It’s Weather!…Cold, Heavy Snowfall Across Europe Not Linked To Global Warming And Melting Arctic

We’re seeing lots of headlines about heavy snowfalls and cold temperatures gripping Eastern and Southern Europe. Not surprisingly some activist scientists are blaming manmade global warming.

Expected snow depths by January 15. Chart: WXCharts.EU.

Junk theory: Global warming causing more snow extremes

Yet global warming logically isn’t supposed to be directly causing massive snow and bitter cold, and so there has to be some explanation for the unexpected cold and snowy weather. So to explain its all, a gaggle of activist scientists have concocted a theory that claims “unprecedented” Arctic sea ice loss over the past two decades has led to an increase in blocking over North America and Europe [e.g., Liu et al., 2012; Francis and Vavrus, 2012] and so is indirectly causing lots of snow and cold.

These desparate scientists then hope that the public and media will be gullible enough to buy into it.

Blocking is strongly tied to weather extremes in the midlatitudes (e.g., cold snaps, heat waves) and can persist for days to weeks [e.g., Black et al., 2004; Dole et al., 2011], so more blocking could mean more weather extremes as Arctic sea ice continues to decline (Note: Arctic sea ice in fact hasn’t declined in more than 10 years).

Analyses: no data to support the theory

However, a recent paper authored by Elisabeth A. Barnes, Department of Atmospheric Science, Colorado State University, says the data to support this just aren’t there.

The paper’s abstract:

Observed blocking trends are diagnosed to test the hypothesis that recent Arctic warming and sea ice loss has increased the likelihood of blocking over the Northern Hemisphere. To ensure robust results, we diagnose blocking using three unique blocking identification methods from the literature, each applied to four different reanalyses. No clear hemispheric increase in blocking is found for any blocking index, and while seasonal increases and decreases are found for specific isolated regions and time periods, there is no instance where all three methods agree on a robust trend. Blocking is shown to exhibit large interannual and decadal variability, highlighting the difficulty in separating any potentially forced response from natural variability.”

The results of the analyses are summed up in the following charts of the paper’s Figure 3:

Time series of blocking frequencies for the three indices and four reanalyses for (a, c, and e) Asia in DJF and (b, d, and f) the North Atlantic in JJA. Trends significantly different from zero at 95% confidence are denoted by asterisks in the legend of each panel for Asia (1990–2012) and the North Atlantic (1980–2012). Filled circles (stars) denote the seasons following the 5 highest (lowest) years of September Arctic sea ice extent over the trend period. Blocking frequencies are averaged between 40° and 80°N for the 2‐D indices. Chart: Barnes et al (2014)

Not supported by observations

The findings reiterate those of Barnes [2013], The 2014 paper concludes that “the link between recent Arctic warming and increased Northern Hemisphere blocking is currently not supported by observations.”

Blocking events well within historical observed range

The paper adds:

While Arctic sea ice experienced unprecedented losses in recent years, blocking frequencies in these years do not appear exceptional, falling well within their historically observed range.”

In other words, the theory that global warming is causing more extremes due to melting Arctic sea ice is just plain crap. There’s no data to support it. It’s just a hypothesis – one that was rolled out in a desperate attempt to explain events that weren’t supposed to happen.

Correspondence to: Elisabeth A. Barnes:
Search for more papers by this author


16 responses to “It’s Weather!…Cold, Heavy Snowfall Across Europe Not Linked To Global Warming And Melting Arctic”

  1. Dee

    Two feet of global warming is not enough evidence?

    Seriously, it’s good to read something from someone who does not appear to be a “political scientist”.

  2. Javier

    Thank you for the interesting reference.

  3. tom0mason

    “While Arctic sea ice experienced unprecedented losses in recent years, blocking frequencies in these years do not appear exceptional, falling well within their historically observed range.”

    Unfortunately if all their ‘history’ only goes back to 1990 (or even 1970) then they’ve not got much observed evidence to go on.

  4. Yonason

    The world is warming as if their CO2 theory was totally wrong.

    And still the activists keep telling us it’s the only one that’s correct. Who shall we believe, them or our own “lying” eyes? If they weren’t so pathetic, they’d be funny.

  5. rah

    I guess there is no significant weather event that isn’t caused by “climate change” according to the alarmists. It’just so silly. When I was stationed at Bad Tolz we would have been happy as we could be and looking forward to powder on the Brauneck! 1st BN, 10th SFG(A) bought all of us SF qualified guys season ski passes for that mountain where we conducted our annual ski training.

    4 to 6 inches forecast for my neck of the woods in central Indiana starting at midnight tonight and ending Sunday morning. Joe Bastardi says this is just the beginning for us here and Europe and that snow storms and frigid temps are our lot right through February and into March.

  6. Yonason

    “…there has to be some explanation for the unexpected cold and snowy weather.”

    Unexpected?! Joe Bastardi has been forecasting that since before winter.

    I guess they are counting on a lot of people not knowing that?

  7. John F. Hultquist

    From a BBC headline story today:
    “Such quantities of snow above 800m altitude only happen once every 30 to 100 years,” said Alexander Radlherr from Austria’s Central Institution for Meteorology and Geodynamics.

    I wonder, does the Austrian MET have records.
    What caused the prior snows of such quantities?

