Micro Climates in Majorca

When you think of Majorca, you probably picture sandy beaches, blue waters, or culture in the capital of Palma and perhaps even lively bars and nightlife in some of the bigger resorts like Magaluf. But Majorca is a very diverse island and its changing landscapes and topography create many microclimates perfect for all kinds of different travelers – Sarah Black explains more.

Majorca is the largest of the Balearic Islands located in the Mediterranean Sea. Also known as Mallorca, the island packs a lot of history and modern adventure for the savvy traveler. With a little something for everyone, there is a lot to like about the island.

Beautiful sea and sand of Majorca
Beautiful sea and sand of Majorca

A travel hot spot for a number of years, Majorca has plenty in the way of amenities both for the student traveler and those looking at five-star resorts. The island is not only popular with those who are just want rest and relaxation, but also for those looking for specific adventures such as bicycling or scuba diving.

Thanks to a pleasant climate year-round and fairly low rain chances, Majorca is a destination that can be enjoyed any month of the year. The locals take advantage of this opportunity and hold festivals throughout the year that are also a welcome treat for any tourist. Carnival is always a popular time to visit the region and can be in February or March depending on the date of Easter. The locals celebrate this time before Lent with fancy dresses, bonfires and floats. One of the more popular events takes place in August. Located in the Bay of Palma, a yearly regatta attracts some of the best yachtsmen from around the world.

The location of the island in the Mediterranean Sea can create a “Mediterranean front” of its own weather. As it does so, the northern part of the island is battered by high winds that not only make it good for sailing, but also great for wind surfing. Conditions will be the worse here in the winter months than in the southern part, as stronger fronts prevail and the winds can make conditions dangerous.

Landscape of Tramuntana Mountain Range in Majorca
Landscape of Tramuntana Mountain Range in Majorca

Not only does the geographic location play a role in the weather of Majorca, but the topography does as well. For a small island, there are numerous microclimates that can create their own conditions independent of the overall weather. One reason for the microclimates is the Tramuntana Mountain Range. These mountains act as a barrier for clouds and rain. As a result, the windward side is generally pelted with rain and even snow, but the leeward side is warm and dry. Therefore, the valleys are generally warmer and drier, but can also come under the influence of the nearby sea. For visitors traveling to the region, it is important to consult an extended forecast before leaving home.

Thanks to the mountainous regions of the island, it is has become a favorite training spot for bicyclists from around the world. The challenging topography attracts not only recreational cyclists, but also those who are members of some of the best professional teams. There are numerous companies such as Trek Travel that offer a wide variety of tours to those who want to tour the island on two wheels. With trips as long as 7 days, participants can experience anything from heat to driving rain.

The best time to experience dry conditions is in June, July and August where the average rain days are only one or two per month and rainfall amounts are between 6 and 22mm. Summer months also see 12 to 13 hours of sunshine each day for training as compared to 6 to 7 hours in the winter months.

The island adventure continues beneath the land as well as above it. The rich history of this land has been forming for millennia and continues to this day. Nature has played one of its biggest roles with the formation of the Dragon Caves. Extending almost 1200 meters, these caves are one of the most popular spots on the island and a great place to hear one of the most unique concerts ever.

Back outside, there are also numerous watersports to take advantage of while visiting the island. Companies such as Water Sports Mallorca are here to teach vacationers the finer points of surfing, wind surfing, kite surfing and much more. With water temperatures between 21° and 26°C (70°F-79°F) from June to August, this is the time to hit the water. Water temperatures are much cooler in the winter months and less perfect to enjoy these types of activities. Additionally, afternoon air temperatures will warm from 15° to 17°C (59°-63°F) in the winter to 27°C to 30°C (66°-73°F) by the summer.

The island of Majorca has numerous different climates depending on where you are and the time of the year. However, this makes the island unique and with varied conditions, there is something for everyone to like. An outdoor lover’s dream, Majorca is a great place to visit and enjoy any time of the year.

UK rainfall for the future

We could see a sharp decline in the intensity of UK summer rainfall when daily (24-hour) average temperatures exceed about 22 ºC.

New research by Met Office and Newcastle University scientists suggests a sharp decline in the intensity of UK summer rainfall when daily (24-hour) average temperatures exceed about 22 ºC.

The work, which was partly funded by the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC), is published in Nature Geoscience today and examines the effect of temperature on rainfall in a future warmer climate.

It adds to findings from a Met Office-led paper published last year (Kendon et al 2014) which suggested summer rainfall would become more intense under climate change.

The new study agrees with that finding, but found that on the very hottest future days the relationship between increasing rainfall intensity and temperature starts to break down.

