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Sunday, 10 January 2010

A Tipping Point.

I woke early this morning, at around 3.30am. I have no idea why.
Yes, i know that's far too early & i did go back to sleep later.
But, as i lay there i started to notice sounds coming from outside of the house. It took a while, which is no great surprise at that time of the morning i guess? But, i eventually realised that it was the sound of water dripping.
Nothing unusual in that you might think. But, that was not a sound i was expecting to hear.

As i've said in many vlogs & blogs over the past few days. We, in Britain, have been experiencing some pretty cold & snowy weather recently.

When i went to bed last night, it was snowing & the weather forecast was of plenty more to come overnight. I was even planning another little excursion first thing in the morning, to have a nice walk in the snow & to take some more photographs.
So, the last thing i was expecting to hear was the sound of dripping water. Suggesting that it was either raining, or that the snow was thawing.
I got up, peeked out of the window & sure enough, the snow had already started to thaw. Hence the sound of dripping water.

This is one of the common problems with any snow that falls in this area. It tends not to last for very long. Partly due to the salt in the air from the sea & also because we just don't normally get extended periods of freezing temperatures.
This is was has been making this recent spell of cold weather unusual. It has lasted for a long time.

What must have happened, is that the temperature must have risen, very slightly, during the night. Just enough to kick start that thawing process.
The temperature had reached a critical tipping point.
That small rise in temperature had tipped the balance between, what would have been snow, to rain, or sleet. It was just enough to start the thaw.

This got me thinking & kept me awake for some time too!

This incident proved to me just what a difference a small rise in temperature can make.

In Hastings we probably live on the very edge of that tipping point between snow & rain many times every Winter, without even realising it. Most of the time the rain wins. Over the past few days, the snow has taken it's chance.

So, if this is what happens with a very small variation in temperature. Just think what would happen if the temperature were to change by a few degrees? As predicted by all of those climate scientists.
"It's only a couple of degrees" say the sceptics, or naysayers, "What difference is that going to make?"

I may be no climate scientist. But, i have very recent experience of the difference that a very small change in the temperature can make.
Climate change may well be a global problem, especially in the years to come. But, the effects of that change will be felt at a very local level.

I certainly hope we haven't reached that tipping point just yet & that there is a way to stop us ever reaching it.
As, i'm not sure i ever want to see over the edge.

And, by the way, i never did get to have that walk in the snow this morning.

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