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Scientists Say February Heatwave Is Probably Caused By Human Driven Climate Change

Scientists Say February Heatwave Is Probably Caused By Human Driven Climate Change

You've probably noticed this already, but the UK has been pretty warm the last few days. In fact, it's been the hottest day ever in winter twice in the past few days.

However, whilst we can surely all get behind February in the beer garden, what the hell is going on?

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Well, the short answer is, it's probably us.

You see, without going into it too much, 17 of the 18 years recorded since 2000 have been amongst the hottest ever. That's too high a number to be purely coincidental, right?

Warm weather in February is nice, but could be a sign of something sinister. Credit: PA
Warm weather in February is nice, but could be a sign of something sinister. Credit: PA

There is a building body of evidence to suggest that humans - and the things that we do - are directly responsible for the increase in global temperature. In short, we are messing with the world's complex weather patterns.

Dr. Phil Williamson, a science co-ordinator from the University of East Anglia, told LADbible that this can help us to understand why we're seeing such extreme weather.

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He told us: "One week of lovely warm weather doesn't prove climate change, in the sense that in Montreal it's still -20C. However, it is more consistent with global warming in that were are more likely to get warm extremes and cold extremes.

"There does seem to be something going on with the overall patterning in the northern hemisphere and around the Arctic that is much more variable."

"It seems that we're getting weather that belongs further south, whereas other places are getting weather that is expected to be further north. The pattern seems to be no longer where we expect it to be and it has been for a long time, the seasons are flipping around a lot more.

"No-one knows what will happen next year - it might be an ordinary year - but certainly that [climate change] is the interpretation and the message from the science community."

Remember the 'Beast from the East' from last February? That sucked, didn't it? Credit: PA
Remember the 'Beast from the East' from last February? That sucked, didn't it? Credit: PA

In a nutshell, whilst we've always seen unusual temperatures, it's getting more and more frequent. By the way, that doesn't mean glorious sunshine in winter will become the norm. 'Global warming' as it is, doesn't always mean sunny February days on the beach.

Dr Williamson explained: "We can have global warming with the whole of the world warming up, and yet there can be some parts of the world that go in the other direction. At the minute, most of it is fairly consistent that pretty well everywhere is getting warmer.

"It all depends on what human society - the UK, Europe, America, the rest of the world - does over the next 10, 20, 30 years to change the greenhouse gases and the things that we're doing."

He continued: "On the whole, I think scientists are as certain about that [we are responsible for climate change] as they are about gravity, evolution, or anything else."

"It is human driven changes in the composition of the atmosphere that are changing the climate. We are responsible for climate change, basically."

He isn't alone in this belief. In fact - whilst few scientists will say it outright - most of the scientific community believes that we're the problem. It's up to us to stop it then.

A statement from the Met Office confirmed that the winter temperatures we've seen are the hottest on record. It also added: "Variability is a natural part of British climate and a warm spell at the end of February does not mean an end to traditional seasons."

However, the most telling piece of their statement was: "The UK Climate is warming and there is strong evidence that human-induced climate change has increased the likelihood of record-breaking warm spells."

Another scientist - Greenpeace's Chief Scientist Dr. Doug Parr - also believes that we're the issue. However, he explained that it isn't quite as black and white as it is sometimes made out.

Children protest against climate change in London. Credit: PA
Children protest against climate change in London. Credit: PA

Dr. Parr said: "The impacts of climate change are not simple and linear. For example, climate change causes greater heating of the poles than the equator and so reduces the temperature differential which creates the polar vortices, which in the Northern Hemisphere isolates cold air over the Arctic.

"The lowered isolation of this very cold air can cause extended periods of cold winter weather at temperate latitudes, as is being seen currently in the USA.

"But that also means much warmer weather in other places - the most obvious signal of global warming. We're certainly seeing a lot of that, and our unusual weather is as nothing compared to Alaska, where it has recently been 28°C above normal."

Warm weather in February. Is it worth the consequences? Credit: PA
Warm weather in February. Is it worth the consequences? Credit: PA

Whether or not you believe it, it looks like it is happening. What remains now is for us to do something about it. Warm February days are great and all, but there's something much more important at stake.

If we don't get started soon, it might already be too late.

Featured Image Credit: PA

Topics: Science, Weather, uk news, News, Interesting

Tom Wood

Tom Wood is a freelance journalist and LADbible contributor. He graduated from University of London with a BA in Philosophy before studying for a Masters in Journalism at the University of Salford. He has previously written for the M.E.N Group as well as working for several top professional sports clubs. Contact him on [email protected]

 

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