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Will we ever reach 40c in the UK


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I reckon we already have several times since the end of the ice age, just not since reliable measurements began in the late 19th century.

I agree, it is entirely possible 40C or more has already been reached during the historical period, before reliable thermometers had been invented. It also depends on how far you're prepared to back into the past. Prior to the last ice age, what is now "Britain" actually had a tropical climate during several geological periods. Edited by Aphelion369
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And I second that! I'd much rather it reached -40c.

It's only 3 degrees Fahrenheit more than current uk record so it's possible it's already been achieved at some location .

Think their may have been a mistake there? ??

Posted Images

Stumbled across this on UKWeatherworld from a thread in April 2007

"http://www.independent.co.uk/

Overheating Britain: April temperatures break all records:

By Michael McCarthy, Environment Editor

Published: 28 April 2007

The possibility is growing that Britain in 2007 may experience a summer of unheard-of high temperatures, with the thermometer even reaching 40C, or 104F,a level never recorded in history.

The likelihood of such a "forty degree summer" is being underlined by the tumbling over the past year of a whole series of British temperature records, strongly suggesting that the British Isles have begun to experience a period of rapid, not to say alarming, warming. This would be quite outside all historical experience, but entirely consistent with predictions of climate change.

The Met Office's Hadley Centre for Climate Prediction and Research, in a joint forecast with the Climatic Research Unit of the University of East Anglia, has already suggested that 2007 will be the hottest year ever recorded globally.

Its long-term forecast for this summer in Britain is much more cautious, merely predicting that temperatures this year will be "above average". However, the suite of new records for the UK established in the past 12 months, culminating in an April of unprecedented high temperatures, is pointing to something new happening to the British climate.

The incredibly warm April days we have been experiencing are not just wonderful, they are downright weird when seen in their seasonal context. Some of them have been 10C hotter, or more, than they should be at this time of the year.

Average maximum temperatures at the end of April in southern England are traditionally about 13C or 14C. This weekend in London and the South-east, the thermometer may hit 26C or even 27C - 79F to 80F.

An air temperature of 80 in April seems to belong to fantasy land. In the childhood of anyone aged over 40, it was a rare enough temperature in August.

Even with its end not yet here, this month is certain to be the hottest April ever recorded. But that's just one of a cascade of British temperature records which are now falling.

Spring 2007 (defined as March, April and May) will probably be Britain's hottest spring. It has followed the second-warmest winter in the UK record (December, January and February) and the warmest-ever autumn (September, October and November 2006).

Before that, we had Britain's hottest-ever month (July last year), which included the hottest-ever July day (19 July, when the temperature at Wisley, Surrey, reached 36.5C, or 97.7F, beating a record that had lasted since 1911).

To crown it all, yesterday the Met Office announced that the past 12 months, taken together, have been the hottest 12 months ever to have occurred in Britain, with a provisional mean temperature of 10.4C. The previous record (March 1997 to April 1998) was 9.7C.

This leap of nearly three-quarters of a degree is huge and should make everybody consider whether a major shift in Britain's climate is becoming visible. To answer Yes to that question is by no means unreasonable.

It raises the possibility that in 2007 Britain may experience for the first time the sort of "extreme event" heatwave that supercomputer models of climate predict will hit Britain as global warming takes hold.

A heatwave of this nature hit northern and central France in the first two weeks of August 2003 and caused 18,000 excess deaths (part of a total of 35,000 excess deaths in a wider area including Switzerland, northern Italy and southern Germany). Many of the dead were old people with breathing difficulties who collapsed when night-time temperatures never dropped below the 80s Fahrenheit.

The temperatures recorded during this episode were so far above the statistical record that it is accepted by meteorological scientists as having been caused by climate change - and is regarded as one of its first manifestations in Europe.

Even though Britain was not at the centre of the heatwave, the UK temperature record was resoundingly smashed by it. On 10 August 2003, the 100F mark was breached for the first time ever, with a reading of 38.5C, or 101.3F, at Brogdale, near Faversham in Kent.

The previous record had been 37.1C, or 98.8F, set on 3 August 1990 at Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, and thus the jump was 1.4 degrees Centigrade or 2.5 degrees Fahrenheit, an absolutely enormous leap.

Despite the astonishing April, the natural variability of the climate is such that there is no guarantee whatsoever that the 2003 record will be broken this summer. But the indications are pointing that way. And if 2007 summer temperatures do go even higher, hitting the 40C/104F mark, there might well be severe problems for the public services, not just with drought and water shortages, but with large-scale heat exhaustion.

A side effect might well be to make it extremely hard for people who do not accept that climate change is happening to deny the reality of a warming world.

