The weather we get in UK winters, for example, is strongly linked to the contrasting pressure between the Icelandic low and the Azores high. When there’s a big pressure difference the winds come in from the south-west, bringing mild damp weather from the Atlantic. When there’s a smaller gradient, air is often able to flow down from the Arctic. High pressure in the icy north last winter, according to the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, blocked the usual pattern and “allowed cold air from the Arctic to penetrate all the way into Europe, eastern China, and Washington DC”. Nasa reports that the same thing is happening this winter.
There are folk who confuse weather with climate. I’m not a “denier”: I fully accept there are changes to the planet’s climate happening. I just query whether the accepted view that the changes can be entirely laid at the door of human activity.
Which is not to say that we humans are not to be blamed for cocking up our planet. I just think it’s too complex a thing to blame solely on CO2 emissions without taking into account changes to the sun, “normal” fluctuations in planetary weather systems (we are still emerging from an ice age, after all), and the effects of unsustainable human population growth on ecosystems.
Besides, we can argue, squabble and hand-wring all we like, nothing will be done to try to fix things. It’s all too late now. Instead of trying to meet targets no-one will accept, perhaps we should be putting our famed “intelligence” into coping with the effects of changing global climate.
Let us not also forget that the planet will continue long after we as a species have disappeared. Life is a tenacious thing.