BBC: Global Jetstream Affecting UK, More Storms Due

February 13, 2014


50 Responses to “BBC: Global Jetstream Affecting UK, More Storms Due”

  1. vierotchka Says:

    I see that the BBC is still very shy on attributing these phenomena to global warming and climate change, despite so many scientists having decades ago predicted exactly these kinds of extremes in weather, i.e. climate change, as a result of global warming.

    My nephew in Somerset said that it snowed there today (Thursday).

    • Sandy Porter Says:

      You’re right! Remember how California and Alaska in the U.S. looked with that meandering Jet Stream? California is having a severe drought because a high off their coast in the North Pacific Ocean has been sitting there for 13 months. Alaska got very warm temps and couple of weeks ago while a polar vortex brought bitterly cold temps down to the eastern parts of the U.S.

      The Northern Hemisphere’s weather is determined in large part by the Jet Stream which is strongly influenced by the difference in temps between north and south of the Jet Stream. When this weakens – from a warming Arctic – the Jet Stream weakens, meanders and can stall in place.

      I hope Britain and Western Europe know how much danger you’re in if the Gulf Stream (thermohaline circulation) weakens or shuts down.

      The U.S. Congress has a Republican majority, and a number of these Republicans are actually Tea Party Conservatives. The Tea Party is very strongly influenced by Conservative Christians who DENY EVOLUTION and DENY GLOBAL WARMING/CLIMATE CHANGE. They are total nut cases, and very dangerous. They say that global warming is either a Lefty hoax or very exaggerated. The more moderate Republicans are scared of the Tea Party because after the 2010 elections, a census year, states with Republican Governors and majorities re-drew the Congressional districts in such a way that they are very safe from being defeated.

      We’re fighting this here in the U.S. but they have 2 things: ideologues and money. The big fossil fuel companies here have more power than any other interest group. HELP US!!! You folks in Europe need to call the U.S., its Congress and even President Obama out on this. The way I see it is that a small minority of Far Right Conservatives is preventing the U.S. from acting on climate, and the U.S. is very important for any climate progress decisions made at the international or global level.

      • vierotchka Says:

        I hope Britain and Western Europe know how much danger youโ€™re in if the Gulf Stream (thermohaline circulation) weakens or shuts down.

        Are you referring to an ice-age that would envelop Western Europe (of which the UK is a part) should the Gulf Stream weaken or shut down? It has already weakened considerably over the past ten years.

        Some scientists belie the dangers of an ice age following the slowing or stalling of the Gulf Stream:

        I’d be interested in what Peter has to say about the dangers of an ice-age engulfing Western Europe (let alone the whole northern hemisphere as some people actually believe) should the Gulf Stream slow or shut down altogether. Here is one of Peter’s articles from two years ago:

        • vierotchka Says:

          Oh dear, I forgot to close the italics after quoting you!

        • ClimateState Says:

          There will be local disruption not an ice age – same as other brief cold periods, which were isolated too.

        • greenman3610 Says:

          “Iโ€™d be interested in what Peter has to say about the dangers of an ice-age engulfing Western Europe”
          this is the “Day After Tomorrow” scenario – Gavin Schmidt discussed it on the Diane Rheam show the other day

          Also discussed in IPCC 2007, I think.
          basically, this was one of the things that climate scientists were more worried about 15 years ago than they are now.
          The way we understand it, the event that everyone points to, the younger Dryas, about 12,800 years ago, was caused by some rapid influx of fresh water, perhaps from the bursting of a massive ice dam on the melting glaciers of Canada, flowing into the north atlantic and shocking the Gulf Stream into a standstill for a millennium.
          More recent science indicates that it would be very hard, even at accelerated melt rates, for the Greenland sheet to deliver the volume of melt water that would cause this to happen any time soon – so, according to folks like Alley, it seems much less likely, but no one is going to guarantee it can’t happen, especially as we get later in the century or in coming centuries.

          • vierotchka Says:

            Thank-you, Peter. My estranged daughter is convinced that in the next couple of decades the whole of the Northern Hemisphere will suddenly undergo a new Ice Age because of global warming, and is considering moving to South Africa… I found that somewhat excessive and badly informed. She lives in Sweden.

          • Sandy Porter Says:

            Peter, I’ve been wondering why I seldom, perhaps never, hear about sea level rise from huge ice bergs or chunks of ice sheets calving off or collapsing from the Greenland ice sheet. I always hear about melting; it would take a long time for the land ice of Greenland to melt, but the very fast scenario above seems to me to be quite likely.

