Discussing the UK’s recent ‘unusual seasons’

14 06 2013

There have been some media stories this morning about a meeting due to be held next week at the Met Office to discuss the recent run of unusual seasons here in the UK.

This will draw together some experts from across UK academia to discuss what happened in three specific seasons and examine some of the potential causes behind conditions.

Workshops of this kind are held on a regular basis on a great deal of issues across weather and climate science.

Collaboration and partnership working is also an integral part of the Met Office’s work at the forefront of research on weather and climate.

Stephen Belcher, Head of the Met Office Hadley Centre and chair of next week’s workshop, said: “We have seen a run of unusual seasons in the UK and Northern Europe, such as the cold winter of 2010, last year’s wet weather and the cold spring this year.

“This may be nothing more than a run of natural variability, but there may be other factors impacting our weather. For example, there is emerging research which suggests there is a link between declining Arctic sea ice and European climate – but exactly how this process might work, and how important it may be among a host of other factors, remains unclear.

“The Met Office is running a workshop to bring together climate experts from across the UK to look at these unusual seasons, the possible causes behind them, and how we can learn more about those drivers of our weather. This will continue the UK’s world class research effort to understand more about the drivers of monthly to seasonal climate across Europe.”





Spring swing brings colder weather and snow

7 03 2013

Frosty fence

We’ve had some very mild conditions this week with welcome sunshine pushing temperatures into the high teens. However, in a classic spring swing, colder weather is on the way as we head into the weekend.

By Saturday, we will see a return of easterly winds which will bring in much colder air from Scandinavia and Eastern Europe. Snow is expected across some eastern parts of the country over the weekend. By the start of next week, most of the UK will see daytime highs in low single figures with some frosty and icy nights.

So how unusual is it to see cold weather and snow in March?

The UK’s weather is very much at the mercy of where our winds come from, and throughout spring we can see sudden swings in the weather conditions. If we look back to last year we had very high temperatures at the end of March as the UK was under the influence of high pressure and light south-easterly winds. This year, this week’s south-easterly winds are now giving way to colder easterlies.

What about snow?

Statistics show that snow is more likely in March than around Christmas. As we know, heat from the sun increases as we head towards summer and this can lead to some interesting weather in March. With more heat from the sun the ground warms up more quickly and gives very unstable air, which can lead to a greater number of showers. Warmer air also holds more moisture so showers can give heavier rainfall. If this combines with cold air we can potentially see some heavy snowfall. However, easterly winds tend to be dry and so substantial snow fall is not expected over the next week.

As always, the Met Office will be working with different agencies to keep Britain on the move, and to keep people safe and well during periods of cold weather. The latest forecasts and warnings can be found online, through our mobile apps and through TV and radio broadcasts.








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