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

Thinking ahead…to summer 2016

A UK camping holiday is an ideal way to enjoy a family friendly holiday without breaking the bank. These fantastic campsites, handpicked by Ben Perkins, are well worth looking into now for next summer, plus it’ll help you forget the current dreary weather!

The Hideaway

If you’re used to having your creature comforts The Hideaway could be ideal. Situated within easy reach of Sedgeford, Sandringham, Hunstanton and Burnham Market in picturesque rural Norfolk, this pretty campsite provides an unforgettable glamping experience in a traditional wild setting.

You can expect hotel-style amenities including comfortable beds, luxurious bathrooms and well-equipped kitchens from the award-winning accommodation. Safari-esque yet cosy and spacious lodges are much warmer than a damp, draughty tent!

Nestled in idyllic English countryside and just outside the Norfolk Coast Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, The Hideaway is a short drive from gorgeous beaches and acres of surrounding grassland, plus plenty of opportunities for fun family activities such as cycling and canoeing.

This Hideaway is perfectly suited to families or large groups with accommodation that can sleep up to 10 people.

The Dome Garden

Another classy campsite is The Dome Garden in the middle of the Forest of Dean, Gloucestershire, which offers a combination of elegant, eco-friendly accommodation. The eye-catching domes are equipped with proper beds and en-suites to make your stay much more comfortable. Popular pizza nights and plenty of cooking options add to the relaxed, homely feel, while youngsters can entertain themselves on the swings and zip wire.

With the site littered with green ideas such as water being heated by the stoves and recycled glass in the paths so you can rest assured that a luxury experience doesn’t come at a heavy environmental cost.

The jewel in the crown of the Dome Garden is the Super Dome. On two floors, the enormous eight-bed structure really does impress. The unique tent comes at a high price, but its comfort and extravagance make it well worth it.

If you’re tempted by the fashionable eco-friendly domes, then visit the website: www.domegraden.co.uk

Beech Estate Woodland Campsite

To some, glamping bypasses the joy of authentic traditional camping. If that sounds like you try Beech Estate Woodland Campsite. It is located in rural East Sussex near Battle and within driving distance of Brighton, Eastbourne and Hastings.

Eco camping UK deliver exactly what they promise with this site: a real camping experience with no thrills. Don’t expect power sockets, modern showers or phone signal. However, the beauty in this option is in its glorious tranquillity and the chance to be so close to nature. You will be made to feel like you are camping in the real world rather than on a campsite.

Set in a 2,000-acre private estate, guests get exclusive use of the exquisite woodland, which they can make the most of for walking, cycling, bird watching or generally exploring.

Ideal for families with kids who like to explore, naturalists or walkers this is a unique chance to immerse yourself in the best that the British countryside can offer. To learn more, take a look and Eco Camping UK’s website.

Bwch Yn Usaf

It is the location, which makes Bwch Yn Usaf so fantastic. Near the village of Llanuwchllyn in Snowdonia National Park, visitors are left in awe of the panoramic views, which surround the park. Overlooked by the Arun and Arenig mountain range the beauty of the area is spectacular.

There is no shortage of things to do close by. Walking in the one of the UK’s most impressive areas of natural beauty is essential but the choices don’t end there with the site close to Bala Lake and white-water rafting at Canolfan Trweryn. The stream that runs alongside the site is perfect for fishing and a steam railway offers another way to see the attention grabbing scenery.

The camp itself is good value for money. It is a spacious family run site, which is well equipped and has recently redeveloped shower and toilet blocks. With a welcoming feel and spotless cleanliness it is a perfect place to stay for your Welsh adventure.

Red Squirrel Campsite

Another great site, which is characterised by its fantastic backdrop, is Red Squirrel Campsite in Glencoe. Its isolation and the delicate sound of the river flowing through gives its visitors a sense of serenity within the remarkable mountainous landscape.

It balances this seclusion with modern facilities, which are clean and accessible to create a comfortable yet peaceful feel. Free wi-fi is available as well as reliable hot showers. While it is a simple site, it does not feel basic.

If you are looking for the perfect spot to call base while you discover the Scottish Highlands then b0ok up now.

