Drier than average Northern Scotland

Rather surprisingly, Northern Scotland currently has the lowest annual rainfall anomalies for the whole of the UK, with an annual running accumulation to the end of September of just 90.9% of the 1981-2010 long-term average. The spell started with a very dry October and November in 2016, and the gap has only started to narrow in the last couple of months. It’s rather strange to think that somewhere can be seen as drier than average, when it’s seen rainfall totals of 1487.1 mm (58.5 inches) in the last year, but that’s the wonder of statistics for you.

What triggers sudden dry spells?

It’s as if someone turned a tap off at the start of October last year in Northern Ireland. The graph above (fig 1), is a rolling 365 day moving accumulation, the yellow highlighted line is a 365 day moving average of that moving total (if that makes sense), to smooth out the accumulations. This sudden drop is mirrored in most, if not all regions, across the UK despite the rainfall in May, but is more marked in Northern Ireland. The steep decline in annual accumulations was brought about by a series of drier months from July 2016 onwards, that followed the previously wet Autumn and Winter (2015-16), but what […]

Steep decline in snowfall since 1931 in Central England

I reckon that there has been an almost 60% decline in annual snowfall since 1931. This won’t surprise a lot of people, because snow has become something of a scarce commodity in recent Winters, especially the further south that you are. Before I go any further the science behind this article is a bit thin, it’s based on a mix of daily Central England Temperatures [CET] and daily UKP rainfall (central region), but what the hell, you’ve got to start from somewhere, and I don’t think the Met office would have provided me with the required climate data to do this for free. The biggest fudge factor, and don’t […]

Summer 1954 – worst in living memory?

In a recent article about the Summer Index  in Central England, summer 1954 came in at the bottom of the table with the worst possible scores for temperature, rainfall and sunshine since at least 1929. In researching for this article by looking back in the online archives of the Royal Meteorological Society, I did find that 1931, 1922 (mental note to find out why the summer of 1922 was so cold) and 1912 all rivalled 1954 as the worst summer on record, but I have a special affection for 1954 because it was in the summer of that year I was born.  Here are the headlines for the months of the […]

The drought of 1976

The drought of 1976 has been making headlines recently because it occurred 40 years ago this summer. Yep, not much of an excuse but what the heck. One of the best ways at looking at the event is by means of the daily UK gridded precipitation series for all the national and regional areas of the UK, and that’s the data I’ve used in the next few charts I’ve produced. I didn’t look for the classic 14 days without rainfall that is the definition of a drought because the values are derived from gridded values dry days are not common, and believe it or not the longest dry spell […]

Tri weather data sets

A bit of a strange title I know, but I’ve recently written an application that displays climate data for the UK from three separate daily data sets for atmospheric circulation, temperature and precipitation, and hence the tri. Daily Central England Temperature [CET] Objective Lamb Weather Type [LWT] UK regional precipitation series [HadUKP] It’s not the first time I’ve merged weather data sets in a single application, but this is probably the first time I’ve managed to finish it and publish the results that it generates. The essential requirement of course is a source of regular daily weather data, and so the CET and LWT series were the ideal (and only) […]