diamond geezer

 Thursday, July 15, 2004

London's Drowning

St Swithin’s Day, if it does rain, full forty days it will remain,
St Swithin’s Day, if it be fair, for forty days t’will rain no more.

This baseless meteorological superstition dates from the late 9th century. A group of over-zealous monks decided to dig up the grave of Swithin, former Bishop of Winchester, and move it to a more prestigious location inside the cathedral. Legend tells us that this botched exhumation caused it to rain for forty days and forty nights. Common sense tells us that this legend is rubbish, and has continued to be rubbish for every single one of the last 1133 summers. Having said that, given how appalling this summer has been so far, this might be the year that finally proves the rhyme.

So just what is up with the weather at the moment? It feels like it's been damp, cool and cloudy all summer. A telltale tanline round my watchstrap suggests that we have had a few scorching days, but they've been few and far between, and nigh non-existent of late. Maybe this is global warming kicking in. The government's chief scientific adviser is certainly worried, and has just given a speech suggesting that it won't be long before melting ice caps cover the globe with rather more water than a few shower clouds can produce.

London is one of the world cities with the most to fear. Should the Greenland ice cap ever melt then sea level would rise by nearly ten metres and a large part of the capital would be flooded. Never mind all those piddling security risks to the Houses of Parliament I listed earlier in the week - rising sea level would completely submerge the lower floors of this riverside building. It'd be also be farewell to Westminster Abbey, 10 Downing Street, St James Park and the Tower of London, and that's just for starters. A huge swathe of London lies below the ten metre contour (see map), including Fulham, Chelsea, Docklands and Stratford north of the river, and most of Wandsworth, Lambeth and Southwark south of the river. The City and the West End would remain safely above the rising waters, although the tube network would be flooded out. And my flat in Bow would be transformed into a valuable riverside apartment on the banks of the three-mile-wide Thames, but I'd need scuba gear to go shopping at my local Tesco.

We continue to pump excessive amounts of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere like there's no tomorrow, and for London maybe there isn't. Future generations will pay the price of our materialistic greed, and not enough important people yet seem to care. But I suspect our recent wet weather has nothing at all to do with global warming and is merely a symptom of the wildly variable British climate. Last summer was record-breakingly hot, this one's depressingly damp and that's just the way our weather works. It's unpredictable and that's why we love to talk about it.

St Swithin’s Day 2004 is looking decidedly wet already. I shall be keeping a tally over the next forty days to see whether the next forty days it will remain. Come back on August 24th and see if London's still under water.

<< click for Newer posts

click for Older Posts >>

click to return to the main page

...or read more in my monthly archives
Jan18  Feb18  Mar18  Apr18
Jan17  Feb17  Mar17  Apr17  May17  Jun17  Jul17  Aug17  Sep17  Oct17  Nov17  Dec17
Jan16  Feb16  Mar16  Apr16  May16  Jun16  Jul16  Aug16  Sep16  Oct16  Nov16  Dec16
Jan15  Feb15  Mar15  Apr15  May15  Jun15  Jul15  Aug15  Sep15  Oct15  Nov15  Dec15
Jan14  Feb14  Mar14  Apr14  May14  Jun14  Jul14  Aug14  Sep14  Oct14  Nov14  Dec14
Jan13  Feb13  Mar13  Apr13  May13  Jun13  Jul13  Aug13  Sep13  Oct13  Nov13  Dec13
Jan12  Feb12  Mar12  Apr12  May12  Jun12  Jul12  Aug12  Sep12  Oct12  Nov12  Dec12
Jan11  Feb11  Mar11  Apr11  May11  Jun11  Jul11  Aug11  Sep11  Oct11  Nov11  Dec11
Jan10  Feb10  Mar10  Apr10  May10  Jun10  Jul10  Aug10  Sep10  Oct10  Nov10  Dec10 
Jan09  Feb09  Mar09  Apr09  May09  Jun09  Jul09  Aug09  Sep09  Oct09  Nov09  Dec09
Jan08  Feb08  Mar08  Apr08  May08  Jun08  Jul08  Aug08  Sep08  Oct08  Nov08  Dec08
Jan07  Feb07  Mar07  Apr07  May07  Jun07  Jul07  Aug07  Sep07  Oct07  Nov07  Dec07
Jan06  Feb06  Mar06  Apr06  May06  Jun06  Jul06  Aug06  Sep06  Oct06  Nov06  Dec06
Jan05  Feb05  Mar05  Apr05  May05  Jun05  Jul05  Aug05  Sep05  Oct05  Nov05  Dec05
Jan04  Feb04  Mar04  Apr04  May04  Jun04  Jul04  Aug04  Sep04  Oct04  Nov04  Dec04
Jan03  Feb03  Mar03  Apr03  May03  Jun03  Jul03  Aug03  Sep03  Oct03  Nov03  Dec03
 Jan02  Feb02  Mar02  Apr02  May02  Jun02  Jul02 Aug02  Sep02  Oct02  Nov02  Dec02 

eXTReMe Tracker
jack of diamonds
Life viewed from London E3

» email me
» follow me on twitter
» follow the blog on Twitter
» follow the blog on RSS

my flickr photostream