Most of us spend the winter months wishing of the days when you can go outside without a coat, or pick up your sunglasses, or smell sun cream. However, this year, those days came a little earlier than usual with temperatures reaching an astonishing 20.8°C in Porthmadog in North-West Wales on Tuesday, making it the warmest February since 1998. Barbeque sales shot up by 407% at Argos and Sainsbury’s reported at 370% increase on ice cream sales, whilst M&S recorded at 30% drop in soup sales.

However, this time last year we were experiencing the Beast from the East where it was reported that February has been the “coldest in 27 years”, with the armed forces being called in and 17 people dying. But are the extreme weather conditions a result of climate change, or are they just freak occurrences?

According to the BBC, the reason that our temperatures have been so high is due to an area of high pressure on the British Isles that has been dragging warm air from Africa and the Canary Islands towards us. They have also been further boosted by the foehn effect, which is when air warms as it flows down the sheltered side of a mountain.

However, extreme warm weather events are exactly what climate change experts said would happen if people continue to put carbon into the atmosphere. So why has it taken us this long to realise the effects of climate change? Aside from the idea of trips to the beach and warm summer evenings, there isn’t a positive side to warmer winters, and we need to take action to prevent this from happening. The warmer winters would kill many wildlife species, not just in the UK but around the world. If we start to take action in fighting climate change now, whether that be walking to school not driving, or not buying single use plastic, then we can prevent the extinction of hundreds of species.

So, whilst our taste of summer was delightful yet brief and soon, we will go back to enduring the cold winds and cloudy skies, at least it has shown us the consequences of our actions and highlighted that climate change is real, and is happening, and that we need to start taking action to save our planet.