Doomed Planet

Climate ‘science’: In vino veritas

Not so long ago, I was watching a television climate “expert” talking, as they all do, about “unprecedented warming.” As proof of this he stood, arms outstretched, in one of the vineyards springing up across southern Britain. Look, everyone, the temperatures have risen so much that it is now possible to have vineyards and a wine industry in Britain! This is — that word again — unprecedented, he assured us.

I was underwhelmed, scepticism directing my mind to consider the many and various items of documented evidence that demolish his claim as surely and thoroughly as did Phylloxera vitifoliae ravaged the Old World’s vineyards.

In earlier times I had been interested in numismatics — coin collecting, if you prefer — and I recalled reading of a British tribe, the Atrebates, who occupied Kent (perhaps the very spot from which our “expert” was expounding) in pre-Roman Britain and produced one of the first coins ever minted there. A gold stater, it predates the Claudian invasion and features Verica, King of the Atrebates, in equestrian pose on one side and a vine leaf on the obverse.

As the climate-change spruiker droned on (and on and on and on) about his “unprecedented warming”,  I wondered why this this pre-Roman coin was not prima facie evidence that vine growing in Britain was possible even before the Romans arrived in 43 AD?  In what sense, then, is the expanding of modern vineyards in Kent “unprecedented” if it was warm enough for the Celtic Britons to grow grapes 2000 years ago?

As the alarmist tosh on the television continued, my mind wandered yet again into the past and to the Venerable Bede, whose his quill-and-parchment best-seller, The Ecclesiastical History of the English Nation, dates to around 731 AD. In his opening chapter, Bede sets the scene for his magnum opus with a listing of Anglo-Saxon England’s agricultural products. Along with his  description of eel farming we find

[England] also produces vines in some places, and has plenty of land and waterfowls of several sorts; it is remarkable also for rivers abounding in fish, and plentiful springs.

Seems that the news of vineyards in Anglo-Saxon England, circa 731AD, had reached Bede even way north in Northumbria. Is this another example of yet one more period of “unprecedented warming”? As the alarmist beat his catastropharian drum and enumerated the horrors to come on a fevered planet my mind wandered even further. What of the the Norman Conquest and the Domesday Book, compiled around 1085, might that have light to shed? In that chronicle of taxable agricultural assets drawn up at the request of William The Conqueror  I found this:

…Vineyards are recorded at 45 places in Domesday Book, 32 of these in Great Domesday, all in south-eastern England. All these vineyards were in the hands of Normans or the great abbeys…

…There were probably more vineyards in existence in 1086 than Domesday records. By the early twelfth century vines were certainly cultivated where none are mentioned in Domesday. Henry of Huntingdon, for instance, claims that Winchester ‘was rich in wine’, and William of Malmesbury that the wine of the vale of Gloucester was ‘abundant and of good quality’

As the TV climate evangelist persisted with his “unprecedented warming”, I moved on to consider the monastic records of Britain dating up to Tudor times and the dissolution of the monasteries by Henry VIII in 1540.  These accounts suggest monks were tending vineyards and making wine as far north as Yorkshire and the Scottish border country.  Perhaps men of the cloth were favoured by God with an unprecedented climatic dispensation because the monasteries in central Russia, Norway, and southern Germany were also sustaining wine production.

It would appear the mercury still has some way to go before temperatures reach the “unprecedented warming” of the Middle Ages. Here I was reminded of an old Flanders and Swann song, In the Desert:

In the desert
A camel is approaching
Another camel is approaching
A third camel is approaching
A fourth camel is approaching
A fifth, sixth, seventh, eighth, ninth, tenth camel

… until the entire horizon was full of what the TV climate guru would no doubt call “unprecedented” solitary camels.

It would appear from the climate record that the chilly period from around 1600 to 1800 was an anomalous stretch in the two thousand year history of England. This was the period time when grapes could not be grown, the Thames froze and English tastes switched by necessity from wine to beer. Is it possible that climate “experts” are so ignorant of the historical climate record they have never come across these freely available historical references? Or is that they have found it convenient not to look and would prefer their audiences did not either? A textbook detailing the historical climate record published by old school climate scientist, Professor Hubert Lamb, founder of East Anglia’s Climatic Research Unit,  source of the Climategate emails,  must have been standard reading for today’s climate “experts” during their university days, but they don’t appear to have been too diligent with their homework. Maybe they were outside enjoying the warmer weather during that lecture and missed the page reproduced atop this article?

