Beech Woods

17 Jun 2016

At ... one and half million pounds, it is alleged, have been used to fund a rather strange story by environmental scientists at the University of Stirling in the southern Highlands of Scotland. They make the bold claim that beech woodland in southern England is actually under threat - from rising temperatures and a more common occurrence of drought. The problem is that their information or point of stat is based on a drought in 1976. My wife was pregnant in that year and I remember it well. I can also remember the government putting in place a scheme to run a pipeline from reservoirs in Wales (which apparently had plenty of water) to SE England and London. I can also remember going on holiday to Wales a few years later and looking at what appeared to be small hills by the side of the road near one of the reservoirs and poking around found they appeared to be caches of pipes covered in grass and weeds. I was informed by a local these had been brought up from England but had never got used. The reason was that just as the politicians got the wind up and thought they had better do something about the fall in rainfall in the winter of 1975 and the spring of 1976 the heavens opened up and it didn't stop raining for months - all through the autumn and winter. A similar drought followed by weeks of rain occurred in 1986. In both instances the average rainfall worked out normal - it was just that it was short in the first half of the year and over the top in the second half of the year.

On that basis this research appears to be skewed - without reading it (just the press release). The drought was short lived. In 2006 we had a similar lack of rain in the first half of the year in southern and eastern England but as soon as the government put a hose pipe ban in place the heavens opened once again - and everybody laughed (mainly at the expense of the Met Office and its mates at the BBC which had forecast a barbecue summer). These are very rare in the UK and it seems a lot of people were looking forward to getting out in their gardens at the weekend but it all went belly up and rain stopped play). To put it crudely, anyone that makes a model that shows drought is becoming more common in southern England is raving bonkers - and neither are beech woods under threat. I spend a considerable amount of time in beech woods and they are thriving. Perhaps the journal in which the expensive study is based explains it all - it is called 'Global Change Biology' (enough said).

To bring a bit of reality into the world you might like to visit ... where Joe Bastardi calls the shots on the global warming exaggeration. It is in a way about the 60 year cycle that climate scientists like to ignore - a 30 year dominance of El Ninos over La Ninas followed by 30 years of La Nina dominance over El Ninos (the 60 years might be extended by a few years and is a rough number). This is a reference for climate and the role of the ocean conveyor belt system, a well known and much hyped factor in the distribution of warm or cool waters from the tropical Pacific into the Indian and Atlantic oceans and eventually petering out in the Arctic ocean with excess heat lifted into space at that location (cold meets warm and warm air rises etc). In the course of the conveyor belt warm water during El Ninos has the capability of melting ice from under the West Antarctic peninsular, which alarmists have used at various times to tell us the ice sheet is melting (when there is no evidence of such in the main body of Antarctica). Anyway, Bastardi's point is that a big La Nina is brewing in the Pacific (in the wake of the big El Nino of 2015 and the spring of 2016). Instead of warm water running through the conveyor belt system we are due for cold water to do exactly the same thing - and that cold water will not dissipate into space. He is forecasting a dip in temperatures later this year - for the next two years (somewhat the opposite of the El Nino of 2015).