Is the hay fever season worse than normal this year?

The sniffling noses and streaming eyes that accompany summer for many hay fever sufferers are currently in full force, with the pollen count high across many areas of the UK, as it has been for some weeks. But is it worse than normal this year? Well, the answer might not be as simple as you’d think.  

Scientifically speaking, the amount of pollen in the air at the moment is fairly average by UK standards, but some people with hay fever have been reporting some significant symptoms in the last few weeks. The reason for this is less likely to be down to the amounts of pollen in the air, but more the sudden increase in pollen in the air due to a Spring and early Summer of contrasting weather conditions.  

Speaking to the WeatherSnap podcast, Yolanda Clewlow, Relationship Manager for Health and Air Quality Services at the Met Office, said: “The main difference this year compared to other years is the sudden, almost overnight, increase in pollen levels, especially grass pollen. 

“In terms of pollen grains in the atmosphere, we’ve gone from single figures and low double figures per cubic metre to hundreds per cubic metre in a very short amount of time. I think that’s what people are maybe registering this year – that dramatic, rapid increase in levels.” 

The reason behind that increase in levels can be largely pinned down to the weather patterns at the leading in to Summer.  

Pollen levels have been high in the UK in recent weeks (Image: Shutterstock)

A cool and significantly wet May – the fifth wettest on record for the UK – was followed by a marked shift to drier and warm conditions in early June, leading to pollen almost instantly being ready to be released. 

Yolanda said, “Overnight the pollen that was poised, ready to be released, was able to be blown off plants in to dry, warm air. Anyone with an allergy to pollen, and grass pollen in particular, was suddenly exposed to very high levels.”  

Changes to the pollen season are also increasingly likely due to the impacts of climate change. The evidence shows that the season could be more likely to start earlier in the UK, and the changing climate in the UK may also see new plant species become established, bringing with them more pollen to release in to the atmosphere.  

“Longer term, we are seeing changes to the pollen season,” said Yolanda.  

“The evidence is showing that this season is extending and the earlier starts in particular are likely due to climate change. 

“As our climate warms, we will see more species of plants become embedded and take off in this country. Some are already here in very small pockets, but they will start to take hold and the season will get more intense. So this is significant for people who are already suffering.”  

In addition, recent research around pollen has been around the phenomenon of ‘thunderstorm asthma’ which was experienced in Australia in 2016 as storms swept across the south of the country. During the period of intense storms, Australia experienced a spike in hospital admissions and ambulance call outs due to people experiencing respiratory symptoms and difficulty breathing.  

Yolanda added: “With Public Health England and others, we are working closely to try and identify periods when there are increased asthma admissions during periods when there is storm activity coupled with high pollen levels. It could be lightning… bursting pollen grains open and releasing the smaller, very allergenic grains within and they get can get much deeper inside the lungs. There’s a lot of different things we’re looking at.” 

Hear more from Yolanda, including the ongoing research into the potential impacts of thunderstorms on pollen, on the WeatherSnap podcast, with Clare Nasir.  

Find out more about how the weather affects hay fever.  

Find out when hay fever season is for the UK.  

View the latest pollen forecast for the UK.  

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Why the Met Office is launching a new extreme heat warning

Although hot weather can often be seen as ‘good news’ and is enjoyed by many, it can have serious consequences. Research shows that, as a result of climate change, we are now much more likely to see prolonged spells of hot weather here in the UK.

The impacts of extreme heat can be many and varied. It can have health consequences, especially for those who are particularly vulnerable, and it can impact infrastructure, including transport and energy, as well as the wider business community. During hot weather we often see increased traffic near coastal areas, increased use of open water by the public, and an increase in wildfire risk.

The Met Office launched a new Extreme Heat National Severe Weather Warning at the start of June 2021, with warnings to be issued based on the impacts of extreme heat.  Amber and red warnings can now be issued to inform the public of potential widespread disruption and adverse health effects.

Amber and red extreme heat warnings are now available to be issued by the Met Office (Image: Shutterstock)

A changing climate 

The impacts from extreme heat are increasing across the UK due to climate change. The UK State of the Climate report shows that warm spells have more than doubled in length (from 5.3 days in 1961-90 to over 13 days in 2008-2017). In addition, extreme summer temperatures like those seen in 2018 are now 30x more likely than in pre-industrial times. The latest Met Office projections of future UK climate change also suggest that these summer temperatures could be ‘normal’ by the 2050s.

