Met Office: flapping on winter 2012/13, but mention SSW

Posted: April 20, 2013 by tchannon in climate, Natural Variation, weather


The UK Met Office write “Why was the start to spring 2013 so cold?

March 2013 was the second coldest March in the UK record since 1910, and was associated with a negative phase of the North Atlantic Oscillation. A number of potential drivers may predispose the climate system to a state which accounts for these conditions.”

“Potential”, “may predispose”? Does it or doesn’t it, don’t they know?

IMO the only good part of their web item is labelled (2) where the explanation may lie. The rest is flapping and jumping around over nothing. The Met Office are not very good with sequence, cause and effect.

“2. the Stratosphere – There is now a substantial body of evidence to show that during winter and early spring, sudden stratospheric warming events in the upper stratosphere over the North Pole can influence surface weather conditions over the UK some 2-3 weeks later.”

That is wrong in part, “during winter and early spring,”, it actually is any time, eg. the notorious Blogdale 2003 where I expect to have some revelations to make including the mess.

There is more than SSW originating high in polar air.

Link to Met Office item.


I’ll leave the rest to comments.

Posted by Tim Channon. Rog highlighted the item but is busy.

  1. tallbloke says:

    Thanks Tim,
    Just finished gardening. Now taking the missus out for our anniversary. The MET O are hedging bets IMO. Trying to steer between warmist sensibilities and meteorological realities.

    Wriggle wriggle.

  2. Stephen Richards says:

    Wriggle wriggle., squirm, squirm, slither, slither.

  3. Doug Proctor says:

    The use of qualifiers, caveats and conditionals: words that are appropriate when you admit that your level of uncertainty is high, but weasel words when you claim the science is settled, the outcome, certain. Or you are paid to tell people stuff to allow them to plan.

    For black-and-white, engineering minds in climate science that say with enough computer code and power we can determine the number of angels who can dance on the head of a pin, the use of “could”, “may”, “might”, “should” is bizarre. This group of minds who wish to determine our future to a farthing’s worth of our savings are unable to use the words “does”, “will” or “shall”.

    Look to the end of ALL climate papers. The present or future subjunctives thrive while the declamations of what we HAVE TO DO leap out at us. The disconnect, one would think, give the warmists a cognitive dissonant headache.

    Gore buys a beach house while the German governor takes a holiday home in a Turkey. Gore divests himself of the Carbon Exchange in Chicago and his green investments while in Britain the governors essentially tax your energy use to pay for windmills on the land of the aristocrats controlled by companies who have Lords as directors.

    The Met Office is the intellectual tool of the emotional right brain of the Eco-Green. Meanwhile, the rational left brain of the Eco-Green buys snow shovels and hides his coinage from the taxman in his mattress.

    Will we ever get to a point where one is accountable for standing by what he is paid to determine, and is tasked with saying what WILL happen, not what “might”, “could”, “may” or “should”? It is not that we will shoot those who fail to predict: where there are reasons errors are justifiable and acceptable. So far the Met Office – as the IPCC – speak mumbly-peg and excuses that we wouldn’t accept from our children explaining how the lamp got broken.

    Since the ’20s, philosophers such as Bertrand Russel and writers such as Wells have proposed a rational social order in which scientists run things rationally. One hundred years out, I’d like to propose that we go back to the red-neck view of scientists as eggheads in white coats recently escaped from their ivory towers. Experts are useful for their knowledge, but the man-in-the-street has more common sense than them because he lives in the entire world, not just the world of the specialized niche. And common sense is where we get stuff like “This winter looks to be colder (or warmer) than LAST YEAR, but how much, we’re not sure; still, it is better to prepare for cold (or warm) than not to.”

    And move on.

  4. Stephen Wilde says:

    The stratosphere stopped cooling around 2000 and may have warmed a little since.

    Contrary to expectations ozone above 45km increased between 2004 and 2007 whilst the sun was less active. More ozone results in warming.

    Logic suggests that a quiet sun warms the stratosphere especially towards the poles leading to a more negative Arctic Oscillation and more, stronger sudden stratospheric warming events with associated surges of cold air across middle latitudes.

    An active sun does the opposite as witness the pre 2000 period of more positive AO.

