Summer 2016 turned out to be a very decent season overall, the mean temperature of 18.7C (1.1C above average) made it the sixth warmest summer since 1797.
While it wasn’t quite up there with the hot summers of 1976 and 2003 it still produced some notable records. The stormy beginning to June effectively ended with the Brexit vote, a period of 24 hours that coincided with the highest daily rainfall this area has seen since at least 1959.
The multi-cell thunderstorm in the early hours of June 23rd produced 60.8mm of rainfall, nearly half of the month’s total which became the third wettest June in a record going back to 1797. The high rainfall was in complete contrast to July and August and helped skew the overall figure: 168.6mm is 114 per cent over average summer rainfall.
With so much rainfall overall sunshine was affected with only 451 hours recorded, just 80 per cent of what can be expected in an average summer.
July produced another record, this time the highest overnight minimum recorded since 1959. The minimum of 21.1C was recorded during the early hours of the 20th – coming hours after the hottest day of the year: 33.5C – the 14th hottest day on record.
The warm and very dry theme continued into the final month of summer with the warmest August for 12 years, the 10th warmest and 12th driest since 1797.
My summer forecast, when the monthly probabilities are considered, was broadly correct though I didn’t estimate correctly just how warm it would be.
Summer 2015 has got quite a bad press over the past couple of weeks but it hasn’t really been that bad overall in this area. And, as ever with the weather, it wasn’t without interest.
Two extreme records were broken: The maximum on the 1st of July of 36.1C and the minimum on the 30th of July of 6.9C. There were also a couple of cracking thunderstorms.
Mean temperature for the three months was the lowest since 2012, the same year that saw more rain than this summer’s 167.7mm. Both 2012 and 2011 were a fair bit wetter than this summer and this season’s rainfall wasn’t a patch on some of the washout summers of my youth – both 1985 and 1987 were at least 150% wetter than summer 2015.
More notable was the lack of sunshine – it was the dullest summer since 2002.
Looking beyond Wanstead the perceived poor summer elsewhere was largely caused by cooler than normal sea temperatures west of Ireland, together with warmer water around the Azores. Simon Keeling explains this well here.
Three months ago I predicted that summer would be broadly average temperature-wise with average to slightly below average rainfall and average sunshine. So how did the forecast do?
In terms of temperature my predicted figure of 17.4C was 0.5C lower than the result. My rainfall prediction was only 76% of what actually fell and I over-estimated sunshine by 16%.
Despite some of the dire reviews of summer elsewhere in the UK there were some fine spells