Descendants usually praise their ancestors: ours are likely to curse us

It is unseasonably warm in London; I suppose that it is sod’s law that we get a warm winter when energy prices are falling. This illustrates the difficulty that policy makers have when they deal with two key and interlinked areas of policy – energy and climate change.

The warm winter and the record rainfall in parts of Britain are linked to climate change; we do not know enough to be able to claim a direct causal link,  but with 2105 likely to be the warmest year on record, thin Arctic sea ice in winter, and unusual weather events are all classic precursors of climate change, according to climatologists.

It is not our problem today (apart from those affected by these events) but is likely to be the problem that our descendants have to deal with in practical terms. They will look at the talking done at meetings like the Paris Climate Change Conference which results in opportunistic money grabs by some nations and a new improved target of holding back temperature rises to half a degree less than the previous target, and wonder about our intelligence and wonder at our greed.

Descendants usually praise their ancestors: ours are likely to curse us.

The First Day of February

I am glad that today is the first day of February, forty one days after the shortest day in these latitudes. It has not yet been a very bitter winter, just a cold and dark one, and when the sun did shine it shined low in the horizon filling our eyes with spite. Soon the sun will bathe us and the Spring will come, soon, very soon.

Power in Winter

I cannot but enjoy this autumn in London. the temperatures are hot and there is none of the equinoctial wind which blows London dust into my eyes this time of year.  I expect it will end soon, and this warm October will give way to a cold November, which will start to freeze the tips of my fingers and pour cold dust into my lungs, to join the accumulation of much other dust.  Continue reading

September Ends

This September, 2014, has been a very dry September in London and in most of the United Kingdom. The grass is still firm enough for cricket, and the days are warm and pleasant. The first two weeks of September have been the driest since 1960.
Dry summers and wet winters is what we can expect in future; Springs and Autumns will be unpredictable.

Carbon Cheers and Methane Chants

Perhaps in London summer has come and gone, and not yet half way through July. But the weather will come through, with its diverse extremities as it always does, though sharper than we have known. Our climate ten thousand years ago was different from that of today and so was the weather. The climate will come through, with its ruthless events, just as it has always done, though this time spurred on by our carbon cheers and methane chants as we ride our planet harder than ever imaginable.

St David’s Day

February has gone, at last, for this short wet month did not please us or nature this year. March comes now, which Chaucer said brought drought and we shall see, we shall see. I London buds appear on trees and bushes and on flowers thrusting from the earth; a camellia blooms, red pink and soft in the dog days of winter.

The Wettest Winter

The months of December, January and February have been the wettest on record in the southern half of England and Wales, and February still has a week to run. These months have also been considerably warmer than normal. The rain has fallen and the cold has stayed away. Continue reading

January in London

It is a rather grey white wet miserable day in London. There is light rain and dark skies. With one week of January left I heard birds singing as I woke this morning, invisible birds singing in the darkness. Continue reading

Time for Harvesting

In the northern hemisphere at temperate latitudes it is the time of the year when harvests are brought in. The small proportion of people who work the land to produce the food for the vast majority of us, will reap what they have sown. Some harvests will be successful and others will fail. Some crops have and an exceptionally good year while others an exceptionally bad year. Continue reading

What Global Warming, What Climate Change?

In the ten years since the new millennium global land mean temperatures have barely increased but even so the decade was the warmest for both land and sea temperatures, although the rate of temperature rise seems to have declined when compared with the rate of the previous decade. The last decade saw climate extremes and weather extremes that were greater than ever recorded.

  • There were more heat waves and more people died from heat waves
  • The decade was the second wettest since 1901
  • Sea levels rose at the rate of 3mm per annum,
  • There was a record decline in Arctic sea ice
  • Every year of the decade except 2008 was among the 10 warmest on record
  • Most countries had their warmest decade in 2001-2010.
  • No country reported a nationwide average decadal temperature cooler than the long term average
  • Throughout most of the decade the sun has been at its solar minimum, when temperatures would normally decline.