At the End of the Day

 Fruit, wind, and El Nino bollocks

It’s all a bit fecund here at the moment. When it comes to soft fruit, with the laudable exceptions of cherries and blackberries, ripeness tends to happen all at once. Prunes, mirabelles, greengages and damsons have all (as usual) reached deliciously sweet readiness in the last few days.

But still, it remains true that with deciduous fruit and grapes, every year is different. The apple and pear crop here this year is very poor – in terms of both quality and quantity – and for the first time ever, the Quinces are sparse on both my trees. (Typical innit? The first year after I find a retailer who wants my organic quinces, they bloody fail.)

Nevertheless, the two vines at Sloggers’ Roost (for table grapes, not wine) have produced, after a poor start, huge bunches comprising large fruit bursting with moelleux flavour.


One has differing Winters and Springs, but I cannot remember a triad of seasons like the last three in south west France.

Winter was mild and very long, Spring was cold, wet and tedious – and now Summer has been both dry and cool. Normally, after early July the Lot benefits from prevailing south-easterly winds that bring hot weather from North Africa, and a large dollop of Saharan sand for your car on the odd occasions when it rains.

But not this year. During May and June, the wind came entirely from the north west. For the last few weeks, the direction has been steadfastly north east. I’m not complaining: the temperatures of 25-27°C coupled with cooling breezes have made July and August an idyllic climate under which the farmers predictably moan, but Brit residents thrive.

However, the whole thing feels very odd. Long hours of relatively mild sun with drying winds have created a smashing tan (obtained effortlessly) for me – but huge cracks in the garden ground, the like of which I have never previously experienced. We’ve had a fly epidemic of biblical proportions, and grass turning brown as if the temperatures might have been 40 rather than 26.

The fashionable culprit is El Nino, but I’m not sure I buy into that totally. For a kick-off, the definition of El Nino is, at best, fuzzy. This one is representative of the genre:

‘El Nino occurs when temperatures in the Pacific Ocean rise due to a change in the normal wind direction, which causes extreme weather patterns across the world. While it is a naturally occurring event, scientists believe that greenhouse gases and subsequent global warming are intensifying its effects’

Trust me, I wouldn’t want to base a business on this kind of fluffy information. Consider:

  • Why does the normal wind direction change, and
  • Why do Pacific ocean  temperatures suddenly decide to rise because of it?
  • What TF do greenhouse gases have to do with it?
  • Why does all this produce ‘extreme weather patterns across the world’

To that list I could also add:

  • Why in October 2015 did almost every climate “expert” predict a deep, cold winter for southern Europe ‘because of’ El Nino, when the exact opposite happened?
  • Why has the French Meteo – normally very reliable – been unable to predict anything of any value for much of 2016?

I have posted many times to say how dysfunctional the entire climate/weather/CO2/warming/cooling/sea levels “debate” is. Not only do I not understand the so-called science involved; I flatly refuse to accept that anyone can really put together a track-record to show that he or she has Got It Right consistently.

All I can say is that, as an empiricist, it raises the following hypotheses in my brain:

  1. Someone is dicking around with the weather.
  2. Nobody is dicking around with the weather.
  3. It’s all Homo sapiens’ fault.
  4. Homo sapiens has fuck all to do with any of it.
  5. El Nino is a Mexican bandit who steals from the rich and gives to the poor.
  6. El Nino works for Goldman Sachs & supplies Blankfein with the kind of weather forecasts Vladimir Putin would die to have.

Sleep well.


Earlier at The Slog: Why Brexit may never happen

12 thoughts on “At the End of the Day

  1. El Nino has ended and the oceans are cooling. “In its monthly update Thursday, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said the El Niño has ended, 15 months after its birth in March 2015. El Niño is a natural warming of parts of the central Pacific that changes weather worldwide.”

    At the same time sun spot activity is at its lowest for 200 years. “The current level of activity of solar cycle 24 (SC24) seems close to that of solar cycle number 5, which occurred beginning in May 1798 and ending in December 1810 (thus falling within the Dalton Minimum).”

    “Although sunspots themselves produce only minor effects on solar emissions, the magnetic activity that accompanies the sunspots can produce dramatic changes in the ultraviolet and soft x-ray emission levels. These changes over the solar cycle have important consequences for the Earth’s upper atmosphere.” The last “little ice-age” was caused, they think, by low sunspot activity.

