Wednesday, 25 March 2009

The Winter of 2008/09 and Spring 2009

The official statistics on the winter were produced by the Met Office's national climate information centre last week and confirmed that it was indeed a 'cold winter' - well at least colder that we have been used to since 1995/96 in England and Wales and 1996/97 in the UK, with temperatures 0.5 deg C below the 30-year average. The rainfall was more marked with some areas of the UK recording less than 70% of the average rainfall for the period.

But perhaps the thing that will stick in the minds of most of us was the significant snowfall in the first week of February which brought depths of snow greater than 15 cm across many parts of the UK. The last time we had a winter snowfall of that size was in February 1991.

Enough of weather-past. We had the Vernal Equinox at the weekend signalling Spring is with us now - so what should we expect? Well the latest Met Office seasonal forecast is suggesting that it will be a near or slightly below average Spring for temperatures and rainfall. But what is an average Spring I hear you say. For temperature that's an average of 7.4 deg C and for rainfall that's about 232 mm (or around 9 inches) in total across the three months from March to May.

If you had to guess the wettest Spring month what would it be - you might say April because of the old adage April showers bring forth May flowers, but actually its March. March accounts for 96 mm of our rainfall on average, April some 70 mm and around 66 mm in May - so you can see March is wetter by quite a bit. May as it happens is our driest and sunniest month of the year on average. That's probably enough weather statistics for one entry.

Friday, 13 March 2009

Who said meteorology isn't a laugh a minute? Weather and Meteorological Jokes

So here are some of the best jokes we had in for our Comic Relief challenge - 'best' meaning arbitrarily selected by me but probably gives you an indication of how bad the others were!

Why was the cloud late for work - because he mist the bus

What do you call a sheep with no legs - a cloud

Two weather satellite antennas got married, the wedding was good but the reception was fantastic

and my personal favourite (which is cheating because its really a glaciologists joke):

A guy walks into the doctors with a piece of lettuce sticking out of the top of his shirt. The doctor says that looks nasty and the guy says that's just the tip of the iceberg!

Tuesday, 3 March 2009

Weather and Climate Jokes

In aid of Comic Relief on Friday 13th March we are publishing a list of our favourite weather and climate jokes. So if you’d like to send any in to us you can do so at – I’m sure we are going to have an entertaining time deciding on our best ones, which we will also be including on our BBC Radio Berkshire broadcast on Wednesday 11th March, so make sure to listen in.

Monday, 2 March 2009

Spring is here - at least in the meteorological sense

No we haven’t redefined the astronomical calendar! Spring officially is still 21 March (the equinox – 12 hours of equal day and night), but in meteorology we think of the seasons in whole months. For us Spring is March to May, Summer is June to August, Autumn is September to November and Winter is December to February.

Two things to look out for: see the latest Met Office Spring 2009 forecasts ( and also if you haven’t seen it, it is interesting to look at the KEW 100 ( The KEW 100 is an index that follows the flowering of different plant species and how that responds to changes in the weather (and of course over longer periods climate).

The KEW 100 is a more recent index taken from a much longer record going back over a hundred years at least. The Royal Met Society used to publish the UK-wide phenological (species flowering) records as early as the 1870s.