"The effects of temperature rise are being experienced on a global scale," Dr Debbie Hemming, a climate scientist at the Hadley Centre, said last night.

"Many of the regions that are projected to experience the largest climate changes are already vulnerable to environmental stress from resource shortages, rapid urbanisation, population rise and industrial development."

If you want to bet on the temperature exceeding the 100F mark this summer, Ladbrokes will only quote odds of 3-1.

The bookies aren't stupid. And they may well be right.

Overheating Britain

* The winter of 2006-2007 was the UK's second-hottest ever

* Autumn 2006 was the hottest ever

* July 2006 was Britain's hottest ever month

* Hottest ever 12-month period: 31 April 2006 to 1 May 2007 (provisional mean temperature: 10.4C)

* Previous hottest: 31 March 1997 to 1 April 1998 (9.7C)"

That was 6 years ago and at least around this neck of the woods, we not have had a half decent summer since. How things have changed, we have had some absolute washout summer months, the coolest summer since at least 1985 for CET and a whole series of below average months and seasons.

Imagine if you went back in a time machine to 28th April 2007 and gave them the UK weather data for the next 6 years, would they believe you?

Edited by Weather-history
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Great post by Summer Blizzard describing just how many things are needed to hit that 40c barrier in the UK.

Even down here that mark isn't topped every year , even when you get very hot conditions its much more local with large differences because of the Pyrenees. The hottest temperature I recorded here has been 41c, although there were reports of temps between 42 and 44 just on the northern side of the Pyrenees helped by the foehn effect.

The amazing thing about that 41c temperature was that it came at the end of August 2010.

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Stephen Burt wouldn't agree with that. There has been some dispute over that figure.

Indeed- I've seen the case for both sides in the Weather journal and haven't found the case for the 38.5C figure entirely convincing.  I tend to agree with how TORRO (in covering UK daily extreme maxima) approached this, mentioning both the 38.5 from Faversham and the 38.1 from Gravesend and Kew, but attaching an asterisk to the Faversham reading to show that it was disputed due to potentially unrepresentative site location.

 

While we'll never know for certain due to lack of comprehensive instrumentation, I doubt that 40C will have arisen in the British Isles since the last time that the climate was warmer than it is at present.  There have certainly been geological phases in the past where the climate was considerably warmer than it is now (we're really in an elongated interglacial at the moment) and chances are those will have seen temperatures of 40+ at some stage.

Edited by Thundery wintry showers
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Think I may have posted this before, but are the temp reading taken from various UK sites in areas where there is a lot of tarmac/concrete covering the locality? this would raise the local temp where the readings are taken, but is not going to be a true ambient temp?

Edited by Jax
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Stumbled across this on UKWeatherworld from a thread in April 2007

"http://www.independent.co.uk/

Overheating Britain: April temperatures break all records:

By Michael McCarthy, Environment Editor

Published: 28 April 2007

The possibility is growing that Britain in 2007 may experience a summer of unheard-of high temperatures, with the thermometer even reaching 40C, or 104F,a level never recorded in history.

The likelihood of such a "forty degree summer" is being underlined by the tumbling over the past year of a whole series of British temperature records, strongly suggesting that the British Isles have begun to experience a period of rapid, not to say alarming, warming. This would be quite outside all historical experience, but entirely consistent with predictions of climate change.

The Met Office's Hadley Centre for Climate Prediction and Research, in a joint forecast with the Climatic Research Unit of the University of East Anglia, has already suggested that 2007 will be the hottest year ever recorded globally.

Its long-term forecast for this summer in Britain is much more cautious, merely predicting that temperatures this year will be "above average". However, the suite of new records for the UK established in the past 12 months, culminating in an April of unprecedented high temperatures, is pointing to something new happening to the British climate.

snip<

That was 6 years ago and at least around this neck of the woods, we not have had a half decent summer since. How things have changed, we have had some absolute washout summer months, the coolest summer since at least 1985 for CET and a whole series of below average months and seasons.

Imagine if you went back in a time machine to 28th April 2007 and gave them the UK weather data for the next 6 years, would they believe you?

That is obviously an exaggerated journalistic twist in rhetoric to the METO official word, but it still has to be said that the change in weather patterns that almost immediately followed those (non) prophetic words was not foreseen by the METO or other large professional weather organisations

 

Within the context of climate change, it is readily pointed out that natural variation is still possible within a warming trend - yet at this time it is obvious there was no keeness to put it into practice and it seems there was a given assumption that with an alleged long term climate trend of warming that meant that the weather patterns simply mirrored that year on year.

 

The switch to so many below average months would have been laughed at back then if it was suggested. Actually a few did suggest it was still possible back then and indeed faced brickbatsPosted Image .

 

How times have changed.

