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Sunday 28 November 2010

Talk About The Weather

Today, like yesterday, is cold. Colder than the average for late November, and set to continue for some time yet. While some turn up the heating or stoke the fire a little higher, this is for others an opportunity to indulge in promoting the idea that Climate Change is not only not happening, but that the whole idea is part of a giant conspiracy.

The reason for the current weather pattern is that a high pressure area is sitting over Greenland – you can see this on the Met Office site – and it is effectively blocking the usual west to east track of low pressure areas, which in turn maintain a westerly or south-westerly wind direction across the UK. It’s that wind direction that gives us more temperate conditions than our northerly latitude might suggest.

The “blocking” high pressure area also directly influences the weather in the north-eastern USA: as low pressure areas track east, they come up against the “blocking” high and effectively get stuck. The air circulating around those low pressure areas gets colder as it passes over northern Canada, then heads back south and dumps large amounts of snow across the North-East corridor.

None of this, of course, involves any conspiracy, and nor does it disprove the established body of Climate Change science. There is only coincidence at work: the source of the current cold snap is the same as that which brought the cold start to the year.

And transient weather events in one part of the world do not disprove the fact of average temperatures rising over time: this year may well be the warmest ever, eclipsing even 1998, the previous warmest.

It may be cold here and now, but it’s warm elsewhere in the Northern Hemisphere. That’s all you need to remember when the next flat earther tells you that a persistent northerly wind in winter disproves established Climate Change science.

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