Three natural occurrences have stood out along the Brook and the Railway Walk this year:
ï¿½_ï¿½ The abundance of hawthorn blossom during the Spring,
ï¿½_ï¿½ The prolonged period of high temperatures endured by all during July, accompanied by little or no rainfall, with the ensuing serious effect this had on younger trees causing some to shed a proportion of their leaves in order to survive, and
ï¿½_ï¿½ The large numbers of acorns that Oak trees (see photo above) seem to have produced this year.
I have to ask the obvious question- is this abundance of acorns a sign of the kind of winter to come?
In other words, is nature providing a more bountiful harvest of fruits this year, so that our resident wild animals have sufficient food supplies, in preparation for a colder than average winter?
Perhaps this isnï¿½__t entirely speculation on my part. I heard recently that meteorologists were beginning to revise their original long-term forecast for the coming winter 2006-2007, which had originally predicted a milder than normal one. This is no longer the case apparently from a recent discussion I heard on BBC Radio 4 which seemed to cast doubt on that preliminary forecast.
Despite our northerly latitude (in other words the distance of our country from the Equator), our weather benefits year round from the effects of mild, moist south-westerly winds blowing from the Atlantic, with the result that colder, icier weather often experienced in central Europe is kept at bay by these warmer winds.
Weathermen refer to this as the ï¿½__Gulf-Stream effectï¿½__, which is a warm stream of water, some 50 miles wide which travels slowly from the Gulf of Mexico in a north-easterly direction towards western Europe and the UK. The section of the Gulf Stream that particularly affects us is called the North Atlantic Drift.
However, a report in the press last December seemed to suggest that the North Atlantic Drift was now 30% cooler than it was 12 years ago.
See that report by clicking here
Perhaps weï¿½__ll just have to wait and see what this winter brings!