Science and research come out these days with the most unexpected phenomenon. Now they tell us that if you are trying to work out whether next summer will be a wash out, it’s tempting to look up a long term forecast. But for the clearest predictions you might be better off studying a patch of ocean more than 2,000 miles away, experts have suggested.
Researchers believe the weather in an area of the North Atlantic can give us an accurate forecast for how wet or dry the British summer will be, two months in advance. If the expanse of sea east of Newfoundland is warm from April to May, we can expect a drier summer in July and August, experts said. When the temperature in the region is cold in the spring, the opposite will occur and Britains can expect a much more damp summer.
The test is nearly 60 per cent accurate, according to the University of Reading team. The reason warm seas near Canada – 2,100 miles away – affect our weather is because of the Jet Stream – a fast moving wind which blows summer rain storms to the UK. With warmer temperatures, the Jet Stream blows further north missing the British Isles. The effect is known as the Summer Fast Atlantic (SEA) Pattern. While the researchers are not able to predict whether a particular day or weekend will be picnic friendly, the breakthrough should make forecasting more accurate than before, it was claimed.
Lead researcher Dr Albert Osso said the difference between a wet and a dry summer is about 3.5 inches (90mm) of rain. He said that until now there had been no accurate method of forecasting the British summer two months in advance. ‘Historically the forecast community have been more interested in predicting winter times and the big storms and heavy rainfall. Summertime has had less attention.’
Reiterating his findings, Dr Osso said: ‘The SEA Pattern has a particularly strong influence on the rainfall in the British Isles. When its waters in spring are warmer than normal, this leads to reduced summer rainfall over the UK, while when its water are colder than average, it leads to increased rainfall.’
The temperature readings he based his model on were taken by satellites, ships, and buoys in an area of roughly 386,000 square miles. The research was published in the Journal PNAS. A spokesman for the Met Office called the research an exciting development: ‘If the research from Reading does predict future rainfall that will be very helpful to other climate scientists and forecasters. It is one of the areas of climate science that has a pioneer element to it. More and more of these discoveries are being made which will help lock these findings into weather and climate models.’
All I can say is that with the incredibility of climate as it now stands, it would be a major triumph if we can at least accurately predict its movement two months in advance.