What a summer! We had loads of rain in June, a massive heatwave in July, and a somewhat average August. With everything that went on we think a review of this year’s British summer is in order. Let’s start where we left off last time, shall we?
In our last weather review we mentioned that June had been quite cool and wet. We posed the question whether June 2019 would beat the record for wettest June for the UK. Looking back and checking the statistics from the Met Office we can say the answer is a resounding “No.” The wettest June record for the UK is still held by 2012. The Met Office statistics show that the total precipitation for June 2012 was 149.0 mm, almost exactly double the average amount for the years 1981-2010 (71.1 mm). In June 2019, on the other hand, the total precipitation was 111.5 mm. This makes it slightly wetter than 2017 and puts it 8th overall since record began (1910).
Why do we refer to 1981-2010? It is what meteorologists consider to be our current climate. Climate is the average weather or, if you like, the weather that we expect. 30 years is used as the averaging period – so 1981- 2010 is our current climate. In 2021 we’ll change to using 1991-2020.
Looking at temperature, June 2019 was less dramatic. The average June temperature for the period of 1981-2010 is 13.1 °C whereas the June 2019 average temperature was 13.2 °C – although it definitely didn’t feel like a warm June, it is worth noting that it was still warmer than average for our current climate. This represents a cooler average than from June 2018, when the average UK temperature was 14.8 °C, making it the 3rd warmest June in the UK since the record began (June 2019 ranks 41st).
We have gone into detail about the exceptionally warm July 2019 at a global scale. In the UK, July 2019 showed an average temperature of 16.4 °C, a large, but not the largest, deviation from the 1981-2010 average of 15.2 °C, making it the 9th hottest July in the UK since the records began. The hottest July in the UK in record remains the one from 2006, with an average temperature of 17.8 °C. In that year the Environment Agency claimed that the UK may have had the most severe drought in a hundred years.
The dry conditions in July 2019 were much more forgiving. The Met Office figures show a total rainfall of 88.9 mm averaged over the UK. This is up from July 2018 when only 55.3 mm of total rainfall were reported and is also higher than the 1981-2010 average (75.6 mm).
Wet conditions returned to the UK in August 2019. The total monthly UK mean precipitation recorded was 136.5 mm, a 60% increase from August 2018. This makes August 2019 wetter than the 1981-2010 average (87.5 mm) but only the 12th wettest August in recent UK history. As a comparison, the wettest August in record was in 1912, when the total rainfall in the UK of 167.6 mm was recorded.
Finally, the August 2019 average temperature was not much to write home about. That won’t prevent us from writing about it here, though! The average August 2019 temperature for the UK was 15.8 °C - a slight increase from August 2018’s 15.3 °C.
With the autumn upon us we have already started receiving our familiar rain showers. Watch this space in the coming weeks as we’ll delve into the details of this colourful season’s weather.