Thursday, 23 May 2019

Day 0 - LHR to DEN

It's that time of the year again - though I have been feeling rather twitchy for a couple of weeks given how active the pattern has been over the U.S. Plains while I was still stuck in the U.K. The biggest fear is missing out on all of these events, and arriving in the Plains just as everything quietens down - but we shall see!

View from the hotel room overlooking Heathrow

After overnighting at Heathrow we flew to Denver - we were an hour late taking off due to a combination of cargo slow to load onto the plane, one cabin having the wrong headphones and then apparently the jetty was stuck to the side of the plane! Eventually in the air, we had to avoid a complex of thunderstorms over the Plains (victims of our own success!) which added a little extra time to the flight.

Our flight route across the Plains, avoiding thunderstorms
It was 22C in Heathrow when we took off, but 7C in Denver on arrival! Strangely chilly, it's often warmer here than back home.
Picked up our hire vehicle (SUV) and drove to Limon (CO) for our first McDonalds of the chase, and our hotel for the night - been up for 24 solid hours! The good news is the next few days should offer some chaseable weather...

McDonalds in Limon (CO)

Tuesday, 6 November 2018

East Anglia's changing climate

6 November 2018

Last week, the Met Office published a report looking into the UK's changing climate, in conjunction with its State of the UK Climate 2017 report. Both studies confirm that the climate of the UK as a whole has become notably warmer, slightly wetter and marginally sunnier, compared to the long term average.

Temperature

In East Anglia, the average annual mean temperature during the past decade (2008-2017) has increased by 1.0°C compared to the climatological 30-year average (1961-1990). While all months have experienced a warming trend, it is most pronounced during the spring, especially the month of April where the mean temperature has increased by nearly 1.4°C. December has seen the smallest increase of any month, at 0.6°C.
Our warming climate has also resulted in a reduction in the frequency of frosts, with approximately 8 fewer air frosts in an average year - a decrease of 16%. In a record which spans nearly 100 years (back to 1910), 8 of the top 10 warmest years in this region have all occurred since 2000.


JAN
FEB
MAR
APR
MAY
JUN
JUL
AUG
SEP
OCT
NOV
DEC

WIN
SPR
SUM
AUT

YEAR
°C
+0.9
+1.2
+1.1
+1.4
+1.2
+0.8
+1.2
+1.0
+0.7
+0.9
+1.2
+0.6
+0.9
+1.2
+1.0
+0.9
+1.0
Change in mean temperature between 2008-2017 and 1961-1990 averages (Data: Met Office)



JAN
FEB
MAR
APR
MAY
JUN
JUL
AUG
SEP
OCT
NOV
DEC

WIN
SPR
SUM
AUT

YEAR
°C
+1.0
+1.3
+1.4
+2.1
+1.3
+0.8
+1.4
+0.9
+0.7
+0.8
+1.2
+0.8
+1.1
+1.6
+1.0
+0.9
+1.1
Change in maximum temperature between 2008-2017 and 1961-1990 averages (Data: Met Office)



JAN
FEB
MAR
APR
MAY
JUN
JUL
AUG
SEP
OCT
NOV
DEC

WIN
SPR
SUM
AUT

YEAR
°C
+0.7
+1.0
+0.7
+0.7
+1.0
+0.9
+1.1
+1.1
+0.6
+1.0
+1.2
+0.4
+0.7
+0.8
+1.0
+0.9
+0.9
Change in minimum temperature between 2008-2017 and 1961-1990 averages (Data: Met Office)
Rolling 30-year average for annual mean temperature - the past decade (2008-2017) added for comparison (Data: Met Office)


Rainfall

Rainfall in the region has increased by just over 3% compared to the 1961-1990 baseline, translating to an extra 20mm or so in an average year - and while this figure may seem small, it masks a lot of variation throughout an average year. Summer is now 16% wetter, with August seeing a 23% increase in its average rainfall. Conversely, spring has become drier than normal with nearly a 13% reduction in rainfall - April in particular now produces 28% less rainfall than in the past.


JAN
FEB
MAR
APR
MAY
JUN
JUL
AUG
SEP
OCT
NOV
DEC

WIN
SPR
SUM
AUT

YEAR
mm
+8
+6
-7
-13
+2
+2
+10
+12
-10
+2
+7
±0
+10
-18
+25
-1
+20
%
+16
+15
-15
-28
+5
+5
+20
+23
-20
+4
+12
±0
+7
-13
+16
-1
+3
Change in rainfall totals between 2008-2017 and 1961-1990 averages (Data: Met Office)



JAN
FEB
MAR
APR
MAY
JUN
JUL
AUG
SEP
OCT
NOV
DEC

WIN
SPR
SUM
AUT

YEAR
days
+1.3
+0.7
-2.6
-2.1
-1.4
+0.3
+1.6
+1.4
-0.6
+1.2
+1.6
+0.8
+2.3
-6.1
+3.3
+2.2
+1.9
%
+11
+8
-24
-22
-14
+3
+20
+17
-8
+13
+15
+7
+7
-20
+13
+8
+2
Change in rain days (1mm in a day) between 2008-2017 and 1961-1990 averages (Data: Met Office)




Sunshine

Sunshine hours increased by just over 7% during the past decade in East Anglia, equating to an extra 111 hours of sunshine in an average year compared to climatology. The biggest increases have been during the winter and spring seasons, both at approximately 15%, while there has been little change in summer and autumn. Once again, April has experienced the largest increase at 28%, while June and October are the only two months to witness a (small) reduction in sunshine hours, at approximately 1%.


JAN
FEB
MAR
APR
MAY
JUN
JUL
AUG
SEP
OCT
NOV
DEC

WIN
SPR
SUM
AUT

YEAR
hrs
+6
+8
+20
+40
+6
-1
+17
+1
+3
-1
±0
+12
+25
+66
+17
+2
+111
%
+11
+12
+18
+28
+3
-1
+9
+1
+2
-1
±0
+25
+15
+15
+3
+1
+7
Change in sunshine hours between 2008-2017 and 1961-1990 averages (Data: Met Office)


Summary

To summarise, the climate of East Anglia has become warmer. Summer is now, on average, notably warmer and wetter than in the past, while spring has become significantly drier and warmer, and slightly sunnier. Winter has also seen a slight increase in sunshine hours. Overall, April has experienced the biggest change in climate than any other month.