Whatever Happened to Global Warming?
Are our summers in the UK getting colder? Summer is over, the kids are on their way back to school and data released by the Met Office this week reveals that our Great British summer was the coolest for nearly 20 years.
Following a sunny, very dry spring, summer once again failed to live up to expectation and the average temperature was 13.63C (56.53F). This was similar to that of 1993 when we faced average temperatures of 13.39C, and a full one degree below the UK average for 2010, which let’s face it, we all thought was poor anyway.
The Met Office data also revealed that the summer was wetter than average. Following the declaration of a drought in the east of England back in June, this summer we had 105 inches of rainfall, compared to 95.6 inches in 2010 and 127 inches in 2009. Heavy rainfall in Scotland earlier in August resulted in saturated ground and localised flooding particularly in Aberdeen. In fact, parts of Scotland have had the wettest summer they have experienced in living memory.
A spokeswoman for the Met Office said that the amount of sunshine in August this year was three quarters of "what you normally expect". She added, "It's been a changeable summer. We have had some very hot spells such as back in June with temperatures reaching 33C. But equally we have seen much cooler and wetter spells."
The good news for farmers was that the grain harvest was achieved in record time with yields at all time highs. Every type of fruit is two to three weeks early with many growers recording absolutely enormous crops; many pear, apple, plum and damson trees have broken branches because of the weight of fruit that they are carrying.
The Met Office have revealed a fundamental truth, “The strange patterns of rain, wind and sunshine that have swept the nation mean that the UK is one of the most erratic, changeable places on Earth when it comes to weather.”
Helen Chivers, a forecaster at the Met Office said, "We are a small island, in a temperate climate, at a high latitude with one of the world's biggest oceans on one side of us, and a huge continent on the other, the combination makes it very difficult to predict weather here. We can do it in the short term but not over long periods, unlike other parts of the world. For example, in the United States the weather is far easier to forecast because the country forms part of a very large landmass."Continued on the next page