'tis a bit nippy, guvnah!

By Phil Plait | January 7, 2010 12:00 pm

As I write this, it’s about -15 C outside where I live in Boulder, and even the snow looks like it’s shivering. So I’m not sure if I’m happy to share the grief or feel badly about the weather for folks in the UK, who generally don’t get (metric, I suppose) tons of snow. But then I saw this image from NASA’s Earth observing Terra satellite:

Holy Haleakala, that’s gorgeous! I won’t say I’m exactly glad they got lots of snow, but still, wow. Sorry, my anglic friends, but your suffering has produced this stunning beauty.

The image was taken on January 7, 2010 at around noon local time. The image above has 1 km pixels, but you can also grab the image in higher-res 500 meter and 250 meter versions, too.

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Cool stuff, NASA, Pretty pictures
MORE ABOUT: snow, Terra satellite, UK

Comments (103)

  1. I just want to apologize to everyone who is experiencing much colder than normal temps. You see, my parents recently moved to Florida from Minnesota, consequently bringing the ring of frigid air further south, which is rather typical for when they travel anywhere. I’ll try to convince them to move back so that weather patterns may return to normal. Again, I’m sorry.

  2. Ah, but it looks like Ireland ’tis as emerald as ever.

    If the Gulf Stream shuts down in the future, folks up thataway better get used to this sort of thing.

  3. MartinM

    In before ‘cold weather disproves climate change!!!’

  4. My boyfriend over there in the UK certainly hasn’t been too glad of it. The entire country keeps closing down because they are having trouble dealing with all the snow. Apparently they only plow and sand the main roads. Fortunately, he’s got 4-wheel-drive to help him get over the side roads.

    Sorry, I’ll stop yammering.

  5. Mr. D

    Wow! That’s a nice picture. As a UK person I can honestly say I don’t mind the cold weather. It’s a refreshing change from drizzle.

    I’m sure I don’t speak for eveyone though. And it has sort of crippled the whole country’s infrasturcture, but I guess we’re not really equipped to deal with it.

  6. Charles Boyer

    If England is indeed the “Isle of Angels” then right now it must be the Isle of Snow Angels.

    @harold: “If the Gulf Stream shuts down in the future, folks up thataway better get used to this sort of thing.”

    Seems I remember reading prognostications of the eastern seaboard of the US experiencing the same thing.

    @Naked Bunny with a Whip

    Interesting, that. I saw one of those Discover channel shows on heavy gear repair where the English had a salt mining operation for their roadways, with one boring machine doing all of the work. Of course, it broke, and needed to be fixed, hence the reason for the show. Maybe it was NatGeo, they all look the same.

  7. Brian Mingus

    Phil, If you’re ever doing a public speaking event here in Boulder I would appreciate some kind of blog heads-up. Cheers!

  8. Trebuchet

    Just thinking about how far north Great Britain really is (north of pretty much all of the continental US, I think) suggests that this would be the normal winter pattern if it weren’t for the Gulf Stream. And there’ve been suggestions that global warming (however it is caused) could disrupt that current. A bit frightening, I’d think, for those in the UK.

    Also, I had to re-read Phil’s next-to-last paragraph — the first time it came out as “Sorry, my angelic friends…”

  9. The cloud cover is obscuring it, but from what I can see all of Ireland (save the mountain tops) is still nice and green.

    EDIT: but of course a solid eastern portion got some freezing precip

  10. So that’s why they call it Albion.

  11. Martin J

    That is a very pretty picture.

  12. Canada decided to make sure everyone was ready for the winter Olympics.

  13. MarcusBailius

    Yes… Over here in Britland, we don’t get these wintry conditions often enough to spend pots of money in keeping ourselves prepared. So when they hit, they hit hard! The last time things were this bad, was something like thirty years ago. (Which is to say, ten years AFTER Neil and Buzz took a stroll on the Moon.)

    Having said all that, my own home to work journeys aren’t too bad – I’ve been using trains, which have been working, well, reasonably OK. Walking at each end of course involves proper boots, walking poles, several layers of clothing and all that…

    I live in Oxfordshire, not far from RAF Benson where the temperature last night was -17.7 deg C. Oh, damn, yes: Most of what we happily call “Merkins” (…look it up if you dare, and remember that the “USS Merkin” was a cargo ship in the film “Charlie’s Angels 2″… Cue raucous laughter in cinemas worldwide) don’t understand the Celsius temperature scale: In the old German Fahrenheit units, it’s basically zero.

    Oh, and Phil: Aargh! Less of the Dick van Dyke “Mary Poppins” phrasing, please…! It’s only in that little corner that people talk with a London accent anyway. And Dick van Dyke never got remotely close to it…!

    Actually, I’d be more likely to remark that it was “parky round the nethers”…

  14. John Ellis

    I think this snow is brill! I was the only person in the entire company to make it into work yesterday, and so I was able to work really hard without interruption :-) . And today only 4 of us techies got in, so we were able to work even harder.
    And round my way the past couple of nights have been pretty cloudless and the stars beautifully clear.

    I liked this story of these people who got snowed in in a pub for three days. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/north_yorkshire/8438314.stm

  15. 1x29

    Quite frankly it’s embarrassing how such little snow all but *shuts down* the UK.

    It is well cold here at the moment though :o

    Awesome picture. Not much imagination needed when thinking of the next UK ice age that’s for sure.

