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The Forgotton Snows

Guest Daniel

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Since 1988 we have been going through the warmest and most snow free period in our winter climate since Temperture records began in 1659. There have been other warm periods like the 1930 and early 1970s but neither has been as warm or lasted as long as our current period. To see why you only have to look at our winter average tempertures since 1998. the 1990s has been the warmest decade on record with at least 3 winters with the Cet mean 6 or above that has never happend before. between 1900 and 1988 there were only two such winters that of 1934/35 and that of 1974/75. We still do get snow falls in Engand but to day there are small and are nothing compared to the great ones of the past. Today only 2 inches can bring us to our knees and what snow does fall oftern melts now during the day because temp rise to well above freezing. Before 1988 we used to get real snows in Central and southern England that lasted on the ground for more than a week and were deep with heavy drifting. Falls of 6 inches or more used to be common and sometimes up to a foot would fall. Also during these spells of the past tempertures would remain around freezing by day and would fall well below by night.

After the cold of the little ice age the first 40 years of the 20th century were warm but bot as warm as today and even in that period most winters would have had at least one severe snowy spell over central England. The winters of 1917 and 1929 were cold and very snowy. those living at the time would have enjoyed long period of deep snow covers and severe frosts. the 1930 howevere were milder and the winter of 1934/35 would have seen little snow. But that all ended in 1939/1940

The winter period from 1940 to 1970 was cold in England. Average temperatures fall back half way to the worst phase of the little ice age period. Indeed the winters of 1939/40 1947 and 1962/63 were as cold as some of the worst ones in the little ice age. rivers in these years froze solid and great snows fell and lasted for weeks. Many other winters in that period were also cold and snowy. those living through these times would have seen deep snow as a common sight and winter snow sports like sledging throughing snowballs and building snowmen would have been been a way of life. people in this period would have had a fantastic time. then in 1970 it all came to an end

The period from 1970 to 1978 was mild and the winter of 1974/75 was above 6 degrees one. But those in that period did not have to wait long the period came to an end with the severe winter of 1978/79 from then until 1988 the snows and cold returned though this perid was not as cold as the one between 1940 and 1970. but still it was plenty cold enough for some really good winter snows and low tempertures the exciting times seem to have returned. but it was not to last

In 1988 we had a stunning mild winter one of the warmest since records began. Yet a year later we had another such mild winter. The age of snow and frost in England was over for good. The 1990s were stunning for there record warmth. only feb 1991 gave any real widespread snow to England that lasted more than a week after that it was gone. Yes we had small spells but these were userless. because they lasted no more than a day and the amounts were so small that you could not really do anything with it. Todays children and anyone born after 1991 will not have known what real deep lasting snow is like and the excitment that brought. Today a small amount now closes schools and roads but you cant really play with it becuase the amount is so small.

In the first years of the 21st century the strong and powerful warming trend in our winters seems to have halted. Our winter dont seem to be getting any warmer but they are not getting any colder as well. There is hope for the future. Russia and the polar regions are still plenty cold enough to give us real snow. If the gulf stream weakens or the sun goes quite the snows may well return. What we need is the Atlantic to go into a Negative N.A.O which it seems to be happing. When that happens our winters are cold. For some reason it has for a long time been locked in a postive one which brings mild winters. So there always hope for the future and the snows will return one day.

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