Roman Britain and the Atrebates … The Venerable Bede and the Saxon Chronicles … William the Conqueror and the Domesday Book … Henry VIII and the Dissolution of the Monasteries — each and every one recording an “unprecedented” moment, but only if you are sufficiently incurious, gullible or, be be blunt, sufficiently stupid to take careerist climate shills at their word.

Here I have looked at vineyards in southern Britain as a bogus proxy for “unprecedented warming”. But I suspect one could take any of the modern proxies and find that few stand up to scrutiny against the documented historical record. It is passing strange that a literate society, which has made two thousand years of documentation no harder to access than the effort involved in clicking a mouse, chooses not only to ignore such an invaluable storehouse of knowledge but to energetically manufacture an entirely illusory past. Sadly, like some pre-literate society mired in superstition and ignorance, we now appear to place more value on living memory, anecdote, manufactured history and the lies of snake oil “scientists” than the evidence so readily available.

We live in strange times. Indeed, we might almost say this age of fostered ignorance is genuinely unprecedented.

19 thoughts on “Climate ‘science’: In vino veritas

  • Tony Tea says:

    Another TV expert should have spread his arms and said Cromwell died of malaria, which suggests the temperature in the 1650s was hot enough to support mozzies.

  • rod.stuart says:

    When will we reach Peak Stupid? Are we there yet?

  • Biggles says:

    Tony Tea – Mozzies are found as far north as Archangel on the north coast of Russia. I was very disapointed when, years ago, Dr. Gus Nossal said on TV that global warming would increase the range of the little beasties, In Russia, they have gone about as far as they can go!

  • pgang says:

    That coin is fascinating. The popular myth is that the Britons were more or less druid-potioning savages before the Romans came, with a penchant for placing rocks in circles. In other words, no history worth knowing, in line with the evolutionary meme.
    But minted coins and kings on horseback? What the…..? This is something I’ve never heard of before.

  • ianl says:

    Keith Briffa (died 2017), Uni of East Anglia, was resident guru on the Medieval Warm Period.
    Despite several run-ins with one Michael Mann on exactly this topic (see Climategate emails), he (Briffa) persisted with using historical truth as well as the range of dendroclimatology evidence being collected. Briffa often questioned the deliberate downgrading of written records such as listed in this informative article but appeared not strong enough to counter the Manns of this world effectively.

  • Tony Tea says:

    Biggles – typical Russians; always seeking a head start.

  • T B LYNCH says:

    Mars has twenty times as much carbon dioxide in its atmosphere as Earth, with a negligible effect on surface temperature. [Mars 800 versus Earth 40 pascals].

  • pgang says:

    T B Lynch I don’t think the argument is relevant. Two very different environments, with very different masses, at very different distances from the sun.
    Also I think the figures refer to partial pressure, not actual ‘amounts’.
    Anyway, back to an interesting topic; that coin…

  • Alice Thermopolis says:

    In vino veritas indeed, for one product of the Little Ice Age was “champagne”. At first they tried to remove the bubbles caused by cooler weather slowing fermentation. Later, under pressure from English wine-makers, the French aristocracy did a volte-face and wanted MORE – not LESS – bubbles.

    During the fifteenth century, there was “a dramatic drop in the air temperature of Europe occurred, that totally upset the viticulture industry.. Normally, during the summer months, the grape juice sugar transforms into alcohol due to yeast present in the mix. During the Little Ice Age, the colder temperatures in the Champagne region drastically reduced the chemical formation of alcohol. Fermentation in the barrels was thus delayed until the following Spring. However, the first very short fermentation combined with the second much longer one created an excess of carbon dioxide that remained trapped, creating a slight effervescence…Champagne was born!”

    “French aristocracy took this new effervescence as the sign of a poor vinification. It abandoned the beverage and turned to Bourgogne wines.” In 1668, the Catholic Church sent a monk named Dom Pierre Pérignon to the Champagne region to solve the problem as the Church had “vested interests” there. He tried in vain to remove the bubbles.

    But God works in many strange ways. “Under the reign of Louis XIV, the French nobility decided to follow a fashion that was spreading very quickly in England and try champagne again. Dom Pérignon changed his tactics. He now worked to have MORE bubbles in the wine.” The King and Co had changed their tastes and here we are today.

