Tuesday 10 December 2013, 16:22
More on the tidal surge that affected the coast at the end of last week plus a look at what the rest of December is looking like weather-wise.
Tuesday 10 December 2013, 16:22
The tidal surge which affected the east coast last week was the biggest since the historic coastal flood of January 1953 according to the Environment Agency.
In 1953 hundreds of people lost their lives. In Lincolnshire the sea came inland by 3 miles in the area around Sutton on Sea and Mablethorpe.
There is little doubt that the flood defences developed and built since the 1953 flood prevented a national emergency on Thursday night.
The Environment Agency says that flood defences now in place protected 800,000 properties along our coastline.
In Hull, the tidal barrier constructed in 1980 stopped the tidal surge which would otherwise have flooded 18,000 homes.
At its peak, the sea level recorded at the barrier measured 5.8m – the highest on record – and only 20cms from its top
Spurn Head has been badly damaged. According to the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust the entire dune system has been moved 70 yards to the west, which, according to them, is a staggering 200 years of movement in 24 hours.
There’s now a strong signal that high pressure over the continent will decline, allowing low pressure from the Atlantic to dominate the UK’s weather...
Monday 2 December 2013, 17:35
Climatological autumn ended this weekend, and it turned out to be a very average affair.
UK mean temperatures were slightly above average, with both rainfall and sunshine both almost exactly average.
More locally as you might expect the three monthly seasonal statistics hide some detail.
Parts of our region were very dry in November, with Leconfield in East Yorkshire one of the driest locations in the country with just 0.88ins (22.5mm) of rain which is only a third of normal.
And according to the Central England Temperature data only 27 Novembers in the last 100 years have been colder – but statistically this was largely cancelled out by the warmth of October.
November was also the sunniest since 2006.
So onto this week and after a quiet start to December, the most note-worthy weather event will be severe gales on Thursday, as cold air temporarily spreads southwards.
The gales could coincide with high tides with a risk of some local flooding along the East Coast.
As the cold air spreads from the north, the rain on Thursday may turn wintry as it clears away, with sleet and snow showers possible for a time into Friday morning.
But despite tabloid headlines to the contrary...
Thursday 21 November 2013, 17:51
High pressure looks set to become dominant across much of the UK for the rest of November, ensuring a lot of dry, fine and settled weather.
Although cloud amounts are always difficult to determine in these situations, by day there should be at least some sunshine, with a risk of some frost and fog by night.
It won’t be entirely dry though, for example a weakening weather front around mid-week will bring a little rain from the Northwest.
There are indications by the end of the month and into early December that more unsettled conditions will return from the west, although in forecasting terms that’s a long way off.
As for winter, it’s been impossible not to have noticed some of the newspaper headlines suggesting it could be one of the coldest on record.
But these headlines are identical to the ones published each autumn for the last few years.
They were a focus of an article I wrote in November 2012, which you can read here, showing a selection of front pages from The Express all based on predictions from the same sources.
So is there any truth in the headlines?
Readers of my blog will know that I have written many times about how a decline in solar activity over...
Thursday 14 November 2013, 18:10
First taste of winter next week:
After a mild autumn so far, the UK is about to experience its first taste of winter next week.
Cold air is expected to flood southwards across the UK from Tuesday.
As it meets the relatively warm sea vigorous convection is expected, with the risk of heavy showers - even thunderstorms in some coastal areas.
For our region, showers that develop are likely to fall as snow down to quite low levels at times, with accumulations in places – especially over the North York moors and Wolds.
There will though be big variations with some inland areas seeing a lot...
Monday 4 November 2013, 15:15
There’s been, as I expected, lots of interest in my blog from last week about the risk of a new Maunder solar minimum reach you can read by clicking HERE
As part of my research into the story I visited Professor Mike Lockwood at Reading University where he told me that solar activity was falling at its fastest rate in 10,000 years, according to his analysis, and we discussed the possible implications.
To that end, I would like to make the following points.
The term ’Little Ice Age’ is one that is well documented by climatologists and is used to describe a period, particularly during the...
Monday 28 October 2013, 06:22
It’s known by climatologists as the ‘Little Ice Age’, a period in the 1600s when harsh winters across the UK and Europe were often severe.
The severe cold went hand in hand with an exceptionally inactive sun, and was called the Maunder solar minimum.
Now a leading scientist from Reading University has told me that the current rate of decline in solar activity is such that there’s a real risk of seeing a return of such conditions.
I’ve been to see Professor Mike Lockwood to take a look at the work he has been conducting into the possible link between solar activity and climate patterns...
Thursday 3 October 2013, 15:44
Last week the Intergovernmental panel on climate change (IPCC) issued their latest high profile report on the current understanding of climate change.
Their main conclusion is that there can be little doubt that man is responsible for at least half of the rise in global temperatures since the 1950s, due to man-made greenhouse gases.
As a geophysicist myself, I cannot argue with the science behind the greenhouse effect, which is based on sound physical principles.
To that end, the science behind how greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide would cause warming of the atmosphere, in my mind...
Thursday 26 September 2013, 17:51
The extent of sea ice in the southern hemisphere continues to cause a headache for climate scientists, with news this week that Antarctic sea ice is now at record levels, based on satellite data which began in the late 1970’s.
This is contrary to what climate models had predicted.
It’s thought that weather conditions at the South Pole, namely strengthening winds, is a possible explanation, but it’s another mystery for climate scientists already struggling to explain why most climate models have failed to predict the levelling off of global temperatures in the last 15 years or so.
At the other end of the planet, Arctic ice has staged a strong rebound this summer compared with last summer’s record minimum, reaching its lowest point just over a week ago.
But despite many headlines to the contrary, it in no way marks a reversal of the striking long term decline which has been observed since satellite data was first gathered during the late 1970’s.
And it’s worth adding that the overall loss of Arctic sea ice in recent years has been happening faster than most climate models anticipated.
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Thursday 19 September 2013, 17:28
Fine end to September
It’s been an unsettled and often cool September, but the jet stream is on the move northwards in the next few days, allowing high pressure to build across the UK, which will lead us into a very pleasant spell of autumn weather.
At this time of the year, the main forecasting headache is likely to be the extent of mist and fog development by night, and how quickly it will clear during the day.
But the sun still has strength, and warm sunshine is expected to break through in most areas this weekend, lasting for much of next week, although cloud amounts will be variable...
Thursday 12 September 2013, 17:39
NASA last week confirmed their prediction that the current solar cycle 24 is likely to be the weakest since 1906.
Intriguingly, the current solar cycle shows a striking similarity with solar cycle 5 which was also very weak, with the same double peak as the current cycle, and ran from approximately the mid 1790s to around 1810.
Solar cycle 6 was weaker still and stretched from around 1810 to the early 1820s.
Solar cycles 5 and 6 were so unusual that they were named the Dalton solar minimum after meteorologist John Dalton and coincided with a period of increasingly cold winters and poor summers...