You might hear people say this after those chill winds kicked March 2013 into the record books as the second coldest on record. But remember that 2012 was among the 10 warmest years on record, according to a report by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Each year of the 21st century has ranked among the 14 hottest since record keeping began.
So why, then, did we have yet another freezing winter? It was predicted many years ago that global warming would result in Britain cooling. Were it not for the Gulf Stream bringing us the warmth of the Caribbean we would have the same climate as Newfoundland (on the same latitude), where temperatures drop below zero in November and stay that way until April, accompanied by freezing rain, and where icebergs are a tourist attraction.
Our warm ‘North Atlantic Conveyor’ could be disrupted by the inflow of fresh water from the melting polar ice cap. Then, if it cannot hold back the cold air from the north, we can expect winters like the last one more often. That might be what is happening already.
If you have been looking forward to global warming making it warmer here in Britain… well, hope springs eternal, even when Spring doesn’t. Summer’s looking good so far…
With thanks to Brighton Science Festival