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Subtle Changes to the Climate
by Colin
2007-04-04 11:03:52
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How much is ‘Global Warming’ really making a difference in our lives and can we detect any effects on the world around us? How many of you have experienced, albeit small, a change in your local climatic conditions?

Having recently spent 48-hours pursuing my favourite hobby, fishing no less, I was absently sat at work reflecting on the previous few days. Certain things at my local angling club started me thinking about climate change and whether or not global warming was playing its part.

The first, was watching a brood of young, great crested grebes begging for a morsel or two from two very busy adults. It suddenly dawned on me that it was March, and judging from the size of these fledgling grebes, they must have hatched middle to late February. Normally these birds breed later in the year towards the end of spring, never before and in winter. The adults certainly had their work cut out for them, as the usual run of small fish, from the yearly spawning haven’t appeared yet. If they survive this early in the year, will the breeding season for this type of bird increase and subsequently will we see increases in the numbers of local bird life?

The second occurrence was the dreaded mosquitoes that plagued me for two nights. This useless piece of God’s handiwork usually signals the onset of summer. It’s the time when fishermen have to break out the insect repellant, mosquito coils and nets. I sympathize with any one who, like me, is hunted down by the mosquito and is bitten to pieces. BUT, this isn’t summer it’s barely spring. What on earth is happening?

Thinking back over the recent winter months, I can only remember the pond in my back garden freezing over once and then it was only very thin ice. Normally it would freeze over and stay frozen for a few weeks at a time. In the south of England, especially south of the south-downs, the climate is usually 2 or 3 degrees warmer than to the north of the downs. This often means that we don’t get as much snow as the rest of the country, but I can remember building snowmen, not so many years ago, and pulling my daughter around the local playing fields on a sled, when she was younger.

This winter, if my memory serves me correct, it snowed once and settled. The local TV station made a big thing of it and showed young children making snowmen before going to school. By lunch time you would have been lucky to find any snow even in a shady spot.

Going further back in time, I can remember the road, between my home town of Bognor Regis and Chichester being impassable for a few days. The local gravel pits froze for weeks on end and the ice was over a foot thick and I actually rode my bicycle on the ice. This winter there wasn’t a single day when the lakes froze completely over. The winters are definitely not as harsh and prolonged as they used to be.

All this does make me sit up and take note of the numerous scientific hypotheses on global warming, but is that what is making these subtle changes to my local climate? Will my future decedents have to head for the hills as the polar caps melt and sea levels rise? Can we do anything to halt the process, or as some believe, is it already too late?

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Rinso2007-04-03 10:44:32
Some information: most years there is a small peak of mosquitoes in early spring. They are the ones that lay eggs that hatch in september (safety measure if the main breeding season fails). Don't worry, the main mosquito invasion will come in summer.

Dimitrios Kontopodis2007-04-03 11:01:50
The winter this year was really really mild. However, one year is statistically insignificant and one must always see the bigger picture. I am afraid that, if next year the winter is "normal", people will just sit back and sigh: "See? No global warming after all!"

Colin2007-04-03 17:27:06
Thanks Rinso.....Roll on Summer then?

doug ridey2009-10-06 12:40:05
scientists believe that tens of thousand sq miles of rice fields to feed the people cause world temps to be 2 degrees warmer than would other wise occur

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