This week I’m attempting to answer the question on everyone’s lips – why are we having such terrible weather and is our climate really changing? Thanks to @gaffa10 for suggesting it (albeit in stronger descriptive terms!).
So, first things first – why is our weather so bad this April? We’re on track for the coldest April in nearly a quarter of a century and quite possibly the wettest April on record (certainly for southern England) with almost two months’ worth of rain expected to fall in the next five days. The reason for our bad weather is all down to position and strength of the Jet Stream – a fast-moving ribbon of air high up in our atmosphere that steers areas of low pressure. Normally it would be rather quiet in mid-Spring, but not this year.
The result is low pressure after low pressure piling in off the Atlantic, bringing heavy rain and strong winds. If that wasn’t bad enough, the prevailing wind direction has a northerly component, so it feels cold too!
There is no sign of a let up from the changeable conditions but hopefully the downpours won’t be as frequent or as heavy as we head into May.
So is it all down to climate change? It’s a tough one to answer definitively. After all we’ve been putting all kinds of rubbish into our oceans and atmosphere for centuries so of course it has affected our environment and climate. But our planet is pretty complicated and we don’t know exactly what will happen next. Scientists now agree there is definite proof of global warming, and one effect of this is likely to be more extreme weather events. However, our weather records only go back so far and it could just be a natural fluctuation. Don’t forget we did have a very long dry spell recently (which few people complained about) so now we’ve got a wet spell to redress the balance. Let’s see how the next few months play out…