It’s all that Brits talk about, so the saying goes. Well it’s pretty much all that’s been in the UK news lately. So seeing as I don’t have much Physics to talk about today (well, I have lots planned but nothing written) I will reinforce this stereotype. First let me put this into perspective: we’ve had about 20-30cm of snow. It’s not actually *that* much – but it is the worst snowfall in the UK (specifically London) in 18 years.
The cost incurred to the UK infrastructure due to snow is huge. All London bus services were cancelled. We don’t have tyre chains or spikes here, so vehicles tend to go sideways. People have very little experience of driving in these conditions, which makes things worse (as people panic). The loss of man-hours by employees missing work impacts the economy, and even if they can get to work, many parents must stay at home to look after their children due to the closure of 6000 schools nationwide. The health service has been suffering too, and is now delaying non-urgent operations because of the deluge of snow-related accidents. Not to mention the cost of all the lawsuits. Also we appear to be running out of our main mode of defence – rock salt grit. In the last few days we’ve spread more grit than during winter 2007/8.
I often like to foray into pondering life as a Type I civilisation citizen, where we could control global energy resources and natural phenomena such as weather conditions. Isn’t it odd to imagine controlling weather on a global scale, harnessing its power and rendering it a predictable phenomenon? What a strange world that would be. We would probably never have snow (at least not in the UK). It would be totally banned. There’d probably be special holiday resorts, most likely ski resorts, doubling up as places you would visit to experience ‘snow’ (as in falling-from-the-sky-type snow, not artificially generated stuff).
Anyway I managed to get to work, so here are some pretty pictures of Birmingham University campus in the snow: