It’s a serious conference, of course it is. Nevertheless, it’s difficult to suppress a giggle at the prospect of weather forecasters gathering to discuss this year’s cold spring and the “disappointing summers of the last seven years”. In short, the meteorologists and climate scientists assembling in Exeter on Tuesday are doing what Britons do best: having a collective moan about the awful weather.
There’s no doubt that we’ve been having a rum time of it: not only did winter seem to go on for ever but 2012 was the second wettest year in England since 1910. But has it been so terrible as to provoke this unprecedented think-in? Surely virtually all our summers are damp – as regular pictures of Glastonbury mud and spectators huddled under umbrellas at Wimbledon show.
The boffins will study possible causes, including melting Arctic ice, shifts in currents in the Atlantic and changes to the jet stream. However, it’s impossible to avoid the conclusion that once the talking is over, the outcome will be one that all of us recognise: more hot air.