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) choice because they are both updated on a daily or weekly basis. The other daily weather set that fits was the HadUKP series that the Met Office maintain, but there are a couple of problems with this series, one being that is only updated on a monthly basis, and the other is that the series isn’t very long and only extends back to 1931, and not 1772 and 1861 as in the case of CET and LWT. The big plus for anyone interested in the climate of the British Isles is that you can explore the climate of a particular day, week, month or season very easily and quickly. Here is a screenshot of the application as it stands now:

LWT-CET-UKP application

LWT-CET-UKP application

Below are a few examples of some particular well-known periods and spells of weather from the past, starting with a look at last Autumn and Winter.

27 Sep 2015 - 20 Mar 2016

27 Sep 2015 – 20 Mar 2016

You can certainly see the lovely anticyclonic spell that we had in September 2015, and the record mild November and December that followed, in this six month overview. Next a four-month window and a look at the Winter of 1946-47, you can clearly see how the cold started with an anticyclonic spell in the second half of January 1947, with the snow following along at the start of February.

1 Dec 1946 - 23 Mar 1947

1 Dec 1946 – 23 Mar 1947

Here’s the summer of 1976 and the record warmth of late June and early July, notice also the preponderance of anticyclonic types up until the start of September, then the breakdown into more cyclonic weather and the rains that brought an end to the drought.

18 Apr 1976 - 17 Oct 1976

18 Apr 1976 – 17 Oct 1976

Here’s the great winter of 1962-63, in comparison to 1946-47 it’s clear that winter 1962-63 started much earlier (before Christmas) and finished earlier, but was also drier and more anticyclonic.

16 Dec 1962 - 24 Mar 1963

16 Dec 1962 – 24 Mar 1963

Improvements

I could maybe add an extra chart in the shape of a ‘barograph’ because I hold all the mean pressure points in the LWT data. I could present that as a scatter graph of all the 16 MSLP grid values for 12 UTC and then plot a moving average. I could also highlight with a star the named storms, but that would only work for the very latest years. I could also colour the precipitation bar chart blue to indicate snow rather than rain when the CET was less than 1 or 2 °C (I have in fact now implemented that idea as you can see if you look at the screenshot of the application!). I do plan to add functionality to show a grid of archived weather charts for the selected period from Wetterzentrale. The one element that I think it does miss is daily sunshine data, but there is no source that I know of for daily sunshine values for a region, let alone for a single station, so that’s a non-starter. I must say that this really is an excellent tool for any climatologist with an interest into the weather of the British Isles over the last 150 years or so.

East-West split continues

The awful cold and cloudy conditions are continuing again today down the east coast of England, and the infamous east-west split coined by Michael Fish has been called into play again today by weather presenters at the BBC.

Satellite Image 12 UTC on Thu, 2 June 2016

Satellite Image 12 UTC on Thu, 2 June 2016

Philip Avery was very agitated about the storms over France when he presented the BBC weather this lunchtime, and proceeded to show us a couple of days worth of satellite images in a loop, and his arms went round and round as he described the “storm” that had been causing all the flooding problems in France and Germany. He then muttered something about “a bit of an east-west split going on” and showed this graphic.

BBC Weather 1356 UTC 2 June 2016

BBC Weather 1356 UTC 2 June 2016

All I can say to Philip is, yes you’re quite right there is most definitely an “east-west split” going on, and yes, to use another tired old cliché “west is best”. In fact it’s been going on for several days now and has suppressed temperatures across the eastern and central parts of England, have a look at these thermograph traces that illustrate the temperature differences between east and west. Approximately around +4°C warmer in the SW than the SE, and still no appreciable rain west of Yeovilton for almost a fortnight.