  5. vukcevic says:

    Tony B (Brown) and I have discussed the subject for at least 2-3 years. I blame ‘Russians’, or at least their volcanoes. One single eruption in the Kamchatka peninsula (December to March inclusive) can cause spike in SSW that will be followed by ‘Sudden Tropospheric Cooling’ -STC ( 🙂 ) in the N. Hemisphere’s weather for up to a month.
    In this link there is a NOAA animation showing the exact source of the SSW.
    Another animation from NASA shows what happens to the ionised stratosphere under influence of the polar magnetic field; if interested scroll towards the end of the web page

  6. vukcevic says:

    Stephen Wilde says:
    Logic suggests that a quiet sun warms the stratosphere especially towards the poles..
    Hi Steven
    SSW (sudden stratospheric warming) can be triggered only when sun is below horizon Dec, Jan and occasionally Feb, whole process can last 2-4 weeks, it is usually over by the time the sun moves north of the equator.
    Personally I do not think that SSW affects weather, since energy contained in the rarified stratosphere is miniscule, it is that the polar jetstream gets fractured and causes all the grief

    Click to access SSW.pdf

  7. vukcevic says:

    My apologies to Stephen Wilde for name misspelling, if Tim or TB could correct I would be grateful.

  8. Ulric Lyons says:

    My heliocentric planetary analysis showed a very cold signal for this March, with zero uncertainty. A deterministic forecast could have been made 1yr or 100yrs back, it makes no difference.

    Jet stream latitude and UK temperatures change before Arctic ice extent does: (with correction on next comment)

    The only question the MetO should have asked is why the AO went so negative in March, which can only be answered by appreciating the external forcing lol 😉

  9. tchannon says:

    Maybe I am wrong about SSW and any time of the year. Something like that seems to happen leading to unusual on high conditions probably in radiosonde data but definitely in radio propagation.

  10. G. Watkins says:

    Doug Proctor missed out Tim Flannery’s property on the banks of the Hawkesbury river, NSW, Aus.

  11. tallbloke says:

    Vuk: Have you gathered any data on Kamchatkan volcanos which have ‘gone stratospheric’ to compare with the occurrence of SSW’s?

  12. vukcevic says:

    See link

    Click to access SSW.pdf

    analysed in detail every SSW since 2005, also important fact to know is:

    “Sudden Stratospheric Warming events are extremely rare in the
    Antarctica. There are some plausible explanations for this, but most
    likely is that there is only one active volcano in the area, Mt. Erebus..
    The volcano has occasional strombolian eruptions, but no Antarctica
    winter SSW event was recorded during last 30 years, while they are
    regular in the Arctic, which also can be concluded by observing
    min/max values of the zonal temperature, and comparing those to the
    Arctic’ min/max charts.”

    And then compare two graphs on the last page (circle highlighted areas) for 1978-2008 SSW max at both polar areas.

  13. oldbrew says:

    Any difference between *level of uncertainty is high* and *don’t know*? Only definite answers allowed 😉

  14. vukcevic comments on the magnetic field. On my webpage you can see the remarkable corelation between the drift of the magnetic poles and global temperatures. Scroll down to the climate page. If anyone can offer an explanation for the corelation I would be gratefull. Thanks Adrian

  15. oldbrew says:

    Re the Met Office, the last comments in the main paper may suggest a change of attitude. Certain climate alarmist claims about the Arctic are described as ‘contentious’.

    There have been some suggestions that the rapid decline of Arctic sea ice, especially during
    summer, is responsible for this year’s cold spring. It is argued that amplification of global warming over the Arctic is reducing the equator to pole temperature gradient, thereby weakening the strength of the mid-latitude jet streams. In turn this may lead to slower progression of upper-level waves and would cause associated weather patterns in mid latitudes to be more persistent, potentially leading to an increased probability of extreme weather events that result from prolonged conditions, such as drought, flooding, cold spells, and heat waves.

    This hypothesis remains contentious, however, and there is little evidence from the
    comparison between the cold spring of 1962 and this year that the Arctic has been a
    contributory factor in terms of the hypothesis proposed above. Figure 13 shows the mid troposphere temperature anomalies for 1962 and 2013; over the Arctic they are almost
    identical and reflect the negative NAO pattern. It is hard to argue that Arctic amplification had
    changed the equator to pole temperature in a systematic way to affect the circulation this

    ‘Little evidence’ for the warmers.

