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Snowfall in Britain over the past 300 years

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This article is an abridged form of the paper read before the Royal Meteorological Society on 6 March as the Margary Lecture for 1968

 

A great deal of needless romance has long been attached in Britain to the subject of snow. Our forefathers' memories must be discounted, for within four generations much of the population of these islands has moved downhill, southward, or into the larger towns where snow gives less trouble. When about 1929 I began working on the Pennines from Durham, and also skiing, I soon learnt to distrust the exaggerated stories, bad reporting and general lack of knowledge, and I set out to rationalise the available data. These were later discussed and mapped (Manley 1939, 1940, 1944 and 1947).

 

http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/j.1477-8696.1969.tb03117.x/pdf

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Very interesting indeed. One wonders what Gordon Manley would have made of the rapid reduction of snowfall in the UK (especially at sea level) in recent decades. Certainly here in the 1981-2010 period we're down to around 6-7 days of lying snow at 0900 on average per year now, a reduction of 50% from the 12 days expected in the 1961-1990 period.

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The mention of 14ft snow drifts at St. Just in 1954 has jogged my memory a little. I was at Falmouth Grammar school at that time and I remember an occasion when very heavy snow set in one afternoon. Must do a bit of digging in the local papers. So to speak.

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