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What Happened to the Mediterranean climate we were promised?


Habsish

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Posted
  • Location: up a bit from from Chelmsford, Essex
  • Location: up a bit from from Chelmsford, Essex

    Having replanned my garden, to some degree from the advice given by the media and others when should I expect to take advantage from the Mediterranean plants I now have in my garden?

    Alternatively should I assume everything will continue to be extremely erratic and really we do not know (haven't got a clue) what will happen in the years to come. Makes life interesting if nothing else.

    Regards

    H

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    Having replanned my garden, to some degree from the advice given by the media and others when should I expect to take advantage from the Mediterranean plants I now have in my garden?

    Alternatively should I assume everything will continue to be extremely erratic and really we do not know (haven't got a clue) what will happen in the years to come. Makes life interesting if nothing else.

    Regards

    H

    I know what you mean Habbish............ my cordylines and geraniums in my ornamental chimmney's have all but rotted away with the cold and damp.............may consider growing ferns next year-or moss! :)

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    Posted
  • Location: Norton, Stockton-on-Tees
  • Weather Preferences: Snow and cold in winter, warm and sunny in summer
  • Location: Norton, Stockton-on-Tees

    It's true that I am of the opinion that our climate may be undergoing a reversal to pre-global warming weather, but we have only had 2 dodgy summers following a succession of cracking ones. We might get a nice one next year!

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    Posted
  • Location: Larbert
  • Location: Larbert

    I guess the onslaught of global cooling tends to do these things to climate change. It's a kind of inbetween phase at the moment..doesn't know if it's Spring, Summer or Autumn!

    Interesting, we're not the only one's wondering what the heck is happening.

    NZ has recorded snowfall on slopes and other areas, snow also in numerous parts of Oz, Hawaii had its coldest temps ever recently and I recall reading somewhere that Alaska has been well below average.

    Be interested in other similar tales??

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    Posted
  • Location: Lincoln, Lincolnshire
  • Weather Preferences: Sunshine, convective precipitation, snow, thunderstorms, "episodic" months.
  • Location: Lincoln, Lincolnshire

    Some of the more outlandish claims went for a Mediterranean climate, but the more measured predictions didn't go for anything that specific. Regardless of global temperatures, we will always remain at the downwind end of the Atlantic, and therefore feel the full force of the associated trains of Atlantic depressions.

    Thus, it is more likely that instead of having cool cloudy wet months like August 1985, and warm dry sunny months like July 1989, we simply keep similar patterns, but shift the temperatures up a notch. Thus, the warm dry sunny months become hotter, more like July 2006, while the cloudy wet months become less cool. August 2008, for instance, has been nothing like as cool as the Augusts of 1985, 1986 and 1987 were.

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    Some of the more outlandish claims went for a Mediterranean climate, but the more measured predictions didn't go for anything that specific. Regardless of global temperatures, we will always remain at the downwind end of the Atlantic, and therefore feel the full force of the associated trains of Atlantic depressions.

    Thus, it is more likely that instead of having cool cloudy wet months like August 1985, and warm dry sunny months like July 1989, we simply keep similar patterns, but shift the temperatures up a notch. Thus, the warm dry sunny months become hotter, more like July 2006, while the cloudy wet months become less cool. August 2008, for instance, has been nothing like as cool as the Augusts of 1985, 1986 and 1987 were.

    So to sum up we're still all going to wander around(as did our ancestors I'm sure) saying "Summer?............bloody weather!" :)

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    Posted
  • Location: Brecon Beacons, South Wales
  • Location: Brecon Beacons, South Wales

    Um, sorry, pardon my ignorance, but don't most of the models predict that even though average global temperatures are rising, there's nothing to say that the UK will get hot sunny summers just averagely warm and less sun? Basically, if anyone can come up with a concrete reason for the jet stream to have stayed this far south two summers running, it would be interesting to hear.

    (goes and hides in bunker)

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    Posted
  • Location: Lincoln, Lincolnshire
  • Weather Preferences: Sunshine, convective precipitation, snow, thunderstorms, "episodic" months.
  • Location: Lincoln, Lincolnshire

    It's not unprecedented, take the summers of 1985-88 for example- Junes 1986 and 1988 apart, all of the months of those four summers had a pretty strong Atlantic, often with the jet tracking some way south.

