The United States National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA for short) has published an article on the stormy weather we experienced over the winter. They say that:
In the North Atlantic [there have been] an unusually high number of hurricane-force storms. Between October 25, 2013, when the first hurricane-force event of the season occurred, and March 8, when the most recent one to date occurred, 43 unique hurricane-force events have blasted their way across the North Atlantic. Thirty of them underwent rapid intensification. The most intense system occurred on December 24, 2013; pressure in the heart of the storm dropped to 929 hPa as the storm lurked north and northwest of the British Isles.
and show this chart of wind speed anomalies over the North Atlantic compared to the 1981-2010 average:
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Last week the United Kingdom's Committee on Climate Change "launched a call for evidence in order to identify relevant published information of the risks and opportunities to the UK from climate change". Perhaps not entirely coincidentally, last night I attended a talk organised by Transition Exeter entitled "Climate Change Update – The Pathway to Two Degrees Warming" and subtitled "Can Global Warming be Limited to Two Degrees?" The evidence was presented on the night by Dr. Jeff Ridley from the Met Office's Hadley Centre here in Exeter and consisted of an overview of the results of the UK Government funded AVOID research programme, followed by a question and answer session with the members of Transition Exeter. The brief executive summary of the answer to today's headline question is :
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The storm of St. Jude is almost upon us, and the official forecast has eased slightly. The latest Met Office news release now says:
The storm is set to deepen rapidly just to the south west of the UK late today, before moving into western areas in the very early hours of Monday morning.
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South West England is already very damp. Following a number of flood alerts earlier in the month, the Environment Agency issued several amber flood alerts in Devon yesterday, followed by a red flood warning this morning for the River Char near the Dorset Coast:
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As recent summers go, we've had a cracker. All that's changing now though. I went for a bike ride earlier this evening, and things were reminiscent of this time last year. The roads were covered in soil and stones washed from the fields. The road along the ridge above here had but a narrow piece of tarmac visible above the brown ponds on either side. Here's a picture I took at the top of the hill:
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My headline for today paraphrases matters only slightly. The exact words of Professor Stephen Belcher, head of the Met Office's Hadley Centre, were as follows:
We think that these are really some cutting edge science questions to be addressed here. No-one in the world can answer these questions, it's really important to emphasise.
as you can discover for yourself if you skip straight to about 4 minutues 35 seconds into the following video:
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On November 26th 2012 Teignbridge District Council planning committee voted to refuse planning permission for Inazin Solar's application to construct a 13.5 Ha solar photovoltaic "farm" on land owned by the Fulford Estate near Gold's Cross Hill, between Tedburn St. Mary and Cheriton Bishop. I presume the fact that I objected to that application, at the second time of asking, explains why I have just received a letter from Teignbridge DC which says (amongst other things) that:
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Why should we care about abrupt climate change in the Arctic? Because climate change in the Arctic leads to climate change outside the Arctic, and in particular here in South West England!
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According to ITV News this evening:
The Met Office is calling a meeting of top scientists to look at the "urgent" question of whether the warming of the Arctic is affecting UK weather.
In an interview with ITV Professor Julia Slingo OBE, chief scientist at the United Kingdom's Met Office has been commenting on the evident changes in the Great British Climate over the last few years. Julia told ITV (amongst other things) that:
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In the good old days I used to pore over atmospheric pressure charts kindly provided online by the likes of the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF for short) before making a decision on exactly where and when to go surfing. Here's what they are revealing to me today:
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