Statistics announce an average autumn

29 11 2013

Early statistics for autumn 2013 suggest it has been a fairly normal season overall with temperature, rainfall and sunshine amounts all quite close to the long-term average.

Our early season assessment for autumn (Sep-Nov) uses figures from 1 September to 27 November, then assumes average conditions for the final few days of November.

According to that estimate, the UK mean temperature for the season is currently 9.8 °C, just 0.4 °C above the long-term average.

UK rainfall over the same period was 331.7mm, which is about 96% of the long-term average. Sunshine is similarly close to average, with the UK’s 274.4 hours adding up to 97.3% of the long-term average.

As ever when looking over a season, there can be a lot of variation within the three months. For example, while September’s temperatures were average, October was well above average and November was slightly below – but overall they make a fairly average season.

Similarly with rainfall, the period from mid-October to mid-November was wet and unsettled, but the remainder of autumn has been generally on the dry side, so rainfall statistics are also unremarkable taken as a whole.

Autumn 2013 will most likely be remembered for featuring the St Jude’s Day storm, which was one of the most significant and disruptive storms to impact the UK in the past few years.

Full statistics for Autumn and November will be available on our climate pages later next week.

Early autumn statistics:

Mean Temperature Sunshine hours Rainfall  
Autumn Actual Diff from Avg Actual % of Avg Actual % of Avg
  degC degC hours % mm %
UK 9.8 0.4 267.0 97 331.7 96
England 10.7 0.4 294.9 97 268.2 108
Wales 10.4 0.6 242.9 88 434.7 97
Scotland 8.3 0.3 229.7 101 414.6 87
N Ireland 9.8 0.3 254.0 100 300.7 93




The Met Office’s outlook for UK winter

29 11 2013

There are some headlines in the media today which suggest the Met Office is warning of exceptionally cold weather for three months.

However, the Met Office hasn’t issued a warning along these lines and we have not highlighted months of ‘exceptionally cold’ weather ahead. If there is any sign of significantly cold weather or disruptive snow in the forecast, we will keep the country up to date through our forecasts and warnings.

The news stories are based on information taken from our three month outlook for contingency planners, so let’s take a closer look at that.

What does our three month outlook say?

This outlook is not like our other forecasts because, as we have discussed previously, it’s not currently scientifically possible to provide a detailed forecast over these long timescales.

Instead, the outlook assesses the level of risk connected to five different scenarios for both temperature and rain/snowfall. It’s a bit like the science-equivalent of factoring the odds on a horse race.

The current outlook for December-January-February says the chance of the coldest scenario happening is between 20 and 25% and the chances that the period will fall into the warmest scenario is between 10 and 15%.

So while uncertainty is quite large, below average temperatures are more likely than above average (for note, average maximum temperatures for the UK in winter are about 6.6C and average minimum temps are about 0.9C).

However, as with any horse race, it’s always possible that the favourite won’t win – so these probability scenarios have to be used in the right context. This is why they’re useful for contingency planners who plan ahead based on risk, but not that useful for the general public.

So what will winter be like?

Obviously there’s always a lot of interest to know what winter will be like – how cold will it be, how much snow will we get and where and when will it fall?

The Met Office is working with research partners around the world to improve longer range forecasting, but it’s not currently possible to forecast snow or exact temperatures three months ahead.

However, our 30-day outlook (under the text forecast tab) provides a look ahead to the general type of weather we’re likely to see in the UK.

Currently it says that after today, we’ll see settled weather and fairly normal temperatures into the first week of December before the chance of some colder, more changeable weather towards the end of next week. This may last a few days before giving way to milder and unsettled weather.

For the mid to latter part of December, there are indications that temperatures are likely to remain near or slightly below average for the time of year, but otherwise fairly normal conditions for early winter are most likely.

With regards to forecasting snow, because there are so many factors involved, generally that can only be discussed in any detail in our five day forecasts.

If there is any sign of significantly cold weather or disruptive snow in the forecast, we will keep the country up to date through our forecasts and warnings.





Stormy weather in the Mediterranean

15 11 2013

The central and western Mediterranean will experience very unsettled conditions through the weekend and next week.

Very heavy rain is expected to affect the northeast of Spain, southern France, the Balearic Isles, Corsica, Sardinia, Italy and the Adriatic facing Balkan nations as the very unsettled conditions move slowly east through the region.

