7 Mar 2014

Potten End Newsletter Article 14

This article originally appeared in the Potten End Newsletter, March 2014.

Potten End Weather

H:”What’s my temperature?”

L: “Wet and windy”

H: “That’s a barometer!”

– Laurel and Hardy

The country has been battered by fierce storms over the last few weeks. And as I write, despite it being a beautifully sunny day, there seems to be no end in sight. We have experienced the wettest December to January period since records began.

The latest theory is that our bad weather is a result of higher than normal temperatures in Indonesia and the tropical West Pacific. This has caused increased rainfall in that region and has caused major changes to the Pacific jet stream which, when linked to the unusually strong North Atlantic jet stream, has caused exceptionally bad weather both sides of the Atlantic.

As I have discussed before (Newsletter Article, October 2013), the highly variable nature of the British climate does not help when trying to link these extreme weather events with global warming. The Met Office say there is “… no definitive answer on the possible contribution of climate change to the recent storminess …”. They then go on to say that the increase in the intensity of daily rainfall rates is consistent with what is expected from a warming world.

Going back a few years in the Potten End Weather Archives, I’ve counted up the number of rain-free days we get in the months from November to February.
Rain Free Winter Days
Rain Free Days
We can see that so far this year January and February have been exceptionally rainy with only a small number of days where rain has not fallen. It is difficult to find any other increasing or diminishing trend in the table. But the sample size is very small compared to the data that the Met Office works with.

When I started out saying there was “no end in sight” to the current poor weather, that really refers to the more accurate five-day weather forecast at the time of writing. The longer range forecasts show that while the weather may remain unsettled in to the middle of March, we should be expecting longer spells of drier weather with temperatures slightly above the seasonal average. Whether that will be enough to bring relief to the flooded areas of the UK remains to be seen. I sincerely hope it will.

The wind, rain and many other weather measurements can be monitored live on the Potten End Weather web site.