There are headlines in the media today suggesting the UK is in for a “hotter than usual summer”. This prediction seems to have been based on the latest Met Office three month outlook for contingency planners.
As we’ve discussed previously, the outlook is not a normal weather forecast. It’s an experimental and complex outlook based on probabilities and is designed specifically for those who plan ahead for various contingencies based on possible likelihoods. It assesses the likelihood of five different scenarios for both temperature and rainfall for the whole of the UK for the next three months, based on the more probable prevailing weather patterns.
It’s a bit like the science-equivalent of factoring the odds on a horse race and like any horse race; it’s always possible the favourite won’t win.
This is why the outlook has to be used in the right context. So it’s useful for contingency planners, but not that useful when you want to know, for example, which summer weekend looks good for an outdoor event.
What does the current outlook say?
The current forecast does not cover all the summer months (June, July, August), it is for May, June and July, and for this period long-range prediction systems only weakly favour certain types of weather patterns above others. Therefore the outlook suggests the chances of above – or below – average rainfall are approximately similar, while there is only a slight increased risk of warmer than average conditions.
However, there are still substantial probabilities that either average or cool/dry conditions may occur. This is because there are many competing factors that determine what our weather will be like in the coming months.
For May-June-July as a whole, the Met Office seasonal prediction system, along with systems from other forecast centres, show an increased probability of lower-than-average pressure to the north of the UK and higher-than-average to the south. Despite this, and the seemingly good agreement between seasonal predictions systems, the signal is only small, so the chances of above- and below-average temperatures are approximately similar. There is also a suggestion of an increased chance of wetter-than-average conditions, but this shift is small and we expect the likelihood of weather-related risks to be close to normal during this period.
If you want to plan up and coming activities head to our forecasts pages for a detailed 7 day forecast or a 30 day look ahead at weather trends.