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Met Office highlights 'exciting' Reading research on UK's soggy summers – University of Reading

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Met Office highlights 'exciting' Reading research on UK's soggy summers

Release Date 19 June 2013

Some of the media coverage

University of Reading research features heavily today in news media outlets across the world, reporting outcomes of a meeting about at the UK Met Office on 18 June.

Chairman of the meeting and head of the Met Office Hadley Centre, Professor Stephen Belcher, who is also Professor of Meteorology at the University of Reading, told reporters the research from Reading was "really exciting new work".

In the UK, the BBC, Financial Times, The Sun, The Times, Daily Telegraph, Daily Mail and Guardian, and numerous media across the world, feature stories citing the Reading-led research highlighted by the workshop - with some headlines suggesting Britain could expect another 10 years of wet summers.

Professor Rowan Sutton, the lead author of the research, said that in reality the knowledge of how long the cycle of wet summers may last was much less certain, adding find out more was the next task for Reading scientists.

He said: "The North Atlantic ocean has alternated slowly between warmer and cooler conditions over the last 100 years. We saw a rapid switch to a warmer North Atlantic in the 1990s and we think this is increasing the chances of wet summers over the UK and hot, dry summers around the Mediterranean - a situation that is likely to persist for as long as the North Atlantic remains in a warm phase.

"A transition back to a cooler North Atlantic, favouring drier summers in the UK and northern Europe, is likely and could occur rapidly. Exactly when this will happen is difficult to predict. Based on current evidence it looks like the pattern might persist for anything between a year and a decade, but we definitely can't say that it will persist for a decade.  We're working on it."

The Walker Institute, the University of Reading's centre for research into climate, has published an overview of the research, which was carried out by Professor Sutton with Reading's Dr Buwen Dong and first published in October 2012.


For more information or for interviews, please contact Pete Castle at the University of Reading press office on 0118 378 7391 or

Notes to editors:

The Met Office workshop on 18 June 2013 was convened to discuss Britain and Europe's unusual seasonal weather over the past few years, including a series of wet summers in Britain, England's wettest ever year in 2012, and the coldest spring for 50 years in 2013. Leading climate and weather researchers - including four from the University of Reading - met at the Met Office in Exeter to discuss how to provide some answers about what's going on.

Professor Rowan Sutton, Dr Len Shaffrey, Professor Sir Brian Hoskins, and Professor Stephen Belcher, all climate scientists and meteorologists who work at the University of Reading's world-renowned Department of Meteorology, attended the meeting.

The University of Reading is ranked among the top 1% of universities in the world (THE World University Rankings 2012). Its Department of Meteorology is internationally renowned for teaching and study of atmospheric, oceanic and climate science and earth observation. Reading is involved with pioneering research on weather, climate and earth observation and is home to the Walker Institute for Climate System Research

Professor Rowan Sutton is NCAS Director of Climate Research at the University of Reading.

Dr Len Shaffrey is Senior Research Scientist of NCAS Climate at the University of Reading.

Professor Sir Brian Hoskins is head of the Grantham Institute for Climate Change, Imperial College London, and professor of meteorology at the University of Reading.

Professor Stephen Belcher is head of the Met Office Hadley Centre and professor of meteorology at the University of Reading.

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