The unexpected white Christmas in many countries followed by a bitterly cold New Year, has led people in so-called temperate zones of the world to say that the weather is getting worse.
The unexpected white Christmas in many countries followed by a bitterly cold New Year, has led people in so-called temperate zones of the world to say that the weather is getting worse. Their view is confirmed by scientists who say it is certainly getting colder. After starting to rise at the beginning of this century, the world annual mean temperature climbed to a peak in the early 1940s; since then it has steadily dropped and is now the coldest for seventy years.
Some amateur weather forecasters even predict that another Ice Age is coming. They can produce plenty of fact to support their argument. In France, for example, the coldest temperature ever recorded in that country - minus 34.5 Centigrade ( minus 30 degrees Fahrenheit ) - was registered early this month near the Swiss border. Spain had the coldest New Year's Day for 22 years. Snow has blanketed orange groves in Algeria. In Yugoslavia the city of Sarajevo was cut off from the rest of the country be seven feet (two metres) snowdrifts. Crippling blizzards have struck North America.
There have been exceptions to the rule. In Britain, while South-East England was frozen up over Christmas and the New Year, skiers in Northern Scotland wee thwarted by unseasonably warm weather which restricted snow to the highest slopes. And in Siberia, the Town of Oimyakon, reputedly the coldest place on Earth outside the Polar regions, was enjoying temperatures of a mere minus 59 Deg. C. ( minus 74 deg. F ) compared with 1933's all-time low of minus 68 C. (minus 90 F.).
The Meteorogical Office in London, however, agrees that the world's weather is getting colder. "It has been a strikingly cold decade," an official said this week. Many experts think the weather has not yet reached rock bottom and that it will get considerably colder before the temperature plunge of the past 20 years comes to a halt. When it does, it could take another generation before it climbs up again.
The size of glaciers is often a useful indication of temperature trends. For years glaciers in the Alps were said to be shrinking. Today more than half are either stationary or advancing again.
But meteorologists say there is little or no long-term evidence to suggest that the world is plunging towards a new Ice Age. They warn, however, that governments in temperate countries would do well to plan for the worst - because it will get colder before it gets better.
SYNOPSIS: This is a weather satellite, one of dozens sent into Space in the last few years so that meteorologists can make more accurate forecasts. One thing the have found out is that the world's weather is getting colder. The information is "bleeped" back to Earth.
But few would have forecast the weather in Algeria this week which brought snow to the orange groves. Chilled orange juice is fine but nobody sits in pavement cafes in conditions like these.
In the mountains of Yugoslavia snow is more predictable. Towns like Sarajevo have been cut off from the rest of the country by falls up to six feet deep. Even the statues look cold.
Britain is having a tough winter too with London Airport fogbound, airliners unable to take off and passengers enduring long waits before continuing their journeys.
South-Eastern England had been worst hit. Meteorologists blame it all on a decline in world temperatures which began about 25 years ago.
Scotland, which normally prepares for the worst, has been less affected than England this winter. Skiers in the Highlands have been complaining there isn't enough snow, even if you trudge up to three thousand feet.
But it's blizzard conditions in Canada. Town like Bridgewater in Canada. Towns like Bridgewater in the Maritime Province have declared emergencies. The Meteorological Office in London thinks that it will get even colder before the world temperature plunge of the past 25 years is halted. Even then, they say, it will take another generation for he Mercury to climb again.
So Canadians continue to fight the snow, knowing there's more on the way. And who knows what you will find if you dig into a snowdrift?
In the Soviet Union, of course, they are used to snow and the traditional way to negotiate it. And tumbles in the snow add to the fun if you are not too old to enjoy it.
In the United States the cold war goes on with bulldozers spraying away the snow.
Melting snow on the roads after an avalanche blocked this highway near Seattle and New Year holidaymakers' cars piled up. Some turned back but others decided to wait. Even if the world is getting colder, a rest it seems, will prepare you to face the worst.