Barlow Nurseries

Growers of trees, shrubs and hardy herbaceous perennial garden plants near Newport, Shropshire



Warmer wetter winters….

Is global warming happening?    A good proportion of the scientific community seem to agree that it is, and a huge number of clever and important people currently gathered in Copenhagen will be wasting an awful lot of time and carbon if its not,  but the good old british public, veterans of more hysterical media reports than you can shake a stick at don’t seem to have been convinced (remember how we were all going to die from BSE, and how planes were going to fall from the sky as a  result of the millenium bug, and ….)

The problem is the weather.   It’s very difficult to draw the distinction between climate and weather.  And it’s even harder to try to do so when one of the agencies banging the climate change drum is the Met Office. Loved and derided in equal measure by forecast watchers across the land, their record of predicting what’s going to happen tomorrow is a bit flawed,  so you can understand a certain skepticism when they try to persuade us that they know whats going to happen over the next several decades.

And this is compounded by the fact that global warming is supposed to deliver hotter drier summers to the UK, and for the last 3 years we’ve had pretty much exactly the opposite.

To the climate scientists credit, and probably relief, we do seem to be experiencing 2 of the 3 weather patterns that global warming predicts – much longer and milder autumns, and warmer wetter winters.

Most of the winters we’ve seen since we moved here 13 years ago have been what you might expect;  perhaps less snow than the kids had hoped for, but certainly cold – we’ve recorded minus 16 in our potting shed (before hurriedly retreating indoors) – but the last few winters have been noticeably warmer, and most certainly wetter.

Thats winter wet that is

That's winter wet that is

Our picture is of the field behind the nursery, and shows what seems to be becoming an annual winter event – an impromptu pool.   It’s not a short term flood either – once it fills up, winter rains keep it topped up and it remains for months;  a couple of swans moved in for the duration a couple of winters ago.   And this is most definitely a recent phenomenon – we can’t remember the field flooding at all for the first decade that we lived here.

Similarly, our last few autumns have been very long and mild – we’ve gardened well beyond what would conventionally be the end of the season, so there does seem to be something afoot with the weather.

What we need now is a run of hot dry summers to add to the longer autumns and wetter winters, so our weather experience fully reflects the experts’ climate predictions.

Alternatively, the fickle british weather might deliver us a “normal” winter this year, and then the climate scientists will have a real mountain to climb.

3 Responses to “Warmer wetter winters….”

  1. Janie Says:

    Time will tell. I will be glad to see this controversy done. I did enjoy your post.

  2. Sylvana Says:

    I hope that what they are saying about global climate change isn’t true, because I heard that the scientists now think that we may have passed the point of no return. How depressing is that?!

  3. Sue Says:

    Certainly this winter hasn’t been mild has it?

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