You are currently browsing the daily archive for April 5, 2013.

hiding thebreakthroughorgWinter weather in the UK continues unabated.

Even where there is no snow, the temperatures are cold. Easter Sunday was glacial with few daffodils and only the tiniest hints of Spring. After church, one woman said she’d been living in her boots for months. I know what she means, having worn the same pair of heavy-soled shoes for the better part of five months.

I put the frost guards on the plants sometime during the second half of October 2012. Weather contrarian Piers Corbyn — nearly always accurate — says our Siberian-style weather may continue into mid-April.

Before March ended, British weather watchers wondered if March 2013 would set a new record. Indeed it did. Records for tracking winter weather began in 1910:

Average temperatures between March 1 and 26 were just 2.5C (36.5F), three degrees below the long-term average, according to the Met Office. This would make it the coldest March since 1962 and also the fourth coldest in the UK since records began in 1910.

The missing year here is 1947, when rationing was still in effect, although the Second World War had ended. There was also no widespread central heating in houses, so it must have been bitter.

As for March 2013:

Looking at individual countries, it said March would be the fourth coldest on record for England, joint third coldest for Wales, joint eighth coldest for Scotland and sixth coldest for Northern Ireland.

Sunday was also reported to be the coldest Easter day on record, with the mercury falling to minus 12.5C ([-]9.5F) in Braemar in the Scottish Highlands.

Piers Corbyn’s forecasts over the past several months show trends of weather patterns persisting for weeks on end. I started reading his site in June 2012, just after the Queen’s Jubilee Weekend. He believes that we are in a Mini Ice Age. More recently, I have been able to predict what British weather will be from French forecasts, as cold fronts have been moving from the Arctic then generally east to west across the English Channel. It seems that even the Côte d’Azur has had more snow than Greater London this year.

These persistent patterns are similar to the long-lasting meteorological phenomenon known as the Maunder Minimum, when

very few sunspots were observed. This was not due to a lack of observations; during the 17th century, Giovanni Domenico Cassini carried out a systematic program of solar observations at the Observatoire de Paris, thanks to the astronomers Jean Picard and Philippe de La Hire. Johannes Hevelius also performed observations on his own …

During the Maunder Minimum enough sunspots were sighted so that 11-year cycles could be extrapolated from the count. The maxima occurred in 1676, 1684, 1695, 1705 and 1716.

It was not uncommon during this period of the 17th century for winter fairs to be held on a frozen Thames. Not only was the river able to accommodate market stalls but also winter sports.

The term Maunder Minimum

was introduced after John A. Eddy published a landmark 1976 paper in Science titled “The Maunder Minimum”.[1] Astronomers before Eddy had also named the period after the solar astronomer Edward W. Maunder (1851–1928) who studied how sunspot latitudes changed with time.[2] The periods he examined included the second half of the 17th century. Edward Maunder published two papers in 1890 and 1894, and he cited earlier papers written by Gustav Spörer.

During one 30-year period within the Maunder Minimum, Spörer observed less than 50 sunspots, as opposed to a more typical 40,000–50,000 spots in modern times.[3]

Like the Dalton Minimum and Spörer Minimum, the Maunder Minimum coincided with a period of lower-than-average European temperatures.

Corbyn also does US weather maps which show similar systems of what we consider unseasonable cold. In March, Corbyn correctly predicted snow over Easter weekend. From what I read on American sites, some Easter Egg hunts had to be held in the snow this year.

In any event, it appears the cause for our cold weather in northern climes is because of less sun activity, most recently a coronal hole, a picture of which can be seen on Corbyn’s weather page.

This would tie in with what occurred during the Maunder Minimum centuries ago — please note the mention of wood used in Stradivarius instruments:

The Maunder Minimum coincided with the middle—and coldest part—of the Little Ice Age, during which Europe and North America were subjected to bitterly cold winters. A causal connection between low sunspot activity and cold winters has recently been made using data from the NASA’s Solar Radiation and Climate Experiment which shows that solar UV output is more variable over the course of the solar cycle than scientists had previously thought, and a UK scientific team published in the Nature Geoscience journal a link that ties this variability to terrestrial climate impacts in the form of warmer winters in some places and colder winters in others.[4] The winter of 1708–9 was extremely cold.[5]

Some scientists hypothesize that the dense wood used in Stradivarius instruments was caused by slow tree growth during the cooler period. Instrument maker Antonio Stradivari was born a year before the start of the Maunder Minimum.[6]

UPDATE: It snowed in central London on Thursday, April 4, and some of the capital’s suburbs also experienced flurries for much of the day. I mentioned France earlier. The northern part of the country has had the coldest March since records began.  The previous record was set in 1987, then, going back, 1970, 1962 and 1955. In the South, the Cote d’Azur experienced record rainfalls, two to four times greater than normal.  There is no relief in sight, says Météo France, until — possibly — this weekend or early next week.

© Churchmouse and Churchmouse Campanologist, 2009-2020. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Churchmouse and Churchmouse Campanologist with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.
WHAT DOES THIS MEAN? If you wish to borrow, 1) please use the link from the post, 2) give credit to Churchmouse and Churchmouse Campanologist, 3) copy only selected paragraphs from the post — not all of it.
PLAGIARISERS will be named and shamed.
First case: June 2-3, 2011 — resolved

Creative Commons License
Churchmouse Campanologist by Churchmouse is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 UK: England & Wales License.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 1,399 other followers


Calendar of posts - The internets fastest growing blog directory
Powered by WebRing.
This site is a member of WebRing.
To browse visit Here.

Blog Stats

  • 1,567,073 hits