Sunday, December 17, 2006

'The months of September, October and November were the warmest in central England since 1659. '

The Aletsch Glacier in Switzerland's southern Alps, Europe's longest glacier, shrank by 66 metres (72 yards) last year because of global warming

Global warming's effects are being seen all over the planet. Despite our ignorant government's efforts to deny the reality, we are all experiencing it. It was 54 degrees here in Central Massachusetts today, our 8th straight day of warm temperatures. This is the kind of weather we'd have in Hilton Head at Christmas, after leaving the chill of New England winter. My sister played tennis in shirt sleeves in DC today. Coach Mom's star magnolia tree is covered with buds; she has a neighbor with forsythia in bloom, in the Catskills. Sounds like spring, but it's December. It's supposed to be cold. This is very, very bad news for the earth and for us, the inhabitants.

Independent (uk): Climate change: So where has all the snow gone?
With trees bursting into bud and ski runs looking like spring meadows, the Alpine winter appears to have been cancelled

Standing on the Promenade de la Treille in Geneva's old town, [] is neatly marked with a plaque declaring it to be the city's "official" chestnut tree.

Every spring since 1818, a special city official has watched the tree (and two of its predecessors) to spot when it puts out its first bud, and solemnly record the date on a special noticeboard in the town hall. It usually falls some time in March, though it has at times crept forward into February. But this year, for the first time ever, the tree burst into bloom in late October - and is still sporting flowers and leaves. Winter appears, officially, to have been cancelled.


....the Alps abound with signs that climate change is already well under way. In the 15 years running up to the turn of the millennium, they lost nearly a quarter of the area taken up by glaciers. And more than another five per cent melted in the blistering summer of 2003 alone. Average snow levels are half what they were 40 years ago.

As the ice that glues them together has melted, huge masses of rock have started detaching themselves from mountains like the Eiger, and whole cliff faces have disintegrated. And the ever-canny Swiss banks have started refusing to lend to ski resorts less than 4,500ft up in the mountains.

But it is not just the Alps that are sweltering in this warmest of winters. Friday was the hottest winter day ever recorded in Moscow at 8.6 degrees centigrade [47.5 fahrenheit] - as opposed to the usual minus four degrees [24.8 fahrenheit] - and the temperature in the Russian capital is expected to climb even higher over the next few days.

Independent (uk): Do they know it's Christmas?
After the warmest summer on record, birds that should be in the tropics are still here, leaves are still on trees and insects that should be dead are feeding well. Is this proof of global warming?

It may be just over a week to go until Christmas but parts of the natural world are behaving as if it were still late summer. Many trees are hanging on stubbornly to their leaves, wild plants are in flower and dragonflies, bumblebees and even butterflies can still be seen in the garden. Swallows and house martins, which normally would be south of the Sahara by now, have been sighted all over Britain, from North-umberland to Norfolk.

Experts say the delayed winter of 2006, in what will be Britain's hottest recorded year, could be one of the starkest signals yet that global warming has potentially far-reaching impacts for the UK's wildlife.

This year, swaths of southern and central England have been virtually untroubled by frost even though winter is nearly a third of the way through and the solstice only days away.

The months of September, October and November were the warmest in central England since 1659.
The provisional UK-wide mean temperature in autumn was 11.3C, beating the previous record set in 2001 of 10.5C, in a temperature series that began in 1914. The UK Met Office predicts a 40 per cent chance that winter temperatures will be above average with only a one in four possibility they will be colder than normal. This unprecedented warmth has altered the behaviour of many plants and creatures.

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