- Britain may be basking in one of the hottest summers
on record, but scientists now fear that the UK could face an abrupt switch
to freezing winters and Icelandic summers.
- Leading global warming experts suspect that climate change,
instead of being a gradual and largely predictable process, could mean
that Europe's weather patterns will worsen severely with very little warning.
- At any time after 2010, their research suggests, Britain's
average temperature could drop by up to 5C within as little as three or
four years - with catastrophic results for farming, transport, northern
towns and tourism.
- That would leave Britain with the same average temperatures
as Iceland, said Professor Jochem Marotze, one of Europe's leading oceanographers.
"It would wreck agriculture the way we know it now," he said.
- When southern Britain was sweltering with a record 38.1C
(100.6F) last Sunday, residents of Iceland's capital, Reykjavik, endured
rain and a much cooler 13C (55F).
- Many scientists now believe that rapidly increasing CO2
emissions will exacerbate the natural cycle of hot and cold weather that
led to the mini Ice Age of the 17th century by severely affecting natural
- The natural cycle of hot and cold periods is chiefly
responsible for this summer's heatwave, say climatologists. However, global-warming
gases are very likely to have intensified its effects.
- © 2003 Independent Digital (UK) Ltd