[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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