Short-sleeves and ice creams in British February has been a seriously unseasonal event worthy of hitting the headlines, and arguably should have remained headline news within the scientific context of climate change and global warming. Some state that the weather has always presented odd blips but that such events don’t carry significance. Overall rising temperatures have been recorded for the last 14 years at unprecedented levels; we might wonder what next February will bring.
Quoting the British MP Caroline Lucas writing in The Independent two days ago:
“Nine of the 10 hottest years on record have occurred since 2005. January 2019 was Australia’s hottest month ever – with averages topping 30C in a deadly heatwave. Prolonged droughts worsened California’s destructive wildfires.”
And, “Last year’s three-month heatwave meant England had the hottest summer on record – and it was joint-hottest for the whole of the UK.”
“This is part of a wider global trend of record-breaking temperatures and increasingly extreme weather patterns.”
Reading the comments following her opinion piece it’s clear that many don’t share this worry. Having been alive long enough to recall regularly icy winters and hot summers it’s clear to me that the weather is changing.
February temperatures of over 21 degrees Celsius, as recorded at Kew Gardens in London this week, should be regarded as bizarre and worrying. I recall my visit there in 1974 during the February half-term holiday; how grey and dreary it was although my memory of it is a happy one with bright flashes of the gloriously luscious palm house and exotic paintings of Marianne North.