What climate change?

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

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SUMMER has officially begun. Still, temperatures recorded in some European countries yesterday morning told stories of a continent that remains gripped by the cold claws of winter.


In Bern, Switzerland, the morning dawned at four degrees Celsius; Paris, France was nine degrees; Budapest, Hungary 10; and Berlin, Germany was 10 degrees.


Ski resorts in the Alps and the Pyrenees have remained open as snow which should have melted weeks ago has not and more is forecast for tomorrow.


Meterologists say it's been the coldest spring in some parts of the continent for more than 25 years, and the coldest winter in 100 years.


The events have given critics of climate change ammunition in their argument that the phenomenon is make-believe.


But according to executive director of the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre (5Cs) Dr Kenrick Leslie, late winters are not unprecedented, and they do not mean that the Earth isn't warming.


"One must differentiate between climate change and climate variability," he told the Jamaica Observer in an emailed response.


"Climate change doesn't mean variability will stop, in the same way that climate change won't cause hurricanes to stop in the Caribbean. What is happening in Europe can be attributed to the natural variability effect; there's late winter effect and early winter effect. So this must be seen in a global sense.


"While Europe may be experiencing a late winter, others might be experiencing an early spring effect. Last year, in the United States, they had very early spring," Dr Leslie said.


The 5Cs represents a coordinated policy approach by the region to respond to climate change and climate vulnerability. Among other things, it is tasked with developing a risk ethic in decision-making to enable the Caribbean to deal with the impact and build resilience.


  


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