Less Ice Makes Colder Winters
DESPITE a thaw after some of the most extreme winter weather in half a century, Scotland was warned yesterday that Arctic conditions are set to return, and could become a winter feature for a decade.
Some meteorologists believe that this winter's epic snowfall and the January and February freeze mark the start of a prolonged series of bad winters.
"It's speculative, but you tend to find that in the 1940s there was a series of cold winters, it happened again in the 1960s, and again in the 1980s. Given that, it's possible that in the next five to ten years we can expect more colder winters, and there will be some fairly fierce weather with heavy snowfalls."
Last winter was the coldest in Britain for 30 years. So could it be that this prolonged extreme weather is the fault of man? "I think the answer is that nobody knows yet," said Dr Richard Dixon, director of WWF Scotland.
"There is some work that suggests there may be less ice at the North Pole now, which means that in the summer when the Sun is shining on open water instead of ice, the water gets warmer than it would normally and that may be affecting the circulation patterns coming down from the Pole and Siberia. And if that is the case, we may see more winters like this.
"We'll need to wait and see how things develop over the next few years, but by putting all these (harmful carbon] emissions into the atmosphere we are carrying out a huge experiment with the global weather system which we don't really understand very well. The best thing to do would be to stop carrying out the experiment before it gets even worse."