Should Britons Buy Bermuda Shorts Or Long Johns?

Matti Vooro presents his latest essay on colder winters in the UK. Matti’s last essay: Signs of strengthening global cooling, drew over 100 reader comments – a record at NoTricksZone.

Should Britons Buy Bermuda Shorts Or Long Johns?
by Matti Vooro

Snowfalls are now just a thing of the past. “

That was the headline in the UK’s The Independent newspaper in March of 2000. The CRU scientists claimed that within a few years winter snowfall would become “a very rare and exciting thing. Incapable of learning, even reconfirmed this as recently as January 10, 2010 when one of their scientists told the UK Mail:

The winter is just a little cooler than average, and I still think that snow will become an increasingly rare event”.

The Met Office then followed The Independent with their prediction of the 4°C temperature rise in only 50 years, predicting warmer temperatures, more heat waves and drought. The IPCC had the same message in their 2007 report with their prediction that:

Annual mean temperatures in Europe are likely to increase more than the global mean. The warming in northern Europe is likely to be largest in winter.”

Yet, only a few years after these predictions of unprecedented winter warming for UK and Europe, the exact opposite has emerged. Winters have been getting colder and there is no lack of snow. UK winters have declined in temperatures 4 years straight since 2007. So have the annual temperatures. The last two winters have been especially cold and wintry.

 Taking the UK as a whole and not just Central England or CET

2010 December [-1 C] coldest December since 1910
2009 December [2.1 C] 13th coldest December since 1910
2008 December [3.1 C] 26th coldest December since 1910
2007 December [3.77C] 56th coldest December since 1910

It is dramatic how the winter temperatures have shifted since 2007 winter, which was the 2nd warmest winter in the UK since 1910.

What follows are the mean winter temperatures for all of UK. The average mean winter temperature is around 3.6C

2007   5.56 C (2nd warmest)
2008   4.86 C
2009   3.21 C
2010   1.64 C (7th coldest)

The annual UK temperatures have been declining since 2006 as the following shows:

2006 9.73 C (warmest since 1910)
2007 9.59 C
2008 9.05 C
2009 9.17 C
2010 7.96 C (12th coldest since 1910)

Refer to the UK Met Office and the excellent data provided from the following source:

According to the Met Office:

2010 was the 12 th coldest year in the 100 year series and the coldest since 1986. 2010 was the coldest year since 1919 in Scotland and Northern Ireland “

The following graph is a plot of winters in Central England as opposed to UK as a whole for the years 1948-2010. UK temperatures as a whole are similar but slightly lower by 0.5 to1 degree C.  Winter AO levels are also shown.

Typically La Nina winters used to be colder before the 1970’s but during the last 11 La Nina winters, 9 winters have been near normal or warmer for Central England. This did not happen in December 2010. January 2011 is more typical of La Nina winters. El Nino winters seem to set up colder and negative AO and colder winters except when they are extra strong like 1998. It would appear from field or observed data, that UK winters are not getting warmer as predicted but may actually be getting cooler instead and may be following the natural planetary cycles perhaps similar to what happened during the last cooler cycle about 1962-1987.

Man-made greenhouse gases have little to do with this cooling as CO2 keep rising in a minor way. The weather was supposed to get warmer as CO2 levels have gone up? It is not. Global warming science does not seem to be holding up and seems to need a serious rethink, see GWPF.

During the 26 years of the last colder period , 17  years or 2/3 of the winters were below the average mean winter temperature of 3.6 and about 12 (45%) were  much colder and below 3C,  Of the 78 winter months during 1962-1987,  41 months (53%) were below average mean of 3.6°C.

What was the main weather factor present during those cooler winters?
Number of winters where AMO was negative:   22 (84%)
Number of winters where AO was negative:   21 (80%) [dec/jan/feb]
Number of winters where PDO was negative: 15 (58%)
Number of winters NAO was negative:  13 (50%)

ENSO years neutral 8 years (30%), LA NINA 9 years (35%), EL NINO 9 years (35%)

Number of winters with a net negative AO [dec/jan/feb] during the last 60 years:

1950’s 6
1960’s 10 (very cold winters)
1970’s 6
1980’s 7
1990’s 4 (very warm winters)
2000’s 4 (very warm winters)

Clearly the presence of negative AO, AMO, PDO and NAO were the most frequently occurring climate factors happening during that time. With the exception of AMO, all these factors are again heading for or are already in their negative or cool mode.