Steven Chan, lead author of the study who is a Research Associate at Newcastle University and visiting scientist at the Met Office Hadley Centre, said: “On days where the average day and night temperature is about 22 ºC, which is well in excess of anything we would ever see today, our study showed a sharp decline in summer rainfall intensity.

“This is because our model suggests a change in circulation patterns over the UK in future, leading to hot days with reduced availability of moisture.”

Overall we still expect a significant increase in intense summer rainfall in future but, this latest study explains that the very hottest future days may see less intense rainfall than would be predicted simply from temperature constraints.

Elizabeth Kendon, co-author of the paper and Manager of Understanding Regional Climate Change at the Met Office Hadley Centre, said: “State-of-the-art high-resolution Met Office model projections show UK extreme precipitation intensifying under future global warming, but that the warmest future days in summer are unfavourable to extreme precipitation.  Similar phenomena have been observed in parts of the tropics and subtropics.”

The high resolution model used in this study was able to capture the observed temperature-precipitation relationship allowing, for the first time, an investigation into whether this relationship extends into the future.

Professor Hayley Fowler, a Royal Society Wolfson Research Fellow at Newcastle University, and a co-author on the paper said: “The new study is an important step towards understanding the flooding risks of the future.

“The next steps will be to collect a global database of hourly rainfall to see whether there are observed trends, what is causing these and to find out whether changes projected by these new very high resolution climate models are different elsewhere.”

This research was funded by the INTENSE (INTElligent use of climate models for adaptatioN to nonStationary hydrological Extremes), NERC and Defra/DECC Met Office Hadley Centre Climate Programme.

© Met Office

Tropical air brings rain to the UK

Moist tropical air is brought heavy rain to parts of north Wales, northwest England and southwest Scotland on Saturday and Sunday, before clearing to the southeast today as we head into an unsettled week for many. Met Office National Severe Weather Warnings have been issued for rain for these areas, while the Environment AgencyNatural Resource Wales (NRW) and the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) are assessing the potential flood risk.

The tropical air is all that remains of ex-hurricane Kate. This hurricane developed over the Western Atlantic, gradually weakened as it moved across the ocean, and has now become an Atlantic depression.

This slow moving frontal system is bringing moist tropical air across the UK from the west resulting in some heavy and persistent rain with windy conditions, especially over exposed west facing hills.

Many parts of the warning area could see 50-80 mm of rain, with some of the more exposed parts of north Wales and northwest England possibly seeing as much as 200-250 mm through this period. Even outside of the warning area for many it will be a blustery damp and chilly weekend

The Environment Agency is concerned that this amount of additional rainfall falling on to already saturated ground could well lead to flooding. Flood warnings have been issued for parts of northern England such as Cumbria.

NRW are planning to put flood risk management procedures in place if required and will issue Flood Alerts and Warnings if rivers reach trigger levels. The warnings are updated on the NRW website every 15 minutes.

The British Geological Survey (BGS) has expressed some concerns over increased risk of landslips. Dr Helen Reeves, BGS Science Director said “Recent heavy rainfall has left much of the UK with saturated ground conditions. Continued and prolonged heavy rain is forecast on the already saturated ground making the chances of landslides more likely; particularly across parts of Scotland, Wales and northern England.”

The weather warnings will be kept under review and adjusted should the weather system change or develop and potential impacts vary.

During this period of unsettled weather you are advised to stay up to date with the latest Met Office forecasts and National Severe Weather Warnings and find out what to do in severe weather so you can plan ahead for the coming weather.

You can report severe weather through the Met Office Weather Observations Website (WOW) as well as uploading photos and information via your mobile phone.

Throughout this unsettled spell Met Office forecasters and advisors are working round the clock with our partners to keep everyone up to date with the latest forecast information so they can plan and prepare for the expected weather.

© Met Office


Is the first officially named storm heading towards our shores?

Recent headlines in some newspapers are suggesting storms at the weekend will be the first officially named storms of the winter.

Currently the Met Office and Met Eireann have not issued severe weather warnings for the strong winds this weekend, and the storms heading towards the UK and Ireland have, as yet, not been named.

However both weather forecasters are continuing to monitor the developing weather situation, and will let everyone know when any storm is officially named.

Unsettled weather is expected this weekend, with spells of rain and strong to gale force winds at times.

The current forecast for southern parts of the UK includes strong winds on Saturday, with 40-50mph gusts along parts of the south coast of England.

Meanwhile during Sunday into Monday the north and northwest of the UK is likely to experience the windiest conditions. Here, gusts of 50-60mph are possible.

You can keep up to date with the latest forecast and warnings here.

