From observation it can be safely assumed that British summers are getting wetter but conversely the British winters are getting slightly warmer. Only now at the beginning of November is Britain beginning to feel the first bite of winter, which used to happen around the end of September. The pattern over the past couple of years indeed have been a very wet but mild July and August, but very warm and dry periods either side of the two months.
Met Office statistics show that whilst the summer of 2009 was predicted to have been a fantastic summer with soaring temperatures, rainfall during that period between the 1st of June to August the 26th was one of the wettest on record. 317.7 mm of rainfall was recorded during that period, which is 40% up on normal averages; a year before in 2007, 357.1mm of rain fell, which is just under the record rainfall of 1956 at 358.4mm.
So the summertime, according to Met Office statistics, is a picture of gloom with more rainfall and fewer sunlight hours than ever before. The Met Office, according to a Telegraph article written back in 2007, described it as a blip, but a Global Warming skeptic by the name of Piers Corbyn suggested back then that we are entering a four year La Nina weather system, very similar to the very turbulent summer pattern of 1984 to 1987.
La Nina significantly reduces the temperature of the central and eastern Pacific, which in turn affects the rest of the world’s weather in a huge variety of ways. The effects are not fully understood and further research and investigation into how it affects the world’s weather patterns need to be carried out. The primary area where La Nina affects the most is the area surrounding the equator line, but Dr. Mark Saunders believe that the effects of La Nina and El Nino can be felt in the UK. For example, there is evidence to suggest that the extremely poor weather experienced in 1998 coincided with the occurrence of strong El Nino activity. The terrible weather activity of 2007 in the UK and elsewhere in Europe has also been blamed on La Nina.
Coming from another direction, the Church of England who, as reported in the Times newspaper, suggested that the turbulent events were as a result of “The West’s decision to ignore the Bible”, claiming that it is further evidence of climate change, but yet La Nina cools the world’s temperatures and not increases it. But then, who ever said that climate change refers to an increase in temperatures?
There are several sides to this story and the answer to the question of whether or not UK summer weather is getting worse is subject to debate. One side of the story is that Met Office statistics suggest that over the past few years British Summers have been much wetter, so based on this evidence the answer could be yes. On the other hand, La Nina has been blamed for the current mishaps in the British summer weather, which suggests that once the La Nina cycle has ended, the weather will start to improve so the answer could be no. On another hand, the Church of England claims that there were warnings and indications in the Bible and the West chooses to ignore them.
Whichever case is true, the only way to find out for sure if British summer weather is getting worse is to carry out a comprehensive study on the statistics from the Met Office to try to establish more correlations between strong La Nina behaviour and periods of poor British summer weather. Then, carry out an investigation over the next few years to determine whether or not the British Summer weather is getting worse. It’s only with identification of such correlations and a long-term investigation will the question be able to be fully answered. But for now, immediate evidence suggests that the weather will improve, hence my answer to the question is no, but we will have to wait and see for sure!
Nasa’s detailed look at La Nina
BBC’s Understanding La Nina
BBC’s News Feature: La NIna
Times Article: The future is wet. Summer was in April
Telegraph Article: What has happened to the British summer?