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Question: Is climate change increasing the number of extreme weather events across the globe?

2nd April 2019

We always hear the words ‘weather’ and ‘climate’ used when talking about forecasting; but what is the difference?

One great explanation we’ve read is from NOAA’s National Center for Environmental Information (NCEI) ; they say to visualize it as clothing, climate tells you what type of clothes to have in your wardrobe whereas weather tells you what to wear each day.

It’s our business to monitor the weather on a daily basis; but it’s getting increasingly sporadic and unpredictable. Research is starting to show that this is down to climate change.

We have all noticed that the British weather has been very changeable in recent years, as well as the ever-increasing number of powerful hurricanes and flash floods across the globe. Multiple weather sources have noted higher than averages temperatures across the UK as well as longer spells of this warmer weather. The most notable result of these warm spells is that we’ve been experiencing more ‘tropical nights’ where temperatures don’t fall below 20.1 degrees Celsius overnight.

The warmer weather also causes severe winter weather patterns. The most recent example of the being ‘The Beast from the East.’ Based on the climate normals and incoming weather fronts we could see that there was cold weather due- we just couldn’t predict if it would cause snow, how much, where it would fall and for how long.

Researchers have said that a large rise in air temperature near the North Pole weakened the jet stream which usually travels from Mexico to the UK (making our winters slightly warmer than other Northern European countries). This caused the strong winds from Storm Emma to approach the UK from the East and pull in the cold air mass from Russia.  Hence the abnormally cold and dramatic weather we experienced! While it’s almost impossible to blame a single days’ weather on climate change, scientists say it is possible to predict how weather patterns may change.

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