© Met Office

Met Office leads multi-million pound research into Africa’s changing climate

The Met Office is leading a new research programme to improve the understanding of Africa’s climate. It is aimed at helping to provide high-quality climate information that is crucial for effective decision making across the continent.

Improving Model Processes for African Climate (IMPALA) will lead to a step-change in global climate model prediction capability, which until now has not been available across many parts of sub-Saharan Africa.

Through an improved understanding of African climate processes and the mechanisms of future change, information and findings from IMPALA will help decision-makers reduce climate-related risks. For example, infrastructure can be re-designed to account for high temperatures and changing rainfall, while health, education and social support systems, and local planning decisions could be designed to cope with future climate conditions.

Dr Cath Senior, Principal Investigator on IMPALA, said: “By delivering a step change in global climate model capability for Africa and new information about the role of previously unresolved processes driving regional climate variability and change over the continent, the IMPALA project will put in place a key building block to empower decision-makers with information that can be used to reduce risks to health, water resources and agriculture and help protect the livelihoods of the most vulnerable.”

IMPALA is part of a £20 million UK government-backed initiative entitled Future Climate for Africa (FCFA). The FCFA programme supports world-leading science and technology to enhance understanding and prediction of sub-Saharan African climate and, through working closely with African stakeholders, bring this knowledge into use in informing major policy decisions.

In addition to the Met Office’s lead role in IMPALA, Met Office scientists are also contributing to three other FCFA projects in southern, eastern and western Africa including:

  • Future Resilience for African Cites and Lands (FRACTAL) will improve scientific knowledge of future climate trends in Southern Africa, deepen urban policy-makers’ understanding of how climate change will affect water and energy services, and support them to explore climate-resilient development choices.
  • African Monsoon Multidisciplinary Analysis 2050 (AMMA-2050) will improve understanding of how the West African monsoon will be affected by climate change in the coming decades – and help West African societies prepare and adapt.
  • Integrating Hydro-Climate Science into Policy Decisions for Climate-Resilient Infrastructure and Livelihoods in East Africa (HyCRISTAL) will develop new understanding of climate change and its impacts in East Africa, working with the region’s decision-makers to manage water for a more climate-resilient future.
    © Met Office

Nice out of ten parents think children should understand the weather

Recent new research released from the Met Office lays bare the UK‘s obsession with the weather. It shows that the average UK adult checks the weekend weather at 16:17pm on Thursday and one in five of us (20%) check the forecast for the upcoming weekend by the time we go to bed on Monday.

The first thing we do in the morning

Seven per cent of UK adults said ‘checking the weather’ is the first thing they do when they wake up in the morning. In total, 58% of adults say they check the weather either within an hour of getting up or before leaving the house in the morning.

Most talked about subject

UK adults talk about the weather on average six times per week and for women, it is the topic they talk about more frequently than anything else (68%). Overall, 61% say they talk about the weather regularly with friends, family or colleagues. In fact, more of us talk regularly about the weather than money (44%), relationships (37%) and even celebrity gossip (15%).

Met Office gets children interested in the weather

In order to encourage children to learn about the weather and spend more time playing outside, the Met Office has launched its  Weather Observation Website (WOW). The site helps children and adults alike learn about the weather by encouraging them to measure and observe the weather around them, and allowing them to submit observations to the Met Office. This also helps the Met Office provide more accurate local forecasts.

Derek Ryall the Head of Public Weather Service at the Met Office said; “Everyone knows that the weather is a uniquely British obsession so it was great to put some hard figures on this and find out just how much we really do talk and think about the weather.

“It was also interesting to see that many parents feel their children don’t spend as much time outdoors as they did when they were young, and therefore have less of an interest in the weather. Our aim with the WOW website it to get children more interested in the weather by taking part in it. We use the observations entered into the website to verify the Met Office’s weather forecasts and make them even more accurate, so the inputs you or your children make could really make a difference.”

Parents want their children to understand the weather

The research, conducted amongst 2,000 UK adults to highlight the Met Office’s WOW website – which allows children and adults to submit their own weather observations to the Met Office – found that nine of out ten parents in the survey (90%) said that they felt it was important that children understand how weather works and what causes different types of weather. However, in many cases, they are relying on others to teach it to them. Just 36% said they could explain to their children what causes wind to occur and clouds to form.

© Met Office

Dry start to September for many

You may think September has been a wet month so far but according to early provisional Met Office statistics, the month has started out drier and sunnier than average for many across the UK.

However the picture has been varied, some parts of southern and eastern England have already had over three quarters of their whole-month average rainfall for September. While northern and western areas have been drier, with little in the way of rain so far for much of Northern Ireland and Scotland away from eastern coasts.

