UK naturalists concerned for early-emerging spring species


UK naturalists concerned for early-emerging spring species

22 February 2019
Spring is arriving early with swallows, frogspawn and unexpected perfume as temperatures soar up to 20C above this time last year when Britain was blasted by the “beast from the east”.

Rooks are nesting, ladybirds are mating and dozens of migratory swallows have been spotted along the south-west coast – more than a month ahead of their normal arrival.

The 121-year-old record February temperature in Scotland was broken on Thursday with a new high of 18.3C recorded at Aboyne in the Highlands. British springs appear to be leaping ahead of climate change: Met Office data shows mean spring temperatures have risen from 7.1C between 1961 and 1990 to 8.1C between 2008 and 2017.

“We’re in a synoptic sweet spot,” said Grahame Madge of the Met Office. “We’ve got this dome of high pressure sat across continental Europe which is giving us settled conditions. The high pressure is shielding us from the worst of the low pressure but encouraging a flow of warm air from the low pressures.”

Daytime maximums of -3C were commonplace in the Midlands and Severn Valley during last year’s “beast from the east”, while temperatures this weekend are expected to reach 18C.