Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Total eclipse of the Moonbat

The foolish George Monbiot, along with his colleagues is plumbing new depths of stupidity, insisting in the loathsome Guardian that the "unusually cold winters" are caused by global warming.

It is not that he does not have a case (even if it is not very good). What makes him so deservedly look the fool it that climate change industry has spent more than two decades trying to convince us that milder winters and less snow are a sure sign of global warming. Now, in the manner of Winston Smith, Moonbat seems to believe that he can rewrite history and we will not notice.

And the attempts to link global warming with mild winters have indeed been going on a very long time. For instance, on 8 December 1988, we see an AP report which records Ted Miller, a researcher with the Washington-based Urban Institute, outlining the effects of global warming in North America. Predictions for New York and Miami were "bleak", but Cleveland and other Great Lake cities could benefit. They could be the "garden spots of tomorrow" – by the year 2080 the annual snowfall of 50 inches could drop to eight.

On 20 February 1990, UPI science writer Rebecca Kolberg introduced a new element, citing "climate expert" Kevin Trembath of the National Center for Atmospheric Research  in Boulder, Colorado. He argued that "greenhouse gasses" were responsible for making the 1980s the warmest decade in Earth's modern history. By the year 2050, the globe would warm by 3.6 to 9 degrees Fahrenheit, although due to the cooling effects of oceans, the effects would not be felt on land for 20 to 30 years (2010 – 2020).

Most climate scientists, said Trembath, projected a ten percent increase in precipitation, mostly concentrated around the poles and the equator and another "certainty" was that snow would melt earlier, except that the icecaps would increase in size because of the greater snowfall there, with increased melting delayed until the end of the century or the early 2100s.

If the 1980s had produced a run of mild winters, Mother Nature was not disposed to repeat the pattern. In January 1994, the New York Times was reporting on the 1993/4 ski season in New England and upstate New York. In recent seasons, resorts had relied heavily on machine-made snow, but were then experiencing "the best early-season natural snowfall in years". Depths on mountain summits were being measured in feet - up to six feet at many areas - rather than the usual inches.

Tom Meyers, marketing director of the Vermont Ski Areas Association, happily claimed that: "Ski areas had the best December in seven years ... It's the first Christmas that it didn't rain sometime during the holiday. We had two or three days of extremely cold weather, but it's been snowing from Dec. 19 on".

As the winter dragged into January 1994, it intensified to such an extent that Time magazine was asking whether: "The Ice Age Cometh?" Published on 31 January, it wrote of the deadly natural disaster that had been advancing slowly but inexorably south from Canada into the US:
By midweek a huge mass of frigid arctic air had practically paralyzed much of the Midwest and East. Temperatures in dozens of cities dropped to all-time lows: -22 degreesF in Pittsburgh; -25 degrees in Akron, Ohio, and Clarksburg, West Virginia; -27 degrees in Indianapolis, Indiana. Chicago schools closed because of cold weather for the first time in history, Federal Government offices shut down in Washington, and East Coast cities narrowly escaped widespread power outages as overburdened electric utilities struggled to keep homes heated.

Hundreds of motorists in New Jersey had to be rescued by snowmobile from an impassably icy highway, and thousands of the homeless crammed into New York City's shelters to avoid freezing. By week's end the unprecedented cold wave had killed more than 130 people.
"What ever happened to global warming?" the magazine asked:
Scientists have issued apocalyptic warnings for years, claiming that gases from cars, power plants and factories are creating a greenhouse effect that will boost the temperature dangerously over the next 75 years or so. But if last week is any indication of winters to come, it might be more to the point to start worrying about the next Ice Age instead.
Yet on 17 December 1995, less than two years after this disaster - which had coincided with the best New England ski season in recent memory - we saw the WWF give "a startling prediction" that within 50 years skiers may not be able to find enough snow to ski at their favourite Western US and European slopes due to global warming. The WWF also said that half of the world's glaciers and 85 percent of its deltas could disappear within 100 years "as the greenhouse effect causes less snow, more rain and hotter summers".

On 7 January 1996 in syndicated piece from the Boston Globe, we then saw the argument about snow and climate change developing. If the winter of 1993-94 had given New England its heaviest snowfall on record and the year before that, the region had had its third-heaviest snowfall ever, in early January of the winter of 1995-96 there had already been as much snow – about 42 inches - as normally fell in an entire season.