  8. Doug Proctor

    This is a PTE: a Positive Trenberth Effect. TEs are observations that are seen (Positive) or not seen (Negative) and thereby challenge the CAGW narrative. The response to TEs by alarmists is to say the data is inadequate or wrong or just local or irrelevant, not that the narrative is inadequate or wrong. The “missing heat” said to be “hiding in the deep oceans” ny Kevin Trenberth was the first clear (Negative) TE.

    Climate science is challenged by many TEs.

    1. Pethefin

      I would rather look towards Kuhns theory concerning dogmatic defense reactions since it is better to address such academic acrobatics with adequate distance from the acrobats. It might even help some of the acrobats to realize the futility of it all in the eyes of the history of science. Paradigms come and go and the desperate acrobatics of the CAGW-paradigm will be the laughingstock of future generations.

  9. rah

    Grab the skies, head for the slopes, and enjoy. It’s what this weather is made for.

  10. tom0mason

    Quotes from the past …

    1. “Due to global warming, the coming winters in the local regions will become milder.”
    Stefan Rahmstorf, Potsdam Institute of Climate Impact Research, University of Potsdam, 8 Feb 2006


    2. “Milder winters, drier summers: Climate study shows a need to adapt in Saxony Anhalt.”
    Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, Press Release, 10 Jan 2010.


    3. “More heat waves, no snow in the winter“ … “Climate models… over 20 times more precise than the UN IPCC global models. In no other country do we have more precise calculations of climate consequences. They should form the basis for political planning. … Temperatures in the wintertime will rise the most … there will be less cold air coming to Central Europe from the east. …In the Alps winters will be 2°C warmer already between 2021 and 2050.”
    Max Planck Institute for Meteorology, Hamburg, 2 Sept 2008.


    4. “The new Germany will be characterized by dry-hot summers and warm-wet winters.“
    Wilhelm Gerstengarbe and Peter Werner, Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK), 2 March 2007


    5. “Clear climate trends are seen from the computer simulations. Foremost the winter months will be warmer all over Germany. Depending of CO2 emissions, temperatures will rise by up to 4°C, in the Alps by up to 5°C.”Max Planck Institute for Meteorology, Hamburg, 7 Dec 2009.


    6. “In summer under certain conditions the scientists reckon with a complete melting of the Arctic sea ice. For Europe we expect an increase in drier and warmer summers. Winters on the other hand will be warmer and wetter.”
    Erich Roeckner, Max Planck Institute, Hamburg, 29 Sept 2005.


    7. “The more than ‘unusually‘ warm January weather is yet ‘another extreme event’, ‘a harbinger of the winters that are ahead of us’. … The global temperature will ‘increase every year by 0.2°C’”
    Michael Müller, Socialist, State Secretary in the Federal Ministry of Environment, in Die Zeit, 15 Jan 2007


    8. “Harsh winters likely will be more seldom and precipitation in the wintertime will be heavier everywhere. However, due to the milder temperatures, it’ll fall more often as rain than as snow.”
    Online-Atlas of the Helmholtz-Gemeinschaft, 2010

    9. “We’ve mostly had mild winters in which only a few cold months were scattered about, like January 2009. This winter is a cold outlier, but that doesn’t change the picture as a whole. Generally it’s going to get warmer, also in the wintertime.”
    Gerhard Müller-Westermeier, German Weather Service (DWD), 26 Jan 2010


    10. “Winters with strong frost and lots of snow like we had 20 years ago will cease to exist at our latitudes.”
    Mojib Latif, Max Planck Institute for Meteorology, Hamburg, 1 April 2000


    11. “Good bye winter. Never again snow?”
    Spiegel, 1 April 2000


    12. “In the northern part of the continent there likely will be some benefits in the form of reduced cold periods and higher agricultural yields. But the continued increase in temperatures will cancel off these benefits. In some regions up to 60 percent of the species could die off by 2080.”

    3Sat, 26 June 2003


    13. “Although the magnitude of the trends shows large variation among different models, Miller et al. (2006) find that none of the 14 models exhibits a trend towards a lower NAM index and higher arctic SLP.”
    IPCC 2007 4AR, (quoted by Georg Hoffmann)


    14. “Based on the rising temperature, less snow will be expected regionally. While currently 1/3 of the precipitation in the Alps falls as snow, the snow-share of precipitation by the end of the century could end up being just one sixth.”
    Germanwatch, Page 7, Feb 2007


    15. “Assuming there will be a doubling of CO2 in the atmosphere, as is projected by the year 2030. The consequences could be hotter and drier summers, and winters warmer and wetter. Such a warming will be proportionately higher at higher elevations – and especially will have a powerful impact on the glaciers of the Firn regions.”


    ” The ski areas that reliably have snow will shift from 1200 meters to 1500 meters elevation by the year 2050; because of the climate prognoses warmer winters have to be anticipated.”
    Scinexx Wissenschaft Magazin, 26 Mar 2002


    Part of your 2013 list at

    These people and the publications have no shame in screeching nothing but alarmism and scaremongering, they’ve shown themselves to be neither rational nor scientific, they all do nothing but instill panic on the public. Henceforth the public would do well by ignoring all of them.

  11. It's Weather!…Cold, Heavy Snowfall Across Europe Not Linked To Global Warming And Melting Arctic | Un hobby...

    […] P. Gosselin, January 11, 2019 in […]

  12. Steve

    Seb H has been sighted in OZ trying to escape the cold.

  13. Weekly Climate and Energy News Roundup #343 | Watts Up With That?
  14. Weekly Climate and Energy News Roundup #343 - Sciencetells

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