Boris Johnson: Something is up with our winter weather. Could it be the Sun is having a slow patch?

Posted: January 21, 2013 by tallbloke in climate, Ice ages, Natural Variation, Solar physics, Uncertainty, weather
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Excerpt from an article by London Mayor Boris Johnson on the Telegraph website:

It’s snowing, and it really feels like the start of a mini ice age

Something is up with our winter weather. Could it be the Sun is having a slow patch?
Boris Johnson 20-1-2013

Boris JohnsonI remember snow that used to come and settle for just long enough for a single decent snowball fight before turning to slush; I don’t remember winters like this. Two days ago I was cycling through Trafalgar Square and saw icicles on the traffic lights; and though I am sure plenty of readers will say I am just unobservant, I don’t think I have seen that before. I am all for theories about climate change, and would not for a moment dispute the wisdom or good intentions of the vast majority of scientists.

But I am also an empiricist; and I observe that something appears to be up with our winter weather, and to call it “warming” is obviously to strain the language. I see from the BBC website that there are scientists who say that “global warming” is indeed the cause of the cold and snowy winters we seem to be having. A team of Americans and Chinese experts have postulated that the melting of the Arctic ice means that the whole North Atlantic is being chilled as the floes start to break off — like a Martini refrigerated by ice cubes.

I do not have the expertise to comment on the Martini theory; I merely observe that there are at least some other reputable scientists who say that it is complete tosh, or at least that there is no evidence to support it. We are expecting the snow and cold to go on for several days, and though London transport has coped very well so far, with few delays or cancellations, I can’t help brooding on my own amateur meteorological observations. I wish I knew more about what is going on, and why. It is time to consult once again the learned astrophysicist, Piers Corbyn.

Now Piers has a very good record of forecasting the weather. He has been bang on about these cold winters. Like JMW Turner and the Aztecs he thinks we should be paying more attention to the Sun. According to Piers, global temperature depends not on concentrations of CO2 but on the mood of our celestial orb. Sometime too bright the eye of heaven shines, said Shakespeare, and often is his gold complexion dimmed. That is more or less right. There are times in astronomical history when the Sun has been churning out more stuff — protons and electrons and what have you — than at other times. When the Sun has plenty of sunspots, he bathes the Earth in abundant rays.

When the solar acne diminishes, it seems that the Earth gets colder. No one contests that when the planet palpably cooled from 1645 to 1715 — the Maunder minimum, which saw the freezing of the Thames — there was a diminution of solar activity. The same point is made about the so-called Dalton minimum, from 1790 to 1830. And it is the view of Piers Corbyn that we are now seeing exactly the same phenomenon today.

Lower solar activity means – broadly speaking – that there is less agitation of the warm currents of air from the tropical to the temperate zones, so that a place like Britain can expect to be colder and damper in summer, and colder and snowier in winter. “There is every indication that we are at the beginning of a mini ice age,” he says. “The general decline in solar activity is lower than Nasa’s lowest prediction of five years ago. That could be very bad news for our climate. We are in for a prolonged cold period. Indeed, we could have 30 years of general cooling.”

Read the rest here:

  1. Gray says:

    Excellent article from Boris and finally a grasp of the impending mini ice age.


    “Of course it still seems a bit nuts to talk of the encroachment of a mini ice age.”

    Perhaps Boris should apply the precautionary principle right now before it’s too late…

  2. oldbrew says:

    This isn’t the first time the Mayor of London has given Piers Corbyn a plug as it were. He doesn’t need to do that, so somebody must be whispering in his ear – GWPF perhaps?

  3. Scute says:

    This could be the article that brings an open secret among scientists truly into the open for the rest of the populace.

  4. vukcevic says:

    In the DT comments just posted this:

    Solar change
    is certainly a factor and to some extent predictable, however it is not the solar effect alone. The North Hemisphere temperatures appear to correlate well withthe combination of the sunspot magnetic cycle and the geomagnetic activity
    Neither we can do much about, and the next 20-30 years may well be a reversal of the previous 30-40 years (constituting a 60 year cycle) of the temperatures rise.
    In view of the above the London metropolitan and local authorities should devote more financial resources in strengthening the transport infrastructure.

  5. michael hart says:

    Boris, I just think you’re just unobservant. It just seems like winter to me. Perhaps the post-Olympic glow is wearing off?

  6. galvanize says:

    When I worked in the power industry, a decent weather forecast was vital so that we could calculate our output, buy in the right amount of gas and sell the right amount of electricity. Piers Corbyn was one of the forecasters used to help make these vital, economic decisions.

    Warmists accused me of having an agenda in using him, but we used him because he was one of the best and the reality was, it was Piers that had no agenda. Unlike the Met Office, he is free from the shackles of CO2.

    Having said that, he is certainly wrong at times. I guess the weather and climate are more difficult to predict than some would have us believe.