Thus did the newspaper article record differences of opinion as to the cause. Meteorologist Michael Girodo of the National Weather Service argued that, with global warming, "we should be getting more rain, not snow".  Michael Glanz, a meteorologist with the National Center for Atmospheric Research, suggested that "we cannot rule out surprises ... it may very well be that climate change means there will be hotter summers and colder winters".

So the argument continued, but the warmist orthodoxy quickly returned. On 26 December 1998, we had The Independent reporting on Met Office figures which purported to show that snow would "virtually vanish from Scotland in the coming century." The onset of global warming would lead to increased precipitation over northern Britain - which would fall as heavy rain, rather than snow, because of an anticipated rise in air temperatures, the paper declared. Thus snowfall in Scotland was forecast to decline sharply, to a fraction of its present level.

This prediction applied largely to the end of the century, when snowfall was expected to be barely a tenth of what it was then, but reference was made to one of the leading Scottish resorts, Glenshee. There, in the warm winter of 1991-92, the number of skier-days, which had been 180,000 in a good year, fell to only 12,500. But, we were told, the number would fall even further.

Dr Geoff Jenkins, head of the climate prediction programme at the Met Office Hadley Centre, said: "The temperature rise will mean that more of the precipitation in Scotland will fall as rain rather than snow, so the amount of snowfall will drastically reduce. "There will be huge year- to-year variability, and there will be some winters when snowfall is still normal. We cannot claim adequate simulation on a year-to-year basis, but we do claim to reflect the underlying trend."

A year later, on 4 June 1999, Science Daily was reporting on a Nature paper, stating that a team of scientists from Columbia University had shown that warm winters in the northern hemisphere "likely can be explained by the action of upper-atmosphere winds that are closely linked to global warming".

With no room left for doubt, its headline for the Science Daily story was: "Warm Winters Result From Greenhouse Effect, Columbia Scientists Find, Using NASA Model". If warming trends continue, said Drew Shindell, associate research scientist at Columbia's Center for Climate Systems Research and lead author of the report, northern regions of Europe and Asia and, to a lesser extent, North America, can expect winters that are both warmer and wetter, with increased rain and snow.

"Based on this research, it's quite likely that the warmer winters over the continents are indeed a result of the increasing amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere," Dr. Shindell said. "This research offers both a plausible physical mechanism for how this takes place, and reproduces the observed trends both qualitatively and even quantitatively."

Doubtless, this inspired the great granddaddy of the British end of the "winter meme" - scientist Dr David Viner, of the Climatic Research Unit in East Anglia. It was he in March 2000 who famously told The Independent that snowfalls were now "just a thing of the past". Within a few years, he said, winter snowfall would become "a very rare and exciting event. Children just aren't going to know what snow is."

However, it wasn't just David Viner who was predicting back in 2000 that snow would disappear. We also had the great Charles Clover then of The Daily Telegraph, who on 2 November 2000 was telling us: Britain "will gain from global warming". Northern Europe, he wrote, "will have fewer days of frost and snow and longer growing seasons because of global warming".

Winters in Northern Europe would be wetter and there would be a reduction in number of days with frost and lying snow. There would be no cold winters by the 2080s. Cold winters, which currently occurred once in ten years, would be half as frequent by the 2020s.

Interestingly, these gems came from a report commissioned by the EU Commission, as part of what was known as the "Acacia Project", the EU contribution to a major re-assessment by the IPCC. And the project co-ordinator and report editor was Prof Martin Parry, of the University of East Anglia – colleague of Dr Viner.

Ironically, despite these predictions, the UK experienced a traditional winter in 2000. On 29 December 2000, The Independent, which had so willingly conveyed Dr Viner's views, was reporting: "much of Britain's road network may resemble a skating rink today as the most widespread snowfall for nearly seven years freezes and turns to ice".

A week of snowfall had blanketed the whole of Britain, from northern Scotland to the West Country - the first time this had happened since February 1994. The previous day's snow had been the first extensive fall for years in a country that "is starting to forget what winter can bring as the weather gets warmer, a phenomenon scientists are linking to global climate change". This was the heaviest snow in London since 1994, and the heaviest since 1991 in parts of the Home Counties, with up to four inches in Buckinghamshire, Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire. Six inches fell in Wales, seven inches in Northern Ireland and more than a foot in parts of Scotland.

