Climate change is, by most accounts now a reality, but it has taken a long time for the establishment to acknowledge that this is really happening. The evidence is now hard to dispute and even the most sceptical of doubters has finally come around to agree with those who a decade ago would have been considered crazy in their climate change views. Even the language has changed. Until relatively recently all the talk was of “Global warming” and people in UK were getting excited about the prospects of warmer and possibly better weather. Growers were eagerly considering the possibilities of growing peaches, avocados and a host of other semi exotic crops as the warmth gradually extends across the country. The term “global warming” seems to have gone out of fashion in favour of “climate change”. Perhaps this is an acknowledgement that even the most eminent scientists and the most powerful computer prediction models are very uncertain as to how the climate may go.
The UK is surrounded by sea and this has a huge influence on the sort of weather we experience and keeps the weathermen on their toes, UK weather is considered to be one of the most difficult to predict. So, good news recently that the Meteorological Office is investing £97 million in some of the most powerful and sophisticated computer systems in the world. Apparently this is to make it easier and more accurate to forecast weather as much as 3-4 days in advance. Wow, fancy that! We will be able to look into the future and check if the coming weekend is to be a “barbie” one, or if we are to go kite flying. As a grower, this will be a little bit helpful in making planning for field work a little easier so I should not be so cynical. But what we would really like to know is what the weather holds in store for us months and even years ahead, then we could plan our crops accordingly. But maybe such predictability would spoil the fun of just having no idea as to what lies around the corner.
For 2014 any predictions that were around in the early part of the year have probably not come true, the weather from the growers perspective has been as good as we could wish for in our wildest dreams. If the weathermen had been able to predict this unusual weather event 9 months ago, during the wettest stormiest winter for centuries, we would never have believed them. But indeed it has been as near perfect as any grower could wish for, it has in fact been as good as 2012 was bad. Almost wall to wall sunshine from March until now, reasonable amounts of rain mostly falling at night over the weekends and very decent temperatures neither too hot nor too cool. The only exception being that August was pretty cool but actually that served to slow down our tomato crop which means that we are still picking them now. So we have experienced some of the best crops in our 40 year career of organic production, it has been a wonderfully bountiful year and we are entering winter with good stocks of all vegetables. Next year is a cosmos away and we look forward to whatever Mother Nature decides to deliver.