In recent years we seem to have had it all – and it is not just the northern hemisphere that has been suffering ... in this topsy turvy world we are now no longer sure if an Arctic blast will bring freezing weather, or if we will be basking in an early and unexpected Spring ...
The jet streams (above) clearly shown over north America - we can see how they move our weather systems north and south as they rotate around the North Pole.
Australia is in the throes of floods, while New Zealand had a ‘storm bomb’ from across the Tasman Sea, Namibia has had glorious rain for the last four weeks, there were flash floods earlier in the Kruger Park of South Africa ...
|3 " of snow in Libya|On this side of the world – Syria has snow in early March, Libya and the edge of the Sahara Desert had theirs earlier in the year, this week the Eurostar train got badly delayed (the one that runs under the English Channel) in northern France due to a ‘dump’ of snow – and yes, the weather did appear pretty foreboding, when I looked eastwards up the Channel.
The bitter winds have reached south as far as Mauritania and Mali in west Africa, snow has fallen in the Sahara, while many died in Algeria in this onslaught of unusual freezing conditions.
There was chaos on the Danube River – rising temperatures brought an end to the record cold snap which had left almost all of the Danube frozen from its journey through Austria to the Black Sea. The temperature spread was minus 20 deg C (-4F) to plus 10 deg C (50 F) within a week.
|Swan on the almost frozen Rhine,|
‘Ice-bergs’ turned into ice floes, these chunks of melting ice began drifting down the busy 2,860 km (1,777 mile) long waterway. In the Serbian capital, Belgrade, the floes caused hundreds of boats to crash into each other, hammered bridges and banks, snapped the anchor lines of several barges and sank a floating restaurant.
The conditions on continental Europe – have given us a Siberian winter – huge snowfalls, freezing temperatures (where the daytime temperature never rose above zero and at night dropped to below -27 deg C (-17F)), severing ties with rescue parties and taking a terrible toll. This is the worst February freeze that Europe has faced for decades.
Italy was deluged in snow storms, the Alps were hit by large snow falls trapping tourists, France was frozen out ... yet surprisingly the drought from last year constrained the potential flood danger by keeping river levels relatively low. The danger of one, aids to avoid another type of catastrophe.
The Americas have suffered just as much topsy turvy weather as the rest of the world has been having ... deluges of snow in New Hampshire, freezing cold in Santa Fe ... then out of nowhere unusually mild weather reached New York, as warm air swept up from the Gulf of Mexico.
|Crocuses colouring our world|
above the snow
Freezing air came down from Canada triggering storms and tornadoes across the Mid West – where the two systems collide. While Alaska too has suffered an unusually severe winter – Anchorage is on track for its snowiest winter on record ... with other towns in desperate straits for help and relief.
In fact drought is now our greatest threat across a large swathe of Europe after two dry winters in succession.
We here in the UK have a weather divide too – the western diagonal half of the country (Scotland/North East England through to the west Devon/Dorset) has been fairly consistently wet – while to the east of the country – particularly here in Sussex, Kent and East Anglia (north of London) – it has been very dry.
There’s little we can do about our weather – and at the moment Nature is confused too – blossoms in London in December, a blackbird crooning gently in the dark of winter. The jet streams high in the stratosphere have meandering paths – pulling cold air down, or drawing warm air up.
These two images show the Safsaf Oasis in the Sahara - the top one showing the Oasis on the surface of the Desert; the other one shows (using radar) the rock layer underneath, revealing black channels cut by the meanderings of an ancient river that once fed the Safsaf Oasis.
Throughout the course of time the weather has changed too – the Sahara used to have fertile valleys, with people living on the fringes of the desert, a well watered land – over 30,000 petroglyphs of river animals such as crocodiles survive, dinosaur fossils have also been found in these parts.
Thank goodness Spring is nearly here – at least the days are longer and it is getting slightly warmer – the snowdrop drifts are out, grass lawns full of coloured crocuses, the daffodils have started throwing their trumpets, the blossoms and leaves now have a reason to burst – no waiting for them ...
|Edith Holden's January plate in 1906|
from her Nature Notes of an Edwardian lady
... the robins are singing – fluffing up their feathers against the chill, the tits (coal tits, blue tits and the great tits) have been darting around the hedges, blackbirds too serenading us from the dark of the morning.
Our hearts are lifting to the warmer, longer days ahead – we can do nothing about these warm, wet, dry years, or the cold, freezing, flooding ones ... nor can nature, it must just adjust and evolve – the birds, bees and plants seem to have inbuilt mechanisms to help them survive.
Last year was warm, wet and dry – the second warmest yearly average on record – at 9.62 deg C (49.3 F) – what will this year ahead hold ... we could do with some rain so those reservoirs and aquifers start to fill up and our trees and plants have a good long soaking.
The weather men tell me I need a good six months of steady rain ... I would just rather it did not do that, I rather enjoy my English summer days. We have a busy year ahead of us ... the Queen’s Jubilee, Wimbledon, the Olympics and Para Olympics ... not much time for rain?!
Spring has sprung a beautiful day here for International Women's Day - my heart is lifted with the sun.
Positive Letters Inspirational Stories