Difficulties of forecasting the weather

Posted on: October 27, 2014

So we have reached that time of year again when summer is now behind us, the clocks have gone back, the nights are drawing in and everyone is beginning to wonder what winter will have in store for us this year. As has become the norm, the newspapers are already predicting that there will be 'record-breaking' cold temperatures and 'significant' levels of snow. If our memories serve us correctly we were told almost exactly the same last year and the year before...

You only have to look back to an article in The Express just two weeks ago that stated "over the coming weeks and into November, it is likely to turn progressively colder, even very cold at times." Well, two weeks on, I am writing this blog whilst looking out at clear blue skies and temperatures that could reach a very pleasant 19 degrees Celsius today. Checking a little further ahead temperatures look to be staying in the mid to low teens, around average for this time of year.

As we mentioned, this is not the first time that it has been suggested that Britain will suffer the coldest winter in living memory. In September 2011, The M

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Tornadoes in the UK

Posted on: October 17, 2014

Whilst winter weather is always at the forefront of our minds, it is difficult not to be interested in all forms of meteorological phenomenon; both in the UK and around the world. For that reason our attention was caught when news came through last week of a tornado touching down in the north of England.

Many people assume tornadoes to be a phenomenon associated with the United States but, whilst the US may receive more tornadoes annually, you may be surprised to know that the UK experiences more tornadoes per square metre than any other country in the world. On average we see between 30 and 50 tornadoes in this country every year and, whilst the majority are far weaker than their American counterparts, the one that touched down in Alfreton last Wednesday was strong enough to tear the roof from a property and damage several vehicles.


Now whilst no two tornadoes are ever the same, they all require a certain combination of intense and unseasonal heat in which to form. When these conditions come together, most tornadoes follow a similar process to form.

  • As g

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Dry month in wet year

Posted on: October 10, 2014

Does anyone know what has happened to the sunshine? It would appear that our Indian summer has well and truly come to an end, with temperatures plummeting and wet and windy conditions taking control of our weather in recent days.

In the last week we have seen temperatures fall back in line with what we would expect to see for the time of year; with daytime temperatures falling between 5-10 degrees Celsius and evening temperatures only just remaining in double figures. This comes after several weeks where our weather has been controlled by dominant areas of high pressure - resulting in the warm and sunny conditions that we have enjoyed.

Unsettled October

Over the weekend that high pressure finally gave way to Atlantic lows and, as a result, we can expect October to be a far more unsettled month. Already we have seen wet and windy weather cause considerable disruption across the country:

  • Power lines and street lights were knocked out in the eastern counties of Northern Ireland.
  • South Wales experienced serious disruption following strong winds and f

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Unpredictable winter weather lies ahead

Posted on: October 2, 2014

If research from scientists at the University of East Anglia (UEA), University of Sheffield and the Met Office is to be believed, British winters could become far more unpredictable in the years ahead; fluctuating between very cold, snowy years and mild, stormy ones. Having studied weather patterns over the last 115 years they found that five of the ten most extreme North Atlantic winter weather patterns since 1899 have occurred in the last ten years.

At this stage the scientists remain uncertain over whether global warming is causing the increasing extremes, but believe that the variation reflects the increasingly wild swings in barometric pressure over the Atlantic Ocean - known as the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO).

“When we look at the month of December in particular, our data shows that over the last 115 years, three out of five all-time record high NAO values and two out of five record lows took place in the last decade” - Professor Phil Jones , University of East Anglia Climatic Research Unit

What is the NAO?

There are two permanent pressure systems

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