  16. vukcevic says:

    Hi Mr. Kerton
    About some misconceptions regarding the Northern Hemisphere’s magnetic pole.
    – There are two centres of magnetic intensity, one to the west of Hudson Bay and the other in the central Siberia.

    These locations have been more or less stationary since 1600’s (based on the compass historic data). What has changed is their relative intensity. (note reversed scale)
    The Hudson Bay’s leg has been loosing while the Siberian gaining the strength.
    See also
    – To add further to the confusion there is large difference in what a compass dip-needle or a magnetograph see on the surface (red dots) and what solar wind or geomagnetic storms see (blue dots)

    the aurora oval
    is cantered on location of blue dots.
    If climate is influenced by geomagnetic field action on cosmic rays (Svensmark etc) or similar, then there was no appreciable movement of the N. pole since 1900 (blue dots link).
    If the magnetic field change effect is on the ocean currents than average of two fields on the surface is the factor, than the area of strongest field in the Arctic Ocean is in the area of Beaufort Gyre (the Arctic’s circulation flywheel, see the first link) which is little to do with ‘conventional’ position of the magnetic north pole (red dots link).
    Finally and most likely is that the changes in magnetic field are reflected in the tectonic activity which is modulating the warm/cold currents balance in the critical areas, such as Denmark Strait, Kolbensey and Reykjanes ridge , driving the subpolar gyre (home of the AMO) the engine of heat transfer in the N. Atlantic.

  17. Stephen Wilde says:

    Hi vuk.

    I don’t see that anything I said need be inconsistent with anything you said.

    All I propose is that the solar variations alter the temperature profile of the atmosphere so as to favour more and stronger SSW events generally when the sun is less active.

    In the background is a greater tendency for the AO to be negative with a quiet sun and positive with an active sun on multidecadal time scales.

  18. Ulric Lyons says:

    The AO wasn’t that negative 2004-2007, in fact it was increasingly positive:
    The point here, is what was the immediate cause of this March being so cold as opposed to say last March.

  19. Stephen Wilde says:


    I am considering multidecadal timescales and long term averages.

    Shorter term relationships are more affected by other internal system changes and inherent chaotic variability.

    Still, a period of weak sun leads to more extremes because the loops of the jets are larger and more long lasting than when the sun is active so completely opposite types pf months in successive years are more common when the sun is quiet.

    If you read up on the history of the LIA , Pepy’s Diaries help to some extent, one can see far greater variability and more frequent extremes than occurred during the late 20th century.

  20. thanks Vuk’ I will read up on the links’ cheers Adrian

  21. Ulric Lyons says:

    Stephen Wilde says:

    “Shorter term relationships are more affected by other internal system changes and inherent chaotic variability.”

    False, they are determined by short term solar factors, and the solar based forecasts for this and last March (made well over a year ahead) were 100% deterministic. As for LIA variability, I have used CET as my main reference for nine years now, and know much of it like the back of my hand.

  22. Stephen Wilde says:


    I trust you will make a lot of money from the accuracy and utility of your solar based forecasts.

    Could you describe which solar features determined the differences between the Marches of 2012 and 2013 and could you link me to your solar based forecast of a year ago for March 2013 and two years ago for March 2012 ?

  23. Ulric Lyons says:


    The solar wind speed is important but I’m not sure if that is the whole story. What made the difference was the heliocentric planetary configurations. Some patterns augment solar activity, others diminish it.
    I don’t usually publish forecasts a year ahead, unless it’s important:

  24. […] Click here to read the full article _____________________________________________ […]

  25. M E Wood says:

    Angels — The exercise in logic for mediaeval schoolboys was the question ” How many angels could dance on the head of a pin?”….Those who were bright enough to say it was an infinite number went on to further studies. Angels being incorporeal beings. Maybe we should try the question on our politicians before allowing them to take their Seat.

  26. craigm350 says:

    Rog/Vuk re: Kamchatka

    Gray & I were discussing the uptick on New Years day. I was talking then of a back loaded winter esp March. Only rediscovered the comment the other day then saw Vuks comment here.

    This Mar had parallels with 1883 which Bob T* has looked at the ENSO pattern being quite similar.


    * caveats of course but here’s the link