Rainfall totals could be as high as 250mm in places, with a risk of up to 200mm in 24 hours. The average rainfall for November in this region is between 50mm and 100mm.

The rain will be associated with thunderstorms which could also produce hailstorms, very strong gusty winds and the possibility of tornadoes in a few places.

Storms developing over the western Mediterranean

Storms developing over the western Mediterranean

In addition to the rain, very strong winds are expected through the central and western Mediterranean, with widespread gales and a risk of storm force winds for a time. This will lead to rough seas that could pose a threat to shipping in the region.

There is also the risk of strong or gale force southeasterly winds affecting the Adriatic during Tuesday and Wednesday next week. These strong winds, combined with very heavy rainfall across the Venice region over the next few days could bring the risk of flooding in Venice.





Typhoon Haiyan makes landfall over the Philippines

8 11 2013

As predicted Typhoon Haiyan made landfall late yesterday evening (UK time) over the central Philippines.

Typhoon Haiyan will have caused catastrophic damage near the centre of its track through the Philippine islands of Samar, Leyte and Panay. In addition to the strong winds, the storm surge and heavy rain will also have caused major impacts in these regions. The typhoon is now moving out into the South China Sea. Over the next couple of days it is likely to lose some strength before making another landfall in northern parts of Vietnam on Sunday, although is still expected to be a typhoon.

Typhoon Haiyan at 2230 UTC on 07 November 2013 as it made landfall. Image from NOAA.

Typhoon Haiyan at 2230 UTC on 07 November 2013 as it made landfall. Image from NOAA.

At the time of landfall the estimated central pressure of the typhoon was 895 mb and sustained winds averaged over one minute estimated at 195 mph with higher gusts. These estimates are based on well attested satellite techniques, but without observations exactly in the path of the eye of the typhoon it is impossible to confirm their accuracy. However, this is likely to make Haiyan one of the most intense tropical cyclones to make landfall in history.

Forecast track of Typhoon Haiyan from the Japan Meteorological Agency. (http://www.jma.go.jp/en/typh/images/zooml/1330-00.png) NOAA.

Forecast track of Typhoon Haiyan from the Japan Meteorological Agency.

In 1969 Hurricane Camille made landfall over the southern USA with sustained winds near 190 mph and in 1935 a hurricane which passed over the Florida Keys had an observed central pressure of 892 mb.

In terms of all time records, Typhoon Tip in 1979 holds the record for the lowest pressure in a tropical cyclone measured at 870 mb and the strongest wind gust ever recorded in a tropical cyclone was 253 mph in Cyclone Olivia off the north-west coast of Australia in 1996. As things stand these records seem likely to remain for the time being.

Regional warnings for Typhoon Haiyan are produced by the Japanese Meteological Agency (JMA) and the Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA). The Met Office routinely supplies predictions of typhoon tracks from its global forecast model to regional meteorological centres worldwide, which are used along with guidance from other models in the production of forecasts and guidance. Met Office model data and guidance is also used by Project NOAH in part for warning the government and the Filipino population.

Met Office StormTracker provides a mapped picture of tropical cyclones around the globe with access to track history and six-day forecast tracks for current tropical cyclones from the Met Office Unified Model and latest observed cloud cover and sea surface temperature. We also provide updates on current tropical storms via @metofficestorms on Twitter.





Typhoon Haiyan heading for the Philippines

6 11 2013

Typhoon Haiyan is set to make landfall over the central Philippines on Friday bringing extremely strong winds and heavy rain to the region.

Typhoon Haiyan approaching the Philippines 6 November 2013

Typhoon Haiyan approaching the Philippines 6 November 2013. Image from US Naval Research Laboratory.

Typhoon Haiyan is the 11th typhoon to form in the west Pacific during an exceptionally active period in the last seven weeks. China, the Philippines, Vietnam, Japan and South Korea have all been struck by Haiyan’s predecessors. Furthermore, Cyclone Phailin, which developed in the Bay of Bengal, struck north-eastern India in October bringing damaging winds and storm surge. Accurate forecasts, combined with well executed warning and evacuation procedures, meant that the loss of life was relatively low.

