Tag Archives: weather

A chilly and dry autumn on the way?

Anomalies of the past two months throw up some interesting singularities as we head into late summer and autumn – with a hint that we could be heading for a much colder than normal December.

Using stats from the past 60 days revealed the following years. Those most similar to the current ENSO situation are highlighted in bold.

The most negative month on average will be December.

In terms of rainfall those hoping for a deluge look likely to be disappointed, at least in the south-east, with a continuation of synoptic conditions that favour drier than average weather.

The best chance for a wetter than average month appears to be September though, given recent synoptics, this is likely more a result of trough disruption than any sustained period of Atlantic-driven fronts.

London droughts back to 1871 (2022 update)

Since I wrote the original blog on London droughts in July 2018 there have been five more meteorological droughts.

The latest, as I write this on August 8th 2022, now sits joint 2nd in longest droughts in this area.

The rolling 12-month rainfall total has now reduced to 457mm; the lowest since 2017, and low given that the annual Jan-Dec rainfall average here is 602mm. At this point last year the rolling 12-month total was 818mm!

Looking further back, at a monthly rainfall series that goes back to 1797, the opening seven months of this 2022 are the 6th driest.

Whatever way you look at it this area is desperate for rain.

Seven seasons: modern climate of the south-east

Our weather seems to be all over the place these days.

Spring bulbs shooting up in late November, weather warm enough for T-shirts in December and January, heatwaves in February…
The seasons have become very ill-defined.

A look at local statistics over the last 10 years reveals a climate that can lurch from one extreme to another in a matter of days.

The below list can obviously move forward or back a couple of days from year to year but these dates represent the biggest positive and negative anomaly periods.

The Christmas storm singularity

One of the best articles written regarding weather forecasting is Philip Eden’s ‘Does the Weather Have a Memory?’

The crux of the article is that certain weather types can repeat at the same time of year with one having a 100 per cent probability!

The Christmas storm singularity occurs in 84 per cent of years.

While 84 per cent certainly doesn’t mean ‘nailed on’, in the current set up of models being evenly spread between settled and stormy it can be safely guessed at this range that there will be unsettled weather around on the 25th. Whether it will affect the whole country remains uncertain.

The last big snorter of a Christmas storm I can remember in London was 2013. The entry for the 23rd into the 24th reads.

“Cloudy and breezy start grew steadily duller with rain just before noon. Rain grew heavier with some really strong gusts into evening culminating at 2am. Cloud at one point was 10kms thick. Three deaths related to weather.”

There was chaos nationwide with flooding and power cuts.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-25512391

The average wind run for this station shows the singularity as well as the mid December settled spell we are now seeing.

Fantastical Christmas day snow modelled

It’s that time of year again! With the midnight run of this model bringing the start of the 25th into range the prognosis for the big day is a rare white one – with snow likely almost anywhere.

But 15 days is an eternity in modelling so we can take this with a council depot load of salt.

It’s often not until 10 days out that models will start to get a firm grip on what the weather will be like on Christmas day.

My guess at this range is a quiet one with fog and frost and a high of 6C in London.

Friday, December 10th

24hrs on and, interestingly, the pattern hasn’t completely flipped to something opposite to above…

Saturday, December 11th

The high is more centrally located over the UK with proper cold air from eastern Switzerland eastwards. Cold, calm with frost and fog in London.

Sunday 12th December

Little change though any colder air is even further east. A Eurotrash high with declining air quality.

Monday 13th December

The models are in a state of flux, more so than usual by the looks of it. No change on my thoughts though.

Tuesday 14th December

Another slack flow with any true, cold air well to the east. My guess remains a dull and cold Christmas day after a slight morning frost.

Wednesday 15th December

Within the much more reliable 10-day range now and the GFS is throwing out quite an odd looking chart. It shows a mass of cold air just to our east, the start of a cold spell that takes us up to New Year’s Eve.

Thursday 16th December

My thoughts on Christmas day still remain the same as they were days ago. Cold, calm with a high of 5C. Beyond that GFS is hinting the Atlantic floodgates will open. I suspect it is jumping the gun by a couple of days and we’ll see a couple of cold days, the 27th being notably cold?

Friday 17th December

The GFS having another hiccup overnight. The situation at 0z hours probably 5C and cloudy in London. But it’s a deteriorating situation with 850mb temps plunging from the north – the conditions that could bring being consistent with the title of this blog. But I’d pay little notice to output like this until it is 48-72 hours away.

Saturday 18th December

A classic battleground scenario on the midnight operational. An even spread on ensembles, too. My hunch is that the high pressure will survive long enough for a quiet Christmas day. After that?

Sunday 19th December

GFS wants to bring 11C, outbreaks of rain this morning…

Monday 20th December

Mild with showers in London.

Thoughts on winter

Lots of hype regarding winter at the moment with contradictory model output being released almost daily.

My early take on this is based on the current state of the El Nino Southern Oscillation (ENSO) index which is currently -0.6 and trending more negative (La Nina).

Using analogues from previous events would suggest that the coming winter in the south-east of England will be broadly average in terms of mean temperature and wetter than average.

Looking more closely at each year suggests the following.

Further scrutiny of the local statistics suggest that the mean temperature for November could be lower than average, some 1.7C below average with rainfall around 20 per cent below average.