  16. Yes, ’tis rather snowy around these here parts. In all my 38 years I’ve never had to shovel snow until this year. ;)

    Still, the kids love it, and it’s good weather for staying indoors and reading a book. ;)

  17. I saw one of those Discover channel shows on heavy gear repair where the English had a salt mining operation for their roadways

    I’m sure it’s a budget issue, and even doing just the main roads a few times a year would require vast quantities of salt. But the UK usually only gets a couple inches of snow per winter (he tells me), and what they do get often washes away with subsequent rain, so it’s not economically reasonable to maintain the same quantity of snow removal gear as a place like, say, Colorado does.

  18. Rob

    Hopefully that’s a thin white in the UK and not thick. My apologies to the midwestern US states for this year’s harsh winter. If it’s any consolation, we in the Pacific Northwest this previous winter got much of your anticipated 2009 snowfall and cold, in the form of 2-3 feet in the foothills and lower lands and temps as low as 0F in ambient and -20F in windchill…record-breakers for us in this day!. Shortly after that, I crossed the US by car from Seattle to DC and found surprisingly very little snow in the midwest, and no snow falling.

  19. Joe

    The whole country shuts down? Er, no. The company I work for (parcels delivery) completed 87 percent of our deliveries throughout the UK on the 6th of Jan. We usually manage somewhere around the mid 90s percent. Apologies for the shocking drop in service!

  20. davem

    No need to embiggen the picture, it’s just outside the door. I’m under the SE bit, underneath the clouds.

    All the salt for the roads comes from a single salt mine in Cheshire(middle left of picture).. After several years of failing to get ready for ‘unexpected’ snow (you know, the stuff that falls *every* year), the authorities have run out of the stuff. Again. Cue videos of endless lines of trucks loading the stuff like there’s no tomorrow. Still, at 4 inches, I get to see the most snow I’ve seen since the early 1980s.

    And worse is yet to come, apparently. It’s a bit parky ‘ere, geezer!

  21. Aye, it’s proper nitherin’ oop north. (Who is this “guvnah” of whom you speak?)

    What causes the striped effect in the sea at top right of the image? It looks like Norway has erected a giant picket fence just off-camera.

  22. Michael swanson

    This is when I’m glad that I live in Portland, Oregon, where snow is infrequent enough to be novel and usually enjoyable. Sure, it rains a lot, but I don’t have to dig my car out of the rain!

  23. GreenDeeDee

    Being a Gardener it really isnt helping me here in UK, but noone has noticed how shoving huge amounts of salt across the country damages plantlife. If the freeze doesnt kill all the plants the salt certainly will.
    Some motorway verges have strange eco-systems due to the salt levels.

    But then if theres any country that loves complaining about anything its us. We’ll always find something to moan about.

  24. Charles Boyer

    @Bunny and @davem – thanks for explaining the salt thing.

    @GreenDeeDee – I wonder who complains more – Americans, the English or the French. I am going to go with the French, because if you gave a Frenchman $100 Euro he’d probably complain the denomination of the currency didn’t suit him.

    Hyperbolic, yes, but complaining about the government really is a national sport there.

  25. Jeffersonian

    4 of my fave subjects: weather, cartography, landforms (geomorphology), and Europe. Thanx for heads up on this image, Phil!

  26. DS

    bah, -15 degrees C in Boulder? Stop complaining! If you think that’s bad it, was an amazing -17C here in Macclesfield, Cheshire, England, last night, with 9″ of snow!

    Having lived here for all 28 years of my life, I have to say its the coldest I can ever remember it being. Considering the average low for this time of year is 1C, and the high is 6C, that just puts into context how extreme this weather is. It didn’t get above -6 even at midday today…

  27. DrFlimmer

    Oh, that’s nothing. Germany is startled right now. A blizzard is heading our way and we don’t know what to do about it.

    DOOMED! RUN FOR YOUR LIVES!!!

    The weekend gonna be funny. I’ll report the status from Germany, if I can. Wish me luck that we will last out and survive!

  28. AlanM

    Hey, it’s pretty freaking cold here in California. I actually had to put on a jacket when I went out for lunch. The temperature couldn’t have been much over 60. How about some love here?

    Why are you all looking at me like that?

  29. John Ellis
  30. Wow! As a 34yo Londoner I’ve never seen the entire country covered like that before. I believe in 1981 we had a prolonged cold snap but I was too young to understand satpics and the wider country then. Expecting more snow at the weekend down south potentially as a Siberian Easterly sets in. Gawd knows when I’ll be able to get my motorbike out again. My road’s an ice rink. But despite that I like the snow. Brings out the kiddie in me and the extra brightness (bright as summer at lunchtime) averts S.A.D.

  31. Steve in Dublin

    The cloud cover is obscuring it, but from what I can see all of Ireland (save the mountain tops) is still nice and green.

    EDIT: but of course a solid eastern portion got some freezing precip

    Yep. If you get the high res version, you can see me waving up at the satellite while freezin’ me arse off.

  32. Elias Tandel

    Hahaha. And here I am suffering with 30°C.

    Hail from the beautiful, warm and full-of-lovely-girls-in-bikinis city of Rio de Janeiro!

  33. Cusp

    >If England is indeed the “Isle of Angels” then right now it must be the Isle of Snow Angels.

    England is not the Isle of Angels, it’s the Land of the Angles (not Isle, us non-angles live there also).

    Angles, Saxons and Jutes – the people from NW Europe who settled in Britain after the Romans left.

