1. ITV Report

Experts ponder Britain's topsy-turvy weather

How Hill on the Norfolk Broads basking in some June sunshine. Photo: Richard Attwood

Leading scientists and meteorologists have been meeting at the Met Office to discuss the UK's unusual weather patterns in recent years.

Experts will discuss the reasons for 2010's icy winter, last year's wash-out summer and the recent cold spring, which was the coldest in more than 50 years.

Discussions at the Met Office in Exeter will seek to answer whether the unusual seasons were the result of natural variation or linked to impacts of climate change, such as melting Arctic sea ice, which could be influencing weather.

Blossom like this clematis in Wellingborough has been slow to bloom in cool conditions in 2013 Credit: Kayleigh Sanders (aged 12)

The Anglia region hasn't been immune to the rapidly changing weather with a switch from very dry conditions to very wet and a plunge in temperatures.

  • 2011 in East Anglia was the hottest on records which started in 1910.
  • 2006, 2002 and 2007 were the next hottest years on record.
  • While 2011 was the driest year since 1921 in East Anglia, 2012 was the wettest ever.
  • The region had 810 mm of rain in 2012 compared to 453 mm in 2011.
  • The spring months of March, April and May 2013 were the coldest in the UK since 1962 although East Anglia had a colder spring in 1984.
  • Winter 2009/10 was the coldest in East Anglia for a quarter of a century.
  • Four of the past five winters in the region have been colder than average although 2006/07 was the mildest ever.
The Orwell bridge near Ipswich under clear skies in early June Credit: Lee Markwell

It's been a very chilly start to 2013 in the Anglia region with every month so far recording below average temperatures.

It's been the coldest first half of the year since 1986.

Although warmer conditions are forecast for Tuesday and Wednesday, the first half of June has been very cool in the Eastern Counties with daytime temperatures generally 3°C below normal. Maximum temperatures in the first half of June have been averaging 17°C when 20°C is nearer normal.

The hottest day of the year so far in the Anglia region was 25 April when it reached 22.9°C at Writtle in Essex although that is likely to be beaten on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Corpusty in Norfolk is what is looking like one of coldest Junes on record in East Anglia Credit: Natalie Harrison

Stephen Belcher, head of the Met Office Hadley Centre and chairman of the workshop, said: "We have seen a run of unusual seasons in the UK and northern Europe, such as the cold winter of 2010, last year's wet weather and the cold spring this year.

"This may be nothing more than a run of natural variability, but there may be other factors impacting our weather. For example, there is emerging research which suggests there is a link between declining Arctic sea ice and European climate - but exactly how this process might work, and how important it may be among a host of other factors, remains unclear.

– Stephen Belcher, Met Office Hadley Centre

The meeting will 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.

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