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2000 Forecast: Snowfall to disappear from the UK

Photo: London Evening Standard 24 Nov 2010

Monday, 20 March 2000.  Look out! Back when every witchdoctor had a PR agent and newspapers dutifully repeated their latest crystal ball incantation, it was reported (without so much as a caveat) that there would soon be no more white Christmases in London, and worse, soon  “kids will not know snow”. Gone too would be the scenes that inspired glorious impressionist images, and lyrical poetry. Are you in tears yet? The travesty!

Pity the poor shop owners who were trying to order stock based on met office “forecasts”. Back in 2000, shop owners were not bothering to stock sledges.

No more snowmen in England!

h/t to Bernadette and Trevor who spotted this gem.

Snowfalls are now just a thing of the past

By Charles Onians, 20th March 2000

Britain’s winter ends tomorrow with further indications of a striking environmental change: snow is starting to disappear from our lives.

Sledges, snowmen, snowballs and the excitement of waking to find that the stuff has settled outside are all a rapidly diminishing part of Britain’s culture, as warmer winters – which scientists are attributing to global climate change – produce not only fewer white Christmases, but fewer white Januaries and Februaries.

However, the warming is so far manifesting itself more in winters which are less cold than in much hotter summers. According to Dr David Viner, a senior research scientist at the climatic research unit (CRU) of the University of East Anglia,within a few years winter snowfall will become “a very rare and exciting event”.

“Children just aren’t going to know what snow is,” he said.

The effects of snow-free winter in Britain are already becoming apparent. This year, for the first time ever, Hamleys, Britain’s biggest toyshop, had no sledges on display in its Regent Street store. “It was a bit of a first,” a spokesperson said.

The chances are certainly now stacked against the sort of heavy snowfall in cities that inspired Impressionist painters, such as Sisley, and the 19th century poet laureate Robert Bridges, who wrote in “London Snow” of it, “stealthily and perpetually settling and loosely lying”.

From The Independent March 2000

So how did those brave predictions pan out?

From The Independent this week: ten years later, Britain is trapped in a savage deep freeze. Records are being smashed (on the downside). In Wales the coolest day ever recorded in Llysdinam, Powys, was -11.2 recorded in 1921. This week minus 18!

And the cool arctic breeze is flowing, keeping those industrial freezer temperatures going for a bit longer. Those babies born in the year 2000, who would “not know snow”, are now ten years old and struggling with blizzards. In London it’s the earliest November snowfall for 17 years.

The witchdoctor predictions worked so much better when no one could record exactly what they said.

Cold comfort for a Britain stuck in the deep freeze

Temperatures plunge as low as -18C in Wales

Snow and ice combined to make the roads treacherous across swathes of the country and several airports, including Glasgow and Aberdeen, had to be closed yesterday. More than 40cm (16in) of snow fell in some parts of Scotland and up to 40cm blanketed parts of North-east England, but the coldest of the weather so far was felt in Wales. In Llysdinam, Powys, the temperature sank to -18C, the coldest on record for Wales in November and far below the previous low of -11.2 recorded in 1921. Northern Ireland also suffered its coldest November night ever, with -9.5 at Lough Fea. The previous record was -9C in 1978, the Met Office in London said.

In England, temperatures fell as low as -13.5C – at Topcliffe in North Yorkshire, while in the Scottish Highlands -15.3C was recorded, extremely cold but far short of the -23.3C reported at in Braemar in November 1919. The English record of -15.5C was set at Wycliffe in 1993.

Read more in The Independent

Meanwhile Anthony Watts points out that only a month ago the UK met office was predicting a mild winter. And Now the Met Office denies that it issues long range forecasts. It only does monthly outlooks (though they don’t seem to provide a link to that) and 100 year ultra long range reports of guaranteed catastrophes.

But wait, wait — there’s more!

Could it all be due to Global Warming? (Could anyone seriously suggest that?)

Of course they can, they did, and what’s the evidence? The “evidence” that extreme cold in Europe confirms the AGW theory, comes from the same (slightly improved) climate simulations which were outrageously wrong only ten years ago. Climate models have again, post hoc, demonstrated that they are flexible enough to hindcast nearly any small subset of the real world:

Strong disturbances in air stream flows would be the main reason behind frosty weather, said Vladimir Petoukhov of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK).

Ice melting in the eastern Arctic Ocean could create warmer layers of air that would in turn change air flows, he said.

“Should it occur these disturbances would triple the possibility of an extremely cold winter in Europe and northern Asia,” he said.

“Hard winters like last year’s or in 2005-2006 do not defy the premise of global warming, but rather confirm it.”

Petoukhov and his colleagues at the institute supported their theory with simulations by supercomputers.

From The Local

Thanks to Baa Humbug for reminding me.


PS: James Delingpole is on fire today, and it seems has been dropping by here,  (possibly reading the corruption series…). Thanks  James.

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