It was going to be the coldest winter for a hundred years – according to one Piers Corbyn, favoured weather forecaster to the climate change denial lobby. And December 2010 was indeed a very cold month, with a temperature anomaly – that is, variation from the long term average – significantly negative.
But January, although it brought another negative anomaly, was only slightly colder than average, and February was significantly milder. The result? An overall negative temperature anomaly of 1.3 Celsius. So the winter of 2010-11 was colder than average, but not as cold as 2009-10, and only the fifteenth coldest since 1910.
Oh dear, Piers, not the coldest for a hundred years after all. But Corbyn is by no means down and out in Borough High Street: he now infers that it was just December that was going to be that cold. He also predicted more icy weather at the end of January 2011, and this too failed to materialise.
But didn’t Corbyn predict other weather events correctly? Well, back in September 2008 he was telling of “damaging deluges and floods” in the second half of that month. And there were indeed floods in September 2008. But Corbyn made his prediction in a letter dated 11 September, and the floods came on the fifth and sixth of the month.
And Corbyn’s apocalyptic forecast for December 2010 – the one he got largely right – was made on November 29, when the cold snap had already started. A “winter high” pressure area always has the potential to be stubbornly slow moving, so it wasn’t such a difficult call to make. Tellingly, Corbyn has thus far made no comment on the failure of the winter to live up to his warnings.
I don’t expect the remainder of the denial lobby to be making much in the way of comment, either. It will be interesting to see what occasional London Mayor and regular collector of “chicken feed” from the Maily Telegraph Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson makes of this: after all, he devoted a column to praising Corbyn last December.
Bozza told his readers that Corbyn “seems to get it right about 85 per cent of the time”, which may be a little optimistic, but to be fair also mused “Of course, he may be just a fluke-artist”.Johnson may wish to think thus. I couldn’t possibly comment.