6 Sep 2008

Wet and floods but Randwick woods are glorious

Wet wet wet. I have just returned from Norway's west coast - renowned for it's rain, but this summer saw much less than usual - well it is clear if I had wanted rain I could have stayed at home - I hear our weather experts say that in the last few days the county had had more than the expected rainfall for all of September.

Photos: Randwick woods yesterday

Indeed very heavy rain has been forecast for a number of days. Water levels on the River Severn are expected to peak on Sunday. At the moment, it appears that some of the worst predictions are unlikely to materialise but rightly our local councils have been geared up and ready for action with a substantial sandbag supply. They are also monitoring water levels at critical points across the District, although flash flooding is often difficult to predict. Apparently two properties in Berkeley have been flooded., Lydney has faced flash flooding andthree Glos schools were closed.

Having said all that it was wonderful to go to Randwick woods yesterday in the rain - having been away a while it was great to be back in them.

Meanwhile we hear that the summer sea-ice melt in the Arctic is the second-meltiest since satellite records began, and by the end of the melt season in mid-September, this year could surpass the all-time record low set last year, according to scientists at the National Snow and Ice Data Center.

Furthermore for the second time ever - the first being last year - the Northwest Passage shipping route is open and ice-free this year. What's more, Arctic sea ice appears (as reported before on this blog), to have reached "a tipping point" from which it may not recover; the Arctic is now expected to be entirely ice-free in summer by 2030. Some say it could be much earlier than that. Arctic sea-ice melt typically begins to slow in August as temperatures get cooler, but this year, just when it was expected to slow down, the melting sped up. But regardless of whether this year is officially a record-breaker or not, it's clear to researchers that the Arctic is unwell. Mark Serreze of the NSIDC said: "No matter where we stand at the end of the melt season it's just reinforcing this notion that Arctic ice is in its death spiral." Not so cheery and all the more reason we need to be acting to tackle climate change - we know what is needed we now need to build the political will to make it happen.

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