Figures up to 16th September show there has been almost 30mm of rain across the UK, which is just 31% of the September average of 96mm. We would normally expect about half of the average monthly rainfall to have fallen by this point in the month. While there has been almost 72 hours of sunshine, 58% of the monthly average of 125 hours, with some north-western areas being especially sunny so far this month.

Looking at individual countries, Scotland has been the driest with almost 21mm of rain, 15% of average, followed by Northern Ireland with almost 24mm of rain, 26% of average. England is the wettest country so far with almost 34mm 49% of average.  There was a dry anticyclonic spell for the UK lasting from 5th until 11th, since then there have been some noticeable falls of rain.

The UK mean temperature so far has been 12.2C, which is 0.4C below the full-month average.

EARLY mean temperature sunshine duration precipitation
Sep-2015 Act Anm(8110) Act Anm(8110) Act Anm(8110)
degC degC hours % mm %
UK 12.2 -0.4 71.8 58 29.8 31
England 13.0 -0.8 78.2 57 33.8 49
Wales 12.3 -0.6 73.2 57 42.2 36
Scotland 11.0 0.1 63.6 61 20.9 15
N Ireland 12.2 -0.2 56.1 49 23.9 26

While these figures are interesting, they don’t tell us where the month will end up overall. A few days of wet or cold weather could drastically alter the statistics, so we’ll have to wait for the full-month figures before making any judgements.

© Met Office


El Niño and its impact on global weather

Forecast centres around the world have now declared that an El Niño, the most powerful fluctuation in our climate system, has begun in the tropical Pacific.

For more than a year, scientists have been talking of an increased risk of the start of El Niño conditions in the tropical Pacific.

Scientists have been watching closely because it can change the odds of floods, droughts, heat waves and cold seasons for different regions around the world and can even raise global temperatures.

Early signs of an El Niño last year failed to fully develop and atmospheric conditions remained close to neutral into the start of 2015.

Now, however, observations from the tropical Pacific show that we have moved to weak El Niño  conditions for the first time in five years.

While it is still too early to determine with confidence how strong this El Niño  might be forecast models from centres around the world – including the Met Office – suggest this El Nino could strengthen from September onwards.

What are the impacts likely to be?

El Niño is a warming of the Pacific Ocean as part of a complex cycle linking atmosphere and ocean.  It sees a huge release of heat from the Pacific Ocean into the atmosphere, which can disrupt weather patterns around the world.

It  can be linked with poor monsoons in Southeast Asia, droughts in southern Australia, the Philippines and Ecuador, blizzards in the United States, heatwaves in Brazil and extreme flooding in Mexico.

The consequences of El Nino are much less clear for Europe and the UK.

Each El Nino event is unique, however, so it’s not possible to say exactly what the consequences will be for any given year.

What will happen next?

Predicting exactly how an El Niño might develop remains difficult, but as we move a few months ahead it’s likely forecast models will provide a higher level of certainty about what will happen.

The current outlook suggests that at least a moderate El Nino is likely and there is a risk of a substantial event.

What does this mean for the UK?

There has been some media speculation about how the El Niño conditions could impact our weather over the coming months.

However, even a strong El Niño only slightly changes the risk of extreme UK spring and summer weather and we wouldn’t expect it to be the dominant driver of our weather over the next few months.

Looking further ahead, there are a number of factors that affect winter conditions in Britain. The  increase in risk of a colder winter this year from the developing El Niño is currently considered small.

© Met Office


Possible record heat in Spain, while heavy rain and snow affect the Alps

Parts of Spain, Portugal and southern France are experiencing unusually high temperatures at the moment. On Tuesday, Seville recorded 38C.

The hottest conditions will be across the Andalucía region of southern Spain. Cooler conditions will gradually spread from the north, and temperatures are expected to return closer to average in all regions by today.

Meanwhile, southern Germany, Switzerland, Austria, and northern Italy are at risk of heavy rainfall over the coming days, with heavy snow possible today across the Alps. Up to 150mm of rain could fall within 48 hours, possibly leading to flash flooding and landslides in this mountainous region of Europe, as well as increasing the avalanche risk due to fresh snowfall.

Whilst neither of these two weather events in Europe will affect the UK, most of us experienced heavy rain on Thursday. The band of rain moved across southwest England during the early hours and edged slowly northeastwards through today, but became almost stationary across parts of Wales, central-southern and southeast England. However, northern England, Northern Ireland and Scotland remained largely dry and fine.

