Hot, Hot, Hot…Is This Another 1976?
In one way yes, its hot here in the UK, just hotter this time around. In all other ways no. The event of 1976 was caused by a persistent localised high pressure bubble that hung around like the winter version of the 1963 winter event, except in 1976, the high started in march and finally collapsed in September. The Azores high is still responsible for this event, but it is much bigger and conjoined with high pressure over Europe and Africa. However, the heat is not just local to us or the high pressure, as it was in 1976, when all other areas of the northern hemisphere were at normal temperatures. This heatwave covers the entire northern hemisphere, and this could not have happened without man-made climate change, with the red house effect, from burning fossil fuels and releasing CO2 and the methane released from oil exploration, and extraction and coal mining. here is also now methane being released from melting tundra.
There has never been a time when it is more essential for everyone to do their little bit to reduce our carbon footprint, and to make what difference you can effect in your working life too. In my world of development, it is vital to ensure all possible efforts to retain existing landscape elements within the open spaces which can comprise high proportions of development sites, and this areas that need landscape work, should be as natural as possible for biodiversity – and that part is now a planning requirement, following the Environment Bill. What is more important is that the specifications actually work. Establishing wild flower is not possible without a fallow period to trigger germination of ruderal weed seed dormant in the soil (the thug weeds that choke diverse wild flowers and grasses). With a fallow period after cultivation, these can be killed off organically by power harrow/ hot foam spray, and then the wild flower/ meadow grasses seeded – and bingo. – it works.
For tree planting – acres have been lost this year because of out of date specification. Trees, whips and native shrubs must have a biodegradable mulch mat, water retaining polymer in the soil, bark cover to the Matt and deer/ rabbit protection mesh cage or for large areas, fencing, (as opposed to shelters), and of course watering in. That is the minimum to get plants to survive regular hot, dry periods, which aren’t going away – just worsening each year.
So when will it end? the models are showing a gradual brake down to low pressure for the first time in months for the south of the UK and for Europe. This will increase the likelihood of thundery showers. After that, it could even get stormy. September may see a brief return to warm and dry weather again, but that is a long way ahead.
Together we can do our little bit to make a powerful effort to achieve a better world. Today the world needs to cooperate like never before to resolve the complex global issues we face, and discard the misleading easy-fix, hollow sound bite slogans from politicians that have their own self interest at heart.
I for one will be look forward to the forecast wetter weather and watering respite for my pots and the joy of seeing a green lawn again, even if I’ll have to cut it, something I have not needed to do for 2 months now.