 

40C remains just as achievable in the UK as any long term low record temperature remains open to be breached, given the precise synoptics and correct timing. Irrespective of whatever route our overall climate is headed. Hopefully the lessons of 2007,and before then,have been a wake up call.

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Good posts from Weather History and Summer Blizzard.

Back in 2007 when there were quotes of "snow will become  a thing of the past

etc,etc to have predicted what has occurred over the following six years cold wise

would have been greeted with huge scepticism and even laughter from some quaters

I would imagine and yet now its greeted with a oh yes thats that is what we would

expect in a globally warming, climate changing world total cobblers attitude.

 

As far as 40c being reached on the UK mainland then like SB has said the  preceding

spring would have to be very warm and dry across central and southern Europe with a

very warm Med. You would then need a long dry hot summer here accompanied by

some exceptional synoptics around end of July into early August to even come close to

achieving a temperature this high.

Personally speaking with the UK at a latitude of between 50 and 60 degrees north it is far

easier to break cold record temperatures than warm ones and in a cooling climate (no pun

intended ) this will be a growing trend.

Edited by cooling climate
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i cant imagine here in the northeast ever reaching 40c in my life time, bk in aug 2009 i was in corfu and the temp during the day was averging between 41 and 43, i have to say it was far to hot and i was surpised that i didnt come back with gills the amount of time i spent in the pool and sea, far to uncomfortable

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40c in the UK, absoloutly not, never in our lifetimes. even 30c is getting very difficult to acheieve,  although 30c is likely again at some time in the future in the south of UK , We hit 30c here a few select times during the warm years a decade ago, but doubt in will happen again. Even getting  over 21c is a push, which is utterly ridiclous for mid summer, the climate is definatly cooling 

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I went to Las Vegas for my birthday and the temperature rose to 45.4C/113.72F that was astonishing. Its a feeling you can't really describe, also when I went to Greece in 2006 the first two days were 38c and with a bit more humidity then Vegas it was almost unbearable. The evening was the worst part of it as we were sitting outside eating our dinner. I can't imagine what it would be like if it ever hit 40c here in the UK, its bad enough when it hits 30c with humidity.Saying that though I want to experience it, just like I want to experience -20c with -40c windchill. Because why not?

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I've been in Arizona during Spring when its got up to the mid-high 30Cs (mid-high 90Fs). Typically 35-37F each day in April. Humidity very low so was relatively comfortable, but couldn't sunbathe for longer than a hour or so at a time! I was in Cyprus a few years ago when they were breaking all sorts of temperature records - I think one day it got up to 46C - now that was unbearable!

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although 30c is likely again at some time in the future in the south of UK , We hit 30c here a few select times during the warm years a decade ago, but doubt in will happen again. Even getting  over 21c is a push, which is utterly ridiclous for mid summer, the climate is definatly cooling 

 

Doesn't look as doubtful now does it Posted Image

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Why is the hottest air from the continent concentrated in the south east corner of England? I am curious to know why the airmass doesn't heat up further as it travels inland over the land, to give the peak temperatures to the southern midlands district?

 

As an example for my thinking. As hot air from the Australian continent transcends the 450km/300 mile Bass Strait sea which seperates Tasmania from the mainland, it undergoes a cooling, and then heats up again over land. I suspect this case is one of the main factors but obviously topography plays a part aswell. If it is 40C in Melbourne for example, it will be mid 20s on the north coast of Tasmania with onshore moist wind from Bass Strait, then no more than low 30s in inland north Tasmania, rising to mid and sometimes upper 30s once it reaches Hobart in the south east corner of the island. A distance of about 280km/170 miles from the north coast.

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Why is the hottest air from the continent concentrated in the south east corner of England? I am curious to know why the airmass doesn't heat up further as it travels inland over the land, to give the peak temperatures to the southern midlands district?

 

As an example for my thinking. As hot air from the Australian continent transcends the 450km/300 mile Bass Strait sea which seperates Tasmania from the mainland, it undergoes a cooling, and then heats up again over land. I suspect this case is one of the main factors but obviously topography plays a part aswell. If it is 40C in Melbourne for example, it will be mid 20s on the north coast of Tasmania with onshore moist wind from Bass Strait, then no more than low 30s in inland north Tasmania, rising to mid and sometimes upper 30s once it reaches Hobart in the south east corner of the island. A distance of about 280km/170 miles from the north coast.

 

 

 

Just a guess, but i'd say the main factors are that for a start, UK is at a high latitude and therefore heat is harder to build the further north you go, the south of the UK is about the furthest point north that would probably allow this. Also that north of London the UK is very narrow and therefore has sea influencing and moderating the temperatures a lot, the south eastern corner has sea as well, but being so close to the continent this means that it has little effect

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