It really has gone beyond a joke now.
The summer of 2012 (‘Britain’s greatest summer ever’, lest us forget)…where do you start? Aside from a brief 10 day respite at the end of May it has not stopped raining since the first week of April. That’s three and a half months of rain. And there’s no sign of it ending yet. Up north and in the west there have been floods. It’s not been much better down here. There is just one question on everyone’s lips: WHEN WILL IT END?
We are all familiar now with the notion that it is the jet stream curling in the southerly direction that has caused this, but what’s more worrying is that this is now becoming an annual event. For the record it is now almost a decade since Britain enjoyed a warmer than average summer, in 2003. It is six years since we had what could be described as an average summer that was warm in places but also cloudy and wet in parts. Since then we’ve had 2007, a complete washout, the worst in over 40 years. 2008 was scarcely an improvement. The following three years all followed a similar pattern in that any warm dry weather was frontloaded to the start of the summer – April and part of May. July and August – traditionally the warmest part of the year – have been wet and mild for over six years now. You have to be over 15 now to remember what was like to enjoy a hot summer in Britain. An entire generation is growing up not knowing what it’s like to bask in temperatures over 80 degrees and enjoy the peace of mind that comes with not having to remember to bring a bloody umbrella out day after day after day.
So what’s happening? Some climatologists have posited the theory that this alteration in the jet stream is linked to the melting of the polar ice caps. If that is correct (and being climatologists they are hedging their bets, saying that many more years data are needed before they can come to a definite conclusion) then there’s a certan karmic justice in all this, isn’t it? Capitalism will destroy our planet and thus the human race. And as Britain was the first industrialised country, the first to fully adopt free market capitalism on a mass scale then there’s a certain poetic justice that we are reaping the whirlwind that is the result of our burning of fossil fuels for over 250 years. Actually ‘whirwind’ is probably the wrong word in this context. Can you reap a weekly deluge of rain followed by interminent showers?
Until then shall we stop using the word ‘summer’ to describe June to September in this country? The ‘British monsoon season’ is surely a more accurate description of the climate we enjoy between those months now.