Long Dry Summer of 2018

Summer 2018 was exceptional over the UK in terms of warmth, dryness, and lack of rainfall. A Met Office press release stated that across the UK as a whole, summer 2018 was joint warmest on record, alongside the recent hot summers of 2006 and 2003, and also the benchmark UK summer of 1976.

By Senior Meteorologists Matthew Dobson and Alexander Brand

When considering just the Central England Temperature data (the longest standing monthly temperature series in existence - from 1659 to the present day), then summer 2018 comes in as 5th warmest on record over central parts of England, with summer 1976, 1995 and 2003 all being slightly warmer here.

The lack of rainfall over many parts of the UK, especially the south, was equally (if not more) notable than the heat! Some weather stations recorded no rain at all in June and no rain in July until the final week of the month.

Click on picture to enlarge

This data displayed here for London visualises how the daily weather played out during summer 2018 and puts the summer in the context of the last ~60 years of data (based on available observations of rainfall, sunshine, and temperature at Heathrow airport).

The hot weather evidently came in several surges. Although June started very warm, with a date record temperature for 3rd June falling, it wasn't until late June and early July when temperatures climbed regularly into the very high 20Cs and low 30Cs. A short-lived dip in temperature on 10th July was not the end of summer, and 3 more heatwaves followed in mid-late July and early August. It was between 23rd and 27th July when London saw the highest temperatures of the summer, with 35C being recorded on 26th.

The plot shows the stark lack of rainfall over London, with barely a trace in June and then most of July seeing nothing until the final few days, when thunderstorms developed. Several wet days in August saw the total rainfall in this month almost reach average. Sunshine was plentiful in June and July, especially.

MeteoGroup long range forecasts issued to our subscribers during the spring, anticipated this dry and very warm summer over the UK. Several global weather 'teleconnection' patterns aligned to increase the chance of such a summer occurring this year. Interestingly, the fact that we saw such a dramatic and sustained cold spell in late winter (The 'Beast from the East') appears to have loaded the dice even more in favour of a dry and hot June and July. A similar chain of events occurred in 2006 and 2013.

Matthew Dobson, Senior Energy Meteorologist, MeteoGroup
Alexander Brand, Enterprise Proposal Manager

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The plot shows the stark lack of rainfall over London, with barely a trace in June and then most of July seeing nothing until the final few days, when thunderstorms developed.