After polar bear in Cornwall comes Cumbrian 'iceberg'
After two reports of polar bears being washed up on the British coast this year, it was only a matter of time before the icebergs arrived.
"Amazed locals" had seen icebergs off the north-west coast of England, at Morecambe Bay in the Irish Sea, according to news reports yesterday.
Many people assume that the UK is too far south to have icebergs, but the fatal collision between the giant passenger liner Titanic and the iceberg which did for her in April 1912 was actually a long way to the south of the British Isles, at latitude 41°46N. The most southerly part of Britain, the Lizard peninsula in Cornwall, lies at 49°55N.
Predictably, however, further investigation revealed yesterday's "icebergs" to be more in the nature of ice floes – the biggest being about 20ft long and three feet thick. They were frozen parts of the sea nonetheless, in an area where temperatures had, on occasions during the recent freeze, climbed no higher than minus 8C.
It is the waters of the Gulf Stream which warm our seas and make them iceberg-free (although five years ago, in the middle of a drought, the water company Thames Water briefly considered towing icebergs here as a water supply).
Reports of polar bears travelling to Britain made the news earlier this year. The RSPB suggested that one had been washed up still alive on the Hebridean island of Mull – the story was an April Fool. The second report came in September when Naomi Lloyd, a presenter of ITV's West Country breakfast bulletin, excitedly informed viewers that a polar bear had been washed up dead at the Cornish seaside town of Bude. The animal turned out to be a cow, which had been bleached white by the seawater.
Icebergs are hardly more likely than polar bears to arrive here.
The sea ice is not likely to be around for much longer now as the thaw has definitely set in, brought by milder air from the west. Most of southern Britain will see its snow melting away today – bad news for tobogganers – helped by rain in some places as the temperature steadily rises, although there may still be some sleet or snow in the north-east and Scotland.
Parts of south-west England and south Wales are expected to see temperatures reach 11C by Thursday, with only a few inland places in the north of England remaining sub-zero. Many areas will be dull, misty and drizzly.
The Met Office is nevertheless predicting that this month will be "by some margin" the coldest December since records began 100 years ago.
The Transport Secretary, Philip Hammond, is look at changing the law to fine airport regulators after air traffic ground to a halt last week, ruining the holidays of tens of thousands.
Greenland’s dark snow may start global warming ‘feedback loop’
The top 10 weirdest animal mating rituals
Campaigners lobby Duchess of Cornwall to persuade her son-in-law to cease Knebworth solar farm
Sydney tries to evict troublesome fruit bats with aural onslaught
Climate change means rate of growth of trees has gone up by 77%
- 1 Scottish referendum: So how about the English now being given a chance to split from England?
- 2 Stamford Hill council removes 'unacceptable' posters telling women which side of the road to walk down
- 3 Kim Kardashian 'naked pictures' leaked on 4chan weeks after Jennifer Lawrence 'The Fappening' scandal
- 4 Matthew Miller: American sentenced to hard labour in North Korea 'wanted to be Snowden II'
- 5 Iranian blogger found guilty of insulting Prophet Mohammad on Facebook sentenced to death
Scottish independence referendum: A nation divided against itself
Scottish referendum results: Cross-party consensus collapses amid Tory-Labour spat on the 'English question'
Scottish independence: David Cameron is becoming the 'George Bush of Britain'
Russia freezes Ukraine into submission: Kiev admits country doesn't have enough fuel for winter
Archbishop of Canterbury admits doubts about existence of God
Portuguese academic says British are 'filthy, violent and drunk'
Unpaid Voluntary Position : Reach Volunteering: Volunteer your expertise as Tr...
£68 - £73 per day + Competitive rates of pay based on experience: Randstad Edu...
£69 - £73 per day + Competitive London rates of pay: Randstad Education Group:...
£117 - £157 per day + Competitive London rates: Randstad Education Group: * Pr...