  34. andy.s

    >Why are you all looking at me like that?

    I’m trying to make your brain explode.

  35. Torbjörn Larsson, OM

    Oh boo ho! Here it was -22 Celsius yesterday. I just thawed todays breathing air supply out. :-D

    And the cold spell got the AGW deniers out of the woods in the papers. Funny, the week before it was the 1998 warm spell.

    this would be the normal winter pattern if it weren’t for the Gulf Stream.

    Yes and no.

    I haven’t looked into it, but IIRC the Arctic Oscillation is to blame this time. And: “The Arctic Oscillation refers to opposing atmospheric pressure patterns in northern middle and high latitudes.” [NSIDC]

    But: “An unprecedented extreme in the northern hemisphere atmospheric circulation has driven a strong direct connecting current between the Gulf Stream and the West Greenland current. The unprecedented negativity of the “Arctic Oscillation” and the strong connection of the Gulf Stream with the Greenland current are exceptional events.” [Daily Kos, yesterday.]

    So, it would be as cold in general, these AO events has happened before, and it is not exceptional cold there AFAIU.

    But perhaps also as cold on the British Isles specifically, and _that_ seems to be exceptional, tied to the Gulf Stream. (The warm water goes just west of Greenland, not just west of BI.)

  36. Martin

    Great photo. I’ve saved the highest res version available.

    Martin – from down towards the bottom left-hand corner. A place known as “Sunny Cornwall”.

  37. Steve in Cornwall

    @Cusp – Don’t forget the Norman French and the Vikings!

    Here with a min of about -6C and no gritting on my (hilly) road, I can’t get the 200 yards to the gritted road and so haven’t been able to get to work. Tragic!

  38. Cusp

    >> @Cusp – Don’t forget the Norman French and the Vikings!

    Being welsh, how could I ?? :)

  39. Mike

    Wow, check out the 250m resolution. Awesome. A casual glance and you wouldn’t be sure that anyone even lives down there. Even carefully looking at it and I feel like my bias of knowing where to look plays a part in recognising features.

    I like how the Emerald Isle is the only thing in this picture that’s green. =D

  40. Sharon in Lancaster

    @Cusp – I think Charles may have been referencing a story about Pope Gregory I who allegedly punned (in Latin but it still works in English) on seeing some fair haired slaves in the market in Rome and being told they were ‘Angles’, “not Angles but Angels”. Cue uproarious laughter from the cardinals. (They made their own entertainment in those days).

    Just watching our news media whip itself into a frenzy over what promises to be the (cue dramatic music) “coldest night of the winter so far”. It is faintly embarrassing how badly we deal with this sort of stuff when you look at what most other countries of our latitude get. In our defence though, we are a bit spoiled by the Gulf Stream and getting this much snow and even this many cold days in a row is pretty damn unusual.

    Anyway, off to hide under the duvet until spring…

  41. PJE

    My Mom’s flight from Gatwick has been delayed by 24 hours. She was due in to Toronto today (Thurs) by 6PM and won’t be arriving ’till tomorrow at 6!

    Pete

  42. FDM

    Have you ever regretted leaving Sonoma County?

  43. PeteG

    That’s stunning. I love how you can see dark patches where cities like Birmingham are.

    I’m guessing this is due to the roads in the city centres being salted? Or the higher amount of traffic, pedestrians and vehicles melting the snow?

  44. And here’s a BBC video explaining the difference between weather and climate – well done them!

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/8447262.stm?ls

  45. Markle

    @MarcusBailius

    -11C was the high in Boulder. -11F/-24C was the low. Well, where the urban heat island effect was working, anyways.

    Re: Merkins, heard of them. You guys invented them out of necessity, didn’t you? Something about that other species of lice that inhabits humans. Mother’s necessity, the force of invention; isn’t that how it goes? ;)

    And perhaps we’ll get on Disney to put Mary Poppins in the vault, if you’ll talk to ITV and the BBC about your period dramas’ American characters always sounding like they’re on Qualuudes. We’ve got Bertie Wooster over here proving at least some of your actors capable so there’s really no excuse. ;)

  46. TGAP Dad

    C’mon, Phil! I thought you did your undergrad work at the University of Michigan. -15ºC is what we call “sweater weather.” Don’t go getting soft on us, now!

  47. drow

    it looks like snowdonia is taking over the whole of the UK

  48. Ms. Roo

    I think the northwestern bumpy edge of England looks kind of like a snowflake. It is absolutely stunning to see an entire area made of more than one country covered in snow. Granted, the whole area is about 3x smaller than the state of Texas, but the concept is still awe-inspiring to me.

  49. reidar

    I’m living in central Sweden. We are used to winters containing snow and ice, but the recent years our winter have been mild. Now when it’s cold in wintertime again I get the question “What happened to the global warming?” and all I have to do is to quote one of Swedens most famous meteorologists: “This is not klimate, this is weather.” Nice.

  50. StevoR

    Here in Adelaide, South Australia, it’s 39 degrees outside with 41 degrees forecast for the next three days. That’s degrees Celscius NOT Fahrenheit BTW something over 100 F (37-8 o C yes?) I’d say. (When are you Yanks going to join the rest of the world, eh? ;-) )

    I could cook an egg on the paving outside my window. In fact, I could quickly over-cook & burn it. ;-)

    As for global warming, I turn on my TV news to find the worst snowstorm in sixty years happening in China, I turn on my computer and get pictures like this showing Great Britain looking like its in an ice age as it endures its coldest day in 30 years & I can’t help thinking there’s no way this was predicted by the global warming pack.

