UK Heat Of 2013: Hype Verses Reality! A Look At The Next 10 Days…

Written by on July 14, 2013 in United Kingdom & Ireland with 1 Comment

The ‘heatwave’ of 2013 began last weekend and despite little sign of real cooling and the return of rain through the next 10 days, it doesn’t mean this is a repeat of 1976 especially considering that year produced probably the most drought in living memory and the heat was far worse than what we’ve seen so far. Before the 1976 benchmark was 1959, an longer spell of warm, dry and settled weather for the UK.

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If I may say so, to compare this summer to 1976 is hyping things with a lack of knowledge of the past. I say that because the circumstances and drivers behind this year and ’76 are very different. For one, ’76 was a hot, dry one throughout, not just during a particular period or even for a month. This current warmth is only 7 days old and we’re already entering mid-July. This heat is not driven by drought but the combo of cold SST’s produced by a cold spring and dry ground as well as other factors globally. Remember we’re still in a wetter than normal cycle and this is just a blip or break in that cycle.

Had we seen a warmer, wetter spring and SST’s been warm as we entered summer, then this would likely have been another wet, cool summer. Past heatwaves started with dry and warmer than normal springs. Anyone trying to compare this to the hellish summers of 1959, 1976, I suggest you go and do some research. The prolonged heat of summers of ’59 and ’76 we’re driven by deep rooted, long lived drought. Are we in severe drought which extends back to 2012? Most certainly not, especially since last summer was the WETTEST in over 100 years.

Source: Telegraph

Source: Telegraph

What’s interesting is that after the unusually long spell of dry, sunny and warm weather which comprised of spring, summer and early autumn of 1959, like we have seen in recent years, there was a string of very poor, disappointing summers with a wonderment that warm, sunny summers were a thing of the past in the UK, then came summer 1976 which was much hotter than 1959 but this year is no such year I don’t believe. 1959 was best known for it’s prolonged sun and warmth, not severe heat but even that summer saw 4 straight days of WIDESPREAD 30s with a peak temp of 33.4C. Remember ’76 produced hotter weather.

Unlike 1959, summers of 1975, 76, 83, 89 and 95 all saw intense heat but was followed by heavy rains in September. July 2006 was followed by a wet, uninspiring August and I think this year could be the same only July 2006 is likely to stand top but 2013 may not fall too far behind.

According to Weather Online, the 21C threshold was reached on 136 days in Southampton, 121 in Cambridge, 109 in London, 82 in Birmingham and 50 even in Glasgow. The 25C threshold was surpassed 37 days in Cambridge, 33 Southampton, 29 in London and 15 in Birmingham, 5 in Glasgow.

This is certainly the warmest and driest since July 2006 BUT since then, like in the 60s and early 70s, we’ve been predominantly wet and cool, so it’s not difficult to achieve the warmest, driest period since then. The trouble is, July 2006 is in fact a benchmark month for the UK as it turned out to be the UK’s hottest on record so to get past July 2006 never mind the long, dusty and hot summer’s of 1959 or 1976 will be very tough. While July 2006 was hot and produced the warmest monthly mean temperature UK-wide since records began, August 2003 produced even hotter maximums. Following the heat of July 2006, August turned a lot wetter and it wouldn’t surprise me if next month is different to this one.

Right now, this is not a patch on several noteworthy summers dominated but heat. In fact peak temperatures so far is nowhere near on par with July 2006. Peak temperatures may be near up here in Scotland and Northern Ireland, not for England and Wales and the current ‘cooling’ is helping bring down that ‘average UK temperature for the month. So, despite another likely blast of summer heat late next week into the following week, the monthly average for most NORTHERN areas will be tempered by brief cooling.

Cracking up: The bone-dry Walton-on-Thames Reservoir in 1976 (Source: Daily Mail)

Cracking up: The bone-dry Walton-on-Thames Reservoir in 1976 (Source: Daily Mail)

England and Wales and parts of Ireland will remain warm to near hot throughout the upcoming week and so the ‘average temperature’ for the month will keep climbing in the South! But when weighing in the whole UK. While hot in the South, the North is keeping the rise in this months temperature gradual.

We have short memories and there are many out there that get carried away with a bit of warmth and 10 days without rain. Hype and global warming are quick to get a mention without looking at the past.

If the heat gets worse which it will by late this upcoming week and we hold this pattern through the rest of July and August, then this could be a noteworthy summer, one which could enter the top 10, maybe even top 5 in the last 100 years but this is NOT 1976 nor is it July 2006 for hottest month or August 2003 for peak temperatures. For this month to compare with July 2006, it has to be hot for the remainder and for it to compare to August 2003 in terms of actual readings, it needs to get a while lot hotter. Right now it’s not even close to 2006 never mind 2003 and for this summer to be noteworthy, this heat not only needs to get a lot worse but also needs to last right through till the close of August which I do not see happening.