    Yes, the jet's "normal" track is further north than this summer, but some members post as if the jet normally takes the track that it did during Summer 1976. For example the depression tracks of June 2008 were representative of the long-term normal. Quite often, the strength of the jet is more important than the track as a slow jet gives greater scope for blocking highs to break off from the main Azores High and settle around Britain.

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    Posted
  • Location: Brecon Beacons, South Wales
  • Location: Brecon Beacons, South Wales
    It's not unprecedented, take the summers of 1985-88 for example- Junes 1986 and 1988 apart, all of the months of those four summers had a pretty strong Atlantic, often with the jet tracking some way south.

    Yes, the jet's "normal" track is further north than this summer, but some members post as if the jet normally takes the track that it did during Summer 1976. For example the depression tracks of June 2008 were representative of the long-term normal. Quite often, the strength of the jet is more important than the track as a slow jet gives greater scope for blocking highs to break off from the main Azores High and settle around Britain.

    I didn't say it was unprecedented (I've live though more than 40 English summers after all), it was more of a way of questioning whether any sensible forecaster promised us a "Mediterranean summer".

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    I didn't say it was unprecedented (I've live though more than 40 English summers after all), it was more of a way of questioning whether any sensible forecaster promised us a "Mediterranean summer".

    I have heard it bandied about (med summers etc) but can't seeing as you mentioned it say who of any note did mention it oddly.Damn good point you've made!

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    Posted
  • Location: Cheddington, Buckinghamshire
  • Weather Preferences: Winter: Cold & Snowy, Summer: Just not hot
  • Location: Cheddington, Buckinghamshire

    You can't say our climate isn't warming, winters have been exceptionally warm lately, unfortunately summers haven't followed suit in the past 2 years.

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    Posted
  • Location: Lincoln, Lincolnshire
  • Weather Preferences: Sunshine, convective precipitation, snow, thunderstorms, "episodic" months.
  • Location: Lincoln, Lincolnshire

    I've seen some textbooks and media sources suggesting that we'll get "Mediterranean summers" as a result of global warming, but I'm yet to see any eminent climate scientists suggest anything of the sort.

    For us to get Mediterranean summers we'd need the mean track of the jet to move quite a lot further north, as well as having global temperatures at least a couple of degrees warmer. There is evidence of a northward movement of the jet in winter, but not so much in summer- we had a move towards warmer, drier sunnier summers starting around 1989, but it seems that the change of decade/century has brought a new change in direction, back to summers more like we had in the 80s but a bit warmer.

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    Posted
  • Location: Brecon Beacons, South Wales
  • Location: Brecon Beacons, South Wales
    You can't say our climate isn't warming, winters have been exceptionally warm lately, unfortunately summers haven't followed suit in the past 2 years.

    If that's aimed at me, I wasn't.

    I've seen some textbooks and media sources suggesting that we'll get "Mediterranean summers" as a result of global warming, but I'm yet to see any eminent climate scientists suggest anything of the sort.

    For us to get Mediterranean summers we'd need the mean track of the jet to move quite a lot further north, as well as having global temperatures at least a couple of degrees warmer. There is evidence of a northward movement of the jet in winter, but not so much in summer- we had a move towards warmer, drier sunnier summers starting around 1989, but it seems that the change of decade/century has brought a new change in direction, back to summers more like we had in the 80s but a bit warmer.

    I'd distrust 'media sources'; they're more interested in selling advertising space than the truth, and many of those textbooks that I've read or worked on that claim that we're going to get hot dry summers don't seem to be able to substantiate their claims as far as I can see. There are always a lot of ifs in the text.

    The track of the jet seems to me to be following what most of the models say - more or less where it would usually be in winter (if not a bit farther north) and farther south in summer. But then, next year, for all we know, the various other effects like ENSO and the jet stream that crosses the northern Pacific (can't remember the name) will flip and we'll get broiled, baked and fried, the trains will grind to a halt and we'll all whinge about it being too hot instead.

    Ho hum.

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    Posted
  • Location: Cheddar Valley, 20mtrs asl
  • Weather Preferences: Snow and lots of it or warm and sunny, no mediocre dross
  • Location: Cheddar Valley, 20mtrs asl
    Having replanned my garden, to some degree from the advice given by the media and others when should I expect to take advantage from the Mediterranean plants I now have in my garden?

    Alternatively should I assume everything will continue to be extremely erratic and really we do not know (haven't got a clue) what will happen in the years to come. Makes life interesting if nothing else.

    Regards

    H

    Hi Habsish,

    Interesting question....

