Twenty eight visible satellite images

Visible satellite images 12 UTC 6 November to 3 December 2016

If you’re mad enough, and have some spare disk space, you can collect visible satellite images. It’s a bit like stamp collecting, but you don’t have to stick them in an album! Here are the 1200 UTC visible images (or thereabouts) for the last 28 days (6 November to 3 December 2016). I’ll admit that it’s not a unique idea, but just another way of visualising the weather of Western Europe at a glance.

During the third week the mountains in the north are clearly visible, and in the last week the fine clear weather in the south can also been seen. The spiral cloud of storm Angus and the secondary depression that followed it can be seen in frames 14 to 16. I can see that I’m going to have to invest in a 27″ monitor if I want to get 5 rows of 7 and cover an entire month though.

The exceptional warm start to September

If you think that we’ve had in warm here in the UK during the first 14 days of September then it’s been very much warmer over central Europe with anomalies as high as +6°C. I  just wonder if the extreme warm anomalies that occurred over Russia during August, which were as high as +8°C for the entire month, have somehow retrogressed and migrated westwards.


The pressure patterns gives us the reason. The Icelandic low is misplaced, a little further southwest and 11 hPa deeper than usual, whilst a belt of high pressure stretched from the Azores to Poland with pressure anomalies of +4 in the southern Baltic Sea. This produced a conveyor belt of tropical maritime southwesterly for most of northwest Europe, but sunny, very warm or hot anticyclonic conditions for much of central Europe.

mean-sea-level-pressure-1-sep-14-sep-2016 mean-sea-level-pressure-anomalies-1-sep-14-sep-2016



June 2016: Sunshine in the UK

I’ve just done a quick bit of coding to allow me to produce graphics for the sunshine totals for June from across the UK. The daily sunshine totals I parse from each day’s 0600 UTC SYNOP reports which I download from the OGIMET site. Top of the shop across the British Isles in June was Valley on Anglesey in Wales, with 218.8 hours of sunshine (43.2% of possible), closely followed by a whole host of other stations from western parts.

Daily sunshine 1 June - 1 July 2016

Daily sunshine 1 June – 1 July 2016

Daily Bright Sunshine 1 June 2016 - 1 July 2016

Daily Bright Sunshine 1 June 2016 – 1 July 2016

Across Europe Valley’s 218.8 hours couldn’t quite match the 404.1 hours (90.4% of possible) from Toledo in Spain. Oh to have a field full of solar panels in southern Spain.

Daily Bright Sunshine 1 June 2016 - 1 July 2016

Days of thunder

Accumulated Precipitation for 0600 UTC 1 January

Days of Thunder 1 Jan –  26th June 1016

It’s very difficult, I would say impossible to find the latest detailed statistics on thunder across the UK, let alone across Europe and other parts of the world. The obvious answer would be to generate monthly frequency maps from the output of the Blitzortung lightning system, but I am not a member, and even if I were it may still not be possible to get my hands on the data to do this with. Despite all this, I have come up with a simple and very effective method of compiling ‘days of thunder’ from SYNOP observations. It depends on the present weather code [WW] and the past weather codes [six hourly ww1 & ww2 code from the main synoptic hours] and the fact that thunderstorms have such high priority there are reported above any other present or past weather codes. So it’s simply a case of writing some software to count any thunderstorms that are reported in any of the SYNOP observations. There is one problem, and it’s a very big problem nowadays, and that is automatic observations which make up as many as 90% of SYNOP observations in countries such as the UK, don’t report thunderstorms as far as I can see (although there may be exceptions – it’s a big world). That’s why when you look at the maps that I’ve produced you will see a lot of spurious zero values plotted. It’s easy to work out an automatic observation in the UK & Ireland, but not so in some other countries such as France, in time I may be to winkle out all the automatic like this, but for the moment they are included.

Anyway the top map is of days of thunder for the 1st of January to the 26th of June, and as you can Erzincan in northeast Turkey is top of the European list with 40 days of thunder, in comparison Brize Norton in Oxfordshire with 9 days is top of the available manual stations in the UK. A quick look at America and the Caribbean reveals that David in Panama is top of the list there with 58 days of thunder so far this year. Tampa has only 1 day because the observations are missing for a good deal of the time. Hopefully with a little more polish, the output from this application might be a little less ambiguous the next time you see it, for now its work in progress!

2016 certainly seems to have been a very thundery year so far, but I would have to do an awful lot more data processing to calculate a thirty year mean for a great many stations before I could say it is. At one time the Met Office published an hourly text bulletin of sferics across Europe [SFUK26], but over 10 years ago they stopped issuing it which was a big pity. The more frequent and more detailed high-resolution bulletin which replaced it [SFUK27] may still be being produced but was never made public on the internet, which is another great pity. Thank goodness for the Blitzortung organisation who had the foresight to see the importance of monitoring lightning from thunderstorms and making it freely available to all, something I thought that national weather services were supposed to do.

Days of Thunder for 1 January - 27 June 2016

Days of Thunder for 1 January – 26 June 2016