John Hammond’s Month Ahead – Cooling the hottest hype ever

“Hottest summer ever?” According to at least one tweet from the Met Office, our long, hot summer is in the frame to gain this accolade. That’s despite an August in which temperatures have tailed off from the dizzy heights of June and July. It’s a close run thing – this year may just be pipped by 1976, if not some other more recent hot summers. Summer 2018 officially ends on 31st August; so, according to the Met Office, what happens during the next few days may be crucial.

Well, let me be the first to announce that this summer won’t be the hottest ever. The reason for my confidence is this: Time did not begin when, some years ago, the thermometer was invented. In the context of climate history, our modern temperature records represent a tiny fragment of time. There were doubtless a few million hotter summers that went before. It’s a worry, then, when reputable organisations (especially one so dear to my heart) distort the science in search of an eye-catching headline. It’s been a remarkable summer, but if we lose scientific context and integrity, we lose everything. It matters.

Rant over! Back to the forecast… 


Lengthy dry spells early September

Some warm days and chilly nights

Occasional wetter interludes



Those computer forecasts – they’re at it again!

Like a dog with a bone, some recent long-range forecasts are again intent on building a prolonged block of warm and dry weather from the east as September arrives. I’m willing to go some way towards this idea, but not the whole hog, given their recent poor performance.

Bank Holiday Monday looks cool and fresh, with sunshine and a few showers blowing in on the blustery westerly breeze. And we continue to look to the Atlantic as the next rain-bearing system arrives in western areas on Tuesday. The progress of this looks uncertain, though, with many eastern areas staying fine.


Around midweek, clarity falls off a cliff!


Around midweek, clarity falls off a cliff! It looks like weather fronts may become stranded close to the UK for a couple of days as the jet stream goes into a slow-moving loopy contortion. Exactly where this happens is crucial, and will determine whether we see a wet day or so. For this reason apps will not be reliable until much nearer the time. However, rain seems likely midweek, before drier weather returns as the month ends.

By the first weekend of September, the weather looks on a knife-edge. Will another set of rain-bearing Atlantic fronts arrive or is the jet stream about to be blocked – ushering in a more prolonged dry period? Fingers crossed, then for Salon Privé at Blenheim Palace. I’m optimistic.



Back to School – Back to High Pressure?

Well, some computer models may be ‘hell-bent’ on dry easterly winds. But based on recent history and the very latest data, my feeling is that, initially at least, we will continue to be looking to the Atlantic. Rain-bearing fronts will be targeting northwestern part of the UK with most of their rain, whilst further south and east, higher pressure will begin to deliver the best of the dry and warm weather.

In fact, compared with a cool late August, the first full week of September will probably see temperatures bounce back up again by day. However, the lengthening nights will turn chilly.

With time, high pressure may gain more of a foothold across the UK, ensuring plenty of dry and fine weather across the country. Great news for those heading to the Goodwood Revival. Let’s hope for a dry race-track. However, runners at The Great North Run will be hoping for a cool Sunday.


…high pressure in mid-September is not the same as high pressure in mid-July



Gently into Autumn

Although there may be the odd incursion of wetter weather, I expect high pressure to deflect Atlantic weather systems away from our shores for much of the time. Continental breezes may become more prominent – the same winds that brought near-record temperatures in mid-summer. So can we expect a return of the heatwave? No – high pressure in mid-September is not the same as high pressure in mid-July. The Continent is now gently cooling off as the midday sun heads southwards to the equator.

I always think a fine spell in late spring or early autumn gives us the best of all worlds. While mornings dawn cool and crisp, the afternoon sunshine is warm, without the piercing heat of mid-summer. If you share my feelings, then the period coming up may tick some boxes.

There we are – a blog that’s ended more mellow than it began. The mellowest ever? Well, maybe not quite…

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