A kind winter thus far in the UK

What a difference a year makes. At this midway point through Meteorological winter 2016/17, the weather so far has been much kinder than last year. December 2015 was horrendously mild, bad for wildlife in that most things were out of sync, the natural world in the UK at least didn’t know whether it was coming or going.

 

It was also bad for farming at this stage last winter, crops and grass were growing vigorously, and diseases and pests were prevalent, meaning more chemical expenditure down the line for struggling farming communities. We need winters like those of former years to return occasionally to restore some balance.

 

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This one thus far has seen a very typical Temperature setup locally with a reasonable tally of Air frosts when skies cleared by night, although precipitation has been somewhat with December proving very dry when compared to the average as the image below states.

 

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Personal Weather Station Monthly Climatological Summary for December 2016

 

As you’ll notice upon reading the above article from the Newbury Weekly News dated January 14th, 2016, phenology events, i.e., those signs from nature bore no resemblance to most years past, way before climate change processes steadfastly took a grip on things. The winter of 2016/17 thus far has been kinder to the farming community and consequently nature itself, as far as I am aware from what I’ve read and heard about in the press. Here’s to the rest of the winter, playing ball too then. I do feel for our European neighbours, though. January 2017, in particular, has so far seen brutal cold in a significant number of places as the following link to a recent BBC article indicates.

 

Icy weather in Europe causes more hardship and chaos

 

A couple of phenology events which need updating to my records database are the 1st instance of flowering Hazel catkins on the 15th January and 1st flowering Snowdrops around about the 13th January.

 

As ever, you can continue to access my Facebook updates by clicking on the Red Admiral butterfly icon below.

naturestimeline Education services – “A conservation professional sharing his personal perspective on breaking news stories from the world of nature alongside his own accounts from the field.”

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From autumn to spring in December 1806

December 2015 is most definitely an odd one. With its weather statistics and Natural World tales, it is certainly becoming one for the history books. Although, it is worth noting that we have been here before, as this example from 1806 shows, courtesy of the wonderful Wanstead Meteo blog. Of course, my current mean Temperatures of 5.4c above average could and perhaps should still be viewed as rather concerning.

Wanstead Meteo

When I was writing up my winter forecast I came across an analogue that was very similar to what seems to be unfolding this December.

The River Lea close to where Luke Howard's laboratory stood by wanstead_meteo The River Lea close to where Luke Howard’s laboratory stood

Luke Howard, in his first volume of The Climate of London, describes a very warm December that followed on from a warm November that fooled flora and fauna into thinking spring had begun early.

Howard’s statistics are very high: a November mean of 9.5C while December was 9.3C. CET that November was 2.3C above average while December was 3.3C above average. A slightly wetter than average was followed by a very wet December – over 250% the monthly average caused the River Lea to burst its banks in several places

“The catkins of the filberts expanded prematurely. On December 25th a hedge sparrow’s nest was taken at Doveridge, Derbyshire, with four eggs and…

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The images you may well have missed

Knowing that not everyone is on Facebook, here is the latest naturestimeline imagery in all its glory or not, as the case may be.

A lightning bolt captured on film, look carefully towards the Left Hand side.
FOR THOSE NOT ON FACEBOOK – A lightning bolt captured on film, look carefully towards the Left Hand side slightly above the overhead wires.
A photo FAIL. This image is more representative of my efforts in capturing a lightning bolt.
FOR THOSE NOT ON FACEBOOK – A photo FAIL. This image is more representative of my efforts in capturing a lightning bolt.
A Silver-washed Fritillary butterfly - the valesina subspecies.
FOR THOSE NOT ON FACEBOOK – A Silver-washed Fritillary butterfly – the valesina subspecies.
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