Wednesday, 1 June 2011


I’ve made a point of never coming down on one side or the other of the climate change debate.

With respect to those who have strong views on the subject, I really believe that, unless you are a meteorologist, or some other kind of physicist with specialised knowledge, the likelihood of being able to distinguish between the seemingly learned opinions that there IS climate change and those which deny it, is small.

So, I don’t understand enough about it to have an informed opinion, and I don’t follow a particular political philosophy which would steer me in any direction.

I have few vested interests; I’m not a businessman with interest in maintaining the lowest possible costs to my company so that I can maximize profits at any cost. Neither am I one of the ecologist types that worries about butterflies flapping their wings in Brazil and causing storms over Oslo. I’m somewhere in the middle, possibly with a lazy streak that tells me that all this recycling is just too much effort.

But, even I can’t help noticing that this is the first of June, and that I’d to put on a thick skiing jacket to go out today, and even then in the sharp gusts of wind I was cold. Even I can’t ignore that last week I’d to hang on to my garden arch as winds of around 100 mph tore through my garden breaking trees and scattering the new leaves which had only appeared a couple of weeks before, as if it were autumn.

Global warming it ain’t, and that’s for sure. But some sort of climate change it appears to be, because, although this is the worst one, it seems to me that for the last 4 or 5 years, this has been the pattern. A reasonable April followed by constant wind and cold all summer.

Certainly my neighbour, who is 75 years old, said that he can’t remember any such weather in his life time.

Can you?


  1. It's a new ice age starting.
    During the Inter Glacial Period the artic weather which swoops down over NA was easily dislodged. The cold air cooled the north Atlantic and then arrived over Britain as a typical cold, damp spring.

    Now the cold air remains over NA for far longer. The intense cold weather over continental North America blocks the flow of westerlies. This allows the North Atlantic to warm up and we get a hot spell. Eventually the cold air is disapated and the westerlies assert their influence and we get the warmed up arctic air leading to a damp, cold and windy spell of weather in May.

  2. Tris

    Conan cant remember anything these days the old git

  3. It seems to me that it must be devilishly difficult to sort out the man-made effects on the earth's climate from the natural cycles of heating and cooling which have driven the climate and weather throughout geological time.

    Here in the American Midwest, in the Spring and Summer, violent tornados are a much feared windstorm phenomenon. The much publicized death tolls from the tornados in Mississippi and Alabama in April, and the monster Joplin, Missouri tornado on May 22 (one of the ten deadliest individual tornados on record) raise valid questions about the possible effect of climate change. On the other hand, while well over 1000 tornados occur each year in the USA, it's rare that a monster storm occurs in an urban area. And it's hard to draw meaningful conclusions regarding long term climate from a few such statistically rare occurrences.

    Of course the matter is complicated by the fact that powerful constituencies have their own interests to serve. And the people with the most compelling agendas seem to be the most certain of the answer.

    The effect of windstorms can truly be breathtaking. I spent a week in Joplin after the tornado hit. The MailOnline had a long piece with before and after pictures which somewhat conveys the devastation that one of these rare monstrous windstorms produces.

  4. A high school rule of thumb: For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction (or, maybe, not so equal?). Discerning "the 'truth'" in a scientifically rigorous sense not a propagandist matter for anyone to tamper with when dealing with the verifiable data.

    However, seems commonsense not to fkuk around too much with things for fear of unexpected consequences; however, greater eco-sensitivity and measures to improve the relatively pristine condition of our collective environment, regardless, may provide a much improved quality of of life to us all which is good in itself.

    Personally and "unscientifically" speaking, I don't relish living in a sh@te-hole and nor do I wish future generations to do so.

  5. Sounds pretty simple when you explain it like that Conan. (It is Conan, right?)

    In theory then, it should brighten up in the next month and my poor young trees will get a chance to grow instead of using everything they have to fight off the drying effects of the winds.

