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Good COP(26), Bad COP(26)

The worlds eyes have been on Glasgow this week, with the 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference taking place, or COP26 to most of us. Without sounding like a broken record, this is another vital opportunity to make a substantial impact and commitment to greenhouse gas reduction, and drive renewable and greener energies into national policy.

Last week I was fortunate enough to attend a green energy event, with several forward thinking companies coming together to discuss ways of driving less carbon-heavy technologies forward with the help of stakeholders, and crucially, the UK government. It will take a combined effort to get these technologies widely into circulation, away from the quirky ‘alternative energy’ concept (rather than part of the strategy) that so many of us perceive at this moment in time.

The conference ended with a sobering talk from the highly revered Sir David King, a climate scientist who heads the Climate Crisis Advisory Group, an independent group who advise on Climate Change and Biodiversity issues. Dr King explained that quite simply with more ice melting in polar regions due to climate change, this means that more sunlight reaches the ocean surface, rather than being reflected back into space from the ice sheets. This creates a heat imbalance in the oceans of our planet, exacerbating the ‘chaos’ in our climate systems.

This chaos has been seen recently with a very southerly tracking jet stream bringing very unsettled weather to parts of the Mediterannean and southern Europe, causing severe flooding issues in parts of southern Italy. This is reflected in the volatile nature of the Atlantic through the end of summer and autumn of 2021, including the Nor’easter mentioned in a musing last week! Chaos really is the buzzword, because weather is ‘chaotic’ in nature and relies on the transport of heat from the equator towards the poles, and colder waters on the return journey back towards the equator, but is a combination of atmospheric and oceanic processes working in tandem.

As we move towards the end of the meteorological autumn period, we are keeping a familiar pattern in northwest Europe at least, with higher pressure across the mid Atlantic and low pressure tracking to the north of the United Kingdom, with winds looking likely to gradually move towards a familiar west to southwesterly flow later in the week. One thing is for sure, whilst we may be having quieter weather here at present for most, once again, fields were deep underwater in southwestern and northwestern parts of the country last week after heavy rain. Mother nature is therefore trying to restore a little calm, for now.

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