It is almost a year since the devastating Typhoon Bopha hit the southern Philippine island of Mindanao causing much destruction and the loss of over 1,000 lives. Haiyan is a similar strength to Typhoon Bopha with winds near 160 mph – equivalent to a category 5 hurricane. Heavy rain, storm surge and mudslides will be an additional hazard as the typhoon makes landfall over the Philippine islands of Samar and Leyte on Friday.

Forecast track of Typhoon Haiyan from the Japan Meteorological Agency

Forecast track of Typhoon Haiyan from the Japan Meteorological Agency

Regional warnings for Typhoon Haiyan are produced by the Japanese Meteological Agency (JMA) and the Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA). The Met Office routinely supplies predictions of typhoon tracks from its global forecast model to regional meteorological centres worldwide, which are used along with guidance from other models in the production of forecasts and guidance.

Met Office StormTracker provides a mapped picture of tropical cyclones around the globe with access to track history and six-day forecast tracks for current tropical cyclones from the Met Office Unified Model and latest observed cloud cover and sea surface temperature. We also provide updates on current tropical storms via @metofficestorms on Twitter.

 





October 2013 one of the top ten warmest

5 11 2013

Provisional Met Office statistics for October show it was one of the warmest in the national record dating back to 1910.

The mean temperature for the UK is 11.2 °C, which is 1.7 °C above the long-term (1981-2010) average. This makes it the 9th warmest on record, and means that five out of the top ten warmest Octobers have occurred since 2000 – the others being 2011 (11.3 °C), 2005 and 2006 (11.7 °C) and the warmest on record 2001 (12.2 °C).

Mild nights were a feature across the UK, with most stations south of Scotland yet to report an air frost.

Map showing October rainfall amounts relative to 1981-2010 average

Map showing October rainfall amounts relative to 1981-2010 average

October 2013 is also notable because it was, for most places, dull and relatively wet. Sunshine hours for the UK were 83 % of the long term average, while rainfall was 27 % above average. For England this was provisionally the wettest October since 2000 and equal-8th wettest in the series.

Northern Ireland and the Western Isles of Scotland have had around average sunshine, but Shetland, south-east Scotland and the north-west of both England and Wales have been particularly dull.

Mean temp Sunshine Rainfall
October 1-28 Actual (°C) Diff to Avg Actual (hrs) % of Avg Actual (mm) % of Avg
UK 11.2 1.7 77.2 83 161.1 127
England 12.2 1.9 87.3 85 139.1 152
Wales 11.9 2.0 77.6 83 223 131
Scotland 9.4 1.4 58 77 181 103
N Ireland 10.8 1.4 91.5 104 159.6 133

A full summary of the month will be available on our climate pages shortly





October set for top ten warmest

1 11 2013

5 November 2013 Update – The full month figures are available in our latest blog

Early statistics for October up to the 28th of the month suggest this October is likely to be one of the warmest in records dating back to 1910.

Map showing relative warmth of October temperatures across the UK.

Map showing relative warmth of October temperatures across the UK.

The mean temperature for the UK from the 1st to the 28th is 11.6 °C, which is 2.1 °C above the long-term (1981-2010) average. It’s currently ranked joint fifth warmest in the records, but this could change once the final three days of data have been included.

Mild temperatures were experienced across all parts of the UK – with October currently being in the top ten warmest for England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. However, it was particularly mild in Wales, with this October currently ranked as the joint warmest on record alongside 2001.

There were no autumn heat waves through October, just a persistence of mild conditions – particularly mild nights – and frost has been rare through the month.

October 2013 is also notable because it was dull and, for most places, relatively wet. Sunshine hours are currently below the long-term average, while rainfall is already above ‘normal’ levels for everywhere apart from Scotland – which is about average.

Below are figures from 1-28 October, and we’ll update on the full-month figures early next week.

Below is a table showing statistics for 1-28 October, and we’ll update with full-month statistics early next week.

Mean temp Sunshine Rainfall
October 1-28 Actual (°C) Diff to Avg Actual (hrs) % of Avg Actual (mm) % of Avg
UK 11.6 2.1 67.3 73 147.6 116
England 12.6 2.2 74.4 72 131.6 143
Wales 12.3 2.4 66.7 72 208.9 123
Scotland 9.7 1.8 52.7 70 157.9 90
N Ireland 11.2 1.8 84.1 96 145.6 122







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