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Britain could lose its longest-lasting snow patch this week

Britain’s ‘longest-lasting snow patch’ will melt for only the eighth time since records began in the 1700s, and it could disappear entirely, experts predict.

Known as The Sphinx, the 13-foot strip of snow at Braeriach, in the Cairngorms, is known to have survived virtually every summer since records began.

But it could become a victim of climate change, with warmer summers, wetter autumns and colder winters, causing it to get smaller, warns mountaineer and author Iain Cameron, who said ‘it is unlikely to last a week’.

Scotland has several hardy snow patches, but they melt frequently. However, the Sphinx has only melted seven times in 300 years, with three in the last five years.

There are no long-lasting glaciers in the country, but these snow patches can last all summer and hold on until the first bursts of winter.

The so-called Sphinx, at Braeriach in the Cairngorms, has survived practically every summer since records began in the 18th century.  But you could become a victim of climate change

The so-called Sphinx, at Braeriach in the Cairngorms, has survived practically every summer since records began in the 18th century. But you could become a victim of climate change

Known as The Sphinx, the 13-foot strip of snow at Braeriach, in the Cairngorms, is known to have survived virtually every summer since records began.

Known as The Sphinx, the 13-foot strip of snow at Braeriach, in the Cairngorms, is known to have survived virtually every summer since records began.

Known as The Sphinx, the 13-foot strip of snow at Braeriach, in the Cairngorms, is known to have survived virtually every summer since records began.

WHAT IS A DURABLE SNOW PATCH?

A patch of snow, like The Sphinx in Cairngorns, is a long-lasting swath of snow that survives the summer.

They are often found at higher elevations, with rocks jutting out to reduce sunlight.

In the case of the Sphinx, it has only melted in the summer seven times in 300 years and refrozen the next winter.

They have been actively studied for more than 100 years, but records of their extent began in the 18th century.

In recent years, the extent of these patches has decreased and they have melted more frequently.

There is concern that they will disappear entirely as the world warms.

Most of these are found on Ben Nevis, Scotland’s highest mountain, with others in the Cairngorms, a mountain range in the eastern highlands of the country.

Experts worry that its permanent demise is imminent for all patches of snow, including the iconic Sphinx.

Cameron is Scotland’s leading expert on snow patches, having studied them for decades and written a book on their history.

He noted that four of his disappearances have been in the last 20 years.

“It was thought that it would never melt, or at least infrequently,” he said, “but this will be the third time in five years, which is unprecedented.”

“I am not a climatologist, but I think it is a safe assumption to say that rising temperatures is what is ultimately behind this,” added the author.

The Sphinx, named for the rock climbing directly above it, is the oldest ‘permanent’ patch of snow in the UK. and since the 1700s it has melted in 1933, 1959, 1996, 2003, 2006, 2017 and 2018. With the risk of a melt this year in 2021.

Cameron explained that it is the closest thing Scotland has to a glacier, and as a result, it is the most studied patch of snow in the British Isles.

But it could become a victim of climate change, with warmer summers, wetter autumns and colder winters, causing it to get smaller, warns mountaineer and author Iain Cameron, who said 'it's unlikely to last the entire week'.

But it could become a victim of climate change, with warmer summers, wetter autumns and colder winters, causing it to get smaller, warns mountaineer and author Iain Cameron, who said 'it's unlikely to last the entire week'.

But it could become a victim of climate change, with warmer summers, wetter autumns and colder winters, causing it to get smaller, warns mountaineer and author Iain Cameron, who said ‘it’s unlikely to last the entire week’.

It can be found along the edge of the Braeriach Ridge, which is the UK’s third highest mountain, located in a very isolated part of the Cairngorms.

It sits in a hollow under the mountain ridge, which means it receives very little sunlight, allowing it to stay frozen, even in the heat of summer.

“There is a lot of snow there during the winter and spring, so there are large accumulations of snow on the hills that take a long time to melt,” said Cameron.

The Sphinx has been studied seriously for about 100 years and especially closely since the 1980s, and now it’s in its last days, it’s a patch of its old self.

It can be found along the edge of the Braeriach Ridge, which is the UK's third highest mountain, located in a very isolated part of the Cairngorms.

It can be found along the edge of the Braeriach Ridge, which is the UK's third highest mountain, located in a very isolated part of the Cairngorms.

It can be found along the edge of the Braeriach Ridge, which is the UK’s third highest mountain, located in a very isolated part of the Cairngorms.

It sits in a hollow under the mountain ridge, which means it receives very little sunlight, allowing it to stay frozen, even in the heat of summer.

It sits in a hollow under the mountain ridge, which means it receives very little sunlight, allowing it to stay frozen, even in the heat of summer.

It sits in a hollow under the mountain ridge, which means it receives very little sunlight, allowing it to stay frozen, even in the heat of summer.

Snow from recent years has melted to expose harder, older layers that are now also melting, prompting Cameron to say that it now “seems inconsequential.”

However, despite how it looks today, what remains “can tell us much more than we initially thought,” he explained.

“ Snow patches like this act as a barometer of what the weather is doing in general and I think that is confirmed by the evidence that we are seeing.

“Only the smallest number of patches survive these days compared to what they used to do. The amount of snow that falls in winter seems to be decreasing, as far as I’m concerned, there is definitely a trend going on there. ‘

Snow from the past few years has melted to expose harder, older layers that are now also melting, prompting Cameron to say that it now `` seems inconsequential. ''

Snow from the past few years has melted to expose harder, older layers that are now also melting, prompting Cameron to say that it now `` seems inconsequential. ''

Snow from the past few years has melted to expose harder, older layers that are now also melting, prompting Cameron to say that it now “ seems inconsequential. ”

However, despite how it looks today, what remains “can tell us much more than we initially thought,” he explained.

Every year Mr. Cameron writes an article for the Royal Meteorological Society on the state of snow patches in Scotland.

“I’m not a climatologist or even an academic, but it’s one of those weird things that when you do research you curiously get attached to,” he said.

Of course, from a pragmatic point of view, it doesn’t really matter at all if they melt, but from a philosophical and scientific perspective they do matter.

‘These things can tell us what is happening in the broader climate and it would be wise to pay attention to what these patches of snow tell us.

“They are small in size, but their size belies their importance.”

UK summers will hit 104 ° F within the decade as scorching weather becomes our new ‘normal’

Scorching 104 ° F (40 ° C) summers will become the UK’s new ‘normal’ by the end of the century, forecasters from the Met Office warned.

The alarming prediction comes as experts warned that temperature and rainfall records are breaking at a ‘shocking’ rate in Britain.

All the warmest ten years on record in the UK since 1884 have occurred in the last two decades, and central England is now warmer than it has been in the last three centuries.

Also, the last three decades have been 1.6 ° F (0.9 ° C) warmer than the three decades that preceded them. Warming trends are evident across the UK.

Researchers have expressed fear that the rate of global warming is spiraling out of control, saying that “climate change is happening and is happening now.”

Coupled with the trend towards rising temperatures, the UK has been on average around 6 per cent wetter over the past 30 years than in the previous three decades, with six of the 10 wettest years on record since 1998.

The UK’s wettest February on record came in 2020, during which the country was hit by storms Ciara and Dennis in rapid succession, causing devastating flooding in many homes and businesses.

In fact, most of the UK received more than twice the usual long-term average rainfall that month, with increases of up to 400 per cent in the Pennines and 300 per cent in broad swaths of the north and west.

In addition to 2020 which provided the wettest February on record, the last 12 years also saw the wettest April (2012), June (also 2012), November (2009), and December (2015).

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