03827 Plymouth - United Kingdom 50 AMSL 26 May-2 June 2016

03827 Plymouth – United Kingdom 50 AMSL 26 May-2 June 2016

03772 London Heathrow - United Kingdom 24 AMSL 26 May-1 June 2016

03772 London Heathrow – United Kingdom 24 AMSL 26 May-2 June 2016

He then went onto present another graphic of the forecast situation at 1600 BST. But looking at the spread of temperatures along the south coast you would be forgiven for thinking that it was the SW of England that had been covered in cloud all day and not the SE.

BBC Weather 1357 UTC 2 June 2016

BBC Weather 1357 UTC 2 June 2016

Plymouth is not a great site to use as a representative temperature for the whole of Devon and Cornwall, and at the moment here in mid-Devon at 1500 BST it’s 19.7°C, and it could even be a little higher by 1600 BST under these blues skies. I am skeptical that the low cloud in the SE will break up as much as is indicated in the above graphic, and allow temperatures to rise to 18°C, but of course it may do, but I notice that it didn’t yesterday or the day before.

Latest Update  1830 BST

Just for completeness and complete “I told you so” here is what the cloud and temperatures were at 1600 BST.

Satellite Image 1500 UTC on Thu, 2 June 2016

Satellite Image 1500 UTC on Thu, 2 June 2016

The cloud remained solid down the east coast and across London and most of Sussex, which of course reflected in lower temperatures than forecast, in other words a poor forecast for the southeast even though it was for less than three hours in the future! I may be that the presenters don’t have any way of modifying model cloud amounts, but surely they can inject a few more temperatures to reflect reality. It’s a great shame that the BBC presenters can’t display thermograms or meteograms for the last week temperatures from locations in the east to compare them with those in the west, like I have done. Incidentally the maximum here in mid-Devon was 19.8°C at 1429 UTC.

Air Temperature [°C] for Thu, 2 Jun 2016 at 1500 UTC

Air Temperature [°C] for Thu, 2 Jun 2016 at 1500 UTC

Final update (I promise) 10000 BST on 3 June 2016

I’ll let the graphics do the talking…

Maximum Temperature Anomaly [06-18] UTC on Thursday, 2 June 2016

Maximum Temperature Anomaly [06-18] UTC on Thursday, 2 June 2016

Rainfall: May 2016

Looking at the SYNOP rainfall totals for May 2016 over the British Isles it looks like the month has been below average for many parts. Wettest were Lusa in Skye (152.9 mm 24 hour total), and Capel Curig in Wales (127.8 mm 24 hour total). Parts of eastern Scotland and NE England were also very dry with Inverbervie driest with only 11.8 mm (24 hour total) and Aberdeen 14.9 mm (12 hour total). I don’t always get 100% of the possible SYNOP reports during the month although usually I do receive 98% or more from most stations. The other thing that can introduce differences is the fact that you can build an accumulation from 12 or 24 hour totals.

Driest Places - May 2016

Driest Places – May 2016

s.

Accumulated Precipitation for May 2016

Accumulated Precipitation for May 2016

Accumulated Precipitation May 2016

Accumulated Precipitation May 2016

Of course there has also been the recent flooding of the last week in France and Germany from that small but intense low pressure system. Wettest place in northern France for the whole month appears to have been Trappes from the SYNOPs that I receive with 201.7 mm of rain (24 hr totals).

Accumulated Precipitation 2 May - June 2

Accumulated Precipitation 2 May – June 2

French Rainfall May 2016

French Rainfall May 2016

The wettest day seems to have been the 30th of May and overnight into the 31st. Here are the 24 hour totals up to 06 UTC on the 31st for most of France.

Daily Rainfall [mm] for Tue, 31 May 2016 at 0600 UTC

Daily Rainfall [mm] for Tue, 31 May 2016 at 0600 UTC

Synops for Tue, 31 May 2016 at 0600 UTC

Synops for Tue, 31 May 2016 at 0600 UTC

I can’t comment much on Germany because there’s a big hole of missing rainfall data in the middle of Europe this month by the looks of things.

