This image could be seen today by thousands and thousands of London’s commuters as they opened up their newspapers today. This information advert was posted by the UK’s biggest water company in an attempt to win over London’s population to save water in the light of the severe drought huge parts of England are currently facing.

After leaving the tube and being greeted by horrendous rain it doesn’t come as a big surprise that many Londoners were muttering, “Drought? What drought?!” to themselves while unpacking their umbrellas.

Although 17 English counties have been already issued as drought regions and first water saving measures including a hosepipe ban are already put into place many people around England struggle to draw the connection between drought warnings and the severe impacts the recent drought has on many local farmers and the strong April showers and consequential flood warnings they are experiencing at the same time.

And that’s not surprising as most people base their weather reading skills on their own day to day experiences: if I want to know what the weather is like I take a look out of my window! But that approach doesn’t really work with weather caused events like droughts, floods and so on as the current UK drought example clearly demonstrates. The reason why Londoners are faced with water saving measures while outside it’s raining cats and dogs is due to the fact that the UK  experienced two very dry winters which caused low water supplies all around England. Severe rain falls like April showers will simply be downed by water hungry plants and will even cause flooding where green areas – our natural absorbents – have been removed and cleared in many urban spaces.

And things get even harder to grasp when it comes to extreme weather events and climate impacts. Why is everyone talking about the hottest years on record while I am freezing like crazy this winter? Or what’s the exact problem with that early spring sunshine many of us enjoyed this year?

One heatwave or dry winter alone isn’t the main issue. The earth has always seen severe weather like floods, droughts, heatwaves and storms. But what climatologists have said is that as we burn fossil fuels and pour carbon into the atmosphere, we raise the odds of these kind of wild, damaging events. And indeed, we are seeing distinct trends and records set for nearly every type of extreme weather: high temperatures get higher, rainfalls set new records, droughts get deeper, wildfires burn more acres.

That’s why it’s so important that we connect the dots between extreme weather events and climate impacts – that we connect the dots between changing rain patterns and the impacts that has on local farmers and people.  Most importantly we must ensure that others in our local communities, our local media outlets and our local schools connect the dots with us.  Are you ready to help people make that connection?

More information about the current drought in the UK:


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