[NAFEX] Short chilly summer for Britain
Donna &/or Kieran
holycow at cookeville.com
Thu Aug 9 10:53:49 EDT 2007
Autumn comes early
By Patrick Phelvin
Last Updated: 5:01pm BST 31/07/2007
a.. Holly berries are appearing in the hedgerows, conkers and apples
are falling from the trees and mushrooms are springing up in the fields.
All the signs are that the briefest of brief English summers is coming
to an end and autumn is already upon us. A growing number of experts believe
that this year's unpredictable weather, which brought spring on early, then
deluged Britain with record rainfall, has now taken us straight to autumn -
bypassing summer altogether.
Fruiting holly has been spotted in Hampshire, conkers are appearing in
Essex, blackberries are ripe in Devon and the nation's orchards are
preparing for an early harvest. Adrian Barlow, of English Apples and Pears,
said early apple varieties were already being harvested. "Autumn has
definitely come earlier this year," he said. "We expect varieties like
Discovery to be in the shops as soon as next week. "Later varieties, like
Cameo, are already showing really good colour, which is extraordinarily
early. Normally we wouldn't expect to see that until the last week of
Ian Johnson, of the National Farmers' Union, said many of those
working in agriculture had already noticed the signs of an early autumn.
"From my office in Devon I can see ripened blackberries, which I would not
have usually expected to see for several weeks yet," he said. "There is
concern that seasons are becoming a lot less predictable and that will
clearly have an impact on British farmers."
The early onset of autumn can be explained in part by record high
temperatures in spring, when average temperatures of 48F (9C) - the highest
since records began in 1914 - led to plants and trees like the Hawthorn
flowering early. By mid-April, fields were filled with tulips and
rhododendrons were making an early appearance. Migrating birds have also
been confused by this year's weather, with flocks of swifts arriving in
April rather than May.
The soaring spring temperatures were followed by the wettest summer in
more than 200 years. The recent downpours and relatively cool weather
tricked some plants into thinking winter was on its way. The freak
conditions, which saw a month's worth of rain fall in 24 hours over parts of
Britain, have been blamed on a global phenomenon which brings cold, damp air
from the south Atlantic to northern Europe in the channel of strong wind
known as the Jet Stream.
Meteorologists say that for much of the summer the jet stream has been
further south and stronger than in a typical summer. This has resulted in
many depressions crossing southern and central parts of Britain, interacting
with very warm and moist air to the south and generating exceptionally heavy
rain storms, while other parts of Europe are experiencing drought.
A spokesman for the Met Office's Hadley Centre for Climate Change said
it was too early to say whether this year's conditions were evidence of
global warming and they could be dismissed as an irregularity. "We have
just had the wettest summer since 1766 so it is unsurprising that this has
affected crops," he said. "There is evidence to suggest that within a warmer
climate we will see wetter winters and warmer summers. Having said that,
there will also be an increased likelihood of the extreme weather events
like the rain we have just seen."
******Comment from Donna: though we have been unable to find any info on
how the bizarre weather pattern in the US this summer is related to
worldwide weather patterns, this article mentions the jet stream being down
in Europe. It's been really high here, bringing heat and drought to the SE,
crossing at an angle to make all our rain to fall on TX.
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