Cornwall is well known for its variety of beautiful beaches and rich history; just a few features that make Cornwall a popular holiday destination and also why many consider Cornwall to be one of the best places in the UK to live.
Compared to the majority of the UK, Cornwall has the sunniest climate, the south west coast in particular has the only sub-tropical climate and Cornwall experiences some of the longest hours of sunlight. These factors including the warm ocean currents ensure that the events of snow and frost are a rarity, even during the winter months. But what happens in Cornwall when the climate starts to change?
Changes in the climate have implications for all elements of life. Wetter, stormier winters and hotter drier summers will not only impact the environment but also society and the economy; direct impact on water resources, infrastructure, health, tourism and agriculture to name a few.
Crops benefit from the coast due to the warm air created by the sea. The conditions help minimize the risk of frost damage and aid growth for crops all year round. With over 400 miles of coastline Cornwall is considered a perfect growing location because of the optimum weather patterns the county has to offer.
For a county or country, as some consider Cornwall to be, the economy is heavily dependent on agriculture and tourism. Heavy snowfall, freezing temperatures and strong winds left the entire county covered and farmers and suppliers were faced with a major challenge.
Cauliflower is no doubt a favourite amongst fruit and veg with over half a million harvested each week however Cauliflower, which is particularly vulnerable to cold weather, can turn into a rotting mush after frost. Cold weather in Cornwall had a huge impact on the cauliflower growth leading to much smaller size crops and harvest forcing many retailers to use imports.
The weather is a vital part in farming and changes in temperature and precipitation will be important in sustaining crop growth and the welfare of livestock. Getting extra feed to livestock and unfreezing water supplies are some of those challenges. Agriculture is strongly influenced by physical factors of climate and human factors such as labour, travel and transport.
Cornwall council is responsible for over 7,250 kilometres (4,530 miles) of road from major principal roads to narrow country lanes. Winter service is an important part of the councils maintenance work and approximately £1m is spent each year on roads affected by winter weather. This involves salting major roads when there is ice, clearing snow and reacting to floods and fallen trees. They will, within the available resources, provide as safe a passage as possible for users of the highway.
With trade reduced to a minimum and in some regions, cut off completely, the effects can have devastating results. Businesses may never recover from the impact of losing trade, poor harvests will bring shortages and smaller crops and the economy will experience inflation. It’s no wonder supermarkets are cleared of produce when unpleasant weather is forecasted.
Fortunately Cornwall recognizes its wider responsibilities and the need to contribute positively to national and international efforts to combat the sauces of climate change and to help reduce its impact globally.