Britain is currently having one of these strange things called a ‘winter’. This is actually rather unusual. We share latitudes with Moscow and Newfoundland, where multiple feet of snow are normal, weekly events. However, in southern England at least, we may see a day or two’s snow in any typical winter. This is due to the combination of the Gulf Stream and also the fact we’re an island (maritime climates tend to be cooler in summer and warmer in winter).

However, this year, it’s November and we already have snow.

This is rather unusual. I gather it’s a bit more normal in northern England, and hardly unknown in Scotland. But there was a dusting of snow in Stevenage on Wednesday – it surprised me on the way to work. I spent the weekend on the South Coast, visiting family – and it snowed there. This is very unusual indeed around the Solent.

Also, the temperatures are so low that they actually appear to have erased the London heat island. I had to go through London today – dodging the Tube strike – and went right through central London. As I walked past the Eye and along the Embankment, I was absolutely freezing! I think it was actually colder in London then it was on the coast.

It’s strange, but this is quite unusual in Britain. In fact, to be honest, we don’t really seem to expect winter to actually be cold, and we get all surprised when it is. (It certainly surprised me – much as I love my beige jacket, it doesn’t stop an ice-cold northerly wind!) In a way I’m reminded of my own comments about heatwaves a while back.

Of course, I’m sure the next few days will bring out a predictably-depressing spectacle. I imagine the usual Daily Mail-ite climate-deniers will jump all over it. (After all, one cold week in November overturns decades of statistical evidence, right? I mean, the plural of anecdote is definitely data, don’t we all know?) We had all of this nonsense last year too, despite the fact that the previous winter was something of a fluke event.

(Okay, that was a rant. But I did get encounter the Daily Mail over the weekend, so I needed a vent…)


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