Dr Will Lang, Head of Civil Contingencies at the Met Office, said, “We know that the impacts of climate change are resulting in an increase in the frequency and severity of extreme heat events. 

“The extreme heat warning joins our other warnings to ensure that no matter what the weather conditions, we at the Met Office have a method of communicating these impacts to the public in as efficient a way as possible. 

“Extreme heat has obvious potential consequences health in the UK, especially for vulnerable groups, but continued impacts around transport infrastructure, energy consumption and coastal areas will also inform when extreme heat warnings are issued.”

Working with others 

The Met Office has been working closely with Public Health England, the devolved administrations and other key stakeholders to develop the UK-wide extreme heat warning.  

Extreme heat warnings will work in a similar way to the existing weather warnings, where they’re only issued based on the impacts of the weather conditions, rather than when specific temperatures are reached. This means that different conditions in different areas of the country may trigger an extreme heat warning, and the threshold for an extreme heat warning in Aberdeen, for example, is likely to be lower than one covering London.  

In the most extreme circumstances, prolonged spells of heat can cause illness and even death. According to Public Health England figures, 2,256 excess deaths were reported across the country during heatwaves in the summer of 2020 – the highest since records began. It’s hoped the new extreme heat warning can help the public, businesses and organisations better prepare for hot conditions, thereby reducing disruption and impacts.  

Find out more about the Met Office’s weather warnings.  

An extreme heat warning is different than the Met Office’s definition for heatwaves. Find out about when heatwaves are declared.

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Risks to the UK from climate change now higher than ever, says major new report

Today [Wednesday 16 June, 2021] the Climate Change Committee (CCC) publish their Independent Assessment of UK Climate Risk Evidence Report. Informed by a 1500-page technical report, the assessment highlights an array of climate risks which could affect the UK, with threats ranging from temperature increases, rising sea levels, heavier rainfall and increased duration of drought.

York residents evacuated by boat during 2015 flooding event

The latest climate change risk assessment highlights the increased risk of flooding to communities across the UK, such as this event in York in 2015. Picture: Shutterstock.

The Independent Assessment is the result of more than three years of work, with input from over 450 experts from 130 organisations. The team of experts, led by the University of Exeter in partnership with the Met Office, prepared the CCRA3 Technical Report.

Climate change is a global issue, with global impacts. The technical chapters set out the latest understanding of current and future risks climate change brings to the UK, both directly to the country itself and also via impacts elsewhere in the world, and on adaptation actions aimed to reduce these risks.

Professor Richard Betts MBE is Chair in Climate Impacts at the University of Exeter and Head of Climate Impacts Research at the Met Office Hadley Centre, and led the writing of the Technical Report.

Professor Betts said: “Met Office science has provided key new science to underpin the Risk Assessment. The UKCP18 climate projections are central to the report, and the previous UKCP09 projections were also used in much of the literature assessed. The Met Office also did new research on wildfire, extreme weather, and implications of tipping points in the climate system for the UK.”

The report assesses the climate change risks in scenarios of 2°C and 4°C global warming by the end of the century. This represent the range of future global warming that could arise from current worldwide policies relating to greenhouse gas emissions. Even higher rates of warming are possible if future emissions are higher than expected, or if feedbacks in the climate system are strong.

You can hear more from Professor Richard Betts in conversation with Grahame Madge on the Met Office’s Weather Snap podcast.

The world is currently not on track to limit global warming to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels.  As the UK prepares to host COP26, the UK Presidency has set clear goals. It will call on all countries to update their emissions reduction targets, so that they are in line with holding temperature rise to 1.5 degrees and securing global net zero. The CCRA3 Technical Report highlights the implications of climate change for the UK’s ability to meet their commitment to net zero emissions.

The report also informs the benefits for society and the economy of taking strong action to adapt to climate change now, which aligns with the COP26 goal on adaptation. Countries will provide a summary of what they are doing and planning to do to adapt to the impacts of the changing climate, the challenges they face and where they need help. By sharing these plans will help us learn together and share best practice between countries to move to a resilient, net zero economy.

Albert Klein Tank is the Director of the Hadley Centre. He said: “The UK climate change risk assessment incorporates the most up to date peer-reviewed climate science to help everyone understand the impacts that climate change will exert on the UK’s resilience. We know that climate change is already happening and the effects will increasingly gain momentum.

“The risk assessment looks at two futures for the UK: one where global efforts to tackle climate change are actively pursued and one where there the action is more restrained.  Neither pathway allows us to live in a world immune from the impacts of climate change, but one supresses the worst impacts.