    I'm a professional gardener working in private gardens and historical parklands and estates. Over the last few years I've lost count of the requests for Mediterranean planting schemes from clients, including one who wanted an Olive Grove planted to replace a Beech Avenue on his Grade 11* listed estate. He'd been reliable informed, as have you and countless others, that we could expect a Mediterranean climate - his information came from the Royal Horticultural Society and English Heritage!

    You're right, the gardening world has been told to expect increasingly hotter, dryer summers; Apple crops will be replaced with Peaches, Beech trees will become confined to Scotland, more and more Figs, Grapes, Kiwi fruits will be able to be grown outside.

    My advice to you, is the same I gave him; piffle, twaddle and hogwash!

    I freely admit I don't subscribe to the theory that the warmer temperatures have been caused in the main by CO2, but my advice from a gardening perspective, has nothing what so ever to do with that opinion.

    Mediterranean plants require more than just hot summer temperatures, they require really good drainage too, if planted in our gardens many will succumb to rot over the winter. Many require a frost free environment all year round; we may have warmed half a degree or so over the last thirty years but we don't have guaranteed frost free winters. Some "tender" plants are tolerant to a touch of frost but more often than not, those ones originate from South Africa, not the Med.

    Before lashing out any more money on Mediterranean plants, I'd recommend only planting them in pots with lots of grit added to the compost and plenty of crocks at the bottom, also consider if you have the space or facilities to remove them out of the rain and cold during the winter.

    At most, the current situation regarding climate and plants (also the foreseeable future) is that the growing season has lengthened by a couple of weeks at both ends. I know the winters have been milder in recent years, but mild and frost free are entirely different things when it comes to tender plants. We may not have had any lengthy spells of below freezing temperatures in recent years but for many tender plants, it takes no more than one night to finish them off. Try putting a couple of Geraniums in the freezer, leave one in there overnight, the other one for three or four nights, I guarantee they'll be equally mushy.

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    Posted
  • Location: Western Isles
  • Location: Western Isles
    Um, sorry, pardon my ignorance, but don't most of the models predict that even though average global temperatures are rising, there's nothing to say that the UK will get hot sunny summers just averagely warm and less sun? Basically, if anyone can come up with a concrete reason for the jet stream to have stayed this far south two summers running, it would be interesting to hear.

    (goes and hides in bunker)

    yeah Id like to no why as well as its so far south that we've had to best summers in lewis. and this year beats any year I've had on lewis before

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    Posted
  • Location: Reigate, Surrey
  • Location: Reigate, Surrey
    Um, sorry, pardon my ignorance, but don't most of the models predict that even though average global temperatures are rising, there's nothing to say that the UK will get hot sunny summers just averagely warm and less sun? Basically, if anyone can come up with a concrete reason for the jet stream to have stayed this far south two summers running, it would be interesting to hear.

    (goes and hides in bunker)

    The climate models predict the jet will shift Northwards in Summer - as will the sub-tropical high pressure belts, so the UK should have warmer, drier summers, perhaps with intense thunderstorms thrown in. The previous 2 summers don't fit ths pattern, but they are only 2 summers and on their own are not enough to prove the climate models wrong.

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    Posted
  • Location: Cheddar Valley, 20mtrs asl
  • Weather Preferences: Snow and lots of it or warm and sunny, no mediocre dross
  • Location: Cheddar Valley, 20mtrs asl
    The climate models predict the jet will shift Northwards in Summer - as will the sub-tropical high pressure belts, so the UK should have warmer, drier summers, perhaps with intense thunderstorms thrown in. The previous 2 summers don't fit ths pattern, but they are only 2 summers and on their own are not enough to prove the climate models wrong.

    The previous two or three warm summers weren't enough to prove them right either, sadly that didn't stop garden centres stocking oodles of new plants which in the main, have now died or are struggling. A lot of people have spent a lot of money, plants aren't cheap.

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    Posted
  • Location: Bramley, Hampshire, 70m asl
  • Location: Bramley, Hampshire, 70m asl
    The previous two or three warm summers weren't enough to prove them right either, sadly that didn't stop garden centres stocking oodles of new plants which in the main, have now died or are struggling. A lot of people have spent a lot of money, plants aren't cheap.