© Met Office

Escape to…Barcelona

Barcelona, the cosmopolitan capital of Catalonia acts like an open-air gallery on the Mediterranean coast and having visited the city twice, it is one of Jacob White’s favourite international destinations. Here, he explains why…

Chimneys on the roof of Casa Mila (La Pedrera), on the Passeig the Gracia, designed by Antoni Gaudi, Barcelona, Spain © Rick Ligthelm

Despite two millennia of history Barcelona is one of Europe’s coolest and often ranked must-see places. It’s a forward-thinking place, always on the cutting edge of art, design and cuisine, hence it’s duly renowned for being an important hub of art, architecture and design in Spain.

Whether you explore Barcelona’s palaces and plazas, gawk at the Modernist masterpieces, shop for designer clothes along its bustling boulevards, sample its exciting nightlife or just soak up the sun on the super long city beach, you’ll find it hard not to fall in love with this vibrant city.

Located between the sea and the mountains, Barcelona enjoys mild winters and warm, dry summers. The warmest month is August when temperatures range between 25°C and 31°C with July enjoying the most hours of sunshine, a daily average of 10 hours. However, May is also a wonderful time to visit with temperatures peaking at 22 degrees. For a 14-day weather forecast, click here.

With all of that wonderful Mediterranean weather there’s plenty of options in terms of attractions. The Plaça de Catalunya is the heart of the city and divides old and news Barcelona. From here, the long pedestrian boulevard La Rambla shoots South East to the sea, with the busy Barrio Gótico and El Raval district hugging it on either side.

Barrio Gótico (Gothic Quarter) is a vibrant district comprising narrow streets and secluded squares. The neighbourhood brings to life the early Roman city of Barcino and the medieval town with its palazzos, mansions and Gothic churches.

To the North West of the plaza is L’Eixample, a vast grid-like district where you’ll find some excellent shopping areas and the bulk of the city’s offices and residences. It is also where you will find Antoni Gaudi’s great unfinished masterpiece La Sagrada Familia (the holy family).

An architectural marvel the church is one of Europe’s most iconic buildings and although it may be unfinished, it’s nonetheless spectacular. A Modernist gem, it deserves a visit, both inside and out. Completion is now due to be 2026 work commenced on the building in the 1880s.

Park Güell offers sensational views across the entire city and continues the Gaudi experience. The beat here is that of the mystical pan drum. Declared a World Heritage Site in 1984 it is one of Gaudi’s most important works and you’ll be able to grab a photo with the iconic mosaic serpent.

The main artery through the city is La Rambla, which leads to the Mediterranean Sea and is the best place to feel the bustling vibe of the city. La Rambla offers a full-on shopping experience – flower stalls sit side-by-side with sellers with cages of birds, Barcelona FC paraphernalia and bohemian artists.

I suggest you walk the whole length from Plaça de Catalunya to Port Vell. Teeming with tourists and locals alike, but don’t let them stop you. You will pass famed Barcelona landmarks such as the Boqueria Market, the Liceu opera house before finally the monument to Colombus and the

Overlooking the sea, the waterfront offers contrasting artistic styles from the city’s former dockyard to its medieval port and to the legacy of the 1992 Olympics and the Port Olimpic area. The area is colourful and full of life day and night thanks to its beaches, piers, museums and bars.

Barcelona FC really are as the club motto says “more than a club” and help shape the identity of the city and wider region, images of their players are emblazoned on goods ranging from ice cream to shampoo in the city and replica shirts are worn by many.

Fit in a visit to the Nou Camp, the cathedral of FC Barcelona whether you are a football fan or not you will be impressed by the sheer scale of the 99,000-capacity stadium and the opportunity to go behind the scenes of one of the word’s most famous football teams.

Montjuïc Magic Fountain is a product of the 1929 Barcelona International Exposition and still to this day is one of Barcelona’s most popular tourist attractions. Its display of music, water and lights thrill on-looking crowds week after week from Thursday to Sunday.

Tibidabo Funfair is a great place to visit and boasts Barcelona’s only amusement park, which is one of the oldest in the world. Sat atop a mountain the park offers stunning views of the city – take the Tramvia Blau tram and funicular to reach the park in style.

Perhaps Spain’s most un-Spanish city, Barcelona is unique, it’s far more cosmopolitan than the nation’s capital Madrid. The city is bound to impress and is a real feast for all the senses – its buzz is tangible and continues long into the night.

To get the best out of a visit to Barcelona the city council has created the Barcelona Card for visitors; it is valid for 1, 2, 3, 4 or 5 days. The main benefits include free transport and great discounts on museums, galleries and even restaurants.


© 2019 Holiday Weather