The Met office have provisionally put April as the
hottest in the UK since records began. The month was also
unusually dry, and with the warm, dry weather continuing into May,
forecasters suggest that it is set to continue, prompting
Caroline Spelman, the Environment Secretary, to voice concerns over
the impacts of water stress on British crop production.
So what has caused the warm, dry weather? According to a BBC
Weather Centre Spokesperson, it's persistant high pressure systems
which have dominated the weather pattern over the past months. High
pressure 'blocks' the weather pattern, keeping it locked in
When high pressure blocking systems disrupt more typical weather
patterns, it can have dramatic effects. When blocking systems
prevent rain-bearing weather fronts from the Atlantic reaching
Britain, this tends to lead to warm, dry weather - and heatwaves.
Heatwaves over Europe in 2003 and over Russia in 2010 resulted from
similar types of blocking high systems.
How abnormal is this, and should we be drawing direct links to
the climate changing? Not yet, according to Dr Peter Stott - head
of climate monitoring and attribution at the Met Office - who
"The difficulty comes in attributing
variability and changes in blocking activity and this is a subject
of current active research, and it may well be the case that
studies find that there is no evidence for changes in blocking