Experts gather to discuss UK's unusual weather

Leading experts have gathered to discuss the UK's unusual weather
Leading experts have gathered to discuss the UK's unusual weather Photo: Press Assocation

Today leading scientists and meteorologists have gathered at an unprecedented summit at the Met Office to discuss the UK's unusual weather patterns in recent years.

ITV News' Science Editor Laurence McGinty reports:

Read more: Met Office: UK extreme weather 'not unprecedented'

Professor Rowan Sutton, of the University of Reading, said: "This spring was the coldest for over 50 years, 2012 was the wettest in a century and December 2010 was the coldest on record, with national records dating back to 1910.

"Research at the University of Reading suggests that recent wet summers could be caused by a major warming of the North Atlantic Ocean that occurred back in the 1990s. The North Atlantic ocean has alternated slowly between warmer and cooler conditions over the last 100 years.

A cyclist near Holme Moss on the edge of the Peak District National Park.
A cyclist near Holme Moss on the edge of the Peak District National Park. Credit: Anna Gowthorpe/PA Wire/Press Association Images

"We saw a rapid switch to a warmer North Atlantic in the 1990s and we think this is increasing the chances of wet summers over the UK and hot, dry summers around the Mediterranean - a situation that is likely to persist for as long as the North Atlantic remains in a warm phase.

"A transition back to a cooler North Atlantic, favouring drier summers in the UK and northern Europe, is likely and could occur rapidly. Exactly when this will happen is difficult to predict, but we're working on it.

The meeting was designed to assess the research done so far and discuss what needs to be studied in the future to get a better idea of what could be causing the weather extremes.

Earlier this month the Met Office said below average temperatures through March, April and May made it the fifth coldest spring in national records dating back to 1910 and the coldest spring since 1962.