Thursday, December 14, 2006

Climate Change in Scotland?

According to the Met Office this Autumn has been the warmest ever in Scotland and the rest of the UK. This continues the trend for the first months of the year, making a record year very likely.

"The provisional mean temperature this year was 12.6 °C. The previous highest figure for the equivalent period was 11.8 °C, recorded in 1730 and 1731."

There has also been heavy precipitation. Due to the mild weather this has almost entirely been constituted of rain rather than snow. Scotland usually has it's heaviest precipitation in the winter but as snow, the fact that the heaviest precipitation has been rain this year has lead to flooding and dangerously high river levels and widespread flooding.

Weather historian Philip Eden said:

"Although this month began with a week of cold and frosty weather, temperatures have once again risen well above the seasonal average during the last three weeks. Weather forecasters say it would take a prolonged cold spell through December to prevent 2006 being the warmest year on record in Britain."
Perth has been flooded, despite newly built flood defences, meanwhile Loch Lomand is at it's level ever recorded and they aren't sure exactly what level it is at now, as...the measuring station is flooded.

This is all as expected according to the UK climate impacts program but about 50 years early! As mentioned in a previous post, wetter in the Cairngorms where I live doesn't mean a kind winter for wildlife it means a damp, exposed winter without the snow which protects native flora and is a much needed resource for highland birds.

Clearly a single mild autumn cannot be conclusively attributed to climate change but this is not a single isolated autumn, this is part of a trend, both a local trend over the last few years and a global trend which sees this as yet another abnormally warm year.

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At 2:30 AM, Blogger Ron S. Nolan, Ph.D. said...

Greed and Global Warming #2

In some cases, greed may lead to a revision of how people think about climate change. Eventually it must of course as more energy is put into the atmosphere and oceans causing more extreme weather conditions, more severe hurricanes, droughts and floods. At some point in the decades to come, there will be an exodus inland. Insurance companies will see to it.

But right now businesses that need cold temperatures are feeling the heat.

“A report by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development [December 14, 2006] heaped more bad news on [European] Alpine ski resorts, which are already struggling against the warmest weather in 1,300 years, according to Austrian climatologists, with flowers still blooming on some slopes and world ski tournaments being cancelled through lack of snow.”

“Banks in Switzerland are refusing to lend money to resorts below an altitude of 1,500 metres (nearly 5,000ft) and some small firms are closing, said Shardul Agrawala, who carried out the study.”

“Global warming could devastate European ski resorts within decades, forcing lower-altitude resorts to close and threatening winter sports which now attract up to 80 million tourists a year.”


“Europeans generally seem more attuned to the threat posed by global warming (see Climate Change Action for excellent coverage).”


“Europe is another region that is feeling the heat more than most. Europe seems to be skipping winter this year as flowers bloom on Alpine ski slopes and bears find their dens too warm and soggy to hibernate in. That is one reason why Britain and other EU countries display a growing sense of urgency as they lead global efforts to reduce carbon emissions.”


“According to the Met Office this Autumn has been the warmest ever in Scotland and the rest of the UK. This continues the trend for the first months of the year, making a record year very likely.”


Ironically, the U.S. is experiencing cooler than normal temperatures.

According to environmental journalist, Kelpie Wilson, ”At this moment in time, the nation most responsible for climate change is the least affected by the consequences. Our cool weather is unfortunate, because it is prolonging the day of reckoning when Americans realize that we really do have to do something about climate change.”


You can imagine that if this were happening in Vail or Aspen, we would be hearing a lot more about climate change. Enjoy the slopes while you can. Happy Holidays.

Ron S. Nolan, Ph.D.
Solar Metro


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