Whatever happened to summer?

Yesterday evening I was watching the regional weather forecast, and the weather girl opened her piece with the question “Whatever happened to summer?”.  Remember that the Met Office warned us that this was going to be a “Barbecue Summer”, and to be fair we had a couple of short hot spells — one, predictably, during the euro-election campaign.
 
But generally the summer has been cool and wet, and the barbecue has been out only a handful of times.  I find myself popping upstairs for a sweater — in July.
 
I’ve often remarked on the hubris of the Met Office, who presume to warn us about the state of the climate in a hundred years’ time, and yet can’t tell you if it will rain on your birthday.  Seriously, though, if they can’t get the next few months right, why should we take their word — and commit unimaginable amounts of money for climate mitigation — when they make long-term projections?
 
As usual, Christopher Booker has his finger on the pulse (Sunday Telegraph, July 26th).  He tells us of exceptional winter snow-fall in Argentina at the moment — and of course South America had a very cold winter in 2007 as well.  Booker also notes that on July 21st, in Nashville, Tennessee (ironically, in Al Gore’s home state), they recorded the lowest temperature for that day since 1877.  Harvests are delayed across North America by the cool summer.
 
But of course we can’t base climate projections on anecdotal evidence, can we?  Probably the most general and reliable estimates of global temperatures come from satellites, which after all cover the whole world, and not just particular extreme events.  It’s worth noting that while the satellite data show some warming, they show less than surface records, which can so easily be contaminated by factors like the urban heat island effect.  And the satellite data show mean global temperatures dropping for several years, and now at about the 30 year average since satellite records began.
 
So you have a choice.  You can agree to spend extraordinary sums of tax-payers’ money on the strength of virtual forecasts and computer models which are being proved wrong on a daily basis.  Or you can believe the thermometer.  Personally, I go with the thermometer.

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4 Responses to Whatever happened to summer?

  1. Richard J says:

    Strange how a chance ‘click’ can land you in an oasis of reason. I happened to follow a thread for Roger’s climate essay, well informed and enlightened I would say, which led me to the Bruges Group – it was as if awakening from a particularly horrific nightmare to find there are still politicians who actually stand up for what I regard as sanity.

  2. The Jackson Four says:

    Comment moderated: Not another climate change denier. You must be thick.

    Try http://www.realclimate.org

  3. chas says:

    All this cold weather is due to global warming? The propaganda started as global warming, but when it was shown that the world is getting coder, it was changed to climate change.

  4. Jonathan says:

    “The propaganda started as global warming, but when it was shown that the world is getting colder, it was changed to climate change” – Chas

    It’s called ongoing scientific research, Chas, dear boy. It involves continuing to study phenomena as our techniques improve and data accumulates. In this way, we make progress, rather than just holding on to whichever analysis best suits our prejudices and refusing to acknowledge anything which contradicts it. ‘Global warming’ was a simplistic concept which is now shown not to reflect the complex consequences of climate change. Having said that, average global temperatures are climbing, albeit it slowly. But it’s the increasing instances of extreme weather incidents which are the bigger issue. As a bigoted Tory – judging by some of the ill-informed nonsense on his blog – Roger Helmer is clearly incapable of following such sophisticated notions, especially when they contradict his entrenched political views.

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