“We’re proud that Met Office science is at the heart of the risk assessment and we look forward to expanding the breadth of our science to find sustainable ways of reducing greenhouse gas emissions while finding ways for society to adapt to the climate-related changes which we are already committed to.”

Climate change impacts for the UK are inevitable, but ambitious joint action to reduce emissions and adapt to climate change can help to reduce the risks for future generations.

Today’s report sets out the CCC’s advice to Government ahead of the publication of the Third Climate Change Risk Assessment (known as CCRA3), which is due to be laid before Parliament in January 2022. As required by the UK Climate Change Act every five years, CCRA3 will provide a comprehensive view of the risks and opportunities facing the UK from climate change. This provides the UK Government and devolved administrations with the evidence base who must then set out their response in their national adaptation programmes.

The final reports are available at: www.theccc.org.uk (advice report) and www.ukclimaterisk.org (technical report and supporting information).

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Met Office staff recognised in Royal Meteorological Society’s 2020 awards

This week the Royal Meteorological Society has announced the winners of its prestigious awards for 2020, in recognition of people who have made significant contributions to the fields of weather, climate and other associated disciplines.  

Amongst the winners are several Met Office staff who have been awarded for their work ranging from STEM outreach to pioneering work on satellite data.

Dr John Eyre, Science Fellow. Awarded Honorary Fellow for his pioneering work in furthering the Met Office’s use of satellite data and touching the careers of countless scientists who have benefited from his scientific wisdom and insight.

Dr Steven Hardiman, Senior Scientist, Climate Dynamics. Winner of the L.F. Richardson Prize for his research on a broad range of topics in climate science.

Felicity Liggins, Scientific Manager, Education Outreach. Winner of the Michael Hunt Award for her STEM education and outreach activities, building it into the award-winning Outreach Programme it is today.

Malcolm Kitchen, Opportunistic Observations Science Fellow & Ed Stone, Expert Observations Scientist. Joint winners of the Vaisala Award in recognition for their work in developing the “Mode-S” meteorological observing system.

Squadron Leader Ken Horn, Operational Meteorologist. Winner of the Innovation award in recognition of his long and successful career both as an Operational Meteorologist in the Met Office and the RAF.

With many outstanding entries from across the globe, these awards represent the highest achievements in climate science and meteorology, providing a showcase for some of the pioneering work taking place across different organisations. 

Dr John Eyre, this year’s Honorary Fellow, said:
“I am very surprised and deeply honoured to be elected. I have been privileged to find myself working at the intersection between observations from weather satellites and numerical weather prediction during the last four decades – a period that has seen major advances in both fields. I am very grateful to many people – particularly at the Met Office and ECMWF, but also through the activities of EUMETSAT, WMO and other centres – who have contributed to the work in which I have been involved. I have learned a lot from them, and it has been a pleasure to be part of this community.” 

You can read more about each award and the citation for the recipient on the Royal Meteorological Society website, which highlights the work of each recipient alongside an acceptance message. Congratulations to all award recipients.  

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Will the warm weather continue?

In something of a switch-around from May, which was cool and wet away from an unusually dry northwest Scotland we are now seeing something much more typical for the time of year. High pressure is dominating most areas bringing fine and dry early summer conditions, whilst the far northwest is likely to be cloudier at times with some rain.

High-pressure from the Azores will extend across the bulk of the country this week bringing predominantly settled weather and allowing temperatures to slowly rise. However, the north west may see some showers and windy spells as weak fronts try to push in from the Atlantic. With these trying to arrive from the west at times a good deal of cloud is likely over western parts whilst the east sees the best of the sunnier conditions.

The dull conditions in May were largely due to a southward shift of the jet stream opening the door for low pressure systems to move across the Atlantic and cross the country throughout the month. Currently the jet stream lies to the north of the UK and this allows high-pressure to develop and warm air from lower latitudes to push up across the country.

Temperatures, particularly in the south, are likely to reach the mid, to possibly high 20s of Celsius over the next few days  and into the weekend. Some areas may reach heatwave criteria. Above average temperatures are likely to continue next week, with a chance of seeing hot weather in the south, possibly accompanied by thunderstorms, and a chances a heatwave may continue for an extended period.

Research shows that, as a result of climate change, heatwaves are becoming more common in the UK. Extreme heat can have wide ranging impacts from health and wellbeing to problems for the energy industry and businesses, the transport network (melting tarmac, damage to rail tracks etc.) and leisure industry (increased use of open water by the public), increased risk of wildfire etc.