The sun is also still in its low activity level and unusual extra warming seems unlikely. AMO is likely to go negative or cool within 5-10 years if not sooner. There were many instances of back to back months of very cold weather as well as back to back cold winters like the 1960’s.


What would you do if you were a member of the UK general public or an official in charge of transportation, roads, airports, fuel supply, electricity or other infrastructure, read here WUWT?

Clearly the some agencies charged with informing the public about seasonal or long term weather did not have their act together yet. There was a serious warming bias in many weather and climate forecasts due to an over-emphasis on global warming. For example, in the midst of the worst part of December 2010 winter storm, the focus of the chief climate scientist was not on how to help the public with better information during the crisis, but on global warming. Professor Slingo insisted in comments to the Independent newspaper on December 21, 2010:

The key message is that global warming continues.”

Some refuse to learn. People are finding out that a second opinion on winter weather is paying off. Many North American meteorologists like Joe Bastardi and Joe D’Aleo and independent UK meteorologists like Piers Corbyn, have been predicting cooler weather the last several years. 

In my judgment, no one can predict with certainty what the future of the climate will be for the next 10-30 years.

Each climate cycle is different. It will not be a mini ice age in my opinion as some are predicting, nor will all the global general temperatures go below those that existed before the 1976 Pacific climate shift, but more of a cyclic cooler period.

Once the North Atlantic ocean SST and AMO start to contribute to the global cooling in a more significant way, the global temperatures of US and Canadian east coasts, the western coast of Europe and the Arctic will be the cooling more consistently.

32 responses to “Should Britons Buy Bermuda Shorts Or Long Johns?”

  1. DirkH

    Long johns.
    “Around the world, 17 volcanoes are currently active including three in Japan, three in Russia’s Kamchatka peninsula, two in Indonesia and one in Hawaii, according to the Smithsonian Institution’s Global Volcanism Program. ”



    Yes I agree that there is the added threat of further cooling from Volcanic ash. These are difficicult to predict .I have alway felt that the greatest threat for the Northern Hemisphere is the Russian Kamchatka Peninsula where there have been no level 5 eruptions since 1956. There were16 eruptions of level 4 or higher during the past century in this area and the last one was at Kurile Islands .

  3. R. de Haan

    Who ever wears a bermuda in winter?
    I think we will need a bermuda for the summertime and a long john for the wintertime.
    Sounds logical doesn’t it.

    29. Januar 2011 at 16:40 | Permalink | Reply
    Long johns.
    “Around the world, 17 volcanoes are currently active including three in Japan, three in Russia’s Kamchatka peninsula, two in Indonesia and one in Hawaii, according to the Smithsonian Institution’s Global Volcanism Program. ”

    Yes DirkH but these volcano’s only become a threat when their eruptions
    penetrate our stratosphere > 10 to 12 km altitude with sufficient SO2 and dust to absorb sunlight and further cool down the earth surface.

    At this moment in time none of them meet these criteria.

    What could pose a problem for the near future are big scale fissure eruptions in the Afar region where the new ocean is formed.
    But that’s another story.

    We will know when this going to happen. The sheer volume of magma rising to the surface forming the new ocean floor will release incredible amounts of poisonous gases.
    Think Laki 1763, a fissure eruption of only 72 km.

    Now imagine a fissure eruption over distances of hundreds of km!

    One thing is for sure, this phase will come and I think the Oxford scientist who has predicted an ever rising increase in volcanic activity and quakes for the next ten years is right.

    I watch Iris Seismic Monitor almost every day and there are quakes almost every day in that area, sometimes long lasting swarms.

    1. M White
      1. DirkH

        Well, alcohol makes you unaware of the cold. Not that that is really healthy…

  4. Barry

    “Should Britons Buy Bermuda Shorts Or Long Johns?”

    Both. We will still have winters that are cold and summers that are hot. Weather is what we experience not climate.


    You said

    “Should Britons Buy Bermuda Shorts Or Long Johns?”

    Both. We will still have winters that are cold and summers that are hot.

