Wednesday, May 18, 2022

UK weather has become, if anything, less extreme, annual review shows

Press Release, London, 17 May - UK weather trends have changed very little in recent decades and have become, if anything, less extreme, according to a new paper published by the Global Warming Policy Foundation.

That's according to an annual review of official weather data by climate researcher Paul Homewood. The paper shows that while very cold winters are now very rare, heatwaves have not been increasing.

Similarly, there have been fewer droughts in recent decades, but we are not seeing more wet years, wet months, or wet days.

Paul Homewood says:

“The UK's weather is becoming, if anything, less extreme. We are still waiting for evidence of a 'climate crisis' that politicians and environmentalists claim is upon us. But observational data shows that in the UK there is no evidence for any worsening weather trends."

Homewood also notes that storms are not an increasing problem either, with extreme winds having been on the decline for 30 years.

Homewood's paper is entitled "The UK's Weather in 2020-21" and can be downloaded from GWPF

The GWPF invited the Royal Society and the Met Office to review and submit a response to this paper, to be published as an addendum to it. The invitation was not taken up.

Contact Paul Homewood


BBC insiders say their climate editor is more 'campaigner' than reporter

Anyone who watched the BBC's Panorama programme on November 3 last year without previously having taken an interest in climate change probably found themselves terrified.

Footage of terrible floods, storms, droughts and fires rolled on — with the clear implication that this had all been caused by man-made climate change.

'It has been a year of extreme weather,' Rowlatt went on. 'We have been able to see the impact of climate change all around us.'

Now jump forward to last week, when it was reported that the BBC's Executive Complaints Unit (ECU) had upheld complaints about two claims made in the programme.

First, it wasn't true that the death toll from natural disasters is rising. In fact, the opposite is true.

According to, the number of deaths globally from natural disasters has tumbled each decade for the past century, apart from a small blip in the 2000s, from an average of 524,000 a year in the 1920s to just 45,000 in the 2010s — despite a booming global population.

The ECU also ruled that Rowlatt's claim that southern Madagascar was 'on the brink of the world's first climate-induced famine' was incorrect, as other factors were involved.

Although the ECU didn't spell out these other factors, the UN has previously blamed last year's famine partly on Covid restrictions, which prevented seasonal agricultural labourers from working as usual.

But this is not the first time BBC viewers have been misled by the Corporation's climate editor.

Last December, the ECU had to clarify a claim made by Rowlatt that Britain's offshore wind is 'now virtually subsidy-free'.

As was clarified, such a claim may be true of recently installed turbines, but many older models were built under contracts which guarantee them subsidies for many years to come.

Some at the BBC, it seems, are losing patience with their climate editor. 'The Justin Rowlatt stuff is grim,' an unnamed BBC source told one newspaper this week. 'These are not 'mistakes'; he's a campaigner.'

Climate campaigning certainly runs in his family. His wife, Bee, herself a former producer for the BBC World Service, has boasted on Twitter of joining Extinction Rebellion protests.

'Best thing about #BlackFriday,' she tweeted in 2018, 'is Extinction Rebellion bringing Oxford [Street] to a halt.' She has also supported a 'justice' fund which gives protesters access to legal advice.

Rowlatt's sister Cordelia was fined for taking part in one of Insulate Britain's dangerous protests on the M25 last year.

But what about Rowlatt himself? As a BBC journalist, he is supposed to maintain scrupulous impartiality at all times. Look through his output, however, and it is hard to argue that he is even trying.

Two days before his Panorama programme in November, Rowlatt shocked viewers with a hysterical interview with Boris Johnson at the COP26 summit in Glasgow. He accused the Prime Minister of looking 'a little bit weaselly'.

'[You are] not ruling out opening a coal mine in Britain, a new coal mine in Britain!?' he breathlessly exclaimed. 'We started the Industrial Revolution — we should close the mines!'

At no point did he seek to explore the complexities of the issue. Nor, by constantly interrupting, did he give the PM a chance to respond.

