29 Aug 2014

Summer 2014 weather: a great start but August falters

As August draws to a close, so does meteorological summer (June, July and August), which means that provisional statistics are now available for how summer shaped up this year.

Summer 2014 will no doubt be remembered for the great weather that persisted through much of June and July, thanks to high pressure dominating.

This was due to the jet stream spending much of the time to the north of the UK, steering low pressure, wind and rain towards Iceland and northern Scandinavia, allowing us to bask in warmth and sunshine. 

sandcastle_beach_g_wp

However, fortunes changed through August, with the jet stream sitting over or just to the south of the UK, putting us in the path of low pressure and plenty of rain.

One thing that this summer has demonstrated is how average statistics can mask extremes of weather, painting a picture of the summer weather being average overall, when in fact the impression and reality can be very different – something I’ll come on to a little later.

August 2014

You don’t need me to tell you that August has been the let-down month of the summer, giving most of us a shock to the system following the largely fine weather of June and July.

Provisional figures from the Met Office for the 1-27 August, assuming average figures for the last few days of the month, show just how wet it has been.

Rainfall for the whole of the UK has been 42 per cent above average, with England being the wettest individual country, with rainfall 49 per cent above normal.

If you look at the map below, you can see that the wettest places were generally focused over quite small areas, aside from northern Scotland, indicative of the intense rainfall that often occurred locally, rather than over a wide area.

august_rainfall_MO_wp

August has also been the first month since November 2013 when mean temperatures (an average of day and night temperatures) have been below normal in the UK, by 1.1C.

Summer 2014 overall

The provisional statistics from 1 June to 27 August, assuming average figures for the last few days of August, show that the UK has had temperatures 0.5C above average and rainfall 7 per cent above average.

summer_rainbow_g_wpHowever, this summer has been a classic case of how average statistics can mask what has been quite a good summer in the eyes of many.

June and July had temperatures 1.2C above average, with rainfall 24 per cent and 18 per cent below normal in each respective month. So both months were warmer and drier, with amounts of sunshine greater than normal too.

It has been the wet and cool August that has dented the sparkling figures of June and July, giving an impression of an average summer statistically.

However, from an impression point of view, as I am sure many of you would agree, this summer has been a pretty good one – especially in comparison to the summers we were having a few years ago.

Don’t forget, you can get the latest weather on the Channel 4 Weather website. I also post regular updates on Twitter – @liamdutton

Map: Met Office

Tweets by @liamdutton

One reader comment

  1. Ashley Haworth-roberts says:

    I don’t know whether relevant UK statistics are kept, or can accurately be kept for such a variable, but my impression is that a number of areas saw more thunder and lightning than average this summer. Certainly much of the heavy rain came in intense bursts, sometimes localised sometimes more widespread. The ‘above average’ rainfall statistic hides the fact that for much of the time during days in June and July it was sunny or bright, mainly dry, and warm for the time of year.

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