    I don’t know if you will need any long johns under the scenarios being projected by the warmists. I think they will need them but that is not their message with no snow [thus no cold weather to make snow] , temperatures way up , etc

    1. Barry

      Even with the warmist projections we will still enjoy weather of the hot and cold variety. Who experiences the climate? It exists only on paper and computer in the averages of accumulated weather records. It is about as relevant to everyday life as the global average temperature.

      The averaging process destroys the data most relevant to our lives – that of current conditions and the very near future. We will still have cold nights in winter. There will still be ample opportunity for temperature inversions, snowfall, ice and all the rest. They *may* happen less often but they will still happen.

      The same poor interpretation of climate projection applies to things like salt for roads. The predictions of more mild winters has resulted in local authorities reducing their gritting capability. Yet even if the UK had mild (in terms of average temps.) winters it doesn’t mean icy conditions won’t occur. They *may* occur less often. When they do occur the same miles of roads will need gritting as before but local authorities find they haven’t got enough vehicles. Policy decisions have become fixated with preparing for computed average conditions but the average is a statistical virtual reality.

  6. Pops
    1. Rob Honeycutt

      I don’t know guys. Looking at the actual data about it’s warm and cool you can get a better sense of what’s going on.

      1. DirkH

        GISTEMP. One of the many flaws:
        Aussie thermometers march north, the rest of the world marches south in GHCN :

        1. Rob Honeycutt

          Well, funny how GISS temp records agree with UAH, which agree with RSS, which agree with CRU, which agree with…

          1. DirkH

            Strangely, UAH doesn’t make the past colder every few years. Also, if you think “they agree”, why did you choose the flakeiest data series to make your point?

            BTW, this is how GISS makes the past colder as we march on. They found a pseudoscientific way to use UHI for it.

          2. Rob Honeycutt

            Dirk… You’re really splitting hairs if you’re arguing about GISS making past temps cooler. UAH and RSS make for warmer and cooler peaks and valleys. It’s just a function of how they track the data.

            Overall, all the data sets are telling the exact same story.

            I chose the GISS set because that is the most easily accessed global map that clearly shows arctic amplification and the cool areas over the UK and the eastern US.

      2. DirkH

        And don’t call GISTEMP “actual data”. That’s like calling chicken nuggets live chicken.

        1. Bernd Felsche

          Including the 11 secret herbs and spices.

  7. Green Sand

    If you were responsible for compiling the following chart, would you not think that your trend line was telling you something?

    “the red line is a 21-point binomial filter, which is equivalent to a 10-year running mean.”

    1. DirkH

      How is a 21-point binomial filter equivalent to a 10-year running mean? I just don’t understand climate science.

      1. Green Sand

        “How is a 21-point binomial filter equivalent to a 10-year running mean?”

        I have not the faintest idea. But in my case the reason is probably my lack of knowledge.

        However I posted the Met’s own qualification of their trend line, before somebody suggested it was not relevant.

        What ever it is, it is a trend line that is significant to the Met. If not, why plot it? So if it is significant to them don’t you think it is telling them something. The purpose of trend lines is to show significant changes in direction.

        1. DirkH

          Yeah, of course, i saw that you quoted the Met Office. And as a running mean, it makes sense. But believe me, the two filters have pretty different characteristics. The binomial filter is phase-neutral, meaning it needs the past and the future of a time series to operate; it’s symmetrical (or, you can compute it with a 10 point lag if you want, but you’ll get the results with an according delay). In what regard the two are equivalent escapes me.

  8. Bruce of Newcastle

    Long johns AND wooly jumpers.

    Butler & Johnson 1996 Fig 7 suggests the next 11 years in Britain will average 1.5 C lower than the last 11 or so years. Correlation is very good, and I suspect would be even better if the AMO had been included.

  9. TinyCO2

    “UK winters are not getting warmer as predicted but may actually be getting cooler instead and may be following the natural planetary cycles perhaps similar to what happened during the last cooler cycle about 1962-1987.”

    Wasn’t there a paper recently that said that there was a detectable sunspot signal… but only in Europe?

    I think that’s the one.


