Climate Report: Britain's Big Freeze

by Jake Jones on 9th February, 2010 at 8:52 AM CEST

This is part 1 of a 2 part climate report series, in which we wanted to present different views on how different weather conditions influence our perception of global warming. In this post, we asked Jake to write about the current snow in the UK, where a recent BBC News poll found that climate scepticism is on the rise. You can read David's story about the heat wave in Australia here. - C:F Team

6AM. It was one of those perfect Welsh mornings: a rugged breeze in the air, the first signs of stirring in one of Europe's youngest capitals, the promise of a new day, and, for anyone who ventured outside at such an hour, a stiff chill as the first layers of snow settled on the ground. That's the poetic version.

Snowy Wales

The recent 'Big Freeze' (as the media has dubbed it) has, once again, brought Britain to it's knees. School closures, traffic accidents, older residents snowed in, factories closed and councils running out of grit marked the peak of the snowstorm. It seems to be that Britain cannot cope with snow, ever.

Arguably the worst period of snowing I've ever seen, it seems that the country ground to a halt. My grandparents, however, remember the 'Big Snows' of 1982, 1981, 1963 and 1947. Their take on it: 'Get a shovel, and remember: you have nicer boots than we ever had'.

The big question that seems to be sitting in the back, and indeed the forefront in some cases, of everyone's mind is what this means for the future of humanity. The bad weather, in which some people were isolated at home for weeks at a time, may be another sign that, as a planet, we're doing 'too much, too soon'.

In a country that recycles more and more and where being 'green' is the hottest thing since the term Y2K was used, haven't we had enough warning about the effects that our lifestyles are having on the planet? Indeed, the extreme weather has forced many to abandon their cars, as walking to work seems safer - this has opened some to walking to work full stop, championing the recommendations made by health officials and environmentalists alike.

However, that said, the layman's response seems to have been 'It's snowing, it's December, where is the real surprise?'. After all, it has snowed in the UK before, and worse than this.

So is the 'Big Freeze' really a sign of the impending meteorological apocalypse, defined by rising sea temperatures, melting polar icecaps and the loss of modern metropolises akin to the sinking of Atlantis? Or simply a bit of bad weather, that 2009 was unlucky to experience, and that was poorly reacted to?

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Alja Sulčič

Alja Sulčič

Thanks for this story, Jake! I really like your grandparents' attitude :)

And I do hope people realize that weather is not the same as climate, and that climate change does not mean winters and cold weather will just disappear altogether.

9th February, 2010 @ 9:06 AM CEST

Jake Jones

Jake Jones

Thanks, Alja!

9th February, 2010 @ 10:59 AM CEST

vlatko velkoski

vlatko velkoski

Everything in the nature is happening without any specific rules and we, like every other living animal on this planet, are capable to handle it with no fear.

9th February, 2010 @ 6:31 PM CEST

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