Is the weather getting worse? People think it is.

I was out at a village church last night and talking to some people before the service, the topic of weather came up. Even for the UK, we’ve had a lot of weather recently: frequent showers, quite a lot of hail and strong winds, and it’s been rather cold for April following a very warm March.

What was interesting was that they commented that the weather seems to be getting less predictable, both here and abroad. One of the group runs regular nature tours in Bulgaria and noted that in July you could previously expect wall-to-wall sunshine most of the time, but he’s now seeing cloud and even rain more of the time.

To what extent the weather here in the East of England actually is becoming more unstable I don’t know. The only relevant research I’ve seen suggests that the west of the UK is seeing more wet days than the historical pattern. But in this kind of thing, public perception is very important.

Which is why this report from Yale in the USA is very interesting. It does seem likely that extreme weather there is increasing to a statistically significant degree (again I haven’t seen the research) but twice as many people they polled think the weather is worsening than think it’s improving. And 72% reckon global warming is a factor in it. It would have been interesting to know how many of these attributed this to human activity, and what action they thought should be taken as a result but the survey didn’t go into these areas. But it still seems to point to a change in attitudes which may have positive effects.

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