            Ok, that’s a little off topic, but I really want to know. And thanks for your excellent and succinct answer above. When I was studying Global Warming in the mid-1970s – before it was politicized by one side – we talked about fresh cold water melt from Greenland disrupting the Gulf Stream to dire effect for Western Europe. Nice to understand the newer science on that.

            One other thing is that, as we know all too well, is that the deniers grab onto anything they think challenges the consensus AGW science, so any mention of any ‘Ice Age’ thing and they spread their disinformation around the echo chamber media.

            My ‘favorite’ one is the fake Time magazine cover claimed to be from 1977 about ‘The Coming Ice Age.’
            (well worth looking at)

          • greenman3610 Says:

            the calving of ice bergs accounts for about half of Greenland’s mass loss, melt and runoff the other half, although melt has had a slight edge recently. Turns out that, in fact, melt and runoff could be big players, because there are some natural limits to calving, which slows down as glacier tongues retreat to shore or bedrock. With more years like 2012, runoff can be huge and continue to grow.
            All told, greenland melt is something like a third of global sea level rise, projected to be the leading player in the coming century, barring nasty surprises from Antarctica, risks of which are hard to quantify at this time, but very real in the paleo record.

      • andrewfez Says:

        There may be a general ‘Watership Down’ thing happening too at this point in the game.

        There’s a section in the novel where the wandering rabbits chance upon a particular society who are all well fed and seemingly content. But the price to pay for that luxury was that every once in a while a member gets snared and eaten by the farmer whose food they gorge on. There is a tacit agreement in place that the luxury of over consumption will be randomly paid by members in catastrophic fashion. No one knows who’s next but they know the probability of it being them is low. This low probability randomness is the key feature to such an agreement.

        So our society’s tacit agreement thus far goes something like: OK, you got hit by a flood; glad it wasn’t me; look at all the ways mass consumption makes life better. OK, you got hit by a drought; glad it wasn’t me; look at all the way mass consumption makes life better.

        Except, because of the interconnectedness of society (further enhanced by globalization), as the frequencies of these events go up, the cost burden we all have to pay goes up, and such is no longer assigned to the sole random rabbit here and there.

        • dumboldguy Says:

          Excellent thoughts—the question now being “When will enough bad things happen to enough people in enough places to get them to wake up”? We in the U.S go Tsk-Tsk when the UK floods, those in the UK go Tsk-Tsk when a Hurricane Sandy hits the east coast. I am afraid that some will not really react meaningfully until they are the “last rabbit standing”.

          • Sandy Porter Says:

            Then again, dumboldguy, I’ve heard very little U.S. coverage of what’s been happening in the U.K. I think most media coverage here pretty much has to do with stuff about us, or stuff that’s happening elsewhere but has to do with us, like the Olympics.

        • I think I will quote that statement for emphasis,
          ” There is a tacit agreement in place that the luxury of over consumption will be randomly paid by members in catastrophic fashion.”
          True for the vast majority of people.
          Unfortunately, its only semi random. The one percent makers of Doom are ensconced in their protective estates and can afford any means possible to lengthen their lifetimes while reducing others. Is their anything they dont own? By definition, they do own it all.
          Worse, the evil empire is busy addicting us to their doom making and denying us a healthy alternative, while busy poisoning our minds with lies of “Clean Coal”, “range anxiety”, and “intermittency”. BTW. I do hate when a spell checker is outright wrong. Look up intermittency.

          • andrewfez Says:

            Just like the Chinese 1% are heading for the doors. We have a few real estate specialists here in LA that sell million dollar homes to Chinese folks. There’s even some deal, like if you spend $500k or more on a home, you’re granted U.S. citizenship, but don’t quote me on the details of that arrangement.

  2. stephengn1 Says:

    And in Australia -WEIRDNESS ….

    Victoria has had fires, 40-plus degrees and the rain is beginning to pelt over the state’s north-west, but by Thursday next week we could have snow.
    No, this is not a misprint.
    Bureau of Meteorology senior forecaster Scott Williams said Victoria’s heatwave had been “flushed away” by a cold front coming from South Australia. And, although we might get another heat spell in March, by Wednesday or Thursday next week there may be “snow flurries” in the alpine areas.
    Mr Williams said the meagre high of about 21 degrees in Melbourne on Wednesday and Thursday could even be revised down.

