Friday, 6 November 2015

Climate Change Update : Winters in Ireland 2009-2015

Irish climate scientists predicted the following changes to Ireland's winter climate due to carbon dioxide :

Global warming, driven primarily by emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) to the atmosphere, willcontinue;
Temperatures on land by 2055 will show increases up to 1.5°C in winter and 2.0°C in summer
• A change in average rainfall by 2055 of +10% in winter and -10% to -40% in summer (greatestdecrease in the south-east);
• Around the coasts, wetter winters leading to periodic flash floods, increased storm intensity andwave height combined with rising sea levels will accelerate erosion of soft shores and increase theincidence of flooding in low-lying areas.

 - Marine Institute, Galway, 2005

• Using an approach based on General Linear Modelling, winter rainfall in Ireland by the 2050s is projected to increase by approximately 10% 
• The main challenges for Irish agriculture will come from wetter winter and drier summer soils. 

 - Climate Change, Refining The Impacts, NUI Mayooth, 2008

We are often reminded when new evidence fits with climate change predictions but there is always a deafening silence when new evidence does not fit with the climate models. We never hear when this happens.

So how have the winters been in Ireland over the past few years ? According to Irish climatologists we should see a trend towards warmer and wetter winters. Met Eireann kindly provides us with winter reports so we can see for ourselves :

•  2009 Winter : Coldest Winter for between 8 and 18 years; dry and sunny. Mean air temperatures for the season were a little below normal for the 1961-90 period; the winter was unusual when compared with recent years for the persistence of cold weather at times.

Seasonal rainfall totals were below normal everywhere.

•  2010 Winter : Coldest Winter for between 13 and 18 years in places. Mean air temperatures were around two degrees lower than average for the 1961-90 period and it was the coldest winter since 1962/3 everywhere.

Rainfall totals were below normal almost everywhere

2011 Winter : Mean air temperatures were well below normal everywhere, by between one and two degrees generally. December was one of the coldest months on record in Ireland, while cold spells also dominated January.

Rainfall totals were below normal everywhere and were well below normal in the south.

•  2012 Winter : Mean air temperatures were above average

Rainfall totals were below normal for Winter in the Midlands, South and East, with above average rainfalls along the Northwest and West coasts.

•  2013 Winter : The majority of mean air temperatures were below their Long-Term Average (LTA) with on or above LTA values recorded in parts of the western half of the country.

Most stations reported above LTA rainfall with the exception of a few stations mainly in the West,
Southwest, Midlands and East which reported below LTA values

2014 Winter : Nearly all mean temperatures were near or above their LTA for winter

Almost all seasonal winter rainfall totals were above average with most stations reporting above Long-Term Average (LTA) rainfall during the three months of winter

2015 Winter : Winter mean temperatures below average nearly everywhere. The lowest winter
minimum was -7.9°C at Dublin Airport on Feb 3rd, its lowest recorded during February since 1956.

Percentage of Long-Term Average (LTA) winter rainfall values were variable, with mainly below average values in the East, Southeast, South and in isolated parts of the Midlands.

So what is the trend ?

In five of the past seven winters, temperatures were below average.

In three of the past seven winters, rainfall was below average with variable rainfall patterns in two winters (2012 and 2015).  This means that only two winters - 2013 and 2014 - had above average rainfall at the majority of stations. Of the variable years, 2012 and 2015, the East, South and parts of the Midlands reported less than average rainfall.

So there certainly is not a trend towards a warmer and wetter winter. If anything, the trend is towards colder and drier / mixed rainfall winters.

This shows that the computer models used by climatologists are unable to accurately represent our climate and take account of the many variables which influence it. They certainly should not be used as a basis for climate policy.


  1. I accept that average weather is the correct scientific way to measure, but here are a few facts I can give from very reliable accounts and my own experience. It appears the 1930's was good for farming. There was not too much rain and temperatures were mildish. Good crops too, We know that the Germans were lulled into thinking the good conditions of the 1930's would probably last through WW2, but they were wrong. 1946, the weather was so wet that the Irish Army were brought out to save the harvest. I spoke with several people who remember city folk coming from Dublin to Meath and Cavan to do so. They had to bring their own tea because it was still rationed after the war. In February' the following spring, the snow started and lasted 6 weeks. My father was driving a lorry for CIE from Dublin to Kingscourt. He got stuck at Dunshaughlin and had to walk to Navan. He could see the tops of electric and telegraph poles sticking out of the blizzard tops. Cattle had to be abandoned walking from Arvagh fair. Then along came 1963 and I can remember the snow being over my wellingtons. My father's car got stuck near home on Christmas Eve and while pushing the booth opened and that ended my belief in Santa Claus because he was in the booth. It got better and there was no extreme weather until the winter of 2009 and 2010. minus 16 degrees C in Ballyhaise. These two winters were the coldest I ever experienced in Ireland and it devastated wildlife such as birds. Their numbers are not yet recovered, but are recovering, If asked to guess, I would think rainfall is the same or a very little heavier and temperatures are a little colder. It did look in the 1990's that there was less snow each winter and this continued into the 0000's. History was made in 2013 when cattle feed had to be imported from France and the UK. What I get annoyed about is the religious nature of climate change believers who label a comment like this in biblical terms such as "denier" and who selectively use data to prove their claim. We see world leaders like the US President at it. Claims that parts of the world will become uninhabitable due to warming have no basis in science. Thus sets a dangerous precedent, because once these zealots gain power, they feel that they need stop at nothing. Once the cause is climate, the science is irrelevant and so are their publics. That's dictatorship pure and simple. None of it was ever part of an election campaign. It was briefly mentioned twice during the last British general election. Cooling causes much more hardship and suffering than warming. There will be less food and higher cost for winter fuel due to green levies. Yet this prospect is not considered a threat, this is because there is no money in cooling. Greens governments would have to spend rather then collect and there is no one to blame.

  2. Ice core proxy data from Greenland ( GISP2 and NORTHGRIP ) show that, in high northern latitudes (around 75ºN,) for the last eleven thousand years, each and every successive millennium has been cooler than its predecessor. In the minor climate cycles of the last four millennia both the low and high temperatures of successive cycles have tended to a lower temperature than the previous cycle. Based on geological history, the predictable evolution of the earth’s orbit, the precession of the equinox and obliquity of the ecliptic and even ignoring the possible effects of variation in solar radiation and the its effects on the magnetosphere, the geological prognosis is for the present long term cooling trend to continue. This will lead eventually to a return to glacial conditions in what are now cool temperate climate zones in both hemispheres. The geographic extent of warm temperate and tropical climate zones will shrink, the atmosphere will become much dryer and much more dusty than it is now and CO2 concentrations will gradually fall to lower levels.
    The severity, timing and rate of the slow, long term climate change currently under way cannot yet be forecast with any confidence. Nevertheless, Eemian random temperature variation demonstrates that even while the average temperature of succeeding millennia is falling, one to four century scale warming cycles of as much as 3ºC, like the one we are presently enjoying, still occur. In the Eemian record there were several millennia with warming cycles of this magnitude a few centuries long even when the average temperature was falling relentlessly in succeeding millennia.
    A few centuries of warming do not constitute a climate change trend of any significance when viewed in the light of the Pleistocene, or even the much shorter Holocene climate record. While we should enjoy and benefit from the current warming cycle we are deluding ourselves if we think that in the long term climate change can be controlled by attempts to regulate atmospheric CO2 concentrations. Holding vast conferences such as COP 21 every few years may be politically and financially rewarding for their participants but their outcome will effect the climate not at all. They are, however, likely to negatively effect the health and economic well being of the rest of the planet’s population.