    So we are going through a period of change which will affect the weather. In your part of the world leading to changes in ground condition, temperature wind direction and fruit production. In Devon the crab apples are struggling and it’s been very dry for 6 weeks!

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  2. Also for the first time ever, the jet streams are running north to south, previously they have only run east to west, some are saying that this phenomenon will have a dramatic effect on the weather and things might never be the same again. We shall see.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. @kfc: Are you trying to put the wind up me!?

    Found this thread on Anthony Watts’ website re the increase in CO2 from 280 parts per million to 400ppm….

    “So, since c. AD 1900, Earth’s atmosphere has gone from, by parts per 10,000 of dry air, 7809 parts nitrogen, 2096 oxygen, 93 argon and three carbon dioxide molecules, plus small amounts of other gases, to 2095 O2 and four CO2 today…..

    The horror!”

    John, clearly your quinces, apple and pear trees have joined the IPCC and have rejected the notion that CO2 (plant food) is good for them…..

    Liked by 1 person

  4. @StephenR – Glad to see you follow the very informative and often amusing WUWT! Should the forecast decrease in sunspot activity have the anticipated effect of introducing a new mini ice age, there will be a lot of egg on certain faces that I for one, can’t wait to see. Although I hate the cold, it might be worth it…..

    @kfc – the earth is supposed to have shifted on its axis recently, suggesting the possibility that various weather patterns would also shift, not to mention climatic belts.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. El Nino, the little boy or the Christ Child, is an ocean-atmosphere interaction. La Nina, the little girl, & El Nino are defined as sea surface temperature anomalies of more than 0.5 Deg C across the central Pacific Ocean for more than 5 months. El Nino lasts 1 – 2 years. Pacific, Indian & Atlantic oceans are affected.

    Occurring on a 3 – 8 year periodicity for the last 20,000 years, no way can it be attributed to a rise in man-made CO2, which can theoretically only be affecting weather/climate since about 1950.

    Warm water replaces normally cold water in the eastern Pacific, affecting rainfall in Ecuador, Peruvian fisheries, drought in Brazil, & Australia, the Monsoon in India, the trade winds & sea levels. The El Nino Southern Oscillation phenomenon is a see-saw wave effect that extends across the globe. The frequency of El Nino events has not changed in at least 400 years.

    The high temperatures of 1998 were an El Nino event, not an effect of human CO2.
    Oceans contain 22 times more heat than than the atmosphere, so change in ocean currents drives change in atmospheric temperature. Those creating alarm tell us the opposite; that a warming atmosphere is warming the oceans.

    The cause is likely to be seismic activity in the East Pacific Rise releasing hot magma, molten rock.
    Some 85% of the world’s volcanoes are submarine,unseen, non explosive and ignored by the IPCC, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which is a political/bureaucratic animal posing as a scientific body, following its mandate to show a human effect on climate.

    The mid-ocean ridge submarine volcanic chains are 64,000 km long, releasing each year at least 100 cubic kilometres of lava, with thousands of submarine vents exhaling hot water at up to 420 Deg C. The heat energy released is monstrous.
    Mid ocean ridge earthquake swarms immediately precede El Nino events which suggests not only a correlation but also causation.

    Some astronomers have demonstrated a relationship between solar activity & these earthquake swarms.

    Book: Heaven and Earth, global warming: the missing science, by Geology professor Ian Plimer.
    A terrific read.

    Book: The Deliberate Corruption of Climate Science by Dr. Tim Ball. drtimball.com
    The Corrupt IPCC organisation plus real climate science.

    John Doran.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Don’t buy the sunspot minimum bit at the moment. See ‘spaceweather.com’ for all the statistics of the present cycle. Wolf no. was 70 yesterday: a normal reading as the sun heads to a minimum in the 11 year cycle.

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  7. One question that I can’t get an answer to from all climate change supporters is this. If we all accepted their hypothesis of AGW and spend trillions of dollars to reduce the average global temperature by the proposed 2-3c over this century, what happens when we go into the next ice age, mini or otherwise? We are in an inter-glacial period and at some point in the future will be in another ice age. So what do we do then? Spend trillions of dollars ‘warming’ up the Earth again? Increase CO2 emissions, use loads of fossil fuels (assuming there are any left), change all the electric cars back to petrol and diesel etc?

    Humans have always done better, in fact thrived, in warmer weather. The next ice age will have a far greater effect than any amount of warming of the Earth. In particular it will hit modern industrial food production very hard. Most crops in the northern hemisphere may not be viable. It takes a considerable length of time to move production further South to a suitable climate to grow things like wheat which the human race relies on to such a great extent. And humans will also tend to migrate to warmer climes. So all these migrants from Africa and the Middle East may find themselves heading home again when Northern Europe becomes even colder than it is today.

