Quiet spell of autumn weather on the way

Thursday 18 October 2012, 16:23

Paul Hudson Paul Hudson

After what has seemed like a relentless period of unsettled weather stretching back to the end of March, it's nice to be able to report that a quieter spell of weather seems likely next week - although talk of an 'Indian Summer', for our region at least, is a little far-fetched.

Friday and Saturday look generally dry, although there will be some fog to contend with in the mornings.

The change will come courtesy of a warm front which will bring some rain and drizzle from the southeast later on Sunday.

Thereafter, the good news is that a ridge of high pressure will dominate our weather, meaning much drier weather on the whole next week.

And at first glance, it is easy to get carried away with the fact that the air which is on its way from the continent is warm.

But, unfortunately for us, it has to travel across the North Sea.

And as it does so, the warmer air coming into contact with the colder North Sea is likely to generate extensive low cloud at times.

In these situations it is possible to get quite high temperatures - for example where there is shelter from the prevailing south-easterly wind, like west of the Pennines, or areas where the warm air only has to travel across a short sea track, like southern parts of the UK.

But for our part of the world, skies are likely to be predominantly cloudy - although with light winds and generally dry conditions (apart from drizzle which can form in extensive low cloud), it should be an improvement compared with what we've been used to.



And let's hang on to the possibility that even here cloud breaks can occur in this set up, leading to at least the chance of some warm sunshine at times.

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Comments

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  • rate this
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    Comment number 1.

    Take it you don't fancy the 1065Mb greenland high then Paul that's been showing on the GFS repeatedly? Low solar showing its presence felt already.

  • rate this
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    Comment number 2.

    UK experiences 'weirdest' weather By Roger Harrabin

    'Sarah Jackson from the Met Office confirmed that they did not discern any pattern that suggested manmade climate change was at play in UK rainfall - although if temperatures rise as projected in future, that would lead to warmer air being able to carry more moisture to fall as rain.

    She said that this year's conditions were partly caused by a move to a negative phase of the North Atlantic Oscillation which would be likely to lead to more frequent cold drier winters - like the 1960s - and also wetter summers for 10-20 years.'
    http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-19995084

    What no CO2 warming, for another 10-20 years, good to know it's only us that are going to cool whilst the rest of the world bake in increased temperatures!

  • rate this
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    Comment number 3.

    "although if temperatures rise as projected in future, that would lead to warmer air being able to carry more moisture to fall as rain."

    Is that like how temperatures haven't been rising for the last 16 years? Good job they called it a projection rather than a prediction.

    Harrabin must have written that article through gritted teeth, knowing he couldn't blame it on despicable Man.

  • rate this
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    Comment number 4.

    'But scientists present from the Met Office and CEH said not much could be read into the weird weather. Terry Marsh from CEH said: "Rainfall charts show no compelling long-term trend - the annual precipitation table shows lots of variability."'

    Confirms what QV has been telling us!

    '"Longer term we will see a trend to drier summers but superimposed on that we will always see natural variability," she said.'

    Is this written to convey that natural variability will always override the long term trend to drier summers? Certainly makes the case for natural variability stronger than has been in the past, perhaps it will be explained by a post on the Met Office news blog in the same manner as the recent DM article.

  • rate this
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    Comment number 5.

    so its moved onto global weirding now has it?

    and when did harraboin come back?

    more importantly has he explained himself re certain relationships he had with certain bodies he was reporting on without telling his readers about said relationship

  • rate this
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    Comment number 6.

    A typical BBC approach, plenty of quotes saying that scientists say we can't attribute this to "climate change", while implying it is.
    There was an equivalent item on the BBC News Channel by Harrabin, which started with the words "A great wave pours over the harbour wall at Lynmouth in Devon today. A storm, whipping up the high tide along much of the coast of South West England. A reminder of the power of the weather, in an extraordinary year. (accompanied by pictures of waves breaking on the harbour wall). Remember how it all began. Month after month of drought - the soil parched, farmers desperate and the usually dry months of summer approaching."
    Precisely what have waves hitting the harbour wall at Lynmouth got to do with high rainfall?
    What does he mean when he says "usually dry months of summer"?
    In fact, the median seasonal rainfall figures, between 1766 and 1965, according to HadUKP, are as follows:
    WINTER = 222.25 mm
    SPRING = 179.30 mm
    SUMMER = 228.75 mm
    AUTUMN = 265.55 mm
    So, in fact, historically, summer is the second wettest season, after Autumn and since by definition, approximately 50% of summer rainfall figures are ABOVE the median figure, talk of "usually dry summers" is nonsense.
    It is true, that using the 1961-90 average, the figures are as follows:
    WINTER = 252.41 mm
    SPRING = 200.93 mm
    SUMMER = 204.47 mm
    AUTUMN = 257.89 mm
    The 30 year average summer rainfall actually reached a low of 195.18 mm in 2001, so the PERCEPTION that summers are usually drier than other seasons, seems to be mainly due to below average rainfall during the late 20th century. If anything, any "weird weather" we have been having was during that period, rather than recently.
    Actually, the 30 year mean rainfall figure is somewhat unreliable as a method of establishing normality. While summer is currently the 2nd driest season, and indeed, was the driest during the 30 years to 2004, during the early 19th century, it was the 2nd wettest, with the 30 year mean reaching 254.7mm, compared with the current figure of 216.54 mm.
    Incidentally, when I was searching for flooding information at Lynmouth, I found this article on the BBC website, referring to a flood there in August 1952:
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/devon/news_features/2002/lynmouth_flood.shtml
    So the belief that recent weather is "extraordinary" is nonsense.