In fact, the proposed mine in Cumbria to which he was referring would not produce coal for burning in power stations, but mainly coking coal for the steel industry, which as yet cannot produce steel commercially without it.


UN Disaster Report Is A Reporting Disaster

by Bjorn Lomborg

A new UN report reveals the disturbing news that the number of global disasters has quintupled since 1970 and will increase by another 40 per cent in coming decades.

It finds that more people are affected by disasters than ever before, which has prompted the UN Deputy Secretary General to warn that humanity is “on a spiral of self-destruction.”

Astonishingly, the UN is misusing data, and its approach has been repeatedly shown to be wrong.

Its finding makes for great headlines but just isn’t grounded in evidence.

When the UN analyzed the number of disaster events, it made a basic error — one I’ve called it out for making before: It basically counted all the catastrophes recorded by the most respected international disaster database, showed that they were increasing, and then suggested the planet must be doomed.

The problem is that the documentation of all types of disasters was far patchier in previous decades than it is today, when anyone with a cellphone can immediately share news of a storm or flood from halfway around the world.

That’s why the disaster database’s own experts explicitly warn amateurs NOT to conclude that an increase in registered disasters means there are more disasters in reality.

Reaching such a conclusion “would be incorrect” because of the improvements in recording.

You would think the UN would know better, especially when its top bureaucrats are using language that sounds like Armageddon is here.

Not surprisingly, climate change is central to the UN agency’s narrative. Its report warns there is a risk of more extreme weather disasters because of global warming, so the acceleration of “climate action” is urgently needed.

Somehow, this huge international organization has succumbed to the same basic fallacy many of us are prey to when we see more and more weather disasters aired on the TV news.

Just because the world is much more connected than it used to be and we do see more catastrophic events in our media DOES NOT mean climate change is making them more damaging.

So how do we robustly measure whether weather disasters have become worse? The best approach is not to count the catastrophes, but to look instead at deaths. Major losses of life have been registered pretty consistently over the past century. This data shows that climate-related events — floods, droughts, storms, fires, and temperature extremes — are NOT killing more people.

Deaths have actually DROPPED by a huge amount since 1920. In the 1920s, almost half a million people were killed by climate-related disasters. In 2021, fewer than 7,000.

That’s right: climate-related disasters kill 99 per cent fewer people than 100 years ago.

The UN report does include a count of “global disaster-related mortality” — and manages to find that, contrary to the international disaster database, deaths are higher than ever before.

But it reaches this conclusion by — bizarrely — including deaths from COVID in the catastrophes.

COVID killed more people just in 2020 than all the world’s other catastrophes did in the past half century.

Lumping COVID deaths in with deaths from hurricanes and floods was bound to create more headlines than understanding.

The truth is that deaths from climate disasters have fallen dramatically because wealthier countries are much better at protecting citizens. Research shows this phenomenon consistently across almost all catastrophes, including storms, floods, cold and heat waves.

But we will obviously adapt, especially because the cost is so low. That means that in fact fewer people than ever will be flooded by 2100. Even the combined cost of adaptation and climate damages will fall — to just 0.008 per cent of GDP.

These facts show why it’s important that organizations like the UN deliver us the real picture on disasters.

The UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction has shown bad form in making unfounded claims. Instead of headline-chasing with dodgy math and frightening language, the UN should do better — and it should be focused on championing innovation and adaptation in order to save more lives.


Is It Time To Ditch Those Shoddy ‘Climate Models’?

Just about every projected environmental catastrophe going back to the population bomb of the late 1960s, the “Club of Rome” and “Global 2000” resource-exhaustion panics of the 1970s, the ozone depletion crisis of the 1980s, and beyond has depended on computer models, all of which turned out to be wrong, sometimes by an order of magnitude.

No putative environmental crisis has depended more on computer models than “climate change.”

But in the age of high confidence in supercomputing and rapidly advancing “big data” analytics, computer climate models have arguably gone in reverse, generating a crisis in the climate-change community.

