Diary 2018

September 9th

The continuous hot weather which threatened water shortages and competed with 1976 and 1959 for the hottest years yet, has finished. The jet stream is now south of the country pulling in the usual atlantic lows and in between some sunshine. The Wild Flower Society's AGM was held in Devon at Slapton where there as a good crop of Corrigiola littoralis (Strapwort) to be found. In addition I managed photos of Sorbus devoniensis (Devon Whitebeam), Hymenophyllum tunbrigense (Tunbridge Filmy-fern), Euphrasia virgursii, and Pancratium maritimum (Sea Daffodil) to add to the collection. Because there was no holiday abroad this year these were my first and probably last new plants for the year. In addition I took over as chairman of our ancient society (founded 1886).

August 3rd

Not much in the diary this year because of chronic illness but winter stayed on and on then gave us the coldest burst in early Spring. This put all the spring flowers back so that in early June when I took a group to the Great Orme we found Bluebells, Greater Stitchwort, Milk Thistle and White Bryony all in flower at the same time which is ridiculous. In early July a heat wave began. Temperatures of over 30 Celsius were common and the grass all went brown. It wasn't as hot or for as long as in 1976 but nearly so.

United Utilities, our water company, announced a hosepipe ban from August 5th in spite of a normal winter's rainfall and a wettish Spring. They redefined incompetence. Eventually they retracted the threat. Recently the good weather has returned but with more cloud, the occasional bit of rain and lower temperatures but still above the average for the time of year.

In Spain and Portugal record temperatures are expected tomorrow of 47 Celsius! Temperatures of 45 Celsius have already been recorded this week.

So is this proof of climate change? Many experts say yes but I am doubtful, not because I'm a denier, far from it. The prediction was always that climate change would increase the frequency of extreme weather events but there would have been some extreme weather events even if we hadn't pumped so much CO2 into the atmosphere.

So the question we must ask is "is this record breaking weather a climate change event or a normal fluctuation in our weather"? The reason why it could possibly be attributed to climate change is that this extreme weather is being seen all over the northern hemisphere this summer 2018. In 1976 it was more localised. Still for me i would prefer the medium term results of successive summers to show extreme conditions (increased frequency) to be sure.

But we would have to wait for that and people are a bit impatient.

In other news vandals have sprayed pink paint over some of the rocks of the Great Orme at the site where some of the rare lichens and vascular plants grow. Must be the weather making people nuts.

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