  • rate this
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    Comment number 7.

    #6 QV Lynmouth was in August as was Boscastle. Both devastating flash floods. The comment last night that flooding is a winter problem is not actually shown by the data. Many recent flood events have occurred in late summer. But flooding in future may become an all year round problem because rivers are not dredged and there is far more concrete on the surface increasing runoff.

  • rate this
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    Comment number 8.

    One section of the Harrabin article which puzzles me is the following:

    "Sarah Jackson from the Met Office confirmed that it did not discern any pattern that suggested Man-made climate change was at play in UK rainfall - although if temperatures rise as projected in future, that would lead to warmer air being able to carry more moisture to fall as rain.

    She said that this year's conditions were partly caused by a move to a negative phase of the North Atlantic Oscillation which would be likely to lead to more frequent cold, drier winters - like the 1960s - and also wetter summers for 10-20 years."

    Is a "negative phase" in the AMO not when the index goes below zero?
    Are we not currently in a warm phase of the AMO, with an index of +0.487 (NOAA).
    Was there not recently some research published which suggested that high summer rainfall was associated with a WARMER North Atlantic?
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-19848112
    I am genuinely puzzled, so can anyone explain?
    Did she mean "positive", not "negative", or is it a misquote?

  • rate this
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    Comment number 9.

    #7. - John Marshall wrote:
    "The comment last night that flooding is a winter problem is not actually shown by the data."
    Are you referring to the Harrabin news item?
    I didn't think it was referring to winter flooding, but to summer flooding, and the fact that it was allegedly unusual.

  • rate this
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    Comment number 10.

    I heard a similarly annoying radio4 programme 'costing the earth' the other day. Describing the effect on crop yields of the US drought and the UK summer deluge, one interviewee, (is that a word?) a certain Prof Rogers was getting away with all manner of global 'weirding' nonsense. Not a single challenge to any of his comments. It's not a show I usually listen to but going by its title, perhaps this is just typical of its standard production values.

  • rate this
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    Comment number 11.

    And from the last post entry which is now closed.
    Newdwr54 said . . .

    Water vapour is a trace gas in the atmosphere.
    Is it also unimportant?

    Not surprisingly, the comparison was with CO2. As I understand it, atmospheric water vapour is present at around 30,000 ppm in the tropics as opposed to CO2 at just under 400ppm.

    So, a slight difference in the abundance of these trace gases.

  • rate this
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    Comment number 12.

    Re my #6, it turns out that the BBC News item was by David Shukman, not Roger Harrabin.
    Sometimes I get the two of them mixed up!

  • rate this
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    Comment number 13.

    #10. - lateintheday wrote:
    "I heard a similarly annoying radio4 programme 'costing the earth' the other day. Describing the effect on crop yields of the US drought and the UK summer deluge, one interviewee, (is that a word?) a certain Prof Rogers was getting away with all manner of global 'weirding' nonsense. Not a single challenge to any of his comments. It's not a show I usually listen to but going by its title, perhaps this is just typical of its standard production values."
    I have listened to the programme over the years, and in the early days I used to agree with it's content, and I probably still do, on general environmental issues.
    Now I think that people at the BBC are so convinced by their own propaganda on "climate change", that they are not capable any more of challenging the claims.
    What really annoys me is that having been told that there is a difference between "climate" and "weather", the proponents of "climate change" are now trying to use a couple of years of wet summers to argue their case.

  • rate this
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    Comment number 14.

    Yes QV, I suspected that might be the case. One chap said he found it hard to believe that in the 21st Century, we could be facing a future of uncertain food production, mass starvation, food migrants etc etc . . climate change etc etc . . . wars, flood and famine etc etc.

    Not much (if anything) said about the population explosion since the industrial revolution. I read recently that world population was less than a billion about a hundred years ago (not 100% sure if that's right) but clearly, food production increased dramatically over the 20thC and implying any future food shortages will be down to climate change is somewhat blinkered.

