Blizzards!

So apparently, the MET office have issued a severe weather warning for the next two days! The snow isn’t constant, but we’re havving occasional dense flurries (read: mini blizzards) of it. I don’t mind so much about being delayed by snow. Snow is pretty.

It’s pretty much nationwide though. The funny thing is that most British people don’t really get snow. People in the streets largely fall into one of two categories — people wearing excessive amounts of warm winter clothing, and people wearing not nearly enough! In the latter case, you can tell by the facial expressions that they were probably wishing they’d worn a scarf.

So the cause for all this cold (coldest December since 1996, apparently) is a blanket of high pressure air sitting above the UK. This has been spiralling in a clockwise direction and sucking cold arctic air down over us all. Our lovely warm gulf stream air has probably been deflected by this and, I guess, is probably giving Iceland some nice weather at the moment.

Weather in this country can potentially be very cold. The all time record was just under -27C (in a remote part of Northern Scotland). It’s been mild the past few years, but… the scary thing is that if global warming manages to shut down the gulf stream, we’d better start getting used to weather like this. Being at the same lattitude as Siberia, this little island is likely to get rather cold without those warm ocean currents!

Image taken from the BBC News website.

About Invader Xan

Molecular astrophysicist, usually found writing frenziedly, staring at the sky, or drinking mojitos.
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6 Responses to Blizzards!

  1. invaderxan says:

    Well, it’s pretty normal here in the UK too. Colder than the past few years, but not exactly abnormal.
    It’s certainly true that Earth is full of lovely cybernetic self-regulating systems. Lovelock showed that with the Gaia hypothesis. Perhaps the full extent of our planet’s self regulation remains to be seen.
    One thing is true though — a higher temperature means more clouds. More clouds mean higher albedo. Higher albedo, if maintained, could cause some degree of global cooling.
    As much as global warming saddens me, I suspect our planet may be slightly more resilient than we realise…

  2. helen99 says:

    > if global warming manages to shut down the gulf stream, we’d
    > better start getting used to weather like this.
    True, but the cold weather we’ve been having is actually normal for January in Maryland, US. In the late 70s, I wanted to leave Maryland and move to the southern US, because no matter how much I wore I was freezing, even when I wore my supposedly “40 below snorkel jacket”. The last several years have been very odd, with balmy springtime weather in January. I was most unhappy with that, because the poles were melting (bad) and an increased number of mosquitoes and ticks were surviving the winter, which increased the diseases they spread (bad). To far to the opposite extreme is just as bad, if not worse, though.
    I’ve been hoping that the earth finds a very odd balance between the warming and cooling effects of these current cycles, whatever may be causing them (i.e., I hope they cancel each other out and we remain temperate for the next several thousand years at least)…

  3. invaderxan says:

    Heh… A couple of days ago I was writing that as it had just started. The snow’s… erm… accumulated a bit since then. ;)

  4. dr_psycho says:

    Saw your comment a couple of days ago, understatement of the millenium; now us Londoners have a good 6-8″of snow and it’s still falling! Still a blatent photo-oppertunity =P

  5. invaderxan says:

    Heh… It hardly ever snows properly here in Nottingham. We get a dusting every now and again, but being in a river valley, we tend to get rain instead (it’s some microclimate thing, apparently).

  6. My friend in Dorset was telling me it was snowing, which was a big deal, but up until recently I all but assumed it snowed pretty much everywhere in the UK. :O

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