Of course, of the people working in the year 2000, all would be long retired by 2080, although the Parry team did create their own hostages to fortune by suggesting that there would be significant observable changes by 2020. By so doing, they set the level of expectations which, for a few years, the warmists were happy to reinforce.

Two years later found the "thing of the past" prediction being repeated, this time by the BBC which, on 26 April, 2002 was retailing a "Fresh warning on climate change". Snow, it declared, could become a thing of the past in Scotland as climate change drives up temperatures and causes the sea level to rise, "according to weather experts".

The forecast came from the UK Climate Impacts Programme (UKCIP) and warned that average snowfalls in Scotland could drop by up to 90 percent with snowless winters becoming the norm in some regions. And, although its timescale was 80 years, Professor James Curran of the Scottish Environment Agency told the BBC that, while eighty years may seem a long way away, "Some people say they see the climate changing already. But certainly within the next 10-20 years we are really going to start noticing it."

In February 2002, however, people were certainly noticing something in Afghanistan. According to The Daily Telegraph, five people had frozen to death and up to 20 more were feared dead after they had been trapped by a snowstorm at the Salang Tunnel in the north of the country. Some 96 people had been evacuated suffering from frostbite and about 300 people were brought down from the tunnel connecting north and south Afghanistan.

Survivors described stumbling to safety through waist-high snow drifts, unable to see more than a few feet in front of them, after spending Wednesday night in temperatures of -22°F. "It's the worst I've seen in 15 years of driving the road," said Nazimullah a lorry driver who spent almost 24 hours just outside the tunnel. Some people walked to safety in villages; others tried to sit out the night in their vehicles with the heaters on. UN officials said areas of the central highlands where thousands were in dire need of food would not be accessible to aid lorries for days because of the weather.

In contrast to Afghanistan, however, the US enjoyed a mild winter and in February 2003, during the following season, The New York Times was arguing that weather was "relative". Throughout much of the Midwest and parts of the Northeast, it reported, frozen souls say they have never shivered this much but for much of the country, the paper said, it is not abnormally cold - it just seems that way.

That, the paper then explained, is because the cold snap of the last two weeks, when many cities have been stuck in below-freezing temperatures, came after a December that was unseasonably warm in much of the country. That followed a remarkably mild winter last year, which capped a decade where temperatures were higher, and snow lighter, than average.

So it continued into the next season. In the UK, after a "cold snap" in the January, the winter of 2003-4 was also exceptionally mild. An early casualty of what was confidently being projected as a trend was Scottish skiing. The Guardian noted that spring in the northern hemisphere arrived earlier, and autumn later. The growing season had extended by 11 days in the past 30 years. But until now, it said, most of the alarm had been about the impact of climate change on the developing world.

According to a report by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), up to half of all Switzerland's ski resorts could face economic hardship or bankruptcy because of global warming. Low-altitude resorts in Italy, Germany and Austria might have to move uphill or face a snowless future. Others might have to rely on snow-making machines. US ski resorts face similar challenges, while Australia could have no skiing at all by 2070.

Klaus Toepfer, head of UNEP was cited, saying: "This study on winter sports shows that it is not just the developing world that will suffer ... Even rich nations are facing potentially massive upheavals with significant economic, social and cultural implications."

On 7 February 2004, David Derbyshire, Science Correspondent of The Daily Telegraph was asking whether this was: "Proof of global warming or just hot air?" Dr Geoff Jenkins, still head of the Met Office's climate prediction unit, believed the mild, wet winter was almost certainly a sign of global warming. "The cold snap last week was normal January weather, there was nothing exceptional about it," he said. "The exceptional thing has been the warmth we have had in the first week of February. It would not be unreasonable to say that this is linked to human activity."

The record for the month was 19°C. The unseasonal mild spell was ushered in by south-westerly winds from the Atlantic off the coast of Africa. Jenkins averred that it was "impossible" to attribute the current extreme weather in Britain to global warming.

But, he said, "warmer and wetter winters and the increased risk of floods were predicted by the global warming models of the early and mid-1990s". Scientists believe there is fairly conclusive evidence that the climate is changing. Ten of the hottest years on record had been since 1991, while worldwide temperatures had risen by 0.6°C over the last century.

That month, the future of skiing and snowboarding in Scotland was also being talked down, after two of the country's five ski resorts were put up for sale following large financial losses. Mild winters and lack of snow in recent years were said to have left the winter sports industry north of the border reeling. According to The Guardian, with the pace of global warming increasing, some climate change experts were predicting that the Scottish ski industry would cease to exist within 20 years.

