Chances are, depending on when you read this, it’s either high winds and violent rain outside your door or blue skies and a pleasant summer’s day.
There is no in between. Such is the consequence of global warming.
The recent week of disruptive weather has been testament to the serious ramifications of climate change. We’ve seen warm sunshine, thunder, torrential rain and flooding, all in the space of days and even hours.
The past year will be known for many things, not least a global pandemic, but also for highs and lows on the weather front – 2020 was the fifth wettest, third warmest and eighth sunniest on record, according to the UK State of the Climate report.
No other year sits in the top 10 for all three criteria. The climate scientists behind the report have found that in three decades, the UK has become 0.9°C (or 6%) warmer.
Spring 2020 was the UK’s sunniest weather on record, while the August heatwave caused 2,556 excess deaths in England, as well as significant disruption across the UK, warns a separate report from The British Red Cross.
Our winters have not been wintering as much lately either – 2020 was among the least snowy winters on record, with most of it upland, in northern areas.
In 2021 and beyond, scientists expect more flooding, heatwaves, droughts, storms and extreme weather in other forms.
But even the experts are surprised by how quickly we’re seeing the effects. So for anyone who thinks climate change is a distant problem, think again.