  7. Doug Proctor says:

    Al Gore just bailed on his belief in Apple, by exercising his (currently) $30US million of options. He just sold Current TV. Either he is of the mind that the global economy is about to go into a tailspin, or he is getting out of things while he still has some “currency” in his inconvenient truths.

    Hansen has some evangelical, Christian thing going on along with his climate alarmism. The eco-green universally appear to have some simplistic (or fundamentalist) religious thing going on, whether it be Neo-pagansim of the Rousseauian or vegan kind. Their relationship to the biosphere is like that of father to child, as long as you allow a God quality to infect the fatherhood role. All of this goes against what what Boris claims to be: an empiricist, ultimately convinced by his own observations.

    Piers Corbyn strikes me as an empiricist, or at least a pragmatist. The Met Office, more like the fundamentalist, in that the moral principle, i.e. the warming algorithms in their climate prediction programs, direct the general conclusion to modify the specific or near-term, conclusion. If PC is wrong, it is because yesterday’s patterns are too variable to accurately predict today’s. With the Met Office, they are wrong because the a priori assumptions override the a posteriori facts.

    The benefit of the Corbyn mistakes is that it self-corrects. As history builds it projects itself into the future. The problem with the Met Office mistakes is that it increases in severity with time. It is one thing to say that what you thought yesterday was wrong, it is another to say that what you have thought for the last ten years is wrong.

    If, as PC and others suggest, the world is entering a cooling phase, the discrepancy between reality and prediction at the Met Office will increase, while that of PC will converge. The Met Office has to stay the course, has to say that short-term variability is not what a nation needs for planning, that it’s longer-term predictions are going to come about, and return to as-expected in a sudden reversal. They will make themselves a non-useful public voice. PC can remain grounded and useful.

    To go back to the beginning:

    Al may be putting his money under his mattress, but he could well be moving on to his next phase of life (bankrolling personal masseurs, perhaps), knowing that CAGW is about to move off stage. Hansen and others, regardless of the health of CAGW, will stick it through, because they see humans as a moral blight on God’s great creation; CO2, acid rain, soot or sulphur aerosols, all being the same corruption our secular, materialist, capitalist society does to the part of the world in which they don’t live (they aren’t abandoning downtown New York City or giving up their cars or air travel). CAGW, for them, is just one injury Man does to Nature. Meanwhile the bureaucrats in the Met Office will bear down, grit their teeth and wait for retirements to ease the way to a revamp of the Met Office (coming, I expect, with a new organizational structure and name, to complete the disassociation with prior “problems”).

    And Piers will continue to advise, sometimes right, sometimes wrong, but at least trying to surf the wave himself while he tells the rest of us when to start paddling.

  8. tallbloke says:

    Walter Russell Mead says:

    Boris Johnson, the often-controversial mayor of London, muses in the Telegraph about the unusually heavy snow swirling down on London these days, and whether the weather means the sun is cooling and an ice age is coming.

    Johnson cites the “learned astrophysicist” Piers Corbyn, who predicts (and bets on) long-term weather forecasts. (Corbyn is also known for publicly denying that global warming is a man-made phenomenon.) But according to Mayor Boris, Piers “has been bang on about these cold winters,” saying the sun is going through a weak spell and the earth is unusually cold this winter.

    Now, Boris Johnson is a man many talk about as a likely next prime minister of the UK, and as such he isn’t going to thumb his nose at climate science. But he sure is tap dancing on the verge of heresy here.

    We have no view about the scientific questions he raises; we claim no expertise when it comes to the effects of sunspots on the weather in London. But when politicians as senior and savvy as Boris Johnson flirt with climate heresy in a country that has prided itself on taking the lead on this issue, the odds against the kind of big global action the global green lobby wants start looking very long indeed.

  9. Craig M says:

    In the red corner the warmists hope that by asking their learned friends (with a vested interest in the climate scam) for a quote they can continue the scam;

    and yes they resort to the ‘concensus’ argument and wonder why the public are confused.

  10. Craig M says:

    Oooh the irony..

    “Unfortunately polling data shows a significant number of people are still confused about what’s causing climate change. +++Fringe scientific theories+++ receiving more attention than they warrant from some parts of the media – and some columnists – probably doesn’t help.Risking being wrong about the origins of whiff-whaff has limited consequences. A potential future prime minister who is easily led by fringe theories about the basics of climate change might give more pause.”

  11. tallbloke says:

    Leo Hickman has written a typical Grauniad piece to counter Boris.

    Boris gets paid 5K for his column (shock-horror)


    Piers Corbyn wrong, Scientists say…

    And who are the ‘scientists’ in question? Stefan Rahmstorf of the Potsdam Institute of Warmology, Peter Lauter and John Kook of SkS.

    I told Leo on twitter that I’d need paying well as to so thoroughly prostitute myself to Gaia’s cause. 🙂

  12. oldbrew says:

    The climate establishment must be getting twitchy about Boris. Here’s the knee-jerk response.

    One Australian heatwave is climate change, but several years of colder European winters are weather – that type of stuff.