Summer, what summer? Met confirms below-normal heat

THE evidence was all around us but Met Éireann yesterday confirmed it — the summer of 2011 was anything but a scorcher.

Average temperatures across June, July and August were between 0.5C and 1C below normal, with the south and southwest clocking lowest temperatures in nearly half a century.

However, the cooler than usual summer might herald a milder winter.

According to Met Éireann, Shannon Airport had the coolest summer since 1962 while the Valentia Observatory in Kerry recorded its lowest summer temperatures since 1972.

The Phoenix Park and Casement Aerodrome weather stations recorded their coolest summers in 25 years, while the station at Dublin Airport saw summer temperatures fall to levels not witnessed since records began in 1941, though Met Éireann said this was possibly due to the relocation of the station in 1994, meaning it was probably the coolest summer since 1986.

It all prompts the question: Do you remember the summer? If you can, chances are you are recalling the first few days of June and the end of July when temperatures reached their highest level of between 20C and 26C.

The highest maximum temperature was recorded at Oak Park in Carlow on June 3, when the barometers hit 25.5C.

However, at Cork Airport the summer maximum temperature recorded was 21.5C — the lowest summer maximum in 49 years.

It might be small consolation but this summer also featured rainfall levels that were below normal in most parts of the country, the east and southwest being the exceptions.

In many areas it was the driest summer since 2005, though tempered by news that while sunshine levels were normal in some parts, particularly in June, it was dull in July and August, with Knock Airport recording 331 hours of sunshine in the three months — its dullest summer since 1996.

Met Éireann noted that average temperatures for August fell to 1.4C below normal in parts.

So, might our less-than-glorious summer mean that our winter will not be as harsh as the past two?

The message from Met Éireann is “maybe”.

A spokesperson said: “Things tend to average out, so if you have a cooler summer you might have a milder winter.

“Because it was a relatively cold summer it is likely to be a mild winter — but I cannot guarantee it.”

We live in hope.

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