    Yes, I know you’ll say its “weather not climate” but … I just don’t buy that. :roll:

    Enough weather over a long enough does make climate. Besides if the weather was unusually hot rather than warm, I find it hard to believe the Anthropogenic Global Warming believers wouldn’t be shrieking “Global Warming! Global Warming! ” & they can’t have it both ways. If *hot* weather is, as they say, evidence for AGW then *cold* weather should equally be evidence against! ;-)

    Over the past century the world experienced several cycles of cooler and warmer decades for instance, the 1960′s -70′s were quite cold, the 1990′s-2000′s have been reasonably warm. My common sense & educated guess tells me that our climate has been oscillating between slightly warmer and slightly cooler than average & we’re currently heading back towards a slightly cooler decade or so spell.

    One thing I think we can certainly say is that our climate is NOT getting hotter at an alarming rate as AGW believers claim. 1998 was either the hottest year or was, just perhaps & very arguably, beaten by a fraction by another one also many years ago.

    So C02 levels rise while global ave. temperatures don’t. I think that’s myth busted.

    After all if the claim is that Co2 is making our world get hotter – & the world is NOT getting hotter certainly not at an alarming rate as the evidence says – then hasn’t the AGW theory
    failed its main test?

    Besides I think skeptics do need to remember that :

    1. Apocalyptic dramatic claims such as Al Gore’s hysterical and fallacious ones in ‘An Inconvenient Truth’ are most likely to be false. The end is NOT nigh!

    2. That “extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence” as Carl Sagan put it – & AGW is very much an extraordinary claim with weka if any evidence supporting it.

    3. Occams razor & the Copernican principle are both on the side of the AGW skeptics. Our climate has varied before warming and cooling on various cycles driven by our Sun, Earth’s orbit and other factors such as volcanic activity. This happened when we weren’t putting Co2 in the air. Occam’s razor says that we don’t need to postulate extra factors such as human Co2 when other simpler, larger factors already explain the situation better. The Copernican principle says Humans just aren’t that important & we should be wary of saying we are the centre (or *cause*) of everything.

    I know a lot of people will disagree but quite honestly, all that seems to add up for me to conclude that the AGW idea is wrong. And I do really wish the BA would be a bit more skeptical here too. :-(

    I guess time will tell … but for me and many others it already has. ;-)

    How many more years of stable or cooling temperatures will it take before the AGW myth finally dies? Any bets or suggestions?

    @ all those believing in the AGW idea – Seriously, please tell – how many cold years and how long without alarming temperature rises will it take before you reconsider your opinions?

  51. 808Pancakes

    Im just happy Phil got Haleakala right. Us Hawaii people, though warm are sensitive to spelling and small cold spells. Beautiful image by the way. Sorry British people for the frozen weather.

  52. A few hours ago it was -21.2C at Altnaharra in the northern highlands. http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/weather/uk/he/altnaharra_latest_weather.html while down here in NW London it was a balmy -3C.

  53. You think this is cold?

    In 1658 a Swedish army walked across the sea to invade Denmark.

  54. DrFlimmer

    @ StevoR

    About 2 years ago Germany faced the warmest winter, ever. We had temperatures up to 20°C in January (now facing the same with a negative sign ;) ).

    Both are no proof for or against global warming.

    Btw: I would be glad if GW wouldn’t happen. Still, a “greener” society would benefit us all, would it not? Being more energy efficient and less dependent on fossil fuels isn’t the worst thing and would give us a cleaner and healthier environment. And mostly this would not affect or constrain our life-style (except for some minor changes, like, e.g., light-bulbs).

  55. Wow! I live in the Forest of Dean (just west of the tip of the River Severn in the West) and I can see a darker green blob which must be the tips of the trees of our forest. Cool! I don’t mind the snow at all – got breadmaker, long life milk and two legs with snow boots to get around. And I work from home. Sun, snow, skis – it’s great!

  56. MarcusBailius

    @Markle

    On accents – good point, well made! Perhaps sometime we should encourage the TV companies to make a drama where the British characters are played by Americans and the Americans are played by British… Then we could all have a laugh…!

    Remember Star Trek: TNG? Capt Picard was supposed to be French. He was played by (now) Sir (!) Patrick Stewart, who is a Yorkshireman, with an impeccable Royal Shakespeare Company English accent… “Earl Grey Tea. Hot.” Hmm. Oh well… His normal pre-RADA accent would have been more like the accents in the film “The Full Monty”. Now that would have been worth seeing, in Star Trek… “Aye, ‘appen, mebbe thee’s reet, Mr. Data…”

    @StevoR

    Well, no. A few weeks of cold weather isn’t a climate. Australia has a warm climate, I believe. But you also get bouts of extreme weather, with droughts and floods. If you look around the World now, you find Southern Europe for example is currently significantly warmer than the average January temperature. What we’re getting in the UK and what is happening in China, is not “climate”. One year is not a trend. And this is exactly one of the major fallacies that the AGW deniers keep promoting.

    If as you say the average temperatures are cooling, just how is it that the Summer ice extent in the Arctic is decreasing year on year? That of course IS a trend. (I don’t think ice can read emails…)

    Right now, this cold snap is being held in place by a ‘blocking high’ sat over Britain. It’s just sitting there, as these things often do, and it will be a few days yet before it moves off and things warm up a bit. Note, StevoR, that a blocking high is an example of weather… You don’t have a “blocking high climate”!