    I note, btw, we were promised sunshine and temperatures of 22-25 C today, but it's cold and windy again!

  6. LOL Can you Niko? Own up now, where DID you put your glasses?

  7. Danny:

    I know you just spent some time with your family in Joplin, and I can only try to imagine what it must have been like, and must still be like.

    We have all witnessed horrible weather, and most of us have probably been at least apprehensive in the face of its power, a power you just can’t do anything about. But I doubt many of us can have any idea what it must be like to see your house, street, town reduced to matchsticks and rubble.

    The photos give us some idea, as have reports on telly, but with these things you can’t smell or feel the awfulness and awesomeness of the change.

    Rebuilding will take years, and there will be hundreds of people who will never see the new Joplin.

    Thanks for taking time out to post mate.

  8. David

    Yep, I guess those things which help us to have a cleaners and more agreeable atmosphere in which to live have got to be good for both us and generations to come.

    The problem is of course, the cost of all of this, both in effort, which some will not make (especially if they feel that other people aren’t), and in money, which many can ill afford.

    It certainly makes sense to not do things which ask for trouble: Denuding hillsides of trees, and the root systems that hold the topsoil in place, building power stations with the ability, if just one mistake is made, to devastate, fishing out the oceans, introducing species to places and undoing the natural pecking order.... There are countless tales of isolated civilisations being wiped out by the over utilization of a particular commodity. Easter Island is a perfect example, but others in Greenland, Iceland, and so on.

  9. " Certainly my neighbour, who is 75 years old, said that he can’t remember any such weather in his life time."

    No disrespect to your neighbour but his 75 years aren't even a blip in the history of the planets climate. The climate has been changing for 4 billion years. Long before fossil fuels were around the glaciers that covered most of Europe melted and the British Isles were set adrift from mainland Europe. Looking at historical texts the middle ages had wine growing in England with mediteranean temperatures. Looking at tree rings the climate started cooling and the experts predicted a mini ice age. Then due to solar flares the temperature started rising up until 1998 before falling over the last 13 years as solar flares reduced.
    The global warming scam originated with a few eco nuts who cooked the books amongst themselves and corrupted the science to help them convince governments that the world was heatiing up due to CO2. This is a gas that is essential for plant growth and all plant life would die without it. As the grants flooded (sic)in other scientists and scammers such as Al Gore piled in for more. Eventually governments saw the scam as an excellent way to introduce a world tax on the population. With agreements we've signed with the EU and the IPCC etc we are set to waste about £20Bn per annum for the next 40 years on useless windmills etc. As the West de industrialises it will hand over steel and other industries who are 'permitted' to have heavy industry to the 3rd world. The recent closure of Tata's Teeside plant moved thousands of jobs to India. This was helped by grants from the EU.
    In 20 years time the next generation will attempt to reverse the madness but it will be too late

  10. As we've all agreed Monty, business and governments have jumped on the bandwagon. Even the Tories, with or without their poodles, are boasting the "greenest government ever".

    Scientists have seen grants and nice research jobs with the aim of proving change, keeping them in comfortable salaries; universities love it as a way to make money and expand their already top heavy staffing with plenty of extras for the high table. Of course grants have also been funding research that shows exactly the opposite.

    And yes, I accept that climate has been changing for millions of years without man and with him. I remember reading in school history about fairs on the Thames as short a time ago as the 17th century.

    And then it warmed up without the help of electricity power stations or of fumes from internal combustion engines.

    But I repeat; there is no doubt that the weather is not the way it used to be, or indeed has been in the lifetime of my neighbour. I have lost another delphinium to the gusts of wind that also took a slate off my roof on the 2nd June, when it should by rights we might reasonably expect it to be warm and calm. I just don’t know what’s causing it... which set of scientists being paid by vested interests is lying more than the other set.

  11. tris.