For the next winter of 2004-5, snow returned with a vengeance - but not immediately to Scotland. The northeastern United States was the first recipient. The 25th January 2005 had the New York Times reporting that the region was digging itself out from a blizzard ranked among the five worst in the past century. Over three feet of snow had fallen in some places north of Boston. Parts of New Hampshire got two feet. New York City recorded 14 inches. "The blizzard of 2005 will go down in history as one of the five top snowstorms for eastern New England," said James Wilson, a meteorologist with the Weather Channel.

Despite this, on 14 February 2005, Moonbat joined the fray, writing in The Guardian. Focused entirely on the UK - oblivious to the US drama and his own thesis of global warming, he told us:
It is now mid-February, and already I have sown eleven species of vegetable. I know, though the seed packets tell me otherwise, that they will flourish. Everything in this country - daffodils, primroses, almond trees, bumblebees, nesting birds - is a month ahead of schedule. And it feels wonderful. Winter is no longer the great grey longing of my childhood. The freezes this country suffered in 1982 and 1963 are - unless the Gulf Stream stops - unlikely to recur. Our summers will be long and warm. Across most of the upper northern hemisphere, climate change, so far, has been kind to us.
Almost as if it was mocking the great Moonbat, on 22 February the BBC told the nation of a "big freeze", reporting that snow had hit much of the UK and forecasters were saying that "the cold snap will get worse later in the week". The heaviest snow overnight had fallen in the east - particularly East Anglia and northern England - and those areas were expecting more heavy downfalls.

Two days later on 24 February 2005, the Yorkshire Evening Post was carrying the headline: "Schools close in whiteout". The big freeze, the paper reported, "tightened its grip on West Yorkshire today as heavy snow brought chaos to many parts of the county". More than 100 schools had been closed and a string of roads had shut, with up to four inches of snow falling on higher areas during the night. Huddersfield, Halifax, Keighley and other spots in the west of the county were hardest hit, while drifts of up to three feet were reported on the Pennines.

Nevertheless, this wild weather was quickly forgotten. On 11 July 2005 - summer being a favourite time for global warming stories - the Daily Mail was telling of a €1.3 million EU funded report carried out by eight European academic institutes led by the University of East Anglia.

Called "Modelling the Impact of Climate Extremes" (MICE) - (and here) - it predicted the effects of climate change on weather patterns across Europe. They included hotter and longer heatwaves, shorter cold seasons, prolonged droughts and reduced rainfall in Southern Europe and the Mediterranean, and more severe storms. Cold days with temperatures below freezing would decrease by up to four months in northern Europe by 2070. Northern Europe would also be wetter in winter and there would be an increase in winter rain over most of Europe, leading to a greater risk of floods and pollution.

There were no such effects the following winter. In October 2005 the Met Office warned that Britain could be facing its coldest winter for ten years. On 21 November 2005, the Daily Mail was reporting: "Snow by Thursday as the big chill hits early". Much of Britain "could be buried under a blanket of snow before we even reach December", it declared, adding, "With temperatures already below zero in many areas, the cold snap signals the start of what is predicted to be the coldest winter for a decade".

Displaying a less than propitious sense of timing, the WWF then chose 23 November 2005 to tell the world that climate change was already affecting Europeans. It had called together five "climate witnesses" from the UK, Germany, Italy and Spain to tell their personal stories of how climate change was affecting their lives and businesses. Alan Stewart, 49, was one. He ran a sled dog centre in Scotland but his business was facing the threat of increasing temperatures and disappearing snow. This had also resulted in Siberian huskies moulting in the middle of the winter.

The very next day, on 24 November, The Times was telling the nation that the first blizzards of winter had hit the north of Scotland and had begun to make their way southwards. The predicted snowfall had already arrived in Inverness, Aviemore, Caithness and Ross and Cromarty, and was expected to sweep across much of Britain over the next two days. The Met Office had issued its second severe weather warning in as many days. And a mere four days later, on 28 November 2005 the BBC was recording the first English blizzard of the coming winter.

Unusually, this was in Cornwall, trapping hundreds of people overnight after five inches of snow brought chaos. About 1,000 motorists had been trapped on Bodmin Moor. Many children were stuck in their schools for much of the evening and some were forced to stay in friends or teachers' homes.