    And like most scientists, I don’t _believe_ in AGW – I just look at the data. With data, belief is irrelevant. The Copernican principle on humans being unimportant is true cosmically, and was pretty true more locally on Earth in (say) Roman times where the World population of humans was about 150 million. It’s less true now, though, with about seven billion of us, all wanting food and water, and some at least wanting cars and even iPhones!

    Still… Have a good day!

  57. Adam

    53. Ms. Roo : That’s the Lake District. If you look carefully, you can see the snowflake pattern is because the fells are covered in snow, but they have a green edging where the lower, flatter, coastal parts aren’t. A lot of coastal areas got sleet rather than snow, but I’m not sure if those are also in the rainshadow of the higher ground. Would be interested if any locals could tell me.

    Anyway, not suffering here in Sheffield. Plenty of sledging to be had – was even able to go on Christmas Day for the first time ever (on Christmas Day, that is) in my life. :)

  58. Tim

    What’s really nice is the complete absence of borders between England, Scotland and Wales. It reminds me of how Astronauts see a non-politicised view of the world from orbit. As for the Snow here in GB, the kids are off school, some people can’t be bothered to go to work, the High streets are empty – it’s, as usual, a pleasure to live here! God save the Queen! :)

  59. TGAP Dad

    How much snow is actually on the ground in the UK? Is there a significant difference between Wales and Scotland and England proper? We got about 15cm last night here (Michigan) of fine powder and the schools are closed. I think that threshhold’s a little low, personally.

  60. Dunc

    Yes, I know you’ll say its “weather not climate” but … I just don’t buy that.

    Well, you obviously don’t understand the first and simplest things about the entire subject (the distinction between “climate” and “weather”, or the distinction between “local” and “global”), so perhaps you might want to reserve judgement until you’re not completely clueless. We don’t even know what the global average temperature for the month is going to come out at yet – whilst some regions are having unusually cold spells, others are have record-breaking heat-waves. You do understand how averages work, right?

    @ all those believing in the AGW idea – Seriously, please tell – how many cold years and how long without alarming temperature rises will it take before you reconsider your opinions?

    Well, enough to put the 20-year centred moving average of global mean surface temperature consistently outside the 95% confidence interval for model predictions over the period of several years would certainly raise some serious doubts. We’re not anywhere near there yet though, and the only time we’ve come close to busting the 95% c.i. was in 1998 – but that was on the high side.

  61. Adam

    61 TGAP Dad: It varies quite considerably and even within short distances. Some places in the South got 5cm on Tuesday/Weds, whereas others got up to 32cm (I have seen 10-20cm differences reported within ten miles).

    Parts of Scotland and some of the higher ground in Wales and Northern England will have had more than that as the snow there has remain in place in since December and been added to in various increments over the last four weeks. Obviously some compacting will have occurred, but even in the relatively low Peak district, some hills had knee-deep snow before the last couple of events.

  62. Jya Jar Binks Killer

    Global warming is reminding me more & more of Fermi’s paradox in regard to sentient life elsewhere in the Cosmos:

    It may be there out there but where?

  63. StevoR

    @ 66. Dunc : So not for another twenty years is your answer then? Seems kind of a while to me.

    I’m no expert on “averages” I’ll admit but I think I’ve got the gist of it. Would it be fair in your view to say that *on average* global temperatures have been lower than 1998′s “high water ” (high temp) mark? If so, what does that imply about the world getting hotter or not?

    @ 58. MarcusBailius Says:

    @StevoR – Well, no. A few weeks of cold weather isn’t a climate. Australia has a warm climate, I believe.

    41 degrees Celcisus today & 43 for the next few days -yeah, warm would be an understatement here now! In fact, I’m sleeping downstairs with the air conditioner on – if I manage to sleep at all.

    But you also get bouts of extreme weather, with droughts and floods.

    In New South Wales & Queensland, the states north ( & east) of mine, a prolonged and severe drought has just been broken by a catastrophic flood with the Castlereagh, Thompson & Barcoo rivers all breaking their banks. So again, yes indeed.

    If you look around the World now, you find Southern Europe for example is currently significantly warmer than the average January temperature. What we’re getting in the UK and what is happening in China, is not “climate”. One year is not a trend. And this is exactly one of the major fallacies that the AGW deniers keep promoting.

    But its *more* than just one year. If itwas just one year I’d agree with you. But having the hottest year back in 1998 (or ok, maybe even 2007) when Co2 levels have been rising constantly doesn’t seem to add up to me.

    If ‘higher co2 = higher temperatures’ then why isn’t this year hotter than last, hotter than the year before? That’s what gets me. If the hottest ever year was say in the last three years and not the last twelve or even four then I’d say the AGW has been supported by the facts. But that ain’t so. Is it?

    If as you say the average temperatures are cooling, just how is it that the Summer ice extent in the Arctic is decreasing year on year? That of course IS a trend. (I don’t think ice can read emails…)

    I don’t know.

    Is that data reliable?

    Right now, this cold snap is being held in place by a ‘blocking high’ sat over Britain. It’s just sitting there, as these things often do, and it will be a few days yet before it moves off and things warm up a bit. Note, StevoR, that a blocking high is an example of weather… You don’t have a “blocking high climate”!