    I agree that the weather is changing. But it has changed since the beginning of time. I just don't accept that it's changing due to man made CO2. The recent strong winds were associated with a shift in the jetstream. It moved further north than usual and gave us low pressure systems over the north. If you look at any historical record of wind over the UK you will see spikes in wind strengh. We're due to come into a 40 year lull in wind strengh according to the 'experts'.
    I sat on the fence like yourself for years until I read Montford's book 'The Hockey Stick Illusion'. It showed how scientists cooked the figures to make a hockey stick shape indicating a rise in global temperature. Data that didn't fit the hockey stick illusion was ignored ( 'hiding the declin'e and the 'nature trick' was what Michael Mann the climate 'expert' called it in the leaked e mails from the East Anglia Climate Research Unit).
    The climate will keep changing on earth until our planet dies and the the whole universe dies. Only then will the temperature stop changing as there will be no activity in the Universe. I don't think we'll see that day.

  12. Monty
    I sat on the fence like yourself for years until I read Montford's book 'The Hockey Stick Illusion'. It showed how scientists cooked the figures to make a hockey stick shape indicating a rise in global temperature.

    The Montford Delusion

    Is the hockey stick broken?

    The fence is a better option than listening to Mountford's manipulated data to fit his preconceived outcomes.

  13. Fair dos Monty. I inclined towards that way of thinking too.

    If it were CO2 induced, it would surely be more gradual... but there I am making scientific assumptions that I have no knowledge to back up.

  14. CH... I'm still confused. I think I'll go and live in France! As long as I'm not near the mistral, my hollyhocks will be safer!


  15. tris the whole problem has been confused by politicians using global climate change as a means of increasing there revenue stream which I suggest is the main underlying subconscious reason for the extreme skepticism.

    Try looking at the climate as a complicated equation and we are altering the numbers as we go on resulting in an ever changing result.

    Even discounting global warming by increasing our CO2 levels the oceans are becoming more acidic affecting all marine life which we all depend on to survive. The environment is a complex system of different organisms each interacting with each other for there own survival and ours which is becoming more vulnerable the more we damage it.

    As to increasing CO2 will benefit vegetation will be rebutted by the least academic gardener as nothing but a spurious claim by the skeptics who are showing complete ignorance in how plants work.

  16. 100mph winds? Same here! It ripped through my challet, or rather the oak tree did!

    But anyhoo, can we really say that it is climate change? Depends on what we mean doesn't it?

    I believe in environmentalism, i.e. the importance of flood plains not being developed, sustainable fishing etc ... BUT I am NOT convinced of man-made warming theory.

    I agree with you Tris, only the experts can really understand all the ins and outs on this one.

  17. It played merry hell with my blue poppies!

  18. I hope they are all okay Munguin!

  19. I hear you have a charming little garden ;)

  20. Monty - There has been a balance on the planet for millions of years now and humans have been destroying that balance for the last couple of hundred years. Most of Britain, and the rest of the world, used to be covered by trees - now hardly any of it is and we are destroying what is left at an increasing rate every year.

    That is just one example - I am like Tris on this in that I do not know who to believe but I do believe that we humans must be having some impact on the planet with what we are doing.

    I do not think that global warming is what we should be worrying about anyway as we are heading for extinction with human survival being based on the rapidly depleting oil fed and collapsing greed based economy.

    Billy - Having to post here as anonymous for some reason just now Tris.

  21. Metcheck Atlantic Jet Stream

    Just a steady breeze up here all day with wall to wall blue sky and temp 20+C makes a change from the previous few weeks. Not a lot of water in the rivers doesn't bode well for the rest of the year. They survive well in the Himalayas Munguin and up here as well.

  22. Anon said..

    "There has been a balance on the planet for millions of years now and humans have been destroying that balance for the last couple of hundred years."

    So how exactly is there a balance when we've had ice ages and warm climates with associated decimation in species in between a balance ?
    Oh and all before man came along aswell.


    "The fence is a better option than listening to Mountford's manipulated data to fit his preconceived outcomes."