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

UK hotels with more bang for your buck

Staying in great hotels across the UK need not break the bank. From hypno-beds and original Victorian feature pieces to quirky glamping opportunities, the following hotels hand-picked by Tom Churchill offer more – for less

Liverpool – The Nadler – £59 

Since the city’s induction into the European Capital of Culture rankings, Liverpool has flourished and thrived as a city. The Nadler is a luxury, boutique hotel offering exceptionally reasonable prices for guests keen on soaking up Liverpool’s culture and great nightlife. The hotel is situated on Seel Street, one of the city’s hippest spots thanks to its abundance of quirky bars, first-rate restaurants and boutique shops. Handily, the 106-room hotel is within close proximity to Liverpool Lime Street station, as well as the neighbouring destinations such as the Echo Arena and Liverpool One shopping centre.

London – Hotel 55 – £65 

Located in North Ealing, West London, Hotel 55 offers customers a great location and comfy stay for a budget price – particularly given the fact it’s in London. Hotel 55 provides various themed double rooms, which are spacious and contemporary in style. Each of the 26 rooms have Egyptian cotton sheets, flat-screen TVs and free wi-fi. Be sure to check out the hotel’s Japanese restaurant ‘Momo’, the stylish bar and the  continental buffet breakfast is definitely worth getting up in time for.

Edinburgh – Brooks Hotel – £59

Brooks Hotel offers 46 bedrooms, all of which have had their original Victorian décor sympathetically updated. The rooms now boast a tasteful blend of characterful charm – cue crackle glaze mirrors and vintage furniture pieces – merged with a bold, modern look thanks to striking wallpaper and flooring. The hotel’s location on Grove Street means it’s a stone’s throw from Edinburgh Haymarket train station. Unsurprisingly, this hotel is a popular choice with locals and visitors alike.

Bristol – Brooks Guesthouse – £70

Located in Bristol’s picturesque Old Town area, this cosy guesthouse provides a perfect base for exploring one of the UK’s most popular cities. Brooks Guesthouse offers boutique chic, with services such as iPod docking stations, flat-screen TVs and free wi-fi. For something a bit different and if the weather is on your side, why not try the glamping accommodation? Four luxury caravans are situated on the rooftop of the hotel, offering you stunning views of the city and creature comforts not usually associated with camping!

Brighton – Strawberry Fields – £69

Situated close to both Brighton’s seafront and the quirky Lanes area, Strawberry Fields is the perfect, trendy B&B for a seaside escape on a budget. With plenty of cafes and bars located in close proximity to the B&B, you can choose whether to eat out, or, for an extra £5 per person, why not opt for the ‘brunch in bed’ package. There are three different types of rooms to choose from, the Attic rooms are private and cosy while the deluxe double rooms offer great bang for your buck.

Leeds – 42 The Calls – £70

Slightly offset from the exclusive Call Lane area of Leeds, 42 The Calls is ideal for a romantic break away. The hotel itself is a converted mill, particular features such as the low-beamed ceilings and exposed brickwork are kept in order to retain some of the former building’s character. As well as maintaining attractive original features, 42 The Calls has been given a modern facelift with handmade furniture and colourful artwork giving the rooms a unique, cosy feel. Leeds has plenty to offer including an exciting art and culture scene, great shopping, quality restaurants and lively nightlife.

Manchester – aBode – £69

Manchester’s aBode benefits from a Grade II listed building, which has been lovingly restored to celebrate its original period charm. aBode’s decorative Victorian style is  complimented by modern features such as large glass windows and spacious open-plan bedrooms. Located just minutes from Piccadilly Station, this popular place is a convenient, comfy spot to base yourself while getting to grips with everything Manchester has to offer.

Newcastle – Grey Street Hotel – £62

Positioned in the heart of Newcastle city centre, Grey Street Hotel is in the heart of Newcastle’s lively nightlife and excellent shopping district. This hotel offers elegant Georgian style including bedrooms boasting high ceilings and large sash windows. All rooms offer unique touches such as Hypno-beds, plasma TVs and a free DVD collection if you feel the need to lounge around in bed after the night before.

 

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

All aboard! Canal cruising in the UK

Erica Bush explores Surrey and Hampshire by canal boat

There’s still time to sneak in a break before the weather across the UK takes a chillier turn, so how about hiring a canal boat and cruising along some of Surrey and Hampshire’s idyllic winding canal? If the heavens open you can always pull over and moor up near the closest pub or duck below deck for a cuppa.