    Oh we know all about blocking highs! All too well. ;-)

    And like most scientists, I don’t _believe_ in AGW – I just look at the data. With data, belief is irrelevant.

    I think a lot of people are drawing different conclusions from that same data which indicates the data is inconclusive right?

    The Copernican principle on humans being unimportant is true cosmically, and was pretty true more locally on Earth in (say) Roman times where the World population of humans was about 150 million. It’s less true now, though, with about seven billion of us, all wanting food and water, and some at least wanting cars and even iPhones!

    I agree that over-population is a problem for our environment but .. aren’t we still majorly outnumbered by algae and bacteria and plankton? Don’t they have a more significant impact ecologically than us? Can it really all be just our fault?

    Still… Have a good day!

    Thanks – you too! :-)

  64. Dunc

    If ‘higher co2 = higher temperatures’ then why isn’t this year hotter than last, hotter than the year before? That’s what gets me. If the hottest ever year was say in the last three years and not the last twelve or even four then I’d say the AGW has been supported by the facts. But that ain’t so. Is it?

    It is statistically trivial to demonstrate that you need to average over at least 20 years to escape the internal variability (aka noise) in the climate system. What is your statistical basis for asserting that we must have a record-breaker within the last 3 years, rather than 2, or 4?

    However, the 10 warmest years ever recorded all occur since 1997. That good enough for you?

  65. Soapy Sam

    That IS a pretty picture. Not so nice here on the ground though! It’s seriously interfering with access to the UK JREF winter party!

  66. Daniel

    @TGAP Dad

    Regarding snow depth in the UK – quite a lot! I’m in NE England, and there’s been so much snow fallen over the last few weeks that’s it’s packed down with a powder layer on top. Footpaths and sidewalks you can walk on, but wander over the fields and you’ll sink in to your knees!

  67. Steve in Dublin

    SteveoR @ 69

    I think a lot of people are drawing different conclusions from that same data which indicates the data is inconclusive right?

    No, the data is quite conclusive (in favour of AGW) if you are a climatologist, or even a statistician who is properly trained in how to interpret trends. You cannot pick a statistical anomaly like 1998 as your starting point and go from there. Epic fail.

  68. TGAP Dad

    @67 Adam, @72 Daniel:

    Love the knee-deep snow. Sounds like my kinda place!
    Got my undergrad degree in Michigan’s upper peninsula. The snow was typically knee-deep by December, and waist-deep by February. I’ve seen it snow a full meter overnight.

    I miss those days.

  69. Acky

    We’ve got about 7 inches of snow on the ground in Yorkshire (“Oop North”). I work in a delivery firm and today alone we’ve had 2 arcticulated lorries, 3 18t vehicles and 2 small vans stuck in the snow – and that’s just in our loading yard! We’ve had the yard gritted on Tuesday and ploughed on Wednesday but it’s now worse than ever.

    Still, at least I get to make snowmen with my daughter tomorrow :D

  70. Andrew Barton

    Please, Phil, DON’T try to do cockney.

  71. Gary Ansorge

    SteveR:

    Wow! Dude! Talk about cherry picking your data. What part of chaotic systems becoming more chaotic with higher energy levels did you miss? It’s world wide temps averaged over several decades that’s important, not how cold a single storm is. I’ll just note, for more single event comparisons, that my electric bill for heating this year averaged over $ 20.00 less per month for the last three months of 2009 than for the previous year. I guess that trumps your single storm.

    Gary 7

  72. EmaNymton

    Wow, StevoR, you are really amazingly stupid.

  73. Sticks

    Phil, by referring to Anglic friends you may have annoyed some of our Scottish, Welsh and Manx neighbours

  74. Tom

    Re: your title – We’re not all Cock-er-neys!

    If you draw a line roughly north from London and another one roughly east from Birmingham, somewhere near where the two lines cross there is an area of No Snow Whatsoever. In the middle of this area is a place called Barton Seagrave, which is home to one of the few schools in the UK that have had No Snow Days Whatsoever.

    Gutted.

  75. Torbjörn Larsson, OM

    @ StevoR:

    I think a lot of people are drawing different conclusions from that same data which indicates the data is inconclusive right?

    Wrong, see IPCC on what climatologists conclude. Those “lot of people” are a few, and they are included in the material.

    And no one of those have come up with a better theory, that predicts what AGW predicts and more, in publication.

  76. StevoR

    @ 70. Dunc Says:

    It is statistically trivial to demonstrate that you need to average over at least 20 years to escape the internal variability (aka noise) in the climate system. What is your statistical basis for asserting that we must have a record-breaker within the last 3 years, rather than 2, or 4?

    I’m not a statistician or anything, it just seems like common sense. If things are heating because of Co2 shouldn’t we be having more record breaking hottest years? Shouldn’t the record be, if not last year, then at least the year before or the year before that? That’s what I can’t get past when it comes to the idea that the world is warming at an alarming rate because of our pollution as the AGW idea claims – I just don’t see it personally.

    However, the 10 warmest years ever recorded all occur since 1997. That good enough for you?

    It is interesting and it would support the AGW theory but for the fact that the hottest year was right at the start there – 1998. If you look at a graph and temperatures peaked over a decade ago and then flattened off and stayed relatively level or even declined slightly – as I interpret things then how can that support the theory that temperaures are rising? Really how?