Accumulated Precipitation - May 2016

Accumulated Precipitation – May 2016

Not clear what’s going on with the Germans, who seem to have joined the Danes in not reporting rainfall totals this month, either 6, 12 or 24 hourly which is a great shame. I’ll have to investigate, it could all be down to my parsing of course, but it maybe that the Germans have now switched to BUFR and OGIMET aren’t doing the conversion to SYNOP very well. There’s certainly a lot of blocks in a BUFR SYNOP as you can see in this example but no rainfall. I’ll email OGIMET about the problem but I’ve never received a reply for them before so the death by a thousand cuts continues as far as quality SYNOPs and climate data are concerned.

AAXX 01001 10400 02884 81801 10141 20134 30090 40139 50002 60001 8158/ 333 31/// 55/// 21552 31312 55300
20000 30000 60007 81657 87465 91001 90760 91104 90760 91203==

The 1st of June 1954 and 2016

DWR 1 June 1954 (courtesy of Met Office)

DWR 1 June 1954 (courtesy of Met Office)

I was just comparing today’s weather situation with that of the 1st of June 1954 (as you do) and noticed just how similar they were. Having said that if you look at the temperatures 2016 does look a good deal warmer than 1954 was.

06 UTC on 1, Jun 2016

06 UTC on 1, Jun 2016

Central England Temperatures: May 2016

As far as I can make out, May 2016 was the 37th warmest in the Central England Temperature [CET] series that started in 1659. It had started coolly but warmed up significantly between the 4th and the 12th when two maximum CET records were broken (8th and 9th), but a colder week followed and wiped out a lot of the positive anomalies that had been gained.

Daily Central England Temperature - May 2016

Daily Central England Temperature – May 2016

Here are the May rankings since 1659, it certainly was the warmest since the exceptionally warm May of 2008, with a mean anomaly of +1.46°C. So although global temperature records are being broken on a monthly basis, CET records certainly aren’t.

Warmest May CET

Here is a look at all May’s since 1659.

May mean CET & anomaly

May mean CET & anomaly

And finally looking back over the last 62 years of CET monthly anomalies.

Central England Temperature Mean Anomalies 1954 - 2016

Central England Temperature Mean Anomalies 1954 – 2016

East west Split

Maximum Temperature Anomaly [06-18] UTC on Monday, 30 May 2016

A fascinating day as far as maximum temperature anomalies were concerned. As you can see from the chart above the maximum temperature [06-18] anomalies ranged from -5°C in the east to +4°C or more in the west. The cloud stubbornly refused to clear as it was forecast to do by the Met Office, and a gale force N’ly right down the east coast must have just added to the bleakness of the day. I certainly wouldn’t like to have been spending the Bank holiday in a caravan at Mablethorpe yesterday. Here’s the anemograph trace for Donna Nook just down the coast from Cleethorpes. I noticed that the old Michael Fish classic ‘east-west split’ was called into play a number of times in the BBC forecast through the day yesterday and again this morning.

03385 Donna Nook - United Kingdom  8 AMSL 24 May-30 May 2016

Haar Haar

Satellite Image 1030 UTC on Mon, 30 May 2016

Satellite Image 1030 UTC on Mon, 30 May 2016

This maybe a bit on the vivid side – it looks almost post apocalyptic I know – but it does gives you an idea of the thickness of the cloud from the encroaching frontal system and associated haar down the east coast. It looks a little more stubborn than indicated by the NWP images in Carol Kirkwood’s breakfast forecast seemed to suggest. The North Yorkshire moors are sticking out of it nicely and the Pennines are blocking it from making progress to the west. I forgot I’d done this work to my Web Satellite application and rediscovered the button that provides this image enhancement just by chance. todo: Add functionality to display IR and visible images as well as finishing off the colour slicer.

Temperatures

Temperatures are highest in the west as you would expect with Plymouth top of the shop at 10 UTC, it’s a little higher here in mid-Devon at 20°C, I still can’t understand why Exeter airport is 3°C cooler in a moderate to fresh N’NE. I almost think the temperature sensors on that site need recalibrating, but having said that the temperature at Dunkeswell is only 13.5°C, I would love to see a mesoscale temperature frame to see what is happening.

