Saturday, 3 September 2011

Coldest UK summer (2011) in nearly two decades?

Coldest UK summer in nearly two decades?

2nd September 2011

UK Autumn & Winter Weather Forecast 2011-2012

Many parts of the UK and Ireland are coming to terms with what the media has been recently reporting as the coldest summer in nearly two decades, and as we originally forecast back in January and early last month in the link below.

The media have been reporting that this was coldest UK summer in 18 years on the basis of provisional Met Office data. I still need to review the HADCET data for previous summers, but since these reports was published the Central England Temperature (CET) has been adjusted from a mean of +0.1 to a final figure of -0.4 for August. The Met Office did correctly state in the link below that the media had taken this from figures based on August CET that was not yet complete.

The Met Office also stated that the CET only represents a small part of the UK? Yet they fail to mention how valuable the CET dataset is to meteorologists and climatologists as the oldest recorded dataset in the world (over 350 years), and in terms of Northern Hemisphere temperatures. It will be interesting to see how their summer review that has not yet been updated for August in the link below reflects upon this, if at all.

June Mean CET = -0.4 below average

July Mean CET = -0.8 below average

August Mean CET = -0.4 below average

The summer also turned out to be wetter than average across the UK with dominant grey skies, and torrential downpours/flooding that became a frequent feature across many areas and all as we originally forecast. Parts of Scotland experienced their wettest 24 hours ever recorded, with severe flash flooding to the South of the UK since the last update.

Autumn 2011

The UK can expect a similar theme to continue as we head into autumn, with a notable increase in usual wind strengths for this time of year across many parts of the UK, that will result in frequent and potentially damaging gale force winds and strong stormy features throughout autumn and winter. Although some places further South may see some spells of settled weather at times, the general theme for autumn as a whole looks largely wet and very windy with dominant grey skies. It will be generally unsettled and turn progressively colder with an early start to winter, especially more so in the regions of Scotland, Northern England, and Northern Ireland.

Winter 2011-12 Update

As we head towards winter, I expect to see the first signs of some moderate to heavy snowfalls as early as October or November in certain parts of the UK. In terms of the meteorological winter, I expect December, January, and February to experience below average temperatures, with the heaviest snowfalls occurring within the time frame of November to January across many parts of the UK.

The most important factor within our weather forecasting calculations is solar activity and other major natural factors that it influences. Radiant energy from the sun is the primary influence on both the earth's ocean and atmosphere.

Low solar activity and ocean behaviour alter atmospheric circulation and block jet stream patterns that create enhanced moisture in terms of snowfall. The UK and Ireland is hit by prolonged periods of extreme cold and snow from the Arctic regions, as cold easterlies or north-easterlies develop. Huge swirly low pressure systems also offer the potential for widespread disruption from heavy snowfall across many parts of the UK including the South, as they clash with the predominant cold air over the UK.

Coupled with other in depth factors such as recent volcanic activity and changes to the Gulf Stream/North Atlantic drift that we consider, this does not bode well for the severity of the UK and Northern European winter of 2011-12. Frequent and prolonged cold spells with heavy dumps of snow from blizzard like conditions is likely across many parts of the UK. The areas we expect to be worse hit throughout include the vast majority of Scotland and the Scottish Highlands, Northern England, and Northern Ireland. We have particular concerns as to the huge implications that this may pose to the infrastructure of the UK and Ireland transportation systems/economy.

James Madden (UK Long Range Forecaster)
Published: 2nd September 2011 (15:57) BSTContent copyright © 2010-2011. Exacta Weather. All rights reserved.


  1. As you said, once the Met Office issued the final CET figure for August, it transpired that it was in fact the coolest summer since 1988 (23 years) and not 1993. Which makes the direness of the summer more impressive!

  2. Will the fact that it has been a cool summer mean that we are more likely to see a colder winter. Is this the start of it getting steadily colder?

  3. Thank you James for your reports, I can't afford reports from other sources, and to be quite frank, yours are the only ones that I would Trust !

    Keep up the good work, many people in financial difficulty really appreciate your reports, they are able to hopefully have some sort of plan in place, ie gas/electric costs etc....

    Thank you again, best wishes

    Tony :-)