It is known that the British love to talk about the weather, we are renowned for filling conversation with idle chat about clouds, cold, warm, wind and rain. However the mildness that we are all used to is changing and it is because of global warming. We have had the coldest March for 50 years which has resulted in sheep and their dead lambs being pulled out of snow drifts by tearful hill farmers who have been forced to learn avalanche rescue skills in order to save what they can of their livelihoods. The creatures of the wild are also suffering as the early nesting birds like robins, blackbirds and long tailed tits are experiencing the death of their broods before they even have a chance to hatch. This spring cold snap has even been blamed for putting a triple dip recession back on the cards.
Climate experts have now linked this Arctic spell with … the Arctic. To explain why this is we need to have a crash course in northern hemisphere mid-latitude weather patterns. Don’t worry it’s not as bad as it sounds. Our weather is mostly determined by the jet stream which is an air current that circulates the globe over the N. Hemisphere and it is normal for it to zig-zag its way around the globe. These diagonal air currents can bring cold weather southwards of hot weather northwards and this is what gives us variation in our weather. The melting of the Arctic sea ice has led to the zigzag oscillations of the jet stream to become much bigger so bringing colder winds from ever more northerly latitudes.
These exaggerated oscillations are not restricted to cold weather fronts, they can also bring up blistering heat from Saharan latitudes. The outgoing chief scientific advisor to government has warned the world that we should expect more extreme weather as climate change worsens. “The variation we are seeing in temperature or rainfall is double the rate of the average. That suggests that we are going to have more droughts, we are going to have more floods, we are going to have more sea surges and we are going to have more storms.” He pointed out that there was a “need for urgency.”
Now the climatologists are predicting that May will be a heat wave with temperatures hitting +200C for most of the time which certainly seems to fit in with this extreme weather pattern. The Australian climate commission has just released a report outlining their predictions of ‘The Critical Decade’ where heat waves, heavy rain, drought, bushfires, coastal flooding and cyclones are going to become more frequent.
Forget global warming, this is global weirding.