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Clare Nasir

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Climate is What We Expect, and Weather is What We Get

Posted: 30/05/2012 16:20

It doesn't feel quite right...
I occasionally sigh quietly to myself when taking in a welcome dose of spring sunshine. Such unseasonably warm weather at home brings the promise of a glorious summer - that all too often months later ends with a fist clenched fist in utter frustration to a grey and bulbous sky.

Climate stats look promising...
Mark Twain once wrote,
'Climate is what we expect, and weather is what we get.'

The Met Office's brightly coloured mean maximum temperature map for June indicates what we should expect - typical average temperatures for the next month range from Southern England 19-20C, Wales and the Midlands 18-19C, Northern England, Southern Scotland and Northern Ireland 16-18C and the rest of Scotland14-16C (away from hills and mountains).

This isn't so bad - and as we know it sometimes pans out warmer. Remember that hot summer of 2003? Tourism was up, the water table was down - and the kids had a great school holiday outdoors without once stepping on an Easyjet flight. The summers of 2004 and 2005 were pretty average (apart from the exceptional Boscastle flood) but summer properly returned in 2006 with a long stretch of warm, sunny weather.

Then it all slowly changed, as spring became summer and summer took a definite U turn.

A brief synopsis of the last few years...
The country basked in sunshine during the Spring of 2007, on average 123% of the climate average. Cue Summer 2007; cooler than average, wetter than average and duller than average.

Spring 2008 was again warmer and brighter than normal, however more notably the UK only received just 89% of its expected sunshine that summer and 144% rainfall.

Spring 2009 was the fifth warmest on record. Whilst Summer 2009 saw rain migrate painfully slowly northward during July and August, but at least it wasn't a cold one, (warm rain some optimists would suggest).

Again a pleasant spring in 2010 was followed by some depressingly wetter than average weather during July and August, with the south and southeast having the dullest August on record.

Last Spring was generally dry (although Scotland was wetter), but the warm and sunny weather was quickly forgotten by July as a cool, wet at times and dull summer kicked in and persisted.

So here we are enjoying the last throws of May. I look back at Spring 2012 and admit it has been quite mixed, with summer arriving in March, followed by monsoon conditions in April (the wettest on record). To top it off, last weekend weather presenters all round the country (including me) were uttering the words 'cloudless skies' and 'soaring temperatures'.

So what's the outlook for this summer?
Given how busy the nations' diary is, the pressure is on...

Jubilee weekend
The weather is now on the turn. A spat of showers tomorrow with rain on Thursday will precede a fall in temperature into the first day of June. The air temperature will be about the seasonal average (a little below in the south), but given recent warm weather it will feel significantly fresher than the last week of May.

Some good news though, the Jubilee weekend promises to be mostly dry (risk of a shower in the East and Northeast), although cloud will be prominent through the middle part of the day and temperatures typically 17C, perhaps more like 15C in the east and northeast, so a good eight degrees lower than last week.

Little change into Bank Holiday Monday with the exception of the far west/southwest that could see more cloud and a little rain. Remaining cool with large amounts of cloud on Tuesday, and slowly turning more unsettled from the north with the chance of some rain.

Ho hum.

The week following Jubilee weekend will turn increasingly unsettled, although the southeast is likely to hang on to the drier and brighter conditions. Temperatures will hover around or just below the average.

Further ahead?
The Met Office is hinting that there is no long warm, dry stretch through the rest of June, although not a washout either - so typical summer conditions.

Here's hoping this reversal in spring/summer fortunes flips back to the norm sooner rather than later, since we are all praying for the sun to shine down on the country this summer in more ways than one.

 

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