The winter dragged on into 2006, embroiling the whole of Europe. Train tracks cracked in Vienna, German authorities shut a canal to ships after it iced up, and a zoo moved its penguins indoors. The cold was blamed for more than 50 deaths in Russia and claimed at least 13 lives over the past five days in Moldova, where authorities said another 30 people, many homeless, were in hospital with hypothermia. In Ukraine, 53 people died in 24 hours due to the cold, bringing to at least 130 the number of deaths in the country.

Poland reported 38 deaths from the cold. Police were patrolling streets to round up the homeless or inebriated and bring them indoors, as temperatures plunged to minus 25 degrees in Warsaw and minus 35 elsewhere. Romanian authorities reported 15 deaths, five of them homeless people, after temperatures dropped as low as -30 in parts of the country. In Austria, it reached an all-time low of minus 31 degrees in the town of Gross.

And nor was the mayhem confined to Europe. Japan was suffering its worst snowfall in more than two decades, with the death toll by mid-January having climbed to 100. A major relief effort was under way to open up key roads to stranded mountain villages.

By March of 2006, the certainty of the warmists was taking a bit of a knocking. Late snow and Arctic winds in Britain had the Mirror asking, "Why has Britain's weather gone so daffy?" – with the inevitable question: "So what's happened to global warming?"

There to shore up the crumbling edifice was Dr Viner. He told the paper that complaints about the cold were rocketing "because we've become used to the warm weather, thanks to global warming". "It's a cold winter compared to the last 10 years, but in the long term it's still warmer than average," he said.

"We have short-term memories and know the winter climate is warming up," said Viner. Compared to the 60s, 70s and early 80s, when the temperatures regularly hit minus 10 and even minus 15, this is a fairly average winter. "And even the amount of snow has been really trivial in comparison."

Viner was supported by Barry Gromett from the Met Office. We were due a freezing winter, he explained, because we actually get one at least every ten years. "When you get colder winters, like this one, dominated by winds from the east, they tend to begin early and end later, with an overhang well into spring," Grommett said, then confidently asserting, "don't worry - it will probably be another 10 years before the weather throws us another curve ball".

Meanwhile, the same month, the WWF was telling the BBC of its new report, entitled "Stormy Europe". Rather than snow, we were to suffer winter storms increasing by up to 25 percent in the UK. This could see ten extra storms between 2071 and 2100. The report said that the UK would be the worst affected in Europe, with wind speeds rising between 8-16 percent. London was the most likely city in the UK to be damaged.

In complete contrast, the winter months in North America had been exceptionally mild, in Canada the warmest since nationwide statistics had been compiled in 1948. From December through February, temperatures across Canada had been 3.9°C higher than established norms. In January alone, the recorded temperatures in Montreal were almost 6°C higher than average and on 13 January, hardy types had been walking around in shirt sleeves in 8°C temperatures.

On the back of the mild North American winter, researchers in May 2006 were telling USA Today that the changing weather patterns had implications for traditional businesses ranging from logging to maple sugaring.

"There is no debate among anyone that we are seeing our overall global climate warming, and that is having a profound effect in terms of winters here," said Barry Rock, of the University of New Hampshire's Center of the Study of Complex Systems. These effects may be felt first by the maple syrup industry, which could disappear from New Hampshire in this century, according Rock's 2001 study. "There is speculation that a warm winter can change the metabolism in the trees," said Sumner Dole, a forest educator with UNH's Cooperative Extension.

In the UK in September 2006, interviewed for The Guardian by Melissa Viney, we then had Keith Fenwick, a weather forecaster for the Met Office. Without hesitation, Fenwick said:
Some people wonder if our hot summers are due to global warming. The scientific consensus is that humans are contributing to the greenhouse effect, leading to global warming. When you speak to elderly people they often comment that the seasons are different to when they were younger, particularly when it comes to snow. One of the predictions over the coming decade is that snow will become less frequent in the British Isles; we are expecting milder winters.
By now, so heavily embedded was the mild winter meme that December 2006 had Geoffrey Lean in The Independent asking, "where has all the snow gone?". "With trees bursting into bud and ski runs looking like spring meadows, the Alpine winter appears to have been cancelled," he wrote, citing an OECD warning that the Alps are "particularly sensitive" to global warming.

