Saturday, 9 January 2010

Winter Warmer?

John McGarvey is impressed with the displays of creativity being shown in the snow locally as people find new ways to occupy themselves in the unusually wintery conditions.

But with a third wave of winter weather hitting the region concerns are growing about the provision of services as temperatures dip to -6 Celcius and below.

Adrian Windisch is concerned that supplies of grit are dwindling, but Cllr Prue Bray responds that grit doesn't work below -5 Celcius.

Adrian also complains that the government is using emergency powers to surreptitiously nationalise industries, but South East England MEP Dan Hannan asks rhetorically, "Is our reliance on state intervention symptomatic of the sapping effects of big government?" - well, you can guess his answer.

In respose entrepreneurs have spotted a marketing opportunity - Radio Bracknell advertises snow clearance services for commercial properties from Asset Fencing.

Meanwhile Thames Water has been struggling as water mains have burst, cutting water supplies. Redlands LibDems was contacted by residents to report a burst main affecting 4,000 people, while Wendy worries about less dramatic, but equally urgent problem of frozen water pipes - whether you're desperate for just a cuppa or to use the bathroom it's the same result.

Wendy is also worried about shop supplies running low - as is Elizabeth Thomas, who 'panic bought' emergency rations in preparation for more bad weather predicted over the next few days.

But the ideological debate over climate change has also taken a turn in response to the current weather.

Conservatives are piling in to attack proponents of climate change theory by following the lead of John Redwood on his diary - many conservatives argue global warming is a fraud being used to promulgate surreptitious political ends.

Noted environmental sceptic Mr Redwood asked Labour environment minister Ed Miliband in the House of Commons: "Why is the Northern hemisphere winter so cold, and which climate model predicted this?"

Mr Miliband demonstrated by omission that the government had failed to prepare for recent events because they had simplistically ruled out the possibility that changes to the climate could affect the country in this way.

However both Left Outside and I notice that the freak weather is being caused by a diversion in the gulf stream to the east of Greenland as temperatures over the Arctic polar region have failed to drop low enough to freeze normal levels of pack ice - and that just such a weather scenario was widely recognised as far back as 2005.

This means the British Isles are not benefiting from the usual warmth of ocean currents and conditions are returning to levels more typical for these latitudes.

However, the good news may be that colder continents will mitigate warming trends.

Oranjepan says:
Continuing to pump out greenhouse gases won't necessarily mean disaster, it could just mean skiing becomes more popular in the UK!


More articles on weather issues

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