Temperatures continue to rise and vary unpredictably around the globe, with a direct link to numerous manmade actions. Specifically, this past May marked a significant period in the United Kingdom, which experienced record amounts of sunshine in what experts are calling just one sign of the hazardous impacts of climate change.
The island union received 266 hours of sunshine during the past month, edging the previous documented record in the nation’s history of 265 hours in June of 1957, according to reports from meteorologists of the Met Office, the national weather service of the UK. Additionally, England, the largest country in the union, has exceeded 696 hours of sunshine this spring, in comparison to 594.3 hours in 1929. While these statistics may simply appear to be a bit of good fortune for the otherwise frigid nation, looking back further tells us that this may not be the case.
One of the primary, widely accepted effects of climate change is drastic shifts in weather patterns. A look at the weather record of the United Kingdom from the past few months reveals alarming facts regarding the current climate crisis. As reported by the Met Office, this past February witnessed “record breaking rainfall”, making it the wettest February since 1910; likewise, this winter marked the 5th wettest winter since 1862. Furthermore, according to reports by the UK Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, the harsh winter weather caused a rare amount of flooding, with over 4,000 homes being flooded and destroyed in just a few English and Welsh counties.
The data is indisputable, and reveals the rapidly shifting weather patterns that the UK has been experiencing, within a span of just a few months. As Professor Liz Bentley stated in an interview with BBC News, “It’s unprecedented to see such a swing from one extreme to the other in such a short space of time. That’s what concerns me. We don’t see these things normally happening with our seasons. It’s part of a pattern where we’re experiencing increasingly extreme weather as the climate changes.”
The record setting and constant, quick shifts in weather conditions in the United Kingdom display the ongoing, dire climate crisis that the world faces today.