The Alps had been heating up three times as fast as the world as a whole and there would be "even greater changes in the coming decades, with less snow at low altitudes and receding glaciers and melting permafrost higher up".

A two-year study by the organisation, then due out in the February, was to conclude that at present 609 of the 666 medium to large Alpine ski resorts had adequate snow cover for at least 100 days a year - but these could drop to just 200 if temperatures rose by 4°C. Lean had it that this was something that, according to some experts, could happen by 2050, on the worst-case scenario.

Germany would be the worst affected, with just a one degree rise - which the experts said could happen by 2020 - leading to a 60 percent drop in resorts with reliable snow. In fact, asserted Lean, the Alps abounded with signs that climate change was already well under way.

In the 15 years running up to the turn of the millennium, he wrote, they had lost nearly a quarter of the area taken up by glaciers. And more than another five percent had melted in the blistering summer of 2003 alone. Average snow levels were half what they had been 40 years ago. Lean thus noted that "ever-canny Swiss banks have already started refusing to lend to ski resorts less than 4,500ft up in the mountains".

Broadening his pitch, he ignored the previous brutal winter and observed that the hottest winter day ever had been recorded in Moscow at 8.6°C, and that the temperature in the Russian capital was "expected to climb even higher over the next few days".

In Sweden, he wrote, where bears are also failing to turn in for the winter, the gingerbread houses that families traditionally make for Christmas are collapsing as the damp, warm weather melts the icing that is traditionally used to stick them together. "The problem is the mild winter," says Aake Mattsson of Anna's, the country's leading gingerbread wholesaler. And to Lean, the problem was everywhere:
Normally frozen golf courses are still playable in Scandinavia, butterflies have been seen on the wing in Denmark, heather is flowering in Poland, pavement cafés are doing a roaring trade in Rome, and people were still sunbathing and swimming on Spanish beaches in November. And in Britain, bathed in warm southern and southwesterly winds, a bumper raspberry crop was harvested in Northumberland at the end of November, blackbirds are hatching broods in Sussex, and bunches of black grapes are gracing a wild vine in Essex.
Back in the Alps, Lean concluded, resorts are beginning to wonder how they will keep their 160 million skier-days of tourist business a year in a warmer world. Some have built spas; others are offering winter hiking packages. And some experts are beginning to predict that one day the winter sport season could move to summer, using roller skis.

February 2007 seemed to vindicate Lean's pessimism, with a travel magazine reporting that "thousands of skiers arrived in European resorts at the start of this season to be greeted by depressingly brown slopes, barely a snowflake in sight".

Far more depressing, it added, was a global climate change report published earlier this month that proved beyond all reasonable doubt that this was not just a one-off bad winter. This was the IPCC report, "compiled by thousands of climate experts", which had concluded that global warming is affecting weather patterns in Europe "and eventually snow will disappear from all but the highest mountains, wiping out skiing in many top resorts".

That winter, the Met Office was clearly back in its comfort zone so that, by 27 February 2007, it was happily reporting the "second warmest" winter on record. One of its meteorologists, Wayne Elliott, declared that it was, "a good measure of changes to the climate." Talking to the BBC, he said that the winter had not only been warmer, but also wetter than average.

This matched the sort of conditions that the UK was expected to experience as a result of climate change, Elliott said. "It is consistent with the climate change message. It is exactly what we expect winters to be like - warmer and wetter, and dryer and hotter summers."

Then, after the famously mild winter of 2007/8 the following year, the Daily Express was headlining "Why winter no longer exists". Winter had "gone for ever" and we should officially bring spring forward instead, was the message conveyed - according to Dr Nigel Taylor, curator of Kew Gardens.

"Over the last 12 months there has been no winter," Taylor said. "Last year was extraordinary. Spring was in January, April was summer, the summer was cool, then it was warmer and sunny in autumn". This was, of course, down to "climate change" and thus did Taylor confidently add: "Like most scientists, I'm fairly convinced that climate change is down to man's reckless use of fossil fuels and destruction of natural habitats".

So convinced by now that they were on a winner, by 25 September 2008, the Met Office was equally confidently asserting that: "Trend of mild winters continues". The coming winter was to be milder than average. It was also likely that the coming winter would also be drier. Then, on 28 October 2008, as MPs in Westminster were voting though the Climate Change Bill, it was snowing outside, the first time we had seen snow in London in October in living memory. God laughed.

