Summer’s Gone

by Rick Johansen

I try to avoid complaining about the weather, at least in public. What’s the point? It won’t change anything. It’s July, it’s wet, windy and cool and unless you are a duck and rather enjoy these conditions, it’s dispiriting, especially as we are only eight weeks away from the meteorological autumn. Things can only get worse?

You can almost understand why some people doubt the overwhelming scientific evidence about climate change in general and global warming in particular. How can any of this be happening when it’s wet, windy and cool and by and large has been since May?

I am not going to pretend I understand the science behind climate change, but I am prepared to accept the word of scientists who are experts on the subject, rather than the musings of some conspiracy theory nut jobs on social media. Climate change is happening. The only doubt was, and note the use of the word was, whether us humans were causing it. As it turns out, we are.

None of this will come as any consolation to the thousands, if not millions, of people who are trying to enjoy a summer holiday in conditions that feel like a particularly grim autumn.

Where I differ with some folk is the idea that shit summers are somehow something new. That is not how I remember British summers, going back to the late 1960s, shivering in a tiny caravan in Dorset, watching the rain battering against the windows and never, not even once, venturing to the beach.  I remember taking our young children to North Cornwall in the early 2000s and the weather was, well, like it is today. Maybe worse.

It is frustrating that in so many parts of the world it’s sunny and hot, in many places way too hot. For example, on Sunday Las Vegas recorded as top temperature of 49c (120f), breaking the previous all-time record of 46c (115f) of the previous day. This is not a record being broken. It’s a record being shattered. At nearby Death Valley, the temperature approached 54c (129f), which is close to the all-time record of 56.7% (134f), a figure recorded in 1913, which frankly few meteorologists believe was accurate. Whatever you happen to believe about the 1913 figure, the facts are incontrovertible. The climate is changing, weather is becoming more extreme and unpredictable and in many places much warmer. Naturally, here in the UK it doesn’t feel much like that. That doesn’t mean it isn’t happening.

We all know that people tend to exaggerate temperatures when they go abroad. Someone once told me that while they were in Ibiza, the thermometer hit 48c. Not only that, it was completely bearable and all that was needed to cool them down was an ice cream and a cold beer. Cynical as ever, I carried out a cursory check on Ibiza temperatures while this person was away and the hottest day time shade temperature at the time was 25c (77f), a temperature I would suggest was just about perfect for a holiday.

Indeed, in my 25 visits to Corfu in Greece, I have experienced a plus 40c (104f) temperature just once, for one day only as we were arriving. It was utterly horrendous and totally unbearable. I call bullshit to anyone who says they frequently experience such temperatures abroad and then says it was absolutely fine.

As I write, it’s a balmy 16c here in South Gloucestershire at 9.45 in the morning. At Corfu airport, it’s 33c (91f), in Ibiza it’s 25c (77f) and it’s 39c (102f) in Las Vegas (it’s coming up to 2.00 am over there as I write). Very hot, just right and utterly unbearable for the last three, but absolute shite in South Glos. So, yes, I am complaining about it, not that complaining will do me any good.

If you’re holidaying in the UK, I hope things get warmer for you, always assuming of course that you dislike our maritime climate as much as I do. If you’re holidaying abroad, enjoy the sun while you can. I suspect it’s already gone into hibernation in Old Blighty.


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