Although a much warmer-than-usual winter cannot be directly attributed to climate change, it gives an idea of the future ahead for Estonia and the rest of Europe, says Timo Palo, the climate adviser to the President.
Speaking on radio show "Vikerhommik" on Tuesday, Palo said: "This is an extraordinary winter, which is likely to break all the existing temperature records, not only in Estonia, but also in the United States and Europe in general. [...] There have been other signs in recent years that point very clearly to a global trend of global warming."
But linking specific winter temperatures to climate change is difficult if not impossible. Scientists cannot draw conclusions from the extremes. "In light of this winter, you shouldn't expect them to be quite like this," Palo added.
Unusual weather can also be seen on the other side of the planet in Chile, which President Kersti Kaljulaid recently visited. "From all sides, it sounded like the signs they are experiencing and seeing are very similar to what we are seeing here in the north. Similarly, the wind directions have changed, they are stronger. Winters are snowless and mild," Palo said.
Palo said extreme weather conditions help to focus public opinion in the countries affected on climate change. "If you do interviews there will be clear changes in people's perceptions and their way of thinking right away. This is inevitable. ... Until you feel the extremes it is likely to remain invisible or distant," he said.
He said more is being done to tackle climate change but some changes are irreversible. "Certainly we can mitigate, slow it down, be better prepared, but stopping climate change as such is not possible."
Editor: Helen Wright