Climate change happens slowly but steadily over tens of years; weather, whether hot or cold, wet or dry, is just natural variations on top of the gradually changing climate.

Global warming, and climate change, happen on much longer timescales than our weather. Weather is what happens today, tomorrow or next week. Climate change is defined by (almost imperceptible) changes or trends moving steadily in one direction that happen over years and ten of years or even longer. So, even in a warming climate we will still get individual weather systems which will bring ‘miserable' weather for a short while but this does not mean that the longer-term trends are absent. Although global mean temperatures have risen inexorably since 1850 changes in Pacific Ocean currents known as La Niña have produced periods of global cooling lasting for as much as three to four years.

There is indisputable evidence that the climate is changing and that global warming is really happening. The average global surface temperature has risen by 0.85°C in the past 130 years. Globally, eleven out of the thirteen hottest years ever recorded have occurred since 2000, and the two hottest were in 2005 and 2010. Here, in the UK, five out of six of the hottest years ever recorded over a 165-year period have occurred since 1995.