    @ 73. Steve in Dublin Says:

    SteveoR @ 69 “I think a lot of people are drawing different conclusions from that same data which indicates the data is inconclusive right?”
    No, the data is quite conclusive (in favour of AGW) if you are a climatologist, or even a statistician who is properly trained in how to interpret trends. You cannot pick a statistical anomaly like 1998 as your starting point and go from there. Epic fail.

    Why not? Is 1998 to be discounted just because it marked the point at which temperatures peaked and then started to stabilise or fall?

    I don’t claim to be a climatologist or expert here just someone whose done a bit of research on what the other side says and am using my brain and skeptical instincts. I do know there are many valid scientists and skeptics smarter than me – or you – who disagree with the AGW scare. I don’t think the experts agree on this.

    I also think the scientific credibility of the more extrme AGW Warmers has been tainted & damaged by the Climategate scandal. Let’s get to the bottom of that rather than dismissing it & see what else might turn up. I do think a major high-level public enquiry into what looks awfully like scientific malpractice & data manipulation is the best course of action for everybody.

    I’m amazed more people in the science and skepticism communities aren’t calling for such investigation and that people who I admire as intelligent – like Dr Phil Plait – are so willing to brush aside and make weak excuses for stuff revealed in Climategate that, frankly, looks pretty damming to me. :-(

    @ 79. Gary Ansorge Says:

    SteveR: Wow! Dude! Talk about cherry picking your data. What part of chaotic systems becoming more chaotic with higher energy levels did you miss? It’s world wide temps averaged over several decades that’s important, not how cold a single storm is. I’ll just note, for more single event comparisons, that my electric bill for heating this year averaged over $ 20.00 less per month for the last three months of 2009 than for the previous year. I guess that trumps your single storm. Gary 7

    Okay first its StevoR, you could get my name right y’know. Secondly, if you’d actually read my post you’d see I was making my conclusions and raising my questions based on a lot more than just the one storm.

    @ 80. EmaNymton Says:

    Wow, StevoR, you are really amazingly stupid.

    Gee, an unsupported ad hominem attack that doesn’t address any of the points I raised. Is that supposed to be your idea of “smart” then? :roll:

    @ 83. Torbjörn Larsson, OM Says:

    @ StevoR: “I think a lot of people are drawing different conclusions from that same data which indicates the data is inconclusive right?” Wrong, see IPCC on what climatologists conclude. Those “lot of people” are a few, and they are included in the material. And no one of those have come up with a better theory, that predicts what AGW predicts and more, in publication.

    From where I sit, the IPCC seems to be more a political lobby group than a reputable objective scientific one. I don’t trust the likes of Mike Mann because of his earlier shenanagins with the “hockey stick” graph & the revelations from Climategate make me trust him and his colleagues even less.

    Can you tell me, please, what predictions taht the AGW theory has made and actually been clearly demonstrated to come true? Especially ones that separate natural climate variability from the supposed anthropogenic human influence?

    Surely if the global temperature is meant to be rising then the fact that the temperature does *not* appear to be rising is a problem?

    As I asked earlier, how many years have to pass with 1998′s hottest year record remaining unbroken before you ask yourself – “where is this alarming global temperature rsie that’s people say is meant to be happening?”

    20 years

  77. John

    “Sorry, my anglic friends, but your suffering has produced this stunning beauty.”

    Good to see the 28 snow-related deaths makes someone happy. Come on Phil it is beautiful, but to directly mention suffering is a bit off. Also, as Phil is a Mexican living in Canada, it is good to see his Geography is as good as ever when it comes to the peoples of the UK are now all angles.

    And 53. Ms Roo

    “I think the northwestern bumpy edge of England looks kind of like a snowflake”

    I think you mean Scotland don’t you?

  78. Edwin

    Love how this winter is pointed out by some as proof there is no global warming. I would like to ask them about the summer of 2003 in Europe. That was one of the hottest I can remember. By the same logic, that is proof of global warming. And this winter proofs we are in a new ice age, until spring rolls around.

  79. MaDeR

    Edwin, this is just double standards – typical for various crackpots, deniers and the like. Unusually cold place somewhere (and I guarantee that in EVERY year WILL be few places that was coldest/warmest since x years ago) will be proof that Global Warning is not happening, but unusually warm place somewhere never will be proof of truth in Global Warming.

    By the way, StevoR, ommiting many of your nonsense and lies – there IS possible both “warmest year was x years ago!!!111omfg” (mindlessly repeated until death of boredom) and “trend is warming”. Wanna example chart?

  80. Adam

    86 John: No, I think she means the Lake District. It looks more snowflake like than the Western side of Scotland.

  81. StevoR

    @ 88 MaDeR Says:

    By the way, StevoR, ommiting many of your nonsense and lies – there IS possible both “warmest year was x years ago! omfg” (mindlessly repeated until death of boredom) and “trend is warming”. Wanna example chart?

    Yes please. I would indeed like to see that.

    PS. Notice how I’m still being civil to you & am NOT calling you a liar or your claims boring nonsense? Is it really too much to expect you & other AGW believers to return that courtesy? :roll:

    @ Edwin : the summer of 2003 in Europe. That was one of the hottest I can remember. By the same logic, that is proof of global warming. And this winter proofs we are in a new ice age, …

    That was exactly one of my points AGW believers are quick to point to any hot spell, bushfire or hurricane as “proof” of global warming & yet when the event is a cold one it automatically becomes “just usual cold weather.” Your argument cuts both ways.