  • rate this
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    Comment number 15.

    Regarding my post #8, I was, of course, confusing the North Atlantic Oscillation (pressure), with the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation (temperature)!

    Too many oscillations!

  • rate this
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    Comment number 16.

    lateintheday,

    One problem is that a long time ago, Malthus predicted that there would be famine due to increased population and he has been proven wrong - so far, because improvements in agriculture have allowed food production to increase faster than population.

    Most people assume that will continue to be the case, but I am not so sure. Of course, if there are food shortages in the future, it will probably be blamed on "climate change", not excessive population growth.

  • rate this
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    Comment number 17.

    Yes Paul, I fear you will be right about the North Sea cloud and drizzle. It has happened so many times before. I believe that the section of coast between the Humber and Tweed is the only part of Britain where the east coast has lower sunshine levels than comparable latitudes on the west coast - largely as a result of this phenomenon.

    However as you suggest - it can be unpredictable. Warm moist air is the worst and produces the thickest condensation. But even air colder than the sea can produce a similar result - in that case presumably because rising air off the "warm" sea produces convective cloud?

    I think the nub of the problem is that continental air often contrasts strongly with the North sea temperature (either warmer or colder). Conversely on the west coast air from the Atlantic is uniformly matched to the sea surface and does not meet any contrasting surfaces before it hits land. Exceptions might include very warm maritime tropical air cooling as it moves north which can produce similar "sea fret" mist and drizzle on the west coast.

  • rate this
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    Comment number 18.

    11. lateintheday wrote:

    I wrote: "Water vapour is a trace gas in the atmosphere. Is it also unimportant?"

    LitD wrote: "As I understand it, atmospheric water vapour is present at around 30,000 ppm in the tropics as opposed to CO2 at just under 400ppm. So, a slight difference in the abundance of these trace gases."
    ____________________________

    Throughout the atmosphere, air is present at about 0.4%, while CO2 is present at about 0.04%; so ten times less. Both are 'trace gases' (i.e less than 1% of the atmosphere); both have a profound impact on the temperature of the atmosphere.

    But both are just 'trace gases'. John Marshall (comment 101 on the previous thread) dismissed trace gases in favour of solar variation.

    In fact, changes in solar variation affect tropospheric temperatures in a very minor way compared to the impact that trace gases have on the atmosphere (by trapping and recycling solar energy).

  • rate this
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    Comment number 19.

    18. I wrote:

    "Throughout the atmosphere, air is present at about 0.4%..."

    Should of course read:

    "Throughout the atmosphere, *water vapour* is present at about 0.4%..."

    Another long day.

    I should also take the opportunity to mention that size (or in this case volume) isn't everything. The reason CO2 in particular is considered to be so important is because of its residence time in the atmosphere (as a total gas; not as individual molecules).

    Water vapour comes and goes; CO2 is there for hundreds of years. In that sense, it is the atmosphere's thermostat, all other things being equal.

  • rate this
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    Comment number 20.

    To various#above

    Regarding comments about "global weirding" - did you see the programme on this very subject last night on BBC4?

    It focused on a number of "unusual" extreme weather events of recent times which overall seem to be increasing in frequency and intensity. Your much loved friends in the MO were on of course (among many others) - having dismissed in broad terms the likelyhood that the sun had caused recent perturbations in European weather. But oh dear - they would wouldn't they -I hear you sigh.

    The overall message was not that any particular weather event was down to GW, but that increasing temps will increase the frequency of extremes proportionally ie enhancing what could be called natural variation - but not neccessarily masking it completely.

    Perhaps the most profound comment came at the end where it was freely admitted that the planet had been through hotter and more violent times in the prehistoric past - and was thus, in itself, quite able to cope with similar in the future.

    The real question was a human one - ie was it desirable or even OK that (if avoidable) warming which is likely to cause extreme distress to the human population as a whole should be simply allowed to happen. I suppose smug westerners can comfortably argue to the bitter end that it might be all "natural" and is not really our responsibility. But then, comfortable westerners are the ones least likely to suffer.

    In a nutshell - nature and the planet is utterly indifferent whether you are right or wrong - only people will care.

    Of course this was yet another BBC programme which in itself will give some of you enough grounds to believe it to be pure propaganda. Perhaps commercially financed broadcasters would be a more reliable source of info?

 

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Hello, I’m Paul Hudson, weather presenter and climate correspondent for BBC Look North in Yorkshire and Lincolnshire. 

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I worked as a forecaster with the Met Office for nearly 15 years locally and at the international unit, after graduating with first class honours in Geophysics and Planetary physics at the University of Newcastle upon Tyne in 1992. I then joined the BBC in October 2007, where I divide my time between forecasting and reporting on stories about climate change and its implications for people's everyday lives.

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