Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Global warming, Peter Green and the 5 W's

2006/2007 - a warm, wet winter in Galicia

So, who on earth is Peter Green I hear you ask? Well, Peter Green was my old geography teacher back in the 70's (he was also my tennis coach in the good old days when school children were obliged to participate in real sport, rather than just Playstation virtual sport!) OK, so back to the point....

In our meteorology class one of the nmemonics that Mr Green taught us was the 5 W's - the warm, wet, westerly winds in winter. Obviously, for the UK at least, our winters were always moderated by these warm westerly winds (or the 'North Atlantic drift' as I think they are also known).

In a similar way the climate of Galicia is also influenced enormously by the Atlantic Ocean, and inevitably we share many of the very same weather systems that skim across the Bay of Biscay en route to the UK.

A Galician winter would normally generate at least some frost, albeit always at night and rarely surviving more than a couple of hours of winter sun. This year however, there has hardly been any frost at all, as night time temperatures have rarely dropped below 5 or 6°C (41°F). Days have also been mild, and mostly wet, with average temperatures of around 12-14°C (55°F). Of course we welcome the additional rain after two or three very dry winters, but a little frost is also very useful, helping to kill off some of the more unwelcome insects, and giving the vines a welcome rest bite during the winter months.....

So, is this just another sign of global warming, together with the excellent Balfour Brut (English "Champagne") that I tasted in London last week?

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