    Read more:

    Have we passed a tipping point?

    • Sandy Porter Says:

      It looks to me like Canada and Australia have been partly taken over Conservative interests tied to Big Fossil Fuel. Obama’s a little better in some respects, but he still does not get the urgency and still kisses Big Oil’s patoot. He talks about fracking like he’s reading from an industry brochure.

      When I think of Australia now, I think of the pending destruction of the Great Barrier Reef and the photos I saw from you 2012-2013 summer of sheep burned black, but standing there in shock but still alive.

      • He is from a state with big coal and nuclear interests and he is a politician. His first term was “All of the above”. Clearly, it was decided to try to reconcile and rationalize the choices between environment and industry, reflected in the “Clean Coal” nonsense. No one will be taking a bath in coal to get “clean” anytime soon. Clearly, not a real environmentalist, but a vote getter.

  3. ClimateState Says:

    Imagine how this will go on in the next years or decades.

  4. rayduray Says:

    NASA’s Earth Observatory: Parched California:

    If we average California with southern England we can easily see that global climate is just about normal. [wink]

  5. rayduray Says:

    BBC: River Thames breaks record.

    “The amount of water flowing through the Thames this January was the highest recorded for that month since records began in 1883.

    “New data from the Centre for Ecology & Hydrology (CEH) shows that the rate of water flow has now exceeded 275 metres per second for more than 50 days.”

    [Yanks, 275 m3/s equals 9711 cfs. Compare to the normal discharge:

    Discharge for London — average 65.8 m3/s (2,324 cu ft/s) ]

  6. stephengn1 Says:

    Historic front page of The Guardian tomorrow

    • rayduray Says:


      Thank you, Guardian! This is the kind of clear thinking and clear and readily understandable writing we need to break through the corporate fog and FUD that has ruined the last several COP sessions among other potential response mechanisms humanity has had to deal with its own mindless greed, stupidity and arrogance.

      Now the question is how will all the flooded out Tories in the Thames Valley, Somerset Levels and across much of southern England respond? They’ll have to abandon their ideology to deal with the new reality. That’s something Tories hate to do.

      • Sandy Porter Says:

        In the U.S. 2012 election, President Obama’s re-election, Climate Change had not been brought up. At all. It was utterly shameful. Until….. Superstorm Sandy, then that was all people here were talking about.

        Yes, as sad as it is, the only way to break through to some people is a catastrophic event. Or several.

  7. […] with Peter Sinclair (by Daniel LaLiberte)  […]

  8. climatebob Says:

    The Met Office scientists were roasted by the Worlds media over Climate gate. This was a deliberate attempt to intimidate scientists at a personal level and it worked. Now they are a lot more cautious. In the long haul the truth will win but was it really a win?

  9. Sitting in Cornwall with the 5th “50 year storm” this year going strong I really think that climate change is pretty obvious to all here.

    Fishing (the backbone of the local economy) has been impossible for the past 2 months; rail travel is impossible (due to the damage at Dawlish) and will be until at least April. All roads have been damaged and the County Council is saying it will have to abandon repairs to some of the minor roads. Harbours have been damaged and some will require extensive work to become functional.

    • There’s coverage of effects at the shore and inland, but I haven’t seen news about off-shore structures.  Are the off-shore wind farms taking these heavy seas well?  If not, a number of plans and projections will have to be re-written.

      • redskylite Says:

        They are designed to shut down when the wind speed reaches 25 metres per second, and have been built to withstand storms. No reports of any damage.

        • Offshore wind turbines are nothing if not rugged.

          December UK wind totals broke records. Jan, Feb were larger months.
          I am not posting the link, but UK locals know its the UK National Grid.
          Renewables are set to outpace all other forms of energy according to the EIA.

          I guess a number of plans and projections do have to be rewritten. Just not the ones EP had in mind.

          • MorinMoss Says:

            I’m guessing that wind turbines reach their max electrical output well below the shutoff max speed.
            But what’s the impact of it spinning faster than is required for peak output?
            How much extra wear or degradation from running a turbine, e.g. 30% above the rpms for peak output for 1/4 of of its operating hours?

            How common is such as scenario , whether offshore or not?

          • redskylite Says:

            They are designed to minimise friction, if the winds go above a threshold, a pitch-control system will alter the pitch, or angle, of the blades so they are misaligned with the wind direction, thus slowing the rotation.

