Guest essay by Paul Homewood
For those of us living in the UK, the glorious summer has been much in the news. We seem to have spent half of it listening to the BBC telling us about temperature records that might be broken, and been bombarded with heatwave warnings from the NHS.
But how exceptional has it been? The Met Office have now published their figures, and the answer seems to be “not very”.
UK mean temperature was 15.16C, making it the 9th warmest summer on records going back to 1910.
Perhaps significantly though, maximum temperatures only ranked 11th. The 19.71C recorded this year was well down on the 1976 figure of 20.96C, which still remains by far the highest number on record. This certainly raises the question, just how much the UK temperature record is influenced by UHI, as the minimum temperature graph (and particularly the trend line) suggests.
Central England Temperature Series
As the map indicates, the largest anomalies were in Scotland and Northern Ireland, and the smallest in the South East. The effect of this on the CET series is quite startling, as the summer only ranked 44th warmest, going back to 1659. There were many warmer years prior to 1900. Indeed, while the hottest summer was 1976, the next hottest was 1826!
5-Year averages remain close to the long term, (1660-2013), mean.
Finally, it is worth pointing out that the YTD CET is still running about 0.9C below the 1981-2010 mean, and the year as a whole is on target to be the second coldest since 1996.
Much of the summer has been dominated by high pressure systems, so it is no surprise that rainfall has been low. Nevertheless, it is only the 13th driest summer since 1910, and the trend in recent years remains one of wetter summers. Indeed, rainfall in recent summers has been at similar levels to the period of 1910-60, which preceded a much drier interlude culminating in 1995.
Meanwhile YTD rainfall totals are not remarkable.
All in all, I suppose you could say it has been just another British summer!
All data from the UK Met Office