    Bruce of Newcastle

    . The paper that you referenced had the following comments in their conclusuion
    that perhaps is key.
    “In conclusion we may remark that, even though
    the physical mechanism(s) for solar-activity induced
    changes in climate are still unresolved, there is mounting
    evidence that a speeding up of the solar cycle
    appears to be accompanied by an increase in the
    efficiency of the solar dynamo that ultimately leads to
    an increase in the temperature of the Earth’s lower atmosphere”

    The physical mechanisms are not yet understood . We all think there is a connection. We are also still debating just what the nature of this current cycle is going to be as well as the next one. Sunspot number is zero?


    Bruce of Newcastle

    You also said referring to the BUTLER -JOHNSON paper
    “Fig 7 suggests the next 11 years in Britain will average 1.5 C lower than the last 11 or so years. Correlation is very good, and I suspect would be even better if the AMO had been included.”

    The average UK mean winter temperature during the last cool period of 1962-1987 was about 3.1C. The average mean winter temperature for the warmer period thereafter[1988-2008] was 4.26C . So if the cooler period continues likes the last one , average winter temperatures could be close to 1.5 C lower as you suggest. Nature may throw novel twists at us as she always does.

  12. Bruce of Newcastle

    Matti – That is not quite what I posted. The relationship between previous solar cycle length (not sun spot number) appears correlated (technically “anticorrelated”) to the average temperature over the whole of next solar cycle. So the implication of the graph is that since SC22 was about 9.5 years long, and SC23 about 12.5 years long (or maybe a bit more) the next solar cycle period will average about 1.5 C lower than the average temperature over the previous cycle.

    Note also this is only applicable to that location (Armagh, N. Ireland), although I have checked it against the Central England Temperature series and there is a very good match over the full set from 1659. The relationship, which I have not studied in detail, may vary with latitude and distance from the ocean.

    I also have not looked at the solar related mechanism which accounts for this but it may be related to Svensmark’s hypothesis, and the recent paper announced in India.

  13. R. de Haan

    “Comparing the actual data…… shows that for four years the original figure has been adjusted downwards. Only for 2010 was the data revised upwards, by the largest adjustment of all, allowing the Met Office to claim that 2010 was the hottest year of the decade……”
    PG: They just refuse to take off their activist-hats and put on the scientist-hat. They’ll never learn.


    Typically La Nina winters are kinder to UK than to other parts of the world like North America. La Nina winters are typically warmer than the average winter for UK since 1970. The average mean winter temperature for UK 1971-2010 was 3.78 C. The average mean winter temperature for UK La Nina winters 1971- 2010, a total of 12 winters was 4.19 C. All La Nina winters were above the 1971-2010 average of 3.78C except 1996 and 1985. The Central England temperature for January 2011 is above the CET normal temperature of 3.8 C by 0.4 C. So January at least is closer to the typical recent La Nina winter for UK or warmer than average. We will have to see what happens in February. My best estimate is that it may be closer to normal. That being said the CET winter temperature may end up around 2.4 -2.6 C, still below the Central England winter normal of about 4 C due to the extremely cold December of 2010.

  15. Viv Evans

    Of course we will need both long johns and bermuda shorts, sometimes even on the same day.
    Just remember: Great Britain has weather – the rest of the world has climate!



    Assuming that the current La Nina will last at least through the summer and perhaps the fall, what kind of year might UK have? The long term average mean annual temperature 1971-2010 is about 8.6 C. More recently 1988-2009 it has been closer to 9.07 C. During the cooler period of 1962-1987 it was at 8.25C. During La Nina years and taking those La Nina years that had the La Nina for more than 8 months, the average was at 8.69C close to the long term average. Taking the La Nina years post 1976 or post the Pacific climate shift of 1976, the average temperatures were around 8.76 C, just slightly above the long term average of 8.6 C. Thus based on the past history only and there is no guarantee of this, the year could be cooler than the recent 20 year average of 9.07 C but warmer than the long term average of 8.6C. If AO goes negative again for sustained periods and we have a cold December again as it has the last 2-3 Decembers, then the mean annual temperature could be well below the long term average of 8.6C .[ 2010 annual was 7.96 C]


    Plot of UK MEAN WINTER TEMPERAURES 1910-2010 by the Met Office

    1. Green Sand

      Matti Vooro

      Thanks for posting, interesting plot

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