But the warmists' pain was only just beginning. That winter was savage, not just in the UK but worldwide. This, of course, did not shake Moonbat's religious zeal. Come the New Year, on 9 January 2009, in the grip of the viciously cold winter, he was telling us how he had spent the last two evenings skating.

For all the exhilaration, though, the experience was "shaded with sadness". Said Monbiot: "all of us knew that this time might be our last. It is many winters since most of the lakes in England and Wales have frozen hard enough to support a skating party; with every year the chances of another one recede. The fuss this country has made about the current cold snap reminds us how rare such events have become".

The man continued, telling us that the thought that he might never skate outdoors again "feels like a bereavement". Thus, he told us: "I pray for another cold snap, even though I know it will bring all the nincompoops in Britain out of their holes, yapping about a new ice age."

If Moonbat was thinking this might be the last severe winter for a while – or even "our last", that same month of February 2009 he was joined by the Met Office which noted that the cold weather had been "in contrast to the run of very mild winter temperatures that have been recorded over recent years".

Natural variability of climate, it said, "means that the UK will continue to see spells of colder weather at times. Although, if it had not been for the general warming already observed in global temperatures, this winter may well have been even colder".

This was in a press release, a further part of which found its way into The Daily Telegraph on 23 March 2009. This had Peter Stott, a climate scientist at the Met Office, saying: "Despite the cold winter this year, the trend to milder and wetter winters is expected to continue, with snow and frost becoming less of a feature in the future". He continued, saying: "The famously cold winter of 1962/63 is now expected to occur about once every 1,000 years or more, compared with approximately every 100 to 200 years before 1850."

Neither had Stott been alone. On 10 February 2009, Alex Hill, the chief government adviser with the Met Office, told The Scotsman newspaper that the ski industry was doomed to disappear "within decades".

There was no future for skiing in Scotland because climate change would see winters become too warm for regular snowfall, said Hill, adding: "Put it this way: I won't be investing in the skiing industry. The amount of snow has been decreasing for the last 40 years, and there's no reason why it's going to stop now." "Will there be a ski industry in Scotland in 50 years' time? Very unlikely."

Skiing was not a problem during the 2009/10 winter ... in Washington DC.  And when heavy snowfall and unusually low temperatures in the United States started making the headlines, especially when the capital ground to a halt, this started to drive a new wave of climate scepticism. Thus a new term began to emerge: "disruptive climate change". Climate change was now being linked to "heavy precipitation", which included intense snowstorms.

January 2010 saw further attempts to explain away the bad weather. Robert Henson in The Guardian suggested that the Arctic oscillation - which had moved from positive to negative - should be blamed.

"Rather than seeking vindication or catastrophe in this cold snap", he said, "now is a good time to remind ourselves that weather, like death and taxes, will always be with us. Spectacular regional swings in temperature and precipitation, sometimes lasting for months, often emerge from the natural jostlings of atmosphere and ocean. By themselves, none of these prove or disprove a human role in climate change". He then added:
In any given year, there could be a season as shocking as Britain's epic winter of 1962-63 – when snowdrifts were measured in metres, and temperatures stayed below freezing for most of January – or the summer of 2003, when tens of thousands died in some of the worst heat ever recorded in Europe.

What's different now is that climate change is shifting the odds towards record-hot summers and away from record-cold winters. The latter aren't impossible; they're just harder to get, like scoring a straight flush on one trip to Vegas and a royal flush the next.
Vancouver that January was hosting the Winter Olympics on behalf of Canada, and the venue - Cyprus Mountain - was proving to be embarrassingly short of snow. Yet despite being virtually the only part of the North American continent to be snow-free, Ian Bruce, lead climate change researcher at the Suzuki Foundation, was quick to assert that global warming and climate change were "in part responsible for what's happening to a key Olympic venue".

Now, with this winter even worse than last, Moonbat has got his opportunity for more skating - and he is now relying on the "climate disruption" gambit. But no wonder he is struggling. After being assailed with the idea for more than two decades that climate change and mild winters were linked, for the public now to accept that "climate change" also causes cold winters is a step too far.

Moonbat's credibility is gurgling down the plughole while WUWT is dragging his reputation through the Australian snows. As the windmills grind to as halt in the anticyclonic calm, all we can hear is the rising volume of sniggering as the Bat insists that black is white, warmer means colder.

UPDATE: Quote of the week on WUWT. Thank you Anthony.