Will we pay for April sunshine with a wet summer?

sumber : guardian.co.uk

25 April 2011

There’s no link, say forecasters – but it’s lucky Wimbledon has a cover over centre court

We may know, in our heart of hearts, that English weather being what it is, the most sensible thing to do is simply to enjoy each glorious day as it happens, and hope for nothing more. And yet we can’t quite help ourselves. What does this amazing April mean? A wet summer, like last year? A warm one? Please?

“Generally we don’t see any link between what we experience in spring and the following summer,” says Tom Morgan, a forecaster at the Met Office. “Although we’ve seen a very dry and warm April, that doesn’t hold any implications as to what the summer will hold.” His employer, embarrassed by the distinct non-appearance of 2009’s barbecue summer, no longer makes long-range forecasts, and he won’t be drawn on trends at all.

Paul Knightley, senior forecaster at Meteogroup, won’t either. “The sad truth is that trying to predict the season ahead is not possible with any real accuracy. [And this month is] well within the standard variabilities of normal climate. I don’t think there’s anything unusual going on.”

It is true that some people – weather historian Philip Eden, for instance – suggest that “there is quite a strong link between very dry Aprils and very wet summers”, but most warn caution. That’s even the view of Piers Corbyn of WeatherAction long-range forecasts, who correctly predicted the wet summers of 2007, 2008 and 2010, and the extremely cold, snowy December just past.

Having said which, Corbyn is just putting together his forecast for the next few months, and says: “I can tell you it’s not going to be a global warmer’s barbecue summer. People who say that are talking their usual nonsense.” What will June and July be like? “It’s fortunate that Wimbledon now has a roof over centre court.”

Teachers get hot under the collar

Is there an optimum temperature at which to work? Thousands of teachers, who argue that classrooms often get too hot in summer, think so, and will be taking thermometers into school this year to prove their point.

The science is on their side. A 2004 study from Cornell’s Human Factors and Ergonomics Laboratory found that when office temperatures increased from 20C to 25C, typing errors fell by 44% and typing output jumped 150%. A 2006 study from Helsinki University of Technology was even more specific. It found that performance in offices and call centres increases with temperature up to 21-22C, and decreases with temperature above 23-24C. Highest productivity was found to occur at about 22C.