In August 2003, the UK experienced heatwave conditions lasting 10 days and resulting in 2,000 deaths. During this heatwave, a record maximum temperature of 38.5 °C was recorded at Faversham in Kent. In July 2006, similar conditions occurred breaking records and resulting in the warmest month on record in the UK. In the summer of 2019, the 2003 maximum temperature record was broken at Cambridge University Botanic Garden on 25 July, with 38.7 °C.

The highest temperature recorded in June (records back to 1884) was 35.6°C in Southampton on 28th June 1976.

For tips on how to cope in hot weather check out the advice on the Met office website.

Check out the latest forecast and temperature details for your area by using our forecast pages and following us on Twitter and Facebook, as well as using our mobile app which is available for iPhone from the App store and for Android from the Google Play store.

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Bank of England applies Met Office UK climate projections in its Climate Biennial Exploratory Scenarios

More extreme heatwaves, droughts, drier summers, wetter winters and rising sea levels are all consequences of climate change which each UK citizen will have to continue to endure.

Climate projections show that scenes like this flooded street will occur increasingly with climate change

More intense rainfall is expected to increase risk of flooding for some UK residents. Pic: Shutterstock

It is easier to contemplate the increasing impacts of climate change on the individual, but what about the impacts on our wider society? On business, the economy and our financial institutions?

The Bank of England – which has a responsibility to assess the resilience of UK banks and insurers –will be considering the potential impacts from climate change on the UK financial system. The climate exploratory scenario – which starts today – will examine two principal aspects:

  • Physical climate risk from chronic and acute events such as flooding or extreme temperatures on productivity, property and other critical assets;
  • The changes in the economy linked to the societal response to tackling climate change, such as the effect of widespread withdrawal from fossil-fuel use, known as transition risks.

The Met Office has vast experience of producing climate projections for a variety of sectors, so there was delight when the Bank of England invited us to become an advisory partner alongside Network for Greening the Financial System (NGFS) and OASIS Hub.

Professor Jason Lowe OBE of the Met Office said: “The Met Office is helping organisations to examine climate risks, such as threats to infrastructure or investments. It is clear that organisations realise they are going to have to transform business models, including adapting supply chains and examining investments.”

The Bank of England has particular interest in benchmarking the climate data that financial firms can use to analyse their exposure to physical risk. Jason Lowe added: “Climate projections can present a range of futures and it is important to design a scheme that presents the breadth of possibilities. The suite of climate projections we used – UKCP – is specifically designed to examine the spread of outputs and is ideal for being a part of the benchmark.”

“Climate statistics were calculated at a range of points in the future and for a range of global warming levels chosen by the Bank to link to different levels and rates of potential emission mitigation action and application of climate policy. The Met Office task was to match these to our physical climate simulations. Dr Fai Fung is the Met Office lead for climate services. He said: “The physical warming levels chosen are broadly in line with those being used for the UK’s climate change risk assessment, CCRA3, which will give consistency.”

Jason Lowe added: “It is impossible to know exactly how much greenhouse gas emissions mankind will put into the atmosphere, so studies like this have to consider a range of scenarios if they are to understand the full gamut of risk. Currently there is a good deal of eagerness around the world to cut greenhouse gas emissions, making the so-called high-emission scenarios less likely. However, one lesson from history is that times can change dramatically, so it is important to consider all options, including those which don’t look most likely at the current time.”

 

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Everything you need to know about WeatherReady

This summer, we’re all likely to be spending more time closer to home. To help you make the most of the weather, and stay safe and healthy, we’ve worked with the Cabinet Office and key partners to bring together the very best advice and guidance to help you stay WeatherReady this summer.  

Find all our expert content below, or explore yourself using the WeatherReady page on our website. 

The Met Office app will help you stay prepared for the weather

Get started by checking out 10 things you can do now to prepare for summer. This will give you a start on some small steps you can take now to help make the most of summer weather, including things to stock up on and areas to check around your home.  

For many, the summer holidays will involve some longer trips in the car, so take a look at the tips for summer holiday driving, which includes advice for planning your journey and how to keep an eye on weather that could affect your planned trip. For those of you who are more accustomed to two-wheeled trips, British Cycling has also provided their tips for getting out on a bike this summer.  

WeatherReady provides advice on getting active this summer

Once you’re in the swing of summer, you’ll most likely want to take part in some summer activities. For advice and tips on camping, beaches and keeping the kids occupied, you can explore our ‘out and about’ section of WeatherReady, with expert advice from the likes of the Scouts Association, the RNLI and CoolCamping.com.  

