June was wettest since records began in 1910
Michael McCarthy, formerly the Independent’s longstanding Environment Editor, now its Environment Columnist, is one of Britain’s leading writers on the environment and the natural world. He has won a string of awards for his work, including Environment Journalist of the Year (three times) and Specialist Writer of the Year in the British Press Awards in 2001. In 2007 he was awarded the Medal of the RSPB for “Outstanding Services to Conservation,” in 2010 he was awarded the Silver Medal of the Zoological Society of London, and in 2011 the Dilys Breeze Medal of the British Trust for Ornithology. In 2009 McCarthy published Say Goodbye To The Cuckoo (John Murray), a study of Britain’s declining migrant birds.
Tuesday 03 July 2012
You felt it in your bones, but now it's official – it was the lousiest June ever.
The month just gone was the wettest June in the United Kingdom since rainfall records began in 1910, according to provisional Met Office figures released yesterday, but it wasn't only very wet.
It was also very cold for the time of year, and it was also very dull, and in many parts of the country, the idea of Flaming June was no more than a fantasy.
During the month, the total UK rainfall was 145.3mm – exactly twice as much as you would normally expect compared to the 1971-2000 average of 72.6mm – and this figure beats the previous record of 136.2mm, set in the incredibly wet month of June 2007.
Looking at individual countries, it has been the wettest June on record for Wales and Northern Ireland, the second wettest in England, and the eighth wettest in Scotland.
Many areas have seen extremely high rainfall – with 83 out of 237 observation sites marking their wettest June on record, the Met Office said. Some of these are not significant as they have very short recording histories, but others have been operating much longer – Otterbourne in Hampshire has been operating for 119 years.
Unsettled weather has never been far away during the past three months, with only the latter half of May seeing a spell of prolonged fine weather. Movements in the track of the Jet Stream, a narrow band of fast-flowing westerly winds high in the atmosphere, have contributed to the weather we have seen.
Other lousy characteristics: June was also the second dullest June on record with just 119.2 hours of sunshine, narrowly missing out on the record of 115.4 hours set in 1987.
To complete the disappointing picture, it has also been the coolest June since 1991 with a mean temperature of 12.3C, 0.3 of a degree below the long-term average.
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