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Hubert Lamb article from 1963


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  • Location: Putney, SW London. A miserable 14m asl....but nevertheless the lucky recipient of c 20cm of snow in 12 hours 1-2 Feb 2009!
  • Location: Putney, SW London. A miserable 14m asl....but nevertheless the lucky recipient of c 20cm of snow in 12 hours 1-2 Feb 2009!

    Another fantastic find, Mr D. His ruminations on the relationship between our climate and arctic ice, wind, sea temps, depression tracks and the like have innumerable present-day resonances.

    The article will, of course, be waved confidently in the air by both sides in the AGW debate. The antis will say, "You see, it's all cyclical, we've been here many times before." The pros will say, "You see, had it not been for man's input we would have had a much greater frequency of long, cold winters in the years after 1963."

    I note that he suggests a common duration of "half a century or so" for the colder periods, and 50 years from 1938 is 1988, which fits well. However it must be accepted that our current era's idea of a period with "immunity from difficult winter conditions" is much, much warmer than 1896-1937: I can't imagine that these days there would be much point in comparing decadally the number of winter months with 15+ days of snow cover in Cambridge.....I'd bet my pension on it continuing to be zero during my remaining lifetime!

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  • Location: West Midlands
  • Location: West Midlands

    Good old HH Lamb!

    I wonder what he meant by "changing our ways a little"? Making snowploughs and erecting lamp-posts in water meadows? He seems to suggest that warming/cooling trends are completely natural cycles, rather than being affected by human activities (other than artificially heating cities).

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  • Location: Near Newton Abbot or east Dartmoor, Devon
  • Location: Near Newton Abbot or east Dartmoor, Devon

    Interesting post, thanks.

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  • Location: just south of Doncaster, Sth Yorks
  • Location: just south of Doncaster, Sth Yorks

    yes another one thanks Mr D, will read that when have some time to settle dow. I always enjoyed talks etc from Hubert, bit over Ice Age orientated but a super bloke, and with a wealth of accumulated knowledge.

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  • Location: Rossland BC Canada
  • Location: Rossland BC Canada

    Probably the greatest climatologist who ever published, Hubert Lamb was entitled to speculate on the basis of his very extensive knowledge of past climates on all time scales. He must have felt vindicated by the number of cold winters in the period 1979-1987 in the U.K., but one might read into his article the fear that this trend would continue. In fact, when winters turned more severe 1976-82 in North America, this became the prevailing theme among climate experts of that period. The ice-free anomaly of 1938 sounds a warning bell to us, because with the events of 2007 so recent in our memory, we can see that a fast reversal of climatic type is possible at such a time. By the winter of 1939-40 both Europe and North America were plunged into a much colder regime (this was more dramatic for Europe as North America had seen severe winters in 1934 and 1936, also the heat wave summers). That regime held up especially in Europe through the winter of 1947 before a partial reversal to a warmer climate period that coincides with Lamb's noted increase in the zonal index 1950-54. Anyway, a fascinating re-read for me, I recall this article from my mis-spent youth (becoming a climatologist, and an unpublished one at that). ;)

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  • Location: Ski Amade / Pongau Region. Somtimes Skipton UK
  • Weather Preferences: Northeasterly Blizzard and sub zero temperatures.
  • Location: Ski Amade / Pongau Region. Somtimes Skipton UK
    yes another one thanks Mr D, will read that when have some time to settle dow. I always enjoyed talks etc from Hubert, bit over Ice Age orientated but a super bloke, and with a wealth of accumulated knowledge.

    Hi,

    Way back in 1964, I was given a book for Christmas called the "English Climate ", I was spellbound by its content and history. If you can find it, read it , it will leave you in awe of the great man. From that read, weather has diven me nuts even since for the past 44 years, probably longer in JHs circumstances !

    C

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  • Location: Broadmayne, West Dorset
  • Weather Preferences: Snowfall in particular but most aspects of weather, hate hot and humid.
  • Location: Broadmayne, West Dorset

    Well done Mr D. Hubert Lamb simply the best. His book 'Climate history and the modern world' is one of the classics of the twentieth century and should be required reading for anyone wanting to take part seriously in any debate on climate change.

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  • Location: just south of Doncaster, Sth Yorks
  • Location: just south of Doncaster, Sth Yorks
    Hi,

    Way back in 1964, I was given a book for Christmas called the "English Climate ", I was spellbound by its content and history. If you can find it, read it , it will leave you in awe of the great man. From that read, weather has diven me nuts even since for the past 44 years, probably longer in JHs circumstances !

    C

    just a touch C, I was over the hill when you were just a lad at MWC!

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