  • Biggles says:

    Alice Thermopolis – O/T: In the past you have queried how it is possible to measure the temperature of the whole Earth. This clip from Tony Heller sheds light on the subject:

  • T B LYNCH says:

    Pgang: correct: as you say: “I don’t think”.

  • Alice Thermopolis says:

    Thanks Biggles. Shall check it out.
    Right now I am on the same side as Professors Glaever (below) and Essex, who see it as a statistical artefact, and atmospheric physicist, John Reid (see his Blackjay blog).

    “The evidence of global warming is incontrovertible? The claim – how can you measure the average temperature of the whole earth for a whole year? – is that the temperature has changed from approximately 288.0 to approximately 288.8 degree Kelvin (14.85 to 15.65 Celsius) in about 150 years, which (if true) means to me is that the temperature has been amazingly stable, and both human health and happiness have definitely improved in this ‘warming’ period. ”
    I Glaever, Nobel Laureate, September, 2011)

  • Alice Thermopolis says:

    Thanks again Biggles. Impressive expose by Tony Heller.
    Examine any complex natural phenomena in a state of constant change – and eureka! – one discovers it’s changing.
    As Victor Frankenstein said while climbing the (shrinking, I think) Montanvert glacier in 1818: “We are but clouds that veil the midnight moon, nought may endure but Mutability”.
    Frankie got it in one. But a deep anthropocentric yearning for climate ‘stability’ still persists today, a reluctance to acknowledge its changing and unpredictable character.
    We live on a dynamic planet. Terra firma is actually a wobbling and spinning sphere with a liquid outer core moving through space at a combined speed of 113, 277 kilometres an hour (for a person sitting in a chair on the equator); and travelling 940 million kilometres in its annual orbit of the Sun.
    Changes in the Earth’s orbit contributed to the accumulation of two-plus kilometres of ice over much of North America and Siberia 12,000 years ago, mammoth skeletons near Mexico City, and so on.
    Our globalists – many at Davos this week -, bless them, have put their/our $$$ on the Goldilocks principle – one of the great cons of pseudo-science – the notion that a climate future just right for everyone everywhere is somehow achievable; only they can control the planet’s thermostat.

    As for model ensembles, their ability to “predict” the “probability distribution of the system’s future possible states” is about as good as a Roman haruspex with animal entrails, they do keep a lot of mathematical types in gainful employment. Some climate scientists – like Zurich-based Reno Knutti below – publicly admit model flaws and uncertainties (aka ‘challenges’), but it makes no difference to The Science is Settled alarmists.

    “It is common that more research uncovers a picture that is more complicated; thus, uncertainty can grow with time…..Judging the potential success of such a project is speculative, and it may simply take a long time to succeed. However, if the past is a guide to the future then uncertainties in climate change are unlikely to decrease quickly, and may even grow temporarily….It is likely that impact-relevant predictions, for example of extreme weather events, may be even harder to improve.” (Knutti, 2012, page 5)

  • T B LYNCH says:

    prang: a detailed reply: I operated my own laboratory for 35 years. I measured carbon dioxide 1,000,000 times. I used the logarithmic law of electromagnetic absorption 100,000,000 times to measure other molecules. I made the Scientific Breakthrough of the Year for 1996. I trained hundreds of scientists, all externally examined. I used the laws of wet and dry adiabatic expansion of gases to operate my own airline for a quarter century.
    The gravity on Mars is half that on Earth. Accordingly there is forty times as much carbon dioxide per unit area on Mars as on Earth. Carbon dioxide has a negligible effect on the gas solid interface temperature of Mars.

  • lhackett01 says:

    Vines are but one example demonstrating the limited views of many climate activists. The Earth’s climate has changed extremely over geological timescales, none impacted by mankind who did not exist during those times. Read my paper at, Climate Change Misunderstood” to see evidence that present climate changes are not unprecedented.

  • John-Tassie says:

    Maybe the levels of carbon dioxide Mars vs Earth indicate that water is the major greenhouse gas on Earth?

  • PT says:

    Yes John-Tassie, water vapour is definitely the main greenhouse gas on earth.

  • Biggles says:

    T B Lynch – Surely you are pulling our legs. Thirty-five years x 48 weeks x 6 days per week x 10 hours per day is about 100,000. You must have been conducting CO2 tests at the rate of ten per hour. That and using the law of electromagnetic absorption one hundred million times must have almost worked you to death!

  • pgang says:

    T B Lynch – yeh, but what about that coin?

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