Now you’ve got some tips on making the most of summer weather, here is some advice on how to stay safe in differing conditions. 

It’s important to take care of you and your family’s sun health. While many welcome warm weather, it can bring health risks. Take some time to read through Public Health England’s tips for keeping cool in hot weather. Specific summer health advice is also available to help manage hayfever symptoms and protect yourself from UV, including how to avoid sunburn. 

Garden hosepipes can represent a risk that you may not have considered. Check out the handy checklist from WaterSafe, on how to make sure a hosepipe doesn’t become a summer hazard. 

Get advice on preparing for storms with WeatherReady

And while lots of people hope warm weather is the norm this summer, it’s important to know what to do in the event of persistent heavy rain, just in case. For that, check out the practical advice for your area on protecting your property from flooding

For more information on WeatherReady visit the About WeatherReady page.  

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Met Office climate projections assess impact on global sports

Climate change is affecting every dimension of society. From the food production of the food we eat and the water we drink, and from how we earn our livelihoods to how we spend our leisure time.

And climate projections – our best window on the future world – suggest that these impacts will continue to increase.

For decades Met Office climate projections have been providing valuable information on likely changes to our climate and the impacts those changes will have on society. The projections which look at the UK and the rest of the world are known as UKCP.

The future of skiing at Val d’Isère will rely on sufficient snowfall during the season.

Recently we partnered with BBC Sport to run a series of projections around a series of six major global sporting events to see how those sports could be impacted by climate change in 30 years’ time. Many of these sporting fixtures have already been impacted by climate change and our projections suggest that the impacts will become greater as the atmospheric concentration of greenhouse gases continues to rise.

Dr Fai Fung leads the Met Office’s work on climate projections. He said: “Climate projections provide a vision of a future world that provide the best indications we have about how much our climate will change. This information has been useful so far to the water industry, the agricultural sector, engineers among many other professions, but we hadn’t really had an opportunity to apply our skills to factors affecting sport and leisure and we were intrigued to delve more into the project.”

The BBC’s request focussed on six sporting events taking place in the year 2050 and the brief was to see how climate change may have an impact on those fixtures.

The examples included a range of different sports from Alpine skiing to football, and from cricket, tennis and golf to baseball. Fai added: “Spanning five continents and approaching two kilometres of elevation, the six events provided an exciting opportunity for the team to investigate a spread of climate impacts on new disciplines. But in addition to the geography, the aspects of human endurance also gave the team opportunities to understand the climate tolerances, such as heat and humidity of half a dozen major sports.”

The sports covered include:

  • Melbourne, Australia, Cricket and Tennis
  • London, UK, Tennis (Wimbledon)
  • Cape Town, South Africa, Golf
  • Val d’Isère, France, Skiing
  • Guangzhou, China, Football
  • Houston, United States, Major League Baseball

BBC Sport 2050 Climatecast

To watch this video please visit https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/56972367

Dr Fung added: “Climate projections are the best tool we have for understanding the future impacts of climate change, but no tool is perfect. Looking 30 years ahead we know that climate change will continue to have an impact. But exactly what will those impacts be? How many days of play are likely to be lost to heat stress at Wimbledon, and how likely is it that another drought could impact Cape Town, with implications for golf?

“The Met Office has developed increasing capabilities around climate projections and this has been of great use to industry and experts within specialist sectors, who understand the uncertainties. But a challenge that we faced with this project is how we communicate these uncertainties to the public, who are perhaps more used to consuming weather forecasts.”

Climate projections assess how meteorological and geographical factors, such as heat, rainfall and sea level rise are likely to change over time. Fai added: “To do this we have to make certain assumptions about the levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere and how this will affect the climate. Once we have set the parameters, we then let the supercomputer generate lots of model runs which we can then use to obtain a spread of results, showing for example the how heatwaves, droughts or snow conditions may change. This spread is then used as a basis for the final result.”

Obviously one of the challenges with climate projections is trying to establish which pathway greenhouse gas emissions will take. Climate scientists commonly use four different climate pathways known as RCPs, with each pathway describing a different outcome. Fai added: “The global set of UKCP projections use the highest emission pathway, known as RCP8.5.  Ideally, we would have been able to produce projections for more of the pathways, but that requires so much computer resource to run the projections. Within 30 years most of the pathways show some overlap, and although RCP8.5 is thankfully looking like a less likely outcome it still remains credible if the world’s progress towards net zero takes another turn.”