    Have you read Michael Manns e mails ?
    He admitted manipulating data to fake his global warming results.
    It's Montford not Mountford.

  23. Yep CH. I guess one of the problems is that we are skeptical about everything that the politicians, big business, charities, everyone tells us, seeing that most of the time, they lie!

    My blue poppies were battered to hell too... just when they had flowered after two years of careful nurturing. GRRRRR.

  24. Good lord Dean.... Was there anyone in it at the time?

    That's terrible news, even if there was no one hurt it's so sickening (not to mention expensive) to have things you loved ruined.

    Oak trees it seems to me are not suited to Scotland's climate. They seem to have a shallow rooting system that just can't cope with winds. The woods just outside Dundee have a few and most of them it seems are growing from a horizontal position...

  25. Dean: delicate blue flowers were sadly all shredded. At least the lupins were not out!

  26. Dean... Munguin’s got a great garden which he transformed from a wilderness into a really nice place. Unfortunately it seems to get even worse wind than mine...

  27. Good honest discussion here: A refreshing pleasure from some other "attack dog" sites.

    A swift addendum: Scientific 'truth' - or its "'final' 'proof'" - is an on-going task worthy of Sisyphus across the fields of human enquiry unless where proof positive has been established and can be replicated; however, in terms of living life well immediately and in the context of current limitations in scientific knowledge, a useful historical rule of thumb is to live it in balance (and by that I do not mean, strangulating stasis).

    Best wishes and thanks

  28. Dean, don't be too worried they are more of a powder blue than a Tory blue ;-). My SNP yellow roses were fine!

  29. I do have blue roses as well but they are not out yet. I will let you know if they are a suitable blue for you lol!

  30. Billy: I hear what you're saying, although I always think that all this high finance stuff is a game.

    None of the money actually exists and no big country can ever been allowed to go broke. people may not be happy, but the US $, Canadian $, €, yen, real, Swiss franc, rupee and even the £ sterling will be perfectly safe.. as indeed will all European currencies. Too many people who matter have too much tied up in them for them to be allowed to fail.

    As oil runs out, we either have to put money into more exploration (well done Osborne for taxing that out of reach) or we have to find other ways to fuel our way of life.

    I suppose the third alternative is that "ordinary" people will just have to go without electricity, cars, etc.

    Conan’s been having the same problem. He can only post as anon. Munguin couldn’t log in either and I had the same problem last week. It’s Blogger, I think. It’s not be right since that shut down they had a few weeks ago.

  31. David:

    Thanks. I like to think that by and large the conversation here is grown up and civilised. People come from different political backgrounds, and with views which reflect these varied political philosophies.

    I can’t be doing with blogs where people are downright rude to other participants. If we all agree there is little point in the discussion; but if we disagree it can be fun, we all learn something from each other. No credit to anyone who just shouts people down with insults.

    As to your main point; you are right. Moderation in all things seems to make sense.

  32. Dean: Munguin:

    Strangely I have a foxglove growing wild on a pretty high wall at the bottom of the garden. It has been there throughout, including the hurricane force winds of last Monday and it is now starting to flower as if nothing had happened and it's been a prefectly normal summer...


  33. Munguin: I have yellow poppies... Actually they aren't really SNP, more Icelandic, and as such can cope with just about anything.

  34. tris
    Oak trees it seems to me are not suited to Scotland's climate. They seem to have a shallow rooting system that just can't cope with winds.

    Which Oak? The majority of tree roots are in the top 2 foot of soil as that is where the moisture and nutrients are. Its the weight of soil clinging on the root hairs which counterbalances the tree's mass keeping them upright until the local ground environment is altered.

  35. Oh, I dunno CH. I just know that most of the oaks in our local woods are blown over. Many of them go on growing perfectly well from that position. I guessed that they must have too much weight up top for the depth or strenght of the roots to cope with in our high winds.

