Leader: Cold comfort

Extreme weather is our new normal.

The coldest March on record is not, as you might assume, 2013 but 1674, when the mean average of central England’s temperature was a mere 1°C. The average so far this year is 3.3°C, tropical in comparison, so we should all stop complaining. No, we shouldn’t. This is awful. Our fair isle is thick with snow, farmers are desperate and the prognosis is dire: the Met Office has predicted that the freeze will last for weeks. April really will be the cruellest month and it’s our fault. Scientists have linked this bitter spring to the loss of Arctic sea ice, which has caused the position of the jet stream to shift and allowed the Arctic air to travel further south. Extreme weather is our new normal, the outgoing chief scientific adviser, John Beddington, says. On the bright (if cold) side, ski resorts in Scotland are reporting a record season . . . Happy Easter.

Walkers brave heavy snow in Bakewell in Derbyshire on 23 March 2013. Photograph: Getty Images

This article first appeared in the 01 April 2013 issue of the New Statesman, Easter Special Issue