Extreme weather patterns are still a mystery

 

Share
Related Topics

Summer has finally arrived, and not before time. One of the coldest springs on record has made this winter appear to be interminable; we are finally enjoying the heat and sunshine of a summer that seemed to be destined to fizzle out like so many before it.

The weather, especially for a set of islands stuck at this latitude, is notoriously fickle and what we have experienced over the past few summers and winters reminds us of the inherent unpredictability of a fundamentally chaotic system.

The Met Office recently held a workshop of 25 experts to find out if there is a cogent reason why Europe has experienced such an unusual run of unseasonal weather. There is as yet no simple answer, it seems.

Something may be “loading the dice” in favour of weather extremes, but what this is remains something of a mystery. It could be long-term natural cycles in the North Atlantic which operate over decades, or it could be something more directly connected with global warming and climate change.

If the latter proves to be the case, then it is likely to have something to do with what is happening in the Arctic, where the loss of sea ice is perhaps the single most visible outcome of rapidly rising temperatures – the region has experienced a rate of warming that is some two or three times greater than elsewhere in the world.

There is mounting evidence that the jet stream is more liable to change course as a result of rising Arctic temperatures, increasing the chances of it becoming locked in one position, bringing the same kind of weather for days or weeks on end.

Five out of the six last summers in Britain have brought above average rainfall, possibly influenced by shifts in the jet stream. Now this ribbon of air has cleared away to the north – welcome to summer.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Business Development Executive / Digital Marketing Executive

£26000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A luxury beauty house with a nu...

Recruitment Genius: Housekeepers - Immediate Start

£8 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This company are currently recruiting new exp...

Recruitment Genius: Head Concierge

£25000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This award winning Property Man...

Recruitment Genius: Content, SEO and PPC Executive

£20000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A fantastic opportunity has ari...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

Clean energy should be our mission to the moon

Martin Rees
Angela Merkel and David Cameron say goodbye in the Bundeskanzleramt after their meeting in Berlin, Germany, 29 May 2015  

The complacency of Europhiles could lose them the referendum

Steve Richards
On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

On your feet!

Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

The big NHS question

Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
Big knickers are back: Thongs ain't what they used to be

Thongs ain't what they used to be

Big knickers are back
Thurston Moore interview

Thurston Moore interview

On living in London, Sonic Youth and musical memoirs
In full bloom

In full bloom

Floral print womenswear
From leading man to Elephant Man, Bradley Cooper is terrific

From leading man to Elephant Man

Bradley Cooper is terrific
In this the person to restore our trust in the banks?

In this the person to restore our trust in the banks?

Dame Colette Bowe - interview
When do the creative juices dry up?

When do the creative juices dry up?

David Lodge thinks he knows
The 'Cher moment' happening across fashion just now

Fashion's Cher moment

Ageing beauty will always be more classy than all that booty
Thousands of teenage girls enduring debilitating illnesses after routine school cancer vaccination

Health fears over school cancer jab

Shock new Freedom of Information figures show how thousands of girls have suffered serious symptoms after routine HPV injection
Fifa President Sepp Blatter warns his opponents: 'I forgive everyone, but I don't forget'

'I forgive everyone, but I don't forget'

Fifa president Sepp Blatter issues defiant warning to opponents
Extreme summer temperatures will soon cause deaths of up to 1,700 more Britons a year, says government report

Weather warning

Extreme summer temperatures will soon cause deaths of up to 1,700 more Britons a year, says government report
LSD: Speaking to volunteer users of the drug as trials get underway to see if it cures depression and addiction

High hopes for LSD

Meet the volunteer users helping to see if it cures depression and addiction
German soldier who died fighting for UK in Battle of Waterloo should be removed from museum display and given dignified funeral, say historians

Saving Private Brandt

A Belgian museum's display of the skeleton of a soldier killed at Waterloo prompts calls for him to be given a dignified funeral