The UK Climate Projections (UKCP) is a climate analysis tool that forms part of the Met Office Hadley Centre Climate Programme. The Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) and the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) support the UKCP.

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Rainy and cool May so far 

A sodden start to May has already sent large parts of the UK to within touching distance of their average rainfall for the month, with Wales having seen at least 25% more rain than would be expected over the course of the whole month.  

The UK has been gripped by the influence of persistent low pressure systems since the start of the month, with Wales and northern parts of England bearing the brunt of persistent, heavy rainfall and sometimes stormy conditions.  

According to provisional figures from the National Climate Information Centre, Wales has already had 129% (110.6mm) of its average rainfall for the whole of the month, while the UK as a whole has had 88% (61.1mm). Despite Wales and northern England seeing the most persistent rain, all countries in the UK are currently tracking well ahead of the amount of rainfall that would be expected by this point of the month, with Scotland already having 72% (60.9mm) of its May average total, Northern Ireland 77% (55.8mm) and England 92% (53.9mm).  

Map showing rainfall amount in the UK from 1 May to 13 May

The totals so far remain well below what would be record levels of rainfall for the month, with the record for Wales in May sitting at 184.2mm in May 1967. The UK’s record rainfall for May was also in 1967, with an average of 131.7mm falling. 

In addition, despite the average temperatures in the UK generally increasing due to climate change, May so far has been cool across the board, with maximum temperatures, minimum temperatures and mean temperatures all currently at least 2°C lower than their long-term May average for every country in the UK.  

Map showing mean temperatures in the UK from 1 May to 13 May

Dr Mark McCarthy, Scientific Manager of the National Climate Information Centre, said: “Although it’s not unusual to see some downpours and cooler temperatures in May, the month so far has been particularly unsettled across the UK as the influence of low pressure systems has taken hold. 

“May picked up where April ended with cooler temperatures and unsettled weather for many, especially in northern England and Wales. It’s far too early in the month to talk about any potential records being set, but with rain in the current forecast, it seems likely that we’ll see above average rainfall across large parts of the country by the end of the month.” 

View the latest forecast in your area on the Met Office website.  

Provisional 1 May – 13 May 2021Mean temp (°C) Sunshine (hours) Rainfall (mm) 
 Actual Diff from avg (°C)Actual% of avgActual% of avg
UK 7.6 -2.7 65.635  61.1 88
England 8.6 -2.7 71.1 37 53.9 92
Wales 7.7 -2.9 70.2 37 110.6 129
Scotland 6.0 -2.9 52.0 29 60.9 72
N Ireland 7.8 -2.4 82.4 45 55.8 77
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Frostiest April for at least 60 years in UK

Frosty conditions have been common throughout April this year – Image: Shutterstock

April 2021 has provisionally been the frostiest in at least 60 years for the UK, topping the previous frostiest April in 1970, with records going back to 1960.  

April 2021 has already seen an average of 13 days of air frosts reported for the UK, topping the 11 days seen in April 1970. The frosty conditions have been replicated across the UK, with England (12 days), Wales (11 days) and Scotland (16 days) also reporting their frostiest April since it began being reported in 1960. Northern Ireland has currently seen 8 days of frost, not yet exceeding their current record of 11 days set in April 1983.  

Mark McCarthy, from the National Climate Information Centre, said, “We’ve been seeing a high frequency of frosts overnight throughout April thanks largely to persistent clear skies for most. This will be reflected in the end of the month statistics, which are already showing above average sunshine duration, as well as low minimum temperature readings overnight, with some parts of northern England and Scotland reporting minimum temperatures 3.5°C lower than the average for April.” 

The conditions have been particularly challenging for the country’s farmers and growers. Chief Horticulturist at the Royal Horticultural Society Guy Barter said, “Considerable damage has been experienced in many gardens with flowers such as camellia and magnolias being scorched, and cherry, plum and pear blossom injured so that the fruit crop will be reduced.” 

With the risk of frost persisting through this week, gardeners are being encouraged to keep tender plants inside for now, or, if they must go out, cover them with cloches or horticultural fleece. You can check out our previous blog post on the expected weather this week and over the bank holiday weekend.  

Current provisional frost figures across the UK in April (days):  

UK – 13 

England  – 12 

Southern England – 11 

Northern England – 14 

Wales – 11 

Scotland – 16 

Northern Ireland – 8 

The full weather statistics for April 2021 will be available at the end of the month.

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