Extreme weather conditions in the UK this year could become the ‘new normal’

The National Trust fear that 2022's extreme weather conditions could become the "new normal" and continue to wreak havoc on wildlife and nature.

A warning has been issued that the situation will get even worse unless meaningful progress is made to limit carbon emissions.

The Trust are also aware that 2015's Paris climate accord target of keeping global warming no more than 1.5C above pre-industrial levels is not on schedule to be met by 2030.

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And National Trust climate change adviser Keith Jones has said the past 12 months have represented a "stark illustration of the sort of difficulties many of our species will face if we don't do more to mitigate rising temperatures".

He added: "We're going to experience more floods, droughts, heatwaves, extreme storms and wildfires and they will go from bad to worse, breaking records with ever alarming frequency if we don't limit our carbon emissions."

The Trust have provided an account of the extreme weather conditions they believe had a negative impact on the UK's environment in 2022.

It reads:

January

A record warm start to the year with a temperature of 16.3C in central London on January 1. Overall, the month is around 0.8C above the 1991-2020 long-term average.

February

Storms Eunice and Franklin bring down trees across the country.

April

Spring bird migration is later and swifts return about two weeks later than normal and in lower numbers.

May

There are no sightings of toadlets by May as hot weather and lack of rain causes ponds to dry up.

June

Bird flu hits many of the seabird colonies on the Farne Islands, off the north-eastern English coast, wiping out seabirds that go there to breed including kittiwakes, shags, gulls and puffins. At Northern Ireland's Strangford Lough, extreme weather with gales, torrential rain and high tides causes multiple tern colonies to fail.

July

A record-breaking heatwave peaks at 40.3C at Coningsby in central England with exceptionally dry conditions across the south and east and wildfires across large parts of the country. Bats have to be rescued from the heat.

Experts suspect the weather has hit the breeding success of many bird species. Pools and streams dry up.

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August

Newly-planted trees fail at some National Trust sites due to prolonged drought and heat. Many places experience a "false autumn" with trees dropping their leaves early.

Butterfly numbers seem to be down and bumblebees, hoverflies and flies vanish.

September

Swallows are still active at Mount Stewart in Northern Ireland a month later than in previous years, and do not migrate until the very end of the month.

Some wildflowers have a second flowering due to lack of frost.

November

Winter farmland migrating birds arrive a month later on the Mount Stewart Estate likely due to milder temperatures in northern areas where they spend the summer and breed.

December

After a largely very hot year, much of the UK is hit by a freezing cold snap.

Much milder conditions follow, prompting concerns it could bring creatures out of hibernation.

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