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Seasonal Changes 2007-2012 v3

Seasonal Changes 2007-2012 v3

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Published by Mike Rigby

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Published by: Mike Rigby on Sep 24, 2012
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The New Weather; UK Patterns 2007-2012 v3by Mike Rigby, CEO, March 2012
Since having children, I started to note a pattern in the weather. When your holidaysbegin to be set by the school calendar, it becomes easier to spot seasonal changes. Mymemory seemed to suggest that year after year, we were seeing warm, dry springs,particularly April and much wetter summers, particularly July, the first month of theschool summer holidays. Of course, this experience is based largely on my normallocation, Somerset, but nevertheless 2012 seemed to me to be the sixth cool, wetsummer in a row. A search of Met Office data confirmed that this was largely thecase across England, not just Somerset. Figure 1 shows the actual rainfall for April asa percentage of the long term average for that month. With the exception of 2012,which saw the wettest April in history spectacularly break the 5 year trend, 2008 wasthe only other occasion when rainfall exceeded the average (slightly). The period alsosaw two occasions when rainfall was just 20% of the longterm average.
Figure 1
April Rainfall in England as a Percentage of the Longterm Average
Now examine the data for July in the same time range and the picture is startling withevery year over the long-term average and two years seeing more than twice theaverage rainfall.
This pattern of altered rainfall is set against a background of rising temperatures.Mean temperatures in April have shown marked increases, of up to 4%, with Julymean temperatures typically at or below the long term average.
Figure 3
Mean Temperatures differences against Long-term Average (0)
What does all this mean? Well, 6 years straight of warm dry, springs, followed bycooler, wetter summers does seem indicative of a trend. Even in 2012, when thepattern of dry Aprils was smashed by the wettest April on record, March replaced it asthe warm, dry Spring month. Statisticians and climatologists will take a longer view
 before stating that there has been a permanent shift in England’s weather. However,
some of the normal variability does seem to have disappeared from our weatherpatterns. Before this 6-year period, you could count on pretty much any kind of weather at any time of year; there were huge fluctuations from year-to-year. Onesummer would be a heatwave, the next a washout. Now we seem to get the washout

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