I should be noted, however, that in the years that were most similar to this September and October (1958, 1961, 1967, 2001, 2005, 2019) the ENSO index was much closer to neutral than it is now. In other words what happens next month could be vastly different to what happened in those years.

Years prior to those mentioned above add intrigue as ENSO statistics are not available.

1802 (cold January 1803), 1849 (severe January 1850 with ice in the Thames) 1862, 1865 (heavy snow southern England 10/11 January) 1874 (notable December storm)

Obviously a lot can change atmospherically in the next few weeks; this is an early take on my usual winter forecast which will be released on December 1st.

England’s gloriously rainy omen

What’s the most ridiculous omen for an England win in the European Championship final against Italy on Sunday? After hearing this on the radio this week I decided to try to find one.

Readers of this blog will know my theories of how the weather and big events seem to be tied together. So it is no surprise that I’ve indeed found one.

Last month, I wrote about summer washouts. The one last month that began on the 17th saw 28mm fall, possibly contributing to what was a dull spectacle; England’s 0-0 draw with Scotland at a rain-soaked Wembley.

While putting together the July list of washouts one of only six events since 1959 began on July 19th 1966. Over 20mm of rain fell, coinciding with England’s group game with France. The Three Lions won the tie thanks to a brace from Liverpool’s Roger Hunt. Days earlier they had been panned after a dull 0-0 draw with Uruguay. No-one, apart from Alf Ramsey, fancied our chances. Yet by the end of the month they were world champions.

So, in terms of football singularities, England’s is one title every 55 years? We’ll know by 11pm on Sunday.

Euro 2020, weather and Wimbledon

Spring in Wanstead Park

Spring in this neck of the woods was really mixed.

A chilly start to March became fairly benign before ending with the warmest March day locally since at least 1959.

April then turned much colder and drier; just 2.4mm of rain fell during the month – the driest April since 2007 and fourth driest in a local rainfall series back to 1797! Sunshine was abundant with over 200 hours. But clear skies at that time of year, with a polar continental airmass, often means air frost. And the ten recorded overnight was far higher than normal.

May saw things warm up slightly but the month still finished a degree colder than average. Some 80mm of rain fell which is over one and a half times what we’d normally expect. The wettest May since 2007 – the month playing catch up on the total absence of April showers that bring the spring flowers! It was a dull month with only 126 hours of sunshine, 69 per cent of average – the dullest since 1990 was third dullest back to 1881.


In terms of flora and fauna the colder weather played havoc with the trees, bud burst coming much later than recent years. As I write this on June 6th some of the later budders like false acacia have only just come into full leaf. The birds, as they normally do, just seem to get on with it raising their young. I’m not sure what the food supply has been like but judging by the amount of healthy juvenile fledglings I’ve seen I would guess that it has been a good season so far?


Here’s the stats.
March 8C (+0.3) 30.9mm (76%) 90.9 hours (84%)24.1C on 30th (a record that had stood since 1965)
April 7.2C (-2.6) 2.4mm (5.5%) 202.6 hours (127%)
10 air frosts in April, much higher than normal
May 12.1 (-1) 80mm (156%) 125.6hours (69%)
Spring 2021: Mean Thermometer: 9.1C (1.1C below average, coldest since 2013, 111th coldest) Rain Cloud with rain: 113mm (84% of average, wettest since 2018, 150th wettest ) Sun Sun with rays: 425.4 hrs (94% of average, dullest for three years. 51st dullest) The average masked extremes.

Two warm April days 128 years apart

The synoptic pattern on Sunday, April 5th, was very similar to the pattern on Tuesday, April 5th 1892.

With so few planes in the sky because of the coronavirus lockdown it offered an ideal opportunity to compare temperatures and sunshine totals between now and then.

Sunday dawned sunny and clear and stayed that way until dusk, some 11 hours of sunshine recorded, exactly the same as 1892!

The temperature in Wanstead reached 22.3C, 0.9C cooler than what was recorded at the Royal Observatory, Greenwich, in 1892. This maximum was reached after an overnight minima of 5.3C, the same as the 41.5F recorded at Greenwich all those years ago.

Looking further afield, and at the spell over 3 days… markmpcc

4th

5thww

6th

 

 

 

 

Dynamic early final warming and spring

In my search for some winter weather a tweet by Amy H Butler about dynamic final warmings piqued my interest.

According to the atmospheric scientist a winter where there was no major disruptions of the polar vortex (SSW) we are more likely to see a dynamic early final warming. A table published by Wiley shows the final warming dates.

FW
* means there was a SSW, bold means late FW (after the mean date of April 15).

So what could this mean for the weather in the London area? Considering all the above years with no SSW gives an average date of April 19th for a dynamic final warming.

I then looked at the TMax anomaly for those years for 60 days following a DFW and came up with the following graph.

june cold

The results suggest temperatures in April will be heading down in the final week for a  cold end. The average to cool theme continues into May before temperatures lift in the final week for a warm end, with anomalies up to 5C above average. June, however, looks shocking with temperatures nearly 6C below average by the 16th.

This winter has so far been very similar in type to 1990. The dynamic final warming that year was among the latest in the list and led to a cool and dull June with anomalies in the second week nearly 7C below average!

1990