December 8, 2021

Climate Change News

Saving The Planet

“Something is wrong”: the urban city of Northern Ireland has the day 31.2C in the sun | Northern Ireland

In the annals of climate change, it will be remembered, if at all, as a deviant footnote: the brief reign of Ballywatticock.

Few people in Northern Ireland had heard of this village on the outskirts of Strangford Lough, County Down, until its weather station recorded the highest temperature in the UK last Saturday: 31.2 ° C (88.16 ° F).

The move set a new record in Northern Ireland and sparked a series of jokes about an enigmatic name that possibly originated in the Irish. ball Uaiteacoc, or the city of Watticock.

“Of course, Ballywatticock adapts from Irish: at home which means “urban land,” Uaitecoc means “with a large thermometer,” said one.

Someone changed the local speed limit signal from 30 to 31.2, delighting the TV crews who used it as a backdrop to crown this mosaic of fields that was once anonymous and houses the hottest spot in the world. ‘Northern Ireland.

Residents enjoyed the attention. “It’s good to have a little excitement, a little craic,” said Donald Crowe, 77, a retired farmer who since 1961 has hosted the weather station in his garden.

Donald Crowe, owner of the garden that houses the weather station. Photography: Paul McErlane / The Guardian

“She is OK. A bit of publicity, ”said Chris Holmes, 58, who has spent his entire life assuring outsiders that Ballywatticock is a real place.

He now had a place in the record books, he said. “Last Saturday was like getting off a plane in a very hot country.” It indicated a landscape of yellowish grass, the product of weeks of heat. “All of these fields are sharp.”

Chris Holmes in his garden in Battywatticock, County Down
Chris Holmes in his garden in Battywatticock, County Down. Photography: Paul McErlane / The Guardian

Brian Jameson, 56, said last Saturday it was windless, with no zephyrs coming out of the sea right on the road. “It was amazing: a dry, burning heat. I left home and thought: go, something is wrong.

Crowe’s multiple garden thermometers (some sit in Met Office boxes, others rest on grass, some lie on floor tubes) may not be correct. The Met Office sent a technician to verify the readings and is expected to give a verdict in the coming days.

Meanwhile, dramatic images from the United States, Germany, Russia, China and other places this week cast their own judgment: the planet is wrong.

Smoke from wildfires in the western U.S. traveled thousands of miles and polluted New York air. A heat wave in Siberia, one of the coldest regions in the world, sparked forest fires that suffocated the city of Yakutsk with an airpocalypse of toxic smoke. Researchers said catastrophic floods that killed more than 200 people in Western Europe could be more frequent due to global warming.

These disasters were felt away from Ballywatticock, where residents expressed their hope that the heat wave would last and allow this windy, humid corner of the British Isles to feel Sicilian for a while longer.

Still, images of extreme weather beyond its shores and its own sense that the climate of Northern Ireland is changing, annoyed residents. It was fun to be famous, though, and what if that fame reflected global calamity?

“I think the climate is changing. There is too much evidence around, ”said Patrina Jameson, 57. His son Ryan, 29, was worried about what awaited his generation. “I think the damage has already been done. Something has changed a lot. “

Brian and Mother Jameson
Brian and Mother Jameson. Photography: Paul McErlane / The Guardian

There was a time when weather records could last for years, even decades. The reign of Ballywatticock as the hottest place in Northern Ireland was over in less than a week. On Wednesday, a weather station in Castlederg, a village in Tyrone County, 80 miles (130 km) west, recorded 31.3C (88.34F).

“Northern Ireland has provisionally broken its historic temperature record for the second time in five days,” the Met Office said. The measurement will also need verification before being official.

Castlederg also holds the lowest temperature record in Northern Ireland: -18.7C (-1.66F) during the winter of 2010.

Ballywatticock can’t compete with an ice and fire song. Northern Ireland has a new celebrity for extreme weather.

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