Rubbish British Weather and Arctic Sea Ice

Just in case you thought the UK was being singled out for rubbish weather, it’s now official. Our Spring was the coldest for 50 years, with large areas of England and Wales experiencing mean temperatures over 2C below the 1981-2010 average.

Figures from NASA indicate globally temperatures were +0.56C above a 1950-1980 average, while the northern hemisphere as a whole was +0.71C above that  baseline.

Even the Met Office is convening a workshop this week to try to get to the bottom of the rubbish weather of the last few years.

Every summer since the last dry one in 2006 has been wetter than average, with particularly appalling ones in 2007 and 2012. We had the coldest December for a hundred years in 2010, followed by the wettest year for a 100 years in 2012.

Fingers are starting to point at the influence of declining summer/autumn Arctic sea ice on the polar jetstream, which brings us our rain. Here’s an explainer.

Arctic sea ice has been declining more slowly than last year just in the last few weeks, as this useful graphic shows.

time series

This site uses a different method to measure sea ice, but the overall picture is similar, though the slowing decline appears to have started earlier in the year.

Arctic sea ice reached its lowest recorded level by a long chalk in 2012. How low it will go this year is anyone’s guess, but it’s difficult to see how it can recover, as practically all the old thick sea ice has now melted, as this NSIDC graphic clearly shows.

Just don’t ask me for a weather forecast!



About Miles King

UK conservation professional, writing about nature, politics, life. All views are my own and not my employers. I don't write on behalf of anybody else.
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