Sea ice

Meeting on UK's run of unusual seasons

2 August 2013

Experts from across the UK met at the Met Office in June to discuss the run of unusual seasons in Europe.

Representatives from the Universities of Exeter, Leeds, Oxford, Reading and Imperial College London, as well as the Met Office looked at the weather patterns and their potential causes in three recent seasons - the cold winter of 2010/11, the wet summer of 2012, and this year's cold spring.

Professor Stephen Belcher, Head of the Met Office Hadley Centre said: "Ultimately what we've seen in each of these seasons is shifts in the position of the jet stream which impact our weather in certain ways at different times of year. The key question is what is causing the jet stream to shift in this way? There is some research to say some parts of the natural system load the dice to influence certain states of the jet stream, but this loading may be further amplified by climate change."

There are several factors which could be 'loading the dice', including declining Arctic sea ice, solar variability, long-term ocean cycles, and other long-term cycles of natural variability. The workshop focused on the latest research looking at how these drivers can influence weather patterns and discussed how future research can be targeted to develop understanding.

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