Our weather here in the UK is renowned for being unpredictable at the best of times, but you will have probably noticed that our seasons seem to be gradually changing…
Last year was record breaking for weird weather in the UK - we had tremendous storms and floods; we had snow in March/April as well as a small heatwave in April (but spring came three weeks early); we had temperatures of up to 35 degrees in the summer; and we had a late winter start. Our summers are getting hotter, with 2019 predicted by the Met Office to be the hottest on record yet. The birds are migrating earlier, plants coming into bloom earlier, and mountain snows are melting earlier.
The shifting of the seasons can be directly linked to warmer global temperatures. The spring thaw can be pushed earlier by a slight change in temperature and as well as the first frost being delayed.
We are being told by researchers that we need to keep world temperature rises below 1.5C. If it goes much above that, we would be looking at some important and dangerous changes to our planet, for example:
Loss of our coral reefs
The sea level rising, exposing more people to the risk of flooding and more frequent heavy rain storms - and also have a detrimental effect on our wildlife
Temperatures becoming hotter - and these changes would also have an impact on agriculture
The Gulf Stream helps keep the UK warm and is the reason that we have fairly mild winters in the UK. But with ice melting at the poles due to global warming, fresh freezing water will be entering the Gulf Stream which will affect our weather.
40% of CO2 emissions in the UK are caused by individuals mainly by driving, energy used in the home, and air travel. According to scientists, here’s what we can do to help:
If you’re only going a short distance, walk or cycle instead of driving – it will have the added value of keeping you fit! – and take buses and/or trains for longer distances. Or you could always car share – or drive an electric car.
Hang your washing outside instead of using your tumble dryer – you’ll save a bit of money, too.
Insulate your home to stop the heat escaping, and you will also spend less on gas and electricity.
Buy low carbon products wherever you can.
Also, buy more locally sourced seasonal food and buy less meat, milk, butter and cheese – and throw less of it away.
With summer being hotter and lasting longer, winter starting later and being warmer, and spring starting earlier, it has been suggested by researchers that our current four seasons might eventually turn into three, i.e. spring, summer and autumn - an interesting hypothesis…
Written by Leslie Chetland
30th January 2019