'It is extraordinary what a sadistic old crone Mother Nature is when you think about it. Even in a comparatively benign climate like ours: we have gallons of water thrown at us at regular intervals, we can be thrown half way across the country by winds gusting to 100 mph or more, blankets of fog may hide practically everything familiar from view, and we run the risk of being blasted into next week by a million-bolt of lightning. And on occasion she will even launch an artillery barrage of solid ice missiles at 50 or 60 mph - in other words hailstones - or utterly transform the landscape under a six inch layer of snow'. In such language, Eden sets the tone for his new book. He now investigates further the extremes of weather we experience and the dire consequences for farmers, builders and above all insurance companies who live by a calculation of actuarial risk. Many of us have become disconnected from our climate, writes Eden. However bizarre weather events may seem at the time, there is usually a precedent for them, and there is always a scientific explanation.
Only by reconnecting in this way can we have proper historical and scientific contexts in which to place the sequence of interesting and unusual meteorological phenomena we will experience in coming years.
Philip Eden is the weather correspondent of the Daily Telegraph and presenter of his own programme on Radio Five Live. He lives in Essex and is the author of The Daily Telegraph Book of the Weather.
1. Weather and climate- what's the difference; 2. The scientists take over; 3. Monitoring the weather; 4. From guess work to super computers; 5. Fixing the weather/; 6. Making rain and killing hail; 7. Deliberate modification of the climate?; 8. Future imperfect.