European heatwave in perspective

I couldn’t think of a much better way of getting some kind of perspective on the heatwave over southeast Europe, so I decided to display temperature anomalies from thee 2.5° six hourly gridded air temperature data, which I download from the NCEP reanalysis site. So this chart (fig 1), shows temperature anomalies for 12 UTC on August 2nd, which is a bit unfair on the rest of the northern hemisphere, but does go to show the size and magnitude of the positive anomaly centred over Ukraine, and extending southwestward across the Balkans and Italy, towards the western Mediterranean.

Maximum temperature of 49.7°C Nuevo León in Mexico

I heard Eddie Mair going on about the temperature in Phoenix Arizona in yesterday evening’s PM program on BBC Radio 4, so I thought I’d keep an eye out on the maximum temperatures and see what turned up. Well to trump Phoenix (no pun intended) the maximum temperature reported at 00 UTC from Nuevo León in Mexico was 49.7°C (121.4°F), and a shade (I can’t help it) higher than the 48.3°C in Arizona. Excuse the contouring of temperatures is far too smooth and not accurate.

Summer will recommence by next Friday

I may be chancing my arm here, but by this time next week (16th June), summer will have recommenced, well, at least across southern parts, that’s according to the latest NWP from the GFS model (fig 1). I should know better, and not be so naïve to trust models at this kind of range, but what the hell. I’m not promising it will last though (because it doesn’t), but high pressure is forecast to establish itself across the southern parts of the country, and maximum daytime temperatures will probably be well into the low eighties. As for the northwest of the country though, things still look windy and changeable, but […]

Hottest 26 May in UK since 1880

Yesterday’s maximum of 29.4°C was the hottest 26th of May since 1880 in the UK, that’s according to the table of daily extreme maximum on the TORRO website. It just pipped the previous record of 29.3°C set 137 years ago in the days of Queen Victoria in Norwood, North London in 1880. It might have gone that bit higher either there or at Kinloss if it hadn’t been for the sea breeze along the Moray coast that didn’t relent till 14 UTC. Temperature may reach the same kind of levels today in that part of the world, but only if the sea breeze slackens its grip. The anomalies for […]

The drought in the southeast

The overnight rain in some places put an end to any possible drought across the country, but as far as I can see both Wattisham in Suffolk, and St James Park in London have now gone 15 consecutive days with less than 0.2 mm of rain in any day, so are technically in drought, and when I say drought, that’s the old-fashioned meteorological type. It might not last very long though, because the GFS is forecasting rain from a cold front moving south during Friday, which might scupper the drought before it even gets going. Looking beyond Friday though, the same model predicts anticyclonic conditions returning and persisting till at […]

Capsizing of the Alexander Kielland – 27 March 1980

On Thursday the 27th of March 1980 the Alexander Kielland platform capsized in a southeasterly gale in the North Sea 320 kilometers east of Dundee in the Ekofisk oil field. The low was by no means exceptional as far as the North Sea is concerned (fig 3), but the stress it placed on the badly welded joints of the flotel was more than it could take, and at around 1830 (maybe UTC, maybe not) the people on board heard a sharp crack as a fatigue crack occurred on the D-6 brace, and five of its six massive sea anchors broke as the platform listed by 30° (fig 2). A while […]

Equinoctial gale

The vernal equinox in 2017 is at precisely 1029 UTC on the 20th of March, and heralds the start of Spring proper, and none of these meteorological seasons malarkey. It just so happens, that the very next day, the GFS model produces a vigorous low across the country (fig 1). It’s true that the term ‘equinoctial gales’ is derived from the popular misconception that gales are more frequent at periods close to the equinoxes, but it would be very apt if the storm was named Fleur, especially as its arrival coincides with the start of Spring.