Could today's meeting of scientists indicate a change of view on the impact of climate change?

Allenheads in Northumberland after heavy snow as winter weather returned to parts of the UK on March 11, 2013. Photo: Owen Humphreys/PA Wire/Press Association Images

If it weren't for the weather Britons would be a surly lot with nothing to talk about.

However bad, we love the weather - it's the universally recognised ice-breaker in everyone's conversation.

But even allowing for that, the weather has been really weird in the last few years.

So weird, the Met Office has called together 20 top scientists for an unprecedented meeting today to figure out what's happening.

Floodwaters surround local shops in the centre of Mytholmroyd near Huddersfield, West Yorkshire in June 2012. Credit: ohn Giles/PA Archive/Press Association Images

Just think back to the freezing winter two years ago - the coldest December temperatures for a century.

Or last year's long wet summer. Or this year, the coldest spring for 50 years, with average temperatures of only 6 C between March and May.

And if you think at last summer has arrived, watch out. The Met Office is predicting unsettled weather for the next month.

Sunshine in Shiremoor, North Tyneside as the long-awaited buds of spring finally emerge on April 13. Credit: Owen Humphreys/PA Wire/Press Association Images

Why? Could it be anything to do with climate change?

Or is it just that our weather is just variable?

In the past, if you asked the Met Office those questions, their stock response was that while the trends predicted by climate change were clear, individual weather events can't be linked to climate change.

This time it's different - they are trying to disentangle the many factors that influence the weather in an attempt to work out whether the effects of climate change are already upon us.

One theory they will be looking at; melting Arctic sea-ice was a factor producing this year's freezing spring. I reported on this in April, from Svalbard. So far, its only a theory.

But it's the first theory I can remember that has partly prompted such an illustrious gathering at the Met Office in Exeter. Don't expect any hard and fast conclusions from today's brainstorming session.

But there could be a subtle but significant shift in thinking towards the view that climate change is affecting all of us.

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