Wednesday, 13 January 2010

What's Welsh for 'Après ski'?

Another exhibit in the gallery of global warming alarmism, I'm afraid. It's an article that really struggles to be news. The gist of it is that we might get glaciers on Snowdon. However, this won't be related to the current cold spell, oh no; rather, it will be down to the Gulf Stream stalling due to global warming. But it's worth pointing this out now because today's cold weather helps us imagine what this might be like. Screw your eyes up a little, tilt your head to one side: see? There'll be lots of ice and snow. That's what cold does. As we can see at the moment.

But the idea of glaciers on Snowdon does stimulate some intriguing thoughts. Whilst on skiing holidays I've occasionally wondered what a Welsh one would be like. Especially when I've been in Austria, for some reason. Could Wales be the new Austria?

Lunch up on the mountain would be cawl (Welsh lamb stew) or toasted cheese (Welsh fondue?). Tea back in the chalet (or perhaps the static down at Llandudno) would be Welsh cakes and bara brith (buttered fruit cake). Dinner: sewin and chips with a few pints of beer. I suppose hip flasks would be charged with Welsh whisky. The evenings would be whiled away singing hymns with Dai, your ski instructor (Dai the Ski?), or perhaps Blodwen, both of whom speak surprisingly good English. After a night of boozing and singing, I think we'll skip the breakfast of cockles and lava bread.

However, this may all remain a dream for the foreseeable future. At the end of the article, a sceptical climatologist (they, too, occasionally get reported) expresses his doubts about this prediction, albeit rather apologetically:
...the variables involved mean that this cannot be cast in stone as absolute fact beyond all reasonable doubt, and as interesting as it sounds, I for one, cannot subscribe to it.


martpol said...

Heh heh. It's a sign of the remarkably high level of agreement between scientists on global warming that that's the most 'sceptical' quote they could come up with.

On your Welsh skiing holiday, an executive version would no doubt feature entertainment from stalwarts like Owen Money and Max Boyce, topped off with a charity auction of trinkets carved from slate, hosted by Roy Noble.

Sean said...

A snowy week in Wales sounds a lot better than a rainy one.

Nope on second thoughts after a week of near house boundedness, I think snow is over rated and I vote for the full 4 degrees, Polar bears belong in zoos anyway.

worm said...

I have also always wondered what the china clay pits in Cornwall (The 'Cornish Alps') would be like as a ski resort

at least in the uk we would be assured of orderly queuing at the lifts, although one shudders to think what the snowchavs would get up to

malty said...

I can see it all now, the Pontycymmer SuperG, won this winter by Jean Claude Evans. The Barry Island X Country, womens event won by Mai-Britt Jenkins. Cardiff only accessible by the use of via ferrata.

Stop press, first chamois sighted in the Brecon Beacons.

A glacier does sort of, kinda, begin to form in the Cairngorms now and then, well not that often really. Which is a pity, glaciers are magic places especially in midwinter when people with little knowledge of survival venture onto them, they are called, I believe, skiers.
"Could you help me please" said the nice young English guide, in the depths of the Geant Icefall, "one of my clients has gone down that crevasse." After 30 mins we reached the bottom of the crevasse and found a skier, shaken but in one piece, muttering to himself in home countyesqe tones. As I started to rope him up the guide said "he's not my client." The search continued....

Anonymous said...

Gaw, surely it would amuse you to see all the young studs of Europe trying to master pick-up lines in Welsh?

The real significance of the transition from "global warming" (the world will get hotter) to "climate change" (maybe hotter, maybe colder, maybe stormier, maybe drier etc.)is that the public will no longer be able to hold scientists to their predictions or test what they say against everyday experience. It's basically a huge professional power play to silence the little people.

Alternatively, they may be right, which is why it's such heady business being a scientist.

martpol said...


"It's basically a huge professional power play to silence the little people."

This seems somewhat conspiratorial. Surely climate change will play out on too long a time-scale for the public to "hold scientists to their predictions", since if we believe the vast majority of them (and why not?), mitigating action has to take place now, not once we've seen whether they're right or not.

Anonymous said...

This seems somewhat conspiratorial.

Yes, but as conspiracy nuts go, I'm a moderate.

The "crisis" is almost thirty years old now and hardly anyone in the world (give or take a few Inuit) notices any significant change in their climate. The doomsday timelines keep getting pushed back (from the 2030-40 of just a few years ago to the current IPCC 2090). Freak warm or hurricane-laden years come and go without any discernible pattern. "By the end of the century" alarmist rhetoric is bandied about with the same putative authority in 2010 as it was in 1990. We're now supposedly in a cold decade, which we are informed is "perfectly consistent" with the science even though no one foresaw or predicted it. Every year is a "last chance" year for remedial action.

One of the climate change shibboleths is what weather is not climate. Sorry, Gaw, but I'm beginning to think climate change models aren't climate either.

malty said...

Loosen up everyone, here's proof, if proof were needed...last week NPower sent us free of charge mark you six low energy light bulbs, doom is on it's way, we are all doomed I tell you.

Anybody booked their summer hols yet?

Gaw said...

Martpol: You really feel him quaking as he puts his head above the parapet can't you? It's funny how skiing casts everything in a more sexy and glamourous light. Except for Max Boyce.

Sean: You need to get yourself some snow shoes.

Worm: Snowchavs - terrifying thought. Mental note: make lift passes prohibitively expensive.

Malty: What a great story! I take it the search was never really concluded?

Peter: The young studs had better watch out! Let's just say pick up lines may be superfluous.

Global warming. Run out of substantive opinions on that one I'm afraid.

Gadjo Dilo said...

Heh, you and Malty should work together on this, I think you're onto something! I fancy that Mai-Britt Jenkins would wear one of those black conical hats instead of the usual ski headgear.

martpol said...

But Peter (and I suppose this should be my last word for now, since this was more of a comic OP): the science has of course moved on hugely in those 30 years. Climatology is bigger, computing power is vastly bigger, climate change is the normal business of the day for thousands of scientists throughout the world. I don't about anyone else, but I'm certainly far more willing to trust whatever 'models' are used to predict the future now than I would have been 20, 10, even 5 years ago.

Gaw said...

Oh sugar! I'm going to have to enter a AGW debate after all (I'm trying to give them up.)

I've done a bit of modeling in a previous incarnation and have very little faith in climate models: the variables are too imponderable.

For an illustration of how even today's computing power and an even greater collection of brainpower than the world's climate scientists can get things totally wrong look at the financial markets and the mis-pricing of US sub-prime.

I came across an interesting comment by Scott Locklin (he's on my blog roll). He pointed out that he'd never come across or heard of any climate scientists applying their modeling methodologies to the financial markets where if they had some purchase they might be expected to make someone a lot of money. Hedge fund operators will do anything to get an edge so this is something of a lacuna and potentially suggestive.

This doesn't however mean I'm not a supporter of moves to address the threat of global warming.