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mike Meehan

The Climate of Cheddar Man?

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Cheddar man lived some 10,000 years ago, the ice caps still covered part of the UK, though they were receding and the UK was still attached to continental Europe via 'Doggerland'.

This, I would venture to say would have given us a cross between a maritime and a continental climate.

Not too far to the north tundra would still have existed but I would imagine that by the time Cheddar man and his forebears reached the Cheddar Gorge forests have started to re-establish, otherwise the area would not have been so attractive.

Personally I would have expected much colder winters than we have now with snow for most of the winter season but depending very much on the wind directions, with the northerly and easterlies bring more snow, whilst the southerlies and westerlies bringing milder conditions bringing intermittent thaws.  

I would have expected that in the summer there would have been quite a difference in temperatures, again depending on the wind direction with the warmest conditions coming from the continental south east.

One thing of which I am not quite sure is whether at that time there would have been sufficient melting to decrease the salinity of the north Atlantic, thereby slowing the Gulf stream but there again I have no reason to think that Cheddar man was stupid, so if the climate were to be too onerous, I doubt that he would have settled in that area.

Just wondering what thoughts people had in relation to this.   

Edited by mike Meehan

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I suspect ice sheets not that far away might not have had as much effect on climate as you'd imagine since we probably had a more continental style climate being still attached directly. Summers might have been better than now but no doubt winters could still be sub-arctic.
Nowadays in the Alps and Scandinavia you can get 'normal' forest in very close proximity to glaciers, however the UK was probably only gradually being colonised by trees at the time.

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This would be my guess as to conditions:

Winter -- mean temperatures around -7 C, severe cold spells interspersed with rainy mild spells, similar to what happens nowadays around the Alaska panhandle, snow coming and going more frequently than nowadays.

Spring -- not that different from current climate but with more rain and less sunshine, a degree or two colder

Summer -- more alternating spells than we see nowadays, some warm dry periods but some very prolonged rainy and cool spells too, as jet stream would often be south of Britain. mean temperatures a bit lower than nowadays, 14 to 15 C for July and 13 to 14 C August

Autumn -- fast transition to winter, no lingering mild spells going on past mid-December, often wintry by mid-November.


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