceptionally dry and hot. They simply have not been. And to pick out a couple of years in a very short period and say that they “prove” change is just absurd. I very doubt if their resolution for 2000 years of the period they are looking at is anywhere near high enough to say that current summers are extremely unusual.

    This seems to be just fabrication from beginning to end.

    • March 17, 2021 7:11 pm

      Summers over the last few years have not been exceptionally dry and hot.

      Glad you said that, I thought maybe I missed something. IIRC there was a warm dry spell for a while in 2018, and early spring 2020 was unusually pleasant, but little else in the ‘exceptional’ category.

  14. dennisambler permalink
    March 17, 2021 5:28 pm

    High temperatures and droughts have been documented in Europe going back over centuries. For example, ecclesiastical documents from Spain referencing the period 1506 to 1900 in Toledo and Madrid, show that “the most severe droughts were recorded during the period from the end of the 16th Century up until the 18th Century”.

    “Dutch records show that the year 1540 was one with an even hotter summer than the heat wave year of 2003. “This Europe-wide heat wave lasted for seven months, harvests were destroyed and thousands of cattle died, leading to wide spread famine and death. The Rhine dried up and it was reported that people could walk upon the Seine riverbed in Paris without getting their feet wet.”

    Drought caused famine, countless deaths from dysentery and other illnesses caused by lack of safe drinking water, and to large-scale starvation of farm animals. Another disaster usually associated with heatwaves and droughts was fire, often destroying entire villages or even towns, such as Harderwijk in 1503. Wooden houses became tinderboxes, dry peat, forests and undergrowth ignited readily and led to massive wildfires.”

  15. March 17, 2021 5:38 pm

    The whole book is here, and is searchable – and can be found here.

    The graphic that Paul posted . . tree line in CA and the Swiss & Austrian Alps is on page 128.

  16. Mack permalink
    March 17, 2021 6:56 pm

    I should have mentioned, in my previous comment, a very interesting paper that was released in late 2018 by Rudolf Brazdil et al entitled ‘Documentary data and the study of past droughts: a global state of the art -CP”. It is full of very interesting historical references and resources, plus plenty of charts and graphs, that provide ample real world observational and recorded evidence to counter many of the modern claims of so called ‘unprecedented’ weather events occurring now around the world. It’s a very readable paper and freely available from a variety sources on the internet.

  17. March 17, 2021 10:38 pm

    Where are all these alleged severe droughts? We should be told.

  18. March 17, 2021 11:45 pm

    Paul how dare you contradict todays Whitby PR exercise !

  19. P. Dean permalink
    March 18, 2021 6:22 pm

    Paul, why didn’t you plot the Czeck data for number of consecutive dry days during JJA? The time series plots are even more impressive, as a record of drought, over the last 50-100 years.

  20. Mike Maguire permalink
    March 19, 2021 12:48 am

    Very odd that we keep hearing that we are killing the planet and having the worst droughts in thousands of years based on a tree ring study or climate models or verbiage from Greta but if you actually look at the measurement that counts………the planet is GREENING UP.

    No if’s and’s or but’s, the planet IS GREENING UP! Based on the measurement that counts……………the accurate, scientific measurement of the planet’s vegetative areas(green areas) from 1982 to 2015 using the best technology and an international team of 32 authors from 24 institutions in eight countries.
    And it wasn’t even greening up a little.
    “The greening represents an increase in leaves on plants and trees equivalent in area to two times the continental United States.”

    So the AUTHENTIC science speaks very clearly on this and is proven beyond a shadow of a doubt. This other stuff that tells us the exact opposite is misleading, biased baloney.

    We are to believe the interpretation of a dendrochronologist using a group of trees that lived thousands of years ago in one place………….but ignore stuff like what we can actually see with our own eyes in this age of technology that can measure the entire planet in real time with high resolution…….. for over 3 consecutive decades?

    Sadly, it doesn’t matter in today’ age of communication. The story about extreme droughts will sell and be broadcast as science to support the climate crisis.
    The massive greening planet evidence surrounding us……….is ignored and censored because it contradicts the objective of the agenda………….to scare us, so that we let governments take control and save the planet for us.

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