The relationship between the climate and our recent weather, with floods, drought and high average temperatures, were the theme of a presentation by Dr Bob Marsh of Southampton University at the WinACC/FoE meeting on 13 May 2014.

Dr Marsh's presentation explained the observed changes in climate-related ocean salinity, evaporation and precipitation, and ocean temperatures. The effect of warmer Atlantic waters in melting the Greenland ice sheet was clear to see. Likely implications for global and UK weather include more droughts and floods, rising global-average temperatures and the possibility of more Atlantic hurricanes. Thanks to global data-collection and advances in analysis, scientists now have a much clearer understanding of how our climate is changing and the possible implications for weather.

A lively discussion focused on action to adapt to the effects of climate change and to reduce the impact of future climate change.  

This is how people suggested we adapt:

Review and improve flood defences - people wanted to hear from the local authorities about the lessons they have learned

Build buildings with natural shading and better insulation, maybe even floating buildings

Change land use, including planting more trees and hedgerows

Stop tarmac-ing drives, make better soak-always, collect and use “grey” water (e.g. out of the bath)

Pay for/reward oxygen generation

More renewable energy – and recover and use wasted heat (someone even suggested from crematoriums)

To reduce the level of future climate change, people suggested

that we need to act as groups and individuals to influence upwards, and that we need scientists, government, the media and individual citizens to promote a consistent message on climate change.

Most of all, we need to think long term, not just the political horizon of three to five years.

We need to change our thinking about the economy, realise that wealth doesn't mean every more growth, and redesign our economic systems to cope without growth.