The northern hemisphere has seen a dramatic and damaging swing in temperatures with scientists warning of "horrific" consequences as a result of the wild weather rollercoaster.
Parts of Europe have been hit with a sudden cold snap that has dumped snow and ice on much of the continent just days after record warm temperature.
Scottish meteorologist Scott Duncan shared images online which revealed the dramatic change in weather in Slovenia in the past week, which he likened to taking place "within the blink of an eye".
On March 31 it reportedly recorded a record high temperature for the time of year of 35.3C. A week later on April 7, part of the country plunged to a record low of -20.6C.
"Brutal temperature crash in Europe," he wrote.
"Two huge records only one week apart. Horrific for flora and fauna at this delicate time of year."
He noted the temperature records for the time of year had been initially verified.
"Spring can be tough for nature. This is about as extreme as it gets," he said.
"I am stressing the temperature shock across Europe. National heat records fell only days before cold records."
He said plants and insects – as well as animals that rely on them as a food source – would have been hit incredibly hard by the wild weather swing.
Cold snap threatens haul of wine growers
Countries including Scotland, Belgium and the Netherlands have been blanketed with snow while winemakers in France have been forced to light candles and burn bales of straw in an effort to protect their vineyards from the unusual front.
The forecast of more cold nights ahead raised fears of serious damage and lost production.
“The harvest is at stake over a few nights - one, two or three nights - and if we have no harvest, that means no sales, no wine for consumers,” Winemaker Laurent Pinson told Reuters.
Spring cold snaps have been happening earlier in the year, in April rather than early May some 20-25 years ago, meaning the fall in temperatures can be greater, Pinson said.
“So we are no longer on small spring frosts at -1°C/-2°C, we can see frosts at -4°C, -5°C, -6°C or even more in some areas - it is very problematic."
Scientists have warned about more erratic swings in temperature as a byproduct of global warming.
A 2020 study published in Nature Geoscience showed temperature fluctuations will continue to increase in the northern hemisphere.
"In Europe, there will be more days in summer that are noticeably hotter or colder than average as temperatures vary more," said lead author Dr Talia Tamarin-Brodsky.
"In winter, colder than average days will become less likely over most of the northern hemisphere, which means that when they do come they will be even further from what we are used to, making it more difficult for human infrastructure, and the natural world, to cope."
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