To me, this is the warmest and driest July since July ’06 and best summer since 2006 but to get to the levels as July ’06, we would need to see hotter days and perhaps a high of 36.5C which became the UK’s hottest July day on record. Personally I don’t so it reaching that, perhaps 34, maybe 35C by next weekend. The next 5 days will see days reach between 29-32C in the South with a steady rise mid to late week over the North.

I expect a turnaround in the pattern either late in July or early August with big rains next month in light of the cold PDO, warm AMO and substantial warming of surrounding SST’s. If the pattern flips and we start to see lower pressures back into the UK, those warm waters could fuel heavy rains during August into September.

The hottest temperatures in July 2006 was 36.5C at Wisley, Surrey. That became the hottest JULY day in UK history. As for August 2003, the hottest UK reading on recording was set as well as the hottest in Scotland. On Aug 10th, Faversham, Kent hit 38.5C, making it the hottest in recorded history for England and the UK. The day before, Greycrook in the Borders hit 32.9C which became Scotland’s hottest day on record.

Highest so far in July 2013

Edinburgh (27.2C (81F)

Manchester 27.2C (81F)

Birmingham 29.4C (85F)

London (Heathrow) 31.4C (89F)

Noteworthy highs of July 2006

Edinburgh 27.8C (82F)

Manchester 32.2C (90F)

Birmingham 35C (95F)

London (Heathrow) 35.5C (96F)

Noteworthy highs of August 2003

Edinburgh 25.3C (78F)

Manchester 31.6C (89F)

Birmingham 33.9C (93F)

London (Heathrow) 37.9C (100F)

While this summer is turning out to be a warm and dry one for all but when comparing to history, it’s been hotter and drier.

This summer ALWAYS had the potential to turn very dry and therefore very warm with a NEUTRAL ENSO, less extreme cold PDO and warm AMO compared to last year and the increasingly DRY SOILS over Britain and Ireland. One key was the cold spring which helped produce unusually COLD water around the UK and Ireland extending all the way down past the Canaries as well as the western Med. The combo of dry soils over the UK and Ireland and the cold water surrounding has likely played a role in encouraging high pressure to push further north than normal this year. The feedback of dry soil has allowed significant strengthening of the ridge and therefore the heat has grown stronger in the last 7-10 days. With a well established pattern such as we have currently, the warm and dry pattern will likely continue for at least the next 10 days.

Cold SST’s surrounding a drier than normal UK and Ireland supports higher pressure than normal.

Here is the SST’s at the end of May.

1002763_10151626476746731_2105174782_n

Here was the CFSv2 precip forecast.

euPrecMonInd11-1024x791

Here was the end of June SST’s

1044447_10151626476491731_729495804_n

CFSv2 July precip

euPrecMonInd12-1024x791

With a hot, settled spell over the past 10 days, check out the rise in the SST’s around the UK.

1016754_10151626476271731_1997118646_n

The model showed norm or below normal temps which was rubbish given the lack of precip and dry soils. Positive heights go for where the driest soils.

In a nut shell, there is little relief from the unseasonably warm pattern over the next 10 days but for many of you, your asking when will we return to some sort of ‘normal summer pattern’? In this post I shall try to shed light on the overall setup and how this may break.

Check out the ECMWF for the next 10 days in 2 day intervals.

It stays very warm in southern Britain and Ireland but the heat expands north later next week.

Mon 15

Geopotential3250032hPa32and32Temperature32at3285032hPa_Europe_24

Wed 17

Geopotential3250032hPa32and32Temperature32at3285032hPa_Europe_72

Fri 19

Geopotential3250032hPa32and32Temperature32at3285032hPa_Europe_120

Sun 21

Geopotential3250032hPa32and32Temperature32at3285032hPa_Europe_168

Tue 23

Geopotential3250032hPa32and32Temperature32at3285032hPa_Europe_216

The website which shows the CFSv2 temperature anomaly in 5/10 day intervals does not permit me to use their charts but I shall give you a general idea of what the CFSv2 breakdown in showing over the next 30+ days.

CFSv2 5 Day Forecasted Temperature Anomalies For UK & Ireland

Front running 10 days look very warm throughout the UK and Ireland while much cooler than normal across much of Europe

Day 0-10 Very warm

  5-10 Warm but cooling down

      10-20 Reversal to cooler than normal

  15-25 Still cool

20-30 Warming back to normal

   25-35 More cooling coming back

As for the GFS. It’s forecasted 16 day temperature anomaly suggests a warm front running 8 days but a cool 8-16 day period follows.

 

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  1. Michael says:

    I’d wish we got some of that heat here in Denmark. We have wind from northwest and 18-23C, maybe 24-25C when it’s topping. It would be nice with two weeks with 25-30C. But I don’t see that coming.

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