  36. Munguin: At least the SNP yellows are all safe and sound! :) But then, being native to the landscape, they are made of sterner, Calvanist stuff no doubts ;)

    Tris: It is okay, the Challet was Uni owned, and its just the attic which is ruined. I've just moved back home since I've graduated. So largely, its a Stirling Uni problem now ... can't say I care now that I don't live there ...

  37. Oh great. I didn't know you'd graduated. Congratulations!

  38. tris..

    As you can see the whole global climate debate has become polarised. Best to do your own research and make up your own mind.
    I sat on the fence until I realised how much was being spent on windmills etc and decided I'd find out the truth.
    Montford's book 'The Hockey Stick Illusion' is a good place to start and worth a read. You can get it from the library. It follows the story of Steve McIntyre, a retired mining engineer, who decided to spend his retirement studying the reports of climate scientists at the CRU and the IPCC. He started with their graphs showing global warming and asked them for their data so he could follow their workings. Ignored FOI requests and character attacks was their reply. This from a taxpayer funded organisation aswell.
    There's nothing in the MSM that will help you as they're primed to shout down any attempts at debate. Similar with our politicians.Too many reputations are riding on the warming due to CO2 theory and they would be ruined if the scam was exposed. To them it's a given. Chris Huhne, Al Gore, Pachauri et al can live as millionaires, with numerous houses etc and yet we're to believe the world is going to cook us all to death. How can they get away with overconsumption while taxing our energy and fuel to stop us consuming ? Easy. A compliant media with numerous cheerleaders loitering with intent around blogsites and newspapers and on tv.
    So keep an open mind and do your own studies.
    Some good sites for my arguments are...

  39. Thanks Monty. I really do see your point (and I think you can add prince Charles to you list. ‘I have at least 10 houses, but I'll tour South America in a private jet with an entourage of 25 to lecture you about "green" issues.’

    Of course electricity at twice the price will not be much of a problem to any of these people, nor will wind farms be placed anywhere near THEIR homes. (Mind, the same could be said of nuclear power and coal fired stations... these people never looked out their back windows on to one.)

    I’ll have a look at the links (for which thanks). I guess the trouble is that no matter who or what you read, there couldn’t, and usually is, an agenda!

  40. I can't seem to post in a way that Blogger recognizes my account and avatar. Anyone else having this problem? Off topic, I know. ;-)

  41. OK...not sure what I did. But it's OK for now.

    Tris.....Sorry to use the blog for Google Blogger debugging. But you gotta do what you gotta do. ;-)

  42. Danny: yes that seems to be a perennial ghost in the machine of late. A lot of us have had trouble either logging in or staying logged in, it’s very annoying!

    Dean: congrats on graduating. I have lots of other poppies pink, red, orange and yellow and they are all fine. It was just the blue ones were a bit special and I was looking forward to them, but sods law was they came out the week of the great wind! To be honest they are in a very exposed place so I think when they die back I will have them out and put them in a pot, that way when the wind blows next year I can put them in the shed.

  43. Yeahhhhhh Danny... you got your beautiful avatar back, at last!

    Blogger is having problems at the moment. Everyone seems to be encountering some sort of issue, whether it is loss of avatar, being unable to log in, spacing all to hell....

    Anyway, glad to see that you are back!

  44. Tris,

    I got my identity and avatar back by opening the blog in the Google Chrome browser. It still doesn't work for me in Microsoft Internet Explorer.

    Maybe something about the way that IE is handling the Google Blogspot cookies. Hmmmmm.....the Microsoft browser won't properly handle the Google Blog website. Sounds suspicious, doesn't it? ;-)

  45. Now you come to mention it Danny....

    I think I might download Google Chrome. Firefox irritates me!

    Thanks for the tip.

  46. An F'ing disgrace BTW. Opera is the best of the lot as far as browsers go, IMO.

  47. Never tried that one DL.

    It seems that everyone is of the opinion that Internet Explorer sucks!