It’s not Global Warming – it’s Climate Change

Some snow fell in and around Belfast on Wednesday evening and caused travel problems on the road and at the airports.  A news person and a weather person were chatting on a radio/tv outlet.  “What does this say about Global Warming?” asked the newsperson.  “Well you’d expect snow in the winter.” replied the weather person.  True, but what a missed opportunity.

I’m not an expert and a little knowledge can be a useless thing, but this is how I understand it.

  • Belfast (Northern Ireland) is at around 54 degrees Latitude. 
  • In January other places at around 54 degrees latitude are locked in by snow and ice for months at a time; Newfoundland, eastern Alaskan islands, Siberia.  They are place names associated with “the cold”.

The British Isles are not associated with “the cold”, so a sudden snow fall will cause disruption.  The reason is that these islands are un-latitudinally warm is that we are bathed in the Gulf Stream.
I’m told by people who know (and there is more information here) that

  • as the world warms (yes there is warming), the Arctic will melt and the cold water – moving south – will cool the Gulf Stream.
  • As the Gulf Stream cools, the protection it gives the British Isles reduces and what is “Global Warming” for us becomes “Welcome to the freeze – it snows in winter – all winter and parts of the autumn and spring, too.”

I’m not saying the theory is correct, I’m not saying that Climate Change is caused by industrialisation.  I’m just saying that among reports of Gritters, accidents and amusing stories of difficulty getting to and from work, there was room for a different discussion. I just thought it was a missed opportunity.

But you expect snow in winter, don’t you?

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