Highest Air Temperature 1000 UTC on Monday, 30 May 2016 In WMO Block 03

Highest Air Temperature 1000 UTC on Monday, 30 May 2016 In WMO Block 03

Hurricane predictions 2016

The predictions for how the forthcoming 2016 North Atlantic hurricane season will turn out are now in, and as you can see from the info-graphics below, I’ve managed to find three predictions from:

All the predictions look remarkably similar to my eye. It might be that my 1851-2015 statistics are much lower than there’s (which may well be because they are based on the 1981-2010 long-term average), but I would say that they are all predicting well above average totals for 2016.

My prediction for what it’s worth…

Even though El Nino is ending, I would have still thought that because 2016 already seems to be on course to become the warmest year on record globally, and even warmer than 2015, and because sea surface temperatures are closely linked to this, there should potentially be a lot more extra energy available in all the oceans of the world (with the exception of the Pacific) for tropical cyclone development. So just for the hell of it I’m going for a well above average year for 2016 in the Atlantic, and very similar to 2010.

AccuWeather

Accuwaether 2016 Hurricane Prediction

Accuweather 2016 Hurricane Prediction

UK Met Office

Met Office Hurricane Prediction 2016

Met Office Hurricane Prediction 2016

Met Office Tropical Storm Prediction 2016

Met Office Tropical Storm Prediction 2016

NOAA

NOAA North Atlantic Hurricane Prediction 2016

NOAA North Atlantic Hurricane Prediction 2016

Glorious Devon

Satellite Image 1230 UTC on Sun, 29 May 2016

Satellite Image 1230 UTC on Sun, 29 May 2016

Highest hourly solar radiation at 12 UTC sun, 29 May 2016

Highest hourly solar radiation at 12 UTC on Sunday, 29 May 2016

The Met Office really must get there act together and site an automatic weather station in the heart of Devon. Not just on the top of a hill, or the coast, or too close to the sea for that matter – somewhere like Tiverton perhaps. Here in Bradninch in mid-Devon the temperature is in excess of 21°C at 12 UTC and knocking on 3°C warmer that Exeter airport.

Highest Air Temperature 1200 UTC on Sunday, 29 May 2016 In WMO Block 03

Highest Air Temperature 12 UTC on Sunday, 29 May 2016 In WMO Block 03

Second of the season?

Normally at this time of year we would be looking for signs of the first tropical cyclone, but thanks to Hurricane Alex that formed on January 13th (2016) that’s not the case this year, and the extratropical low pressure system of 1014 hPa that’s sitting around 27N 71W according to the National Hurricane Centre [NHC] is the second of the season. There’s a ship and buoy report that make that centre may be several millibars lower than that on the o6 UTC chart. The NHC say that the nameless storm has an 80% chance of making the leap to tropical cyclone in the next day or so, and be named Bonnie all things being equal. Bonnie has rather an illustrious names as far as Hurricanes are concerned and of course this disturbance may not make it that far.

MSLP [hPa] for Fri, 27 May 2016 at 0600 UTC

MSLP [hPa] for Fri, 27 May 2016 at 0600 UTC

The latest sea surface temperature [SST] anomalies look slightly above average for this time of year which can only aid any further development of the feature. I notice that stories have already started to spring up in the United States about whether Bonnie will form and impact the US East Coast during Memorial Day weekend, we shall see.

North Atlantic SST Anomalies on 25 May 2016

North Atlantic SST Anomalies on 25 May 2016

The latest on this feature (28 May 1015 UTC) is that now it’s been given a designator tropical depression 2 by the NHC, but looks like it won’t make a full-blown tropical cyclone in this version of the Universe.

Later that day tropical depression 2 officially became tropical storm Bonnie but only just according to the discussion at NHC.