Across the world we’ve had plenty of “unseasonable weather” over the last few weeks and records are being broken globally. But what is the likelihood of these strange weather patterns becoming regular occurrences and no longer “unseasonable”?
In the UK, it’s clear that the weather has changed. It’s nearly 7 years since we last had the stereotypical British summer filled with hot sunshine, and the winter months appear to be becoming colder and more unsettled. For example, gritting drivers across the UK had to deal with twice as many “marginal” nights than a normal winter from October 2012 to April 2013. Met Office officials met recently and believe there is a change occurring over the Atlantic and this is causing this strange weather in the UK. This change has been associated with climate change and the increase of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, but is that all it’s down to?
In America, tornado season is currently in full swing as normal, but the intensity of some of the tornadoes, particularly over Okalahoma, have hit new levels causing mass destruction and the number of tornadoes appears to be rather low. In addition to this, a current heat wave across western areas could beat the all time record temperature of 56.7C (134F) which was set at Death Valley back in July 1913. Surely these changes in America are not down to the slight change over the Atlantic that is affecting the UK?
The unseasonable flooding over central Europe has lead to a lot of destruction; uprooting trees, damaging homes and destroying roads. As well as these heavy rains, most of the area has been affected by below average temperatures, with reports of strange weather making people feel depressed in France. At the moment there is still no sign of these temperatures rising up to or above the norm. This cooler and wetter weather is mainly due to the positioning of the Jet Stream, which allows additional low pressure systems to affect the areas. This could be linked to the change in the Atlantic, but nothing is definite.
In China, rainfall levels were over 20% above average in May and heavy rains have continued through June. In India the Monsoons have started and already caused devastation with hundreds of fatalities. Even though people are used to these wet events they appear to be occurring at a more devastating intensity.
So is it down to a slight change in the oceans or a bigger picture? Although, many scientists are trying to explain why, realistically it is still too early to tell. There may not be one specific reason as to why these unusual weather events are occurring at random times of the year. However, it does appear that climate change is affecting the world’s weather. This may be a normal phenomenon, but the impacts are thought to have been increased due to greenhouse gas emissions.