    The average global temp is around 14-15c. Even a 3 degree increase (that we are all supposed to panic about) only takes it to around 18c. If ‘they’ are successful (which I don’t believe is even possible) in reducing the average to 12c it sure is going to bloody cold in many parts of the world eventually and will get even more so once we go into the next ice age. ABATO

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  8. Mr Ward

    Whilst I wouldn’t pretend to be a ‘climate guru’, I am an expert at dismantling false arguments about climate.

    However, in the case of El Nino, it is probably the best studied global climate phenomenon on earth. Forget all the BS about greenhouse gases, where el Nino/La Nina is concerned, what ENSO (El Nino Southern Oscillation) is about is climate cyclicality on a multi-year timescale.

    The reason why it affects the whole world isn’t truly known. But the evidence is most cogent that various places see major effects of el Nino on their climate: a list would include California, NE Brazil (the city of Recife being the poster girl there), Australia, East Africa and, in my experience, Europe as well. The el Nino records go back a long way – a few centuries at least, so people have a pretty good dataset to conclude that the oscillation is real, it occurs reasonably predictably without being an exact beat of time and the effects, whilst not exactly the same with each episode in affected areas, can genuinely be badged in the ‘definitely an effect but we still don’t understand it fully’ filing cabinet of things to factor in when being an organic farmer.

    One likely reason for global spread will be the effect that warmer tropical waters have on trade winds and storm cloud formation.

    There are, however, quite a few other oscillations which climate hacks look at but which are not so well known to the general public because the media is too lazy to write about them. They include:

    1. The Pacific Decadal Oscillation – a poorly understood phenomenon which affects the relative frequency of el Nino vs la Nina events over a period or 35 – 70 years (two phases over around 70 years, with one giving more el Ninos and one more la Ninas).
    2. The Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation – another oscillation like the PDO, centred on Atlantic Waters, being about 10 – 15 years out of synch with the PDO and affecting European weather on a decadal timescale.
    3. The North Atlantic Oscillation and the Arctic Oscillation – these can affect winter weather in Western Europe in ways not well understood but can determine whether a winter will be mild or snowy/cold.
    4. The Madden Julian Oscillation – this very little known climate feature measures a pool of water called the ‘Indo-Pacific Warm Pool’ and this has effects on the strengths of monsoon rains, with obvious effects to the Asian subcontinent……

    There are probably oscillatory patterns in the Antarctic too, but no-one has talked about them, not to mention the Southern Atlantic as well.

    Your climate in France is mirrored by what has happened in SE England – exactly the same three seasons. We also have poor apples this year, despite huge thinning of last years bumper crop. If you had a huge crop last year, you may have triggered your trees to go into biennial mode, whereby the tree ‘recovers’ from a heavy fruit season by having a lighter load the next. Alternatively, it may be that your trees fruit best when there have been plenty of frosts in the winter….

    Due to the mild winter, this year’s slugs have been by far the worst, but only got going in June. Using fleece etc, we had excellent spring crops, but things planted out for eating in June and July were absolutely decimated.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Temperature now in the Middle East are close to the limits of human endurance.
    El Niño years are getting hotter every cycle, as are El Nina years, as are neutral years.
    CO2 molecules “trap” heat in the the atmosphere (refer to how IR detectors find CO2 leaks).
    Arctic sea ice volume has plummeted from its long term historic norm.
    Greenland and the Antarctic are losing mass ice volume at ever increasing rates.
    Climate zones are shifting pole-wards.
    There has not been a global record-cold month for years.
    2016 is set to be the hottest year ever recorded globally, beating 2015 which was hotter than 2014 etc. etc.
    A 40% rise in CO2 levels is not trivial, regardless of how many ppm the number represents; try ingesting a similar level of arsenic in water and see how long you live…
    Permafrost, stable for thousands of years, is bubbling methane as it starts to melt.
    CO2 is not the only plant food, try baking a cake with extra flour but the same amount of eggs and butter, it doesn’t work.
    WUWT is a mish-mash of contradictory mis-information (it’s the sun, it’s the oceans, it’s natural variation, all measurements from hundreds of thousands of sources are faked, it’s anything but humans); try HotWhopper or RealClimate or SkepticalScience instead.

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