The defects of the computer climate models—more than 60 are used at the present time—that the whole climate crusade depends on have become openly acknowledged over the past few years, and a fresh study in the mainstream scientific literature recently highlights the problem afresh: too many of the climate models are “running hot,” which calls into question the accuracy of future temperature projections.

Nature magazine, one of the premier “mainstream” science journals, last week published “Climate simulations: recognize the ‘hot model’ problem,” by four scientists all firmly established within the “consensus” climate science community.

It is a carefully worded article, aiming to avoid giving ammunition to climate-change skeptics, while honestly acknowledging that the computer models have major problems that can lead to predictions of doom that lack sufficient evidence.

“Users beware: a subset of the newest generation of models are ‘too hot’ and project climate warming in response to carbon dioxide emissions that might be larger than that supported by other evidence,” the authors write.

While affirming the general message that human-caused climate change is a serious problem, the clear subtext is that climate scientists need to do better lest the climate science community surrenders its credibility.

One major anomaly of the climate modeling scene is that, as the authors write, “As models become more realistic, they are expected to converge.” But the opposite has happened—there is more divergence among the models.

Almost a quarter of recent computer climate models show much higher potential future temperatures than past model suites, and don’t match up with known climate history:

“Numerous studies have found that these high-sensitivity models do a poor job of reproducing historical temperatures over time and in simulating the climates of the distant past.”

What this means is that our uncertainty about the future climate is increasing. To paraphrase James Q. Wilson’s famous admonition to social scientists, never mind predicting the future; many climate models can’t even predict the past.

A quick primer: in general, the average of computer climate models predict that a doubling of the level of greenhouse gases (GHGs), principally carbon dioxide (CO2), by the end of this century would increase the global average temperature by a range of 1.5 degrees C to 4.5 degrees C.

At present rates of GHG emissions, we’re on course to double the GHG level in the atmosphere about 80-100 years from now.

Why is the range so wide, and why does it matter? First, the direct thermal effect of doubling GHGs is only about 1.1 degrees.

So how do so many models predict 4.5 degrees or more? Two words: feedback effects.

That is, changes in atmospheric water vapor (clouds, which both trap and reflect heat), wind patterns, ocean temperatures, shrinkage of ice caps at the poles, and other dynamic changes in ecosystems on a large scale.

Yet it is precisely these feedback effects where the computer models are the weakest and perform most poorly.

The huge uncertainties in the models (especially for the most important factor—clouds) are always candidly acknowledged in the voluminous technical reports the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) issues every few years, but few people—and no one in the media—bother to read the technical sections carefully.

Why are climate models so bad? And can we expect them to improve any time soon?

Steven Koonin, a former senior appointee in the Department of Energy in the Obama administration, explains the problem concisely in his recent book Unsettled: What Climate Science Tells Us, What It Doesn’t and Why It Matters.

The most fundamental problem with all climate models is their limited “resolution.” Climate models are surprisingly crude, as they divide up the atmosphere into 100 km x 100 km grids, which are then stacked like pancakes from the ground to the upper atmosphere.

Most climate models have one million atmospheric grid squares and as many as 100 million smaller (10 sq. km) grid squares for the ocean.

The models then attempt to simulate what happens within each grid square and sum the results. It can take up to two months for the fastest supercomputers to complete a model “run” based on the data assumptions input into the model.

The problem is that “many important [climate] phenomena occur on scales smaller than the 100 sq. km. (60 sq. miles) grid size, (such as mountains, clouds, and thunderstorms).”

In other words, the accuracy of the models is highly limited. Why can’t we scale down the model resolution? Koonin, who taught computational physics at Cal Tech, explains:

“A simulation that takes two months to run with 100 km grid squares would take more than a century if it instead used 10 km grid squares. The run time would remain at two months if we had a supercomputer one thousand times faster than today’s—a capability probably two or three decades in the future.”

But even if the models get better at the dynamics of what happens in the atmosphere on a more granular scale, the models still depend on future GHG emissions forecasts, and there is a wide range of emissions scenarios the modelers use.




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