Canal boats, or narrowboats as they’re often called, offer you the perfect opportunity to enjoy the English countryside at a wonderfully leisurely pace, stopping when you fancy a break ­– and a pint! Galleon Marine in Basingstoke offers some great deals in the peaceful setting of the Basingstoke Canal ranging from 8-hour day hires to one-week holiday rentals.

© David Merrett Narrowboats passing

 

Basingstoke canal is very quiet compared to others, which means you will hardly meet any other narrowboats during your time on the canal. Even better, on short breaks you will only have to negotiate one lock, so it really couldn’t be easier. If you’re concerned about driving the narrowboat and navigating the canals, staff at Galleon Marine will provide you with full tuition and stay with you until you feel comfortable to go off by yourself. They’ll teach you the ropes (literally!) regarding steering, stopping and turning (winding), as well as showing you all the facilities on board such as gas, heating and water, so you’ll feel in complete control during your trip.

There are many things to do along the way, too. On the Day Hire, you’ll leave at 10am and begin your cruise, where from the moment you set off you’ll see an abundance of wildlife and birds such as kingfishers and moorhens, while people fish, kayak and walk along the water. At certain parts of the canal, the water is crystal clear and you can even watch trout and other smaller fish swim through the reeds and water. Your first stop is a secluded sunny mooring where you can either grab a drink or a bite to eat at the nearby pub the Barley Mow, or make use of the picnic benches to eat your own packed lunch. Continuing on, in a couple of hours you will reach Odiham Castle, one of only three fortresses built by King John during his reign. Here you can stay for some tea and cake and then make your way back to the boatyard for 6pm. Canal boats offer a rare opportunity where you can really kick back and relax and take things at an easy, laidback pace. After all, you can’t drive faster than 4mph and a glass of champagne or a bottle of beer isn’t frowned upon!

As well as lots of beautiful countryside pubs, on other routes you will find the Rowhill Nature Reserve in Aldershot, Aldershot military museum, Farnborough Air Sciences Trust, crazy golf and bowling to name but a few. Canal boats are easy to moor up, meaning you can still enjoy day trips and long lunches while en route.

With a number of boats to choose from, ranging from two to eight sleepers all fully equipped with central heating and hot water, a bath, a shower, flush toilets, a flat screen TV and an audio system, whether you’re a family or a group of friends, you will have plenty of space and facilities. You can even bring your dogs for a small extra charge. For the full range of boats, click here.

So whether you opt for just a day or a full week, make sure you head down to the canal and jump on board to try this alternative way of seeing the countryside and all it has to offer.

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 %
Regions
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

 

Newlyweds benefit from honeymoon freebies, but just how many?

If you’re jetting off on your honeymoon this year, be prepared to drop your recent nuptials into conversation everywhere you go; the hotel lobby, the restaurant down the road, the check-in desk at the airport…that’s right, everywhere!

Happy couple, Maui, Hawaii © damien_p58

Sunshine.co.uk recently polled 1,874 newlyweds from around the UK, each of whom had already been on their honeymoon, and asked them all about their trip. What we found was a nice surprise, as the overwhelming majority of the newlyweds had been given freebies during their break.

Room upgrade most likely freebie to be handed to honeymooners

When asked, ‘Were you offered any complimentary goods and services during your honeymoon when staff realised (or were informed) that you were newlyweds?’ 74% of the respondents said ‘yes’; suggesting that the overwhelming majority of honeymooners benefit from freebies. What a result!

These respondents were asked not to take into account goods or services offered as part of an ‘all inclusive’ deal they had booked (well, that would be cheating wouldn’t it?) but what free goods they had been given. The top five most likely goods and services to be given to honeymooners, on a complimentary basis, were revealed as follows:

1. Room upgrade – 41%

2. Complimentary alcohol – 39%

3. Room treats/hampers – 25%

4. Free spa treatments – 19%

5. Complimentary meals – 13%

Average couple on honeymoon receives £430 worth of freebies

 

When asked to estimate the value of the goods and services they’d been given for free during their honeymoon, just for being newlyweds, the average respondent’s answer stated ‘£430.00’.

Honeymooners can often benefit from freebies during their stays abroad, but our top advice for newlyweds would be to pack a copy of their wedding certificate as proof that they’ve recently married. Hotels and service providers will often ask for this, to prevent couples telling a fib just to get an upgrade!

© Sunshine.co.uk

 

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

 

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