Millions will have watched with sympathy and alarm as devastating floods hit large parts of the UK over the last few weeks. Our screens have been filled with footage of 'rescue workers' working tirelessly for days on end to keep communities safe and reduce damage to property. However, what's rarely acknowledged is that most of these rescue workers are actually firefighters.
With the extreme winter weather and ongoing flooding events continuing to dominate media schedules across the UK, measures must now be taken to minimise and prevent such scenes of devastation occurring in the future...
January brings with it a much more vicious and ferocious beast than a few Facebook updates from Jen about how 2014 is her year (and that her cheating boyfriend can go to hell). Allow me to introduce to you, the January sales-seekers, otherwise known as the most horrible people you will come across in January (maybe).
On Friday 3rd January 2014, Britain prepared for severe flooding caused by strong winds. It's the third extreme storm that the UK has faced in less than a month. Last year at this time, the UK was battling freezing temperatures. Both weather events are extreme and abnormal.
With my inevitable post-Christmas return to work looming large on the horizon, I decided that a quick family getaway was in order, one last hurrah with my wife and daughter before I had to go back to the daily commuter grind.
So I wake up on New Years Day 2014 to another day of storms, my family all stuck indoors again because of the weather, and know this isn't just another day, a normal winter storm. This is climate change. Here and now, and affecting our lives, negatively.
If you believe everything the papers tell you, Armageddon is upon us. The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse have stocked up on saddle soap and sugar cubes, Jupiter and Saturn have come into alignment and St. Peter's got the Brasso out and is buffing up the pearly gates ready for the new influx of residents. Why? Because it's about to snow.
Taken overall, it is clear that storms increasing have a space and time variability, non-uniformity, and much higher level complexity of wind, than traditional engineering has catered for. As Typhoon Haiyan reminds us, we must therefore adopt a new engineering approach to enable our preparedness.
The forecast of the St Jude's Day storm was good and, as Prynne highlights... The reason this forecast was very good - like so many these days - is that our ever-growing knowledge of how the atmosphere works has been extremely carefully incorporated into the computer algorithms using state-of-the-art mathematics.
The general public have not yet heard of geoengineering or climate engineering. It is the grandest of all ideas for if all other ideas for solutions to climate change fail - ideas for a deliberate large-scale intervention in the Earth's climate system with the aim of reducing global warming by reversing or slowing it.
The well-dressed man on the street increasingly needs a versatile wardrobe that can cope with everything the British weather system can throw at him. Days like that one in March, where we had blazing sunshine, which turned to hail, and then to snow.
Is there anything more awe-inspiring than watching the impact of weather? Whether it is the sun rising over a stunning mountain landscape, a storm raging over a city sky-line or snow turning the most mundane of settings into a magical scene?
Are you lying in bed completely naked in the starfish position with you're windows wide open and you're still hot? Have you got your first 'sula' (sweaty upper lip ALERT)? And, is your bag filled with four different water bottles? This British heat wave has definitely caused a dangerous behaviour pattern evident amongst all of us Brits and this bloody heat is the cause of it!
Over the past few weeks it's been hard to swing a sunburned shoulder without hitting some sage advice on the subject of keeping cool in the 'heatwave'. Judging by the tone of rising hysteria if you're not at this very moment stuffing your fridge with pillows while running a tepid bath and eating a curry then hell mend you.
The vast majority of deaths during heatwaves are among the eldery and other 'at-risk' groups, which includes the very young and people with pre-existing medical conditions. Some medications can make your skin especially sensitive to sunlight or reduce your body's ability to regulate its own body heat.
To avoid disruption to day-to-day operations and ensure workers don't have to endure further travel misery on sweltering trains and packed motorways, there is a compelling argument for equipping them with remote access and web conferencing technologies that will help them remain productive even if they cannot get into work.