08/10/2012 05:20 BST

UK Weather: 'Warming Atlantic Ocean' Causing Wet Summers Scientists Warn (PICTURES)

A recent run of wet summers in the UK could be caused by substantial warming of the North Atlantic Ocean, according to a new scientific study.

A shift in European climate in the 1990s to mild, wet summers in the north and hot and dry summers in the south is linked to the warm phase in a pattern of rising and falling sea surface temperatures in the North Atlantic Ocean, research published online in Nature Geoscience has shown.

no foundations

Floods swept through the North of England after one of the wettest Septembers in decades.There were fears that the modern housing blocks could crumple as torrents of water washed away their foundations

Researchers compared three periods in this cycle - a warm period between 1931 and 1960, a cool period from 1961 to 1990 and the most recent warm state starting in the 1990s.

shrouded in cloud

The Met Office released the above satellite shot of Britain, shrouded in cloud after September floods

The patterns of European climate change in the 1990s were similar to earlier changes attributed to the influence of the North Atlantic Ocean, the study found.


Cars were drenched in the oceanic suds in the coastal village of Fittie in Aberdeen as winds whipped up a storm across the seafront, covering the village in foam earlier in September

The last warm phase between 1931 and 1960 brought a string of wet summers including floods in the Devon village of Lynmouth in August 1952 which destroyed homes, washed away cars and killed 34 people.


An aerial view showing flood water from the River Ouse in York, North Yorkshire as communities were warned of the possibility of more flooding earlier in September

This summer has been the wettest in England and Wales for 100 years, according to new figures.

Data released by MeteoGroup, the weather division of the Press Association, showed that 14.25in (362mm) of rain has fallen in June, July and August so far, making it the wettest summer since 1912.

Authors Rowan Sutton and Buwen Dong, of the UK National Centre for Atmospheric Science, at the University of Reading, said the current pattern of wet summers may be expected to continue as long as the present warm phase persists.

But they added that it was uncertain how long this period of time would be.

floods silt etc

A car is submerged in mud after the waters subsided in an area of Newcastle following September floods

Speaking to the Guardian newspaper, Mr Sutton said the switch could happen as rapidly as in two to three years time.

The research has been published after England and Wales endured the wettest summer for 100 years.

Data released by MeteoGroup, the weather division of the Press Association, at the end of August, showed that 14.25in (362mm) of rain has fallen in June, July and August, making it the wettest summer since 1912.