          • redskylite Says:

            I found quite an interesting piece on pitch, stall, extreme events and Wind turbine control.


          • Morin – Correct. The output starts at cutin speed (often 3.5m/s, 7.8 mph) and power increases until it reaches nameplate. Then it is held fairly constant until the cut out speed (often 25m/s,56mph). Most wind turbines these days are pitch regulated. Stall will still cause large forces on the blades, hub, and other parts, so is avoided. If pitch cannot be changed, the turbine must be yawed to 90 degrees with the wind. A pitch regulated turbine can pitch the blades until there is virtually no torque, thus no spin. Then a blade brake takes over. Modern commercial turbines have a number of unique innovations, differing in control systems, generator, and gearboxes. The wiki entry is quite good, if a little dry.
            redskylite – nice reference, thanks.

          • Morin – offshore wind turbines are designed to withstand the highest winds. There has been much discussion of category 3 hurricanes and wind turbines, some of it downright wrong. The number of Atlantic storms in most years is a little over a dozen. A gale is not sufficient to shut down wind farms, because the wind speeds top just below 56 mph. It must be at least a storm or above. Studies show that during most storms, the areas of highest intensity are small compared to the geographic distribution of turbines and wind farms. Therefore, only some, not all of the aggregate reduce power due to cutoff. Over a wide area, power is not reduced to zero, but decreased. The time period is relatively short, hours usually. Over a year, the net effect is small. Category 4 and 5 hurricanes destroy anything within the range of their highest winds. The Atlantic gets a few category 3s in some years, no 4 and 5. There are no 4 and 5s in UK, not even a 3.

          • MorinMoss Says:

            There were some UK turbines destroyed by high winds back in Dec 2011 – what was the source of those and how frequently would one expect to see such storms?

          • Morin – The Decemeber 2011 storm reached peak gusts of 165 mph, exceeding Category 3 hurricane status, at least in some local areas. There is reference to two turbines down. Onshore turbine max winds are classified by IEC6400 ratings that begin about 110mph and go to 156 mph. What you have shown is that the Dec 2011 severe storms in UK that would be classified as having hurricane like wind. This winters storm wind is reported less than that so far, but rain is heavy.
            Here is a report on the Xavier storm. I suspect the Met Office is the best place to find out about UK weather, but you may have to dig a little.
            Its notable that such extreme EU windstorms cause electricity prices to plummet due to wind. Although several of these have passed over Europe, very few turbines have been affected, and wind farms have fared well. Just as in the US freeze this winter, wind fared better than other sources due to its robustness.

      • stephengn1 Says:

        Here’s the thing about climate change extremes and energy sources. ALL power sources are threatened by climate change, thus risk assessments must be calculated for each.

        I would imagine that compared to more centralized low carbon energy sources like nuclear, renewables, which are widely dispersed and so spread risks over wide areas would be inherently less risky.

        Designing sufficiently safe nuclear is difficult and expensive within current climate parameters. Designing nuclear for extreme drought, extreme flooding and multiple unknowns (the until recently unknown threat of jellyfish for example – which seems to be increasing) will only make nuclear design that much more difficult and expensive

  10. Gingerbaker Says:

    No, no, no, no, NO!

    These are all just weather events. You forsake all reason, the scientific method, and the ability to see a World in a Grain of Sand And a Heaven in a Wild Flower when you try to take multiple weather events and try to ascribe any meaning about climate change from them.

    Even an English major could tell you that is not scientifically justified. BTW, did you know that AGW is Logically Impossible? Pttthhhhhattt!

    • And an English major could tell you that multiple events tracked over time can indicate a pattern.

      I observed earlier in this thread this is the 5th so called “50 year” storm that has hit Cornwall in the past 2 months. Now add in the exceptionally warm weather in Alaska, the failure of snow in Sochi, the failure of snow over the Rockies, the continuing drought in Australia and the excessively high temperatures. Perhaps even an English Major would grasp that there seems to be a short term pattern developing.

      Now, if you can be bothered to read (an English Major can show you how) about all of the other exceptional weather that has occurred in the past year, and the year before etc, etc.

      An English Major might also be interested in pointing out to you that only an insignificant few climate scientists doubt the effect of AGW and that all models point to exceptional events such as these becoming the norm.

      • redskylite Says:

        I think the Cream’s drummer and founder of the Air Force was being sarcastic, sardonic or ironic – anything but serious

    • MorinMoss Says:

      Stealing Omnologos’ thunder, are we?

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