It’s a digression from grasslands today – to the weather!
While we endure a very short cold spell of weather here in Britain (it has snowed overnight in Dorchester), it’s worth remembering that we have had a remarkably warm and dry winter up to this point. Indeed the drought conditions are persisting and we may be heading for a one hundred year drought across large areas of England. Buy you rainwater butts now.
Continental Europe had a similar experience with warm conditions conrtinuing up to Christmas, though is now shivering in incredibly cold temperatures and very heavy snow – it will be interesting to see how this winter ranks overall.
Climate Change deniers such as Roger Helmer MEP will no doubt point to the cold weather in Europe as proof of the Climate Change conspiracy.
But there’s an interesting counterpoint to Europe’s freezing February – what’s happening in the Arctic? Well yesterday saw the Arctic Ocean’s record low ice cover for this time of year, in the entire satellite era going back to 1979 – here’s an excellent website where you can look at all the data (the new interactive chart is particularly good if you’re a weather geek like me).
Normally Arctic sea ice would be climbing up to its annual maximum at the end of February. This year has seen a swathe of the Arctic ocean from Greenland to Siberia failing to freeze over.
Why does this matter? Because, as we have seen this winter, the weather in the Arctic and Europe are inextricably linked and an ice free Arctic will have consequences for Europe’s weather – we just don’t know exactly what they are.