Hello 2012 and here comes the climate change indicators

The year 2012 is upon us and the UK’s climate is continuing with its bizarre approach. Today, the 3rd January has seen 54mph gusts at my sheltered location and winds in excess of 100mph in other parts. Christmas Day and New Years Eve and New Years Day all possessed temperatures 3 to 4c above normal.

So, what of this new era, how is nature coping with the upheaval?

One thing for sure, the phenological indicators are keeping me on my toes.

Firstly, Winter Aconite (illustrated below) has bloomed in my garden at its earliest date on record, the 27th December. The range, being represented by 12 personal records is from 27th December right through to 24th January. 

Reproduced from http://www.wildflowersdevon.com/Winter-Aconite

 Winter Aconite –Eranthis hyemalis.

Known as choirboys in Suffolk and more commonly as wolfs bane, Winter Aconite is a member of the Buttercup family. It is a tough plant, being tolerant of frost, snow and ice. The harshest winters bring about the best show of this beautiful flower. It will bloom all the way into March in most years. Although a popular ornamental plant, it is known to be poisonous. Occasionally planted alongside Snowdrops and other early bloomers, they are a joy to behold on a crisp sunny winters day. I know of a wonderful display under a canopy of deciduous trees near Andover in Hampshire, England. I will be visiting there in a couple of week’s time to see how the Aconites are progressing.

More phenology will be forthcoming, people.

Kind Regards

Tony Powell

6 thoughts on “Hello 2012 and here comes the climate change indicators

  1. Hello Tony, nice post. On one of my regular walks here in Histon there are periwinkle and white deadnettle flowers already. And that doesn’t seem quite as it should be.

    And the weather was mad here too today, very strong winds and some heavy rain.

    All the best. Finn

    1. Thanks Finn,

      It’s good to get the compliments. As for the rest of the year, it has started out on a wild theme and also a weird theme. Without giving too much away, I have already added 2 further phenological indicators to my 2012 list. As for things already blooming etc. Even before the new season has started, I can also add a multitude of strange events. A wasp in the house on Christmas day (I think), flowering daisies and dandelions in December. Not certain but I believe I saw Cow Parsley in flower too whilst passing ion the car, roses blooming also. From my vague memory, I can normally expect something in the region of 8 events for January in a average year. This year, who knows.

      Kind Regards

      Tony Powell

  2. A very interesting blog – thankyou.
    Slightly concerned though (as you’ll gather!) by your use of the word “climate” in this post (and others).

    “The year 2012 is upon us and the UK’s climate is continuing with its bizarre approach. Today, the 3rd January has seen 54mph gusts at my sheltered location and winds in excess of 100mph in other parts.”
    (quote).
    This is weather. Not climate. Add to that the fact that strong winds in January are far from bizarre. We’ve had a blocking system over much of England during the last two winters, meaning a lack of high winds and a tendency to be cold and snowy. But this winter (so far) the blocking system has not materialised, so one could say we are “reverting to type” and getting quite normal Atlantic storms (and winds) push in from the west. It was only a few years ago that we regarded this as quite normal and lying snow (and little wind) to be quite rare.

    Weather patterns.

    1. I agree this season so far the weather/climate has been more normal than say the last two or three in the UK. Normal, in the sense that atlantic storms have battered a few places which happens most years. What is not normal is four consecutive months with well above mean temperatures. In actual fact, many day records were broken on occasions in September and October alone. The Uk recorded its second strongest wind ever (I believe) with 165mph being reached on Cairngorm. Some of this, is of course hyped up by the media and is portrayed in a way that sells newspapers. However, you cannot get away from the fact that records are forever being broken and a changing climate is heer to stay. Whether any of the above is attributed to AGW, I don’t know but I will continue to track the phenological indicators for many years to come.

      I’m glad you liked the post and hopefully the blog as a whole and will continue to visit.

      Kind Regards

      Tony Powell

  3. Thanks Tony.
    Its true that records are being broken each year it seems and that isnt normal.
    The met office didnt regard December as particularly warm though….
    http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/news/releases/archive/2011/december-and-annual-statistics
    “It may be that the stark change from last year, which was the coldest December on record for the UK, has led many to think it has been unseasonably warm.” to quote the met office…
    Thanks again, Doug

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