Scientists give long-term perspective for unsettled British summers

Scientists studying the regional climate have discovered the reason why British summers are getting wetter.

The study, published in the International Journal of Climatology, and led by Liverpool John Moores University’s (LJMU’s) Dr Tom Matthews has provided context for the region’s recent wash-out summers. The experts have assessed 142-year record of storms for the British-Irish Isles.

Compared to earlier decades (around the 1960s-1980s), the researchers found that summers in the UK and Ireland have become much wetter as a result of more frequent storms (cyclones). Indeed, the stormiest summer in the 142-year cyclone reconstruction was in 2012.

However, the researchers also found that this increase in storminess actually represents a re-establishment of conditions typical of the earlier half of the 20th Century, rather than being unusual in the long term context.

The long-term record of British-Irish Isles cyclones provided by the study will help researchers to better understand year-to-year variability in storminess.

Dr Tom Matthews, who is a Geography Lecturer at LJMU and led the study, said, "Given concern over increased British-Irish Isles storminess as the climate warms, there is a need to understand the extent to which these changes may already be underway. By providing a 142-year regional cyclone climatology across the British-Irish Isles, this study allows recent extreme seasonal storminess such as the summer of 2012 to be placed in context. Such a long term perspective is needed to explore low-frequency variability in the regional storm climate, and to diagnose and understand emerging changes.”"

More information: "A cyclone climatology of the British-Irish Isles 1871–2012." Int. J. Climatol.. doi: 10.1002/joc.4425

Citation: Scientists give long-term perspective for unsettled British summers (2015, July 6) retrieved 16 April 2024 from
This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.

Explore further

Increase in Arctic cyclones is linked to climate change, new study shows


Feedback to editors