Freezing February in Europe but Arctic ice at record low

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.


About grasslandstrust

The Grasslands Trust is the only national UK charity that focuses entirely on saving grasslands that are valuable because they are rich in wildlife, history, or for other reasons.
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10 Responses to Freezing February in Europe but Arctic ice at record low

  1. annewareham says:

    Please don’t use the term ‘deniers’ – it is really unpleasant and unnecessary. As you indicate yourself certainty doesn’t exist in our current knowledge of weather and climate.

    • milesking says:

      What term would you use Anne? This is the man who tweeted “Just walked the dog around the village and watched the folk scraping the global warming off their windscreens”. Obviously he isn’t aware of what’s happening in the Arctic at the moment.

      There is a broad consensus across the scientific world that climate change is happening and a significant element of it is human-induced. At the moment we don’t know exactly what the impact on our weather or local climate will be, but I expect we will find out in the coming decades.

      • annewareham says:

        Something that doesn’t associate sceptics with the Nazis? Can’t be too difficult….

      • milesking says:

        that’s a bit of a leap Anne. How do you get from deniers to nazis?

      • annewareham says:

        Think you may need to check the origin of the term ‘denier’.. – comes from historians who denied the existent of the Holocaust. Its introduction into the climate discussion speaks for itself I think.


      • milesking says:

        ok now I understand. Yes of course it would be inappropriate to compare holocaust denial with climate change denial.

        I was thinking about using Climate-Change Flat-Earthers instead. That has fewer political connotations.

      • annewareham says:

        It is less contemptuous and unpleasant but not sure why they need a derogatory name at all? Why be rude?

      • milesking says:

        I wasn’t intending to be rude Anne, but actually a little light hearted – sorry if it came across as rude; I quite like the analogy between flat earth and climate change.

        But let’s be honest – there is a concerted campaign in the media (a campaign paid by organisations and individuals with vested interests and exceedingly deep pockets) and elsewhere to rubbish the concept of human-induced climate change. Indeed, as we are seeing, “the environment” in a more general sense (including wildlife) is being pilloried as a hindrance to growth, as a brake on development – as the Chancellor said in his autumn statement and at the Tory party conference, when he ridiculed work conserving dormice and bats.

        And every time someone like Roger Helmer makes some remark in the media about global warming being a conspiracy or a myth, this drip drip corrosion affects people’s perception of the issue and what needs to be done about it. It’s a highly effective campaign and is undoubtedly working as the statistics on people’s attitudes towards the issues show. Unfortunately it doesn’t change the science.

      • annewareham says:

        Ah – science? I don’t want to debate this with you at all. This is it!
        “A scientific theory is empirical, and is always open to falsification if new evidence is presented. That is, no theory is ever considered strictly certain as science accepts the concept of fallibilism. The philosopher of science Karl Popper sharply distinguishes truth from certainty. He writes that scientific knowledge “consists in the search for truth”, but it “is not the search for certainty … All human knowledge is fallible and therefore uncertain.”


      • milesking says:

        let’s not debate it then.

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