Apocalypse avoided: the extreme weather of ’06

Posted on timeFebruary 9th, 2007 by userPali Gap


I live in the UK where the climate is notoriously fickle. This characteristic of our climate is of great assistance to the powers that be as they programmatically seek to replace the concept of “global warming” with that of “climate change” in the vernacular. Any moderately significant weather event can now be harnessed to the Great Cause and taken to add to “the weight of mounting evidence” that confirms the truth of climate change. It matters not whether it be a drought in the south, a flood in the West Country, a tornado, a spell of hot weather in London, severe gales in autumn, water spouts in the Channel – the media will tend to hype them all up as harbingers of the coming apocalypse.

However as 2006 came to an end there was an excellent piece by Philip Eden in his Weather Watch series for the Daily Telegraph (Dec 30) that added a much needed sense of perspective:

A year for the record books

It was a year when unusual weather events frequently occupied the headlines, several records were broken, and many people were convinced that the climate really was changing.

January ’06 was the wettest for almost 30 years in southern England , then on Feb 8 a severe thunderstorm accompanied by hail and violent squalls caused much damage across the Midlands and the South-east.

Spring was wet in the north and west of Britain, but very dry in the south and east; June was mostly fine, apart from a 12-hour-long, steady downpour on the 29th which deposited between 2 and 3in of rain in a broad zone across southern, central and eastern England. That apart, it was a memorably long and sunny summer which culminated in record-breaking temperatures in early September with 35°C widely approached or exceeded.

October and November were both remarkably mild though often cloudy and damp, but the year ended with a dramatic burst of wintry weather with widespread snowfalls of 6in or more, and level depths approached 2ft in eastern Scotland.

You might not remember all those events. In fact you should not remember any of them as the year was 1906, not 2006. The purpose of this exercise has been to illustrate that, weather-wise, there is nothing new under the sun. Any year will deliver a handful of records and a host of unusual events, and we should not be surprised when they turn up.

(This article was reproduced by kind permission of Philip Eden. However I should say that this does not imply that he would endorse any of the views expressed here!)

Philip Eden is an independent meteorologist. As well as lots of other excellent articles and features (e.g Spin Between the Raindrops) He has published a number of books:

Philip also runs the websites climate-uk.com and weather-uk.com

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