  82. StevoR

    PS. Note too, Edwin (87.) that it was ” the summer of *2003*” that was hottest.

    Not this year, not last year, not the year before but some seven years ago now.

    (When, let’s not forget, there was less Co2 in the air than today. Less Co2 but hotter temps? Hmm.. don’t you think that could mean something from a scientific POV as to whether the AGW is real or not?)

    However the *coldest* winter in 30 years (& *60* years for China!) was *this* year 2009-10. When human-made Co2 levels are higher than they were in 2003. Can you see how that actually sorta supports what the AGW Skeptics are saying?

    Oh & I guess I should be polite & say thanks for helping to prove my case for me! ;-)

  83. British

    Woah there people! Keep your knickers on…

  84. craig roberts

    That’s f*<King cool!!!
    And i do live there,course it'd be better if the hill i lived on 'was a shade of colorado,whistler or some equal'.

  85. Richo

    Spare a thought for us over here in South Eastern Australia…we’ve just endured a four day heatwave with temps as high as 43C. I’d love a bit of your snow right now! But seriously i hope all in the UK come through this extreme cold snap ok.

  86. StevoR: There you go. Below is example of chart where trend is warming, yet warmest year was been a few years ago.

    http://madcio.no-ip.info/pics/warmestlongagobuttrendstill.png

    As you can see, this is possible. But I am certain that you will still claim that is impossible to be warming without next year being warmer than previous. Meh.

  87. Robert Carnegie

    What’s wrong with Britain… the jetstream has been mentioned by some television meteorologists. It has flown south to Africa for the winter. Maybe that’s the reason for the Arctic Osculation whereof you speak.

    Within living memory, El Nino was supposed to be responsible for all the weather in the world, on a (?) 11 year cycle. So the path to global warming was like a fairground ride, up, down, up, down, trending up.

    I’m told that I’m mistaken in feeling that other countries typically deal very much better with the first snow fall of the year by staying indoors until spring, but I like that idea enough to stick with it.

    As for looking pretty… I expect Narnia looked pretty from a star’s-eye view for however many years the Ice Queen ruled? Not much fun though.

    And the prehistoric “Snowball Earth” must have been gorgeous, like a delicious planet sorbet scoop-spooned by God fresh from the freezer. I am actually salivating to imagine it. And zippity life going on down there.

  88. StevoR

    @ 95. MaDeR :

    Thanks for the link.

    Looks a bit *too* simplified there & I do not think its accurate in terms of what the climate is really doing but still I do see how you *think* it could possibly work like that.

    Time will tell I guess in a few decades we’ll know for sure … maybe.

    @ 96. Robert Carnegie Says:

    prehistoric “Snowball Earth” must have been gorgeous, like a delicious planet sorbet scoop-spooned by God fresh from the freezer. I am actually salivating to imagine it. And zippity life going on down there.

    I think you’ll find that although life had it *very* tough during several “snowball Earth” episodes in our planet’s history; life did still exist and endure during them. Even if it was just at the level of bacteria and very simple or marine organisms. (Eg. sponges, jellyfish, trilobites, etc.)

  89. Gavin

    On a side note to the photo. It was a MODIS (Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectro-radiometer) image produced by the MCST (Modis Calibration and Support Team) of which I am the only full time member of the IOT (Instrument Operations Team) — I command the instrument and do the operations on a daily basis. It is a pretty awesome instrument.

  90. Messier Tidy Upper

    ^ It’s a pretty awesome photo too! Good work. :-)

  91. @91. StevoR (January 11th, 2010 at 6:41 am) :

    PS. Note too, Edwin (87.) that it was ” the summer of *2003*” that was hottest. Not this year, not last year, not the year before but some seven years ago now

    For the record & from NASA :

    Global surface temperatures in 2010 tied 2005 as the warmest on record, according to an analysis released Wednesday by researchers at NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) in New York. The two years differed by less than 0.018 degrees Fahrenheit. The difference is smaller than the uncertainty in comparing the temperatures of recent years, putting them into a statistical tie. In the new analysis, the next warmest years are 1998, 2002, 2003, 2006, 2007 and 2009, which are statistically tied for third warmest year. The GISS records begin in 1880.

    (Click on my name for the linked source.)

    So 2010 was the hottest year on record. 2011 is already looking like a contender for breaking that with huge heatwaves inthe USA and elsewhere – plus arctic sea ice equalling or surpassing its record minimum extent of 2007.

    Human Induced Rapid Global Overheating (HIRGO) as I prefer to call Global Warming is real and the spectroscopic carbon fingerprint – and other indicators such as the cooling stratosphere versus warming troposphere and teh disparity between solar cyles trending lower which should be cooling us versus rising temperatures as observed matching the rising Co2 levels – confirm we are causing it.

  92. Note also this :

    A 2010 study included 10 key indicators, and as shown below, [diagram on that site -ed.] every one of them is moving in the direction expected of a warming globe. The question of global warming stopping is often raised in the light of a recent weather event [or even a weather photo eg. well, this whole thread - ed.] – a big snowfall or drought breaking rain. Global warming is entirely compatible with these events; after all they are just weather. For climate change, it is the long term trends that are important ..

    (Italicised brackets added. Source : The Skeptical Science website linked to my name for this comment. Which is a good site and resource for debunking all the other Climate Contrarian canards as well. )

    .. and the long term global average temperature trend is undeniably upwards.

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