    An exotic garden is very possible in the UK -- even without the Mediterranean summers;

    My Butia Eriospatha in particular seem to be loving the great British summer :D

    ...as does the ever reliable Trachycarpus, various bamboos and my Dicksonia Antartica :D

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    Posted
  • Location: Worthing West Sussex
  • Location: Worthing West Sussex
    An exotic garden is very possible in the UK -- even without the Mediterranean summers;

    My Butia Eriospatha in particular seem to be loving the great British summer :D

    ...as does the ever reliable Trachycarpus, various bamboos and my Dicksonia Antartica :D

    Strange... I specialise in Taraxacum officinalis, Bellis perennis and Poa annua, they never fail for me.

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    Posted
  • Location: Cheddington, Buckinghamshire
  • Weather Preferences: Winter: Cold & Snowy, Summer: Just not hot
  • Location: Cheddington, Buckinghamshire
    If that's aimed at me, I wasn't.

    It was a general statement, wasn't aimed at anyone in particular.

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    Posted
  • Location: City of Gales, New Zealand, 150m ASL
  • Location: City of Gales, New Zealand, 150m ASL

    Well it sounds all a bit hogwashy to me!

    AFAIK, the Mediterranean Climate is restricted primarily to a few places around the world:

    1) errr....the Med

    2) Parts of South Australia and Western Australia

    3) Parts of South Africa

    4) Parts of California

    5) Parts of Western South America

    eg it tends to occur on the western edges of continents.

    So isn't Britain on the western edge of a continent? Well, yes, but it is at *too high * a latitude!

    Consider all the above examples, they exist at the highest, 45 degrees of latitude. Britain does not even begin until 50 degrees of latitude.

    It would be extremely difficult to get a true Med climate or true Med summers *consistently* at that latitude.

    I know it is always quite a claim for the tourist brochures....over here there are places that claim a Med climate. Typical examples are Hawkes Bay (east coast of North Island), which is at latitude of about 39-40S, and Nelson and Marlborough (top of the South Island) which are at about 41S.

    Unlike the UK, we are at the latitude where high pressure tends to linger in summertime. At high summer it usually will sit at about 40S (the centre that is), give or take a bit. This year it was a bit further south I think.

    It sits out to the west, in the Tasman Sea, which in summertime is a particularly favourable zone for anticyclones to form (statistically). This tends to direct a flow ranging from southwest, to south, to southeast, depending on exact orientation. The latter gives Hawkes Bay a lot of low cloud and drizzle. All those flows tend to protect Nelson and Marlborough.

    As an example, Blenheim (Marlborough) in February averages 4 wet days, with 8 hours of sunshine per day, and average highs of 24C. Average rainfall if 30mm in the month.

    I would say this clings to the bottom edge of a potential Mediterranean climate.

    But the issue is that things migrate down here.

    If you line up Spain in summer with NZ in summer, the typical location of the mid-latitude high is to the west but on the same latitude. However, the Azores High tends to sit there and not move in longitude that much. Down here the highs always migrate. This means that we will get anticyclones giving up flows going from SW->S->SE->No gradient->NE->N->NW as the NW comes in it will give Blenheim the highest temperatures (Foehn effect) but it's really the last gasp of dry weather, as a trough will move in behind it. The severity of the trough varies from season. Sometimes it will give the "Med" areas a bit of cloud and no rain, other times it will give good falls. Things may stall, a subtropical depression or cyclone may be ushered in, may combine with a trough and give more prolonged summer rain.

    All this whilst we wait for the next high to push over from the South Australian Bight, which begins the pattern again.

    So basically it's not reliable enough to be considered truly mediterranean. I find it highly unlikely that the UK could ever sustain something considered Mediterranean, except in an exceptional season.

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    Posted
  • Location: Dorset
  • Location: Dorset

    I have to admit the predictions I've seen are that we will have a climate more similar to the Vendee region of France, i.e a heavy atlantic influence with less frosts and higher mean temperatures, with a better chance of dry summers but with heavy showers cancelling the drier spells.

    I have to say that it's very difficult to buy truely native plants in garden centres anyway, regardless of whether they are from the med or not.

    Truely native plants are struggling to a certain degree, but just as much if not more though land usage, loss of habitats, alien species destroying niche players etc.

    As for a climate scientist claiming that we will have med climates, never heard of one yet. But lots of reporters, gardeners etc who do say it.

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    Posted
  • Location: up a bit from from Chelmsford, Essex
  • Location: up a bit from from Chelmsford, Essex

    Jethro,

    Little I read in the media I believe with any conviction that it is likely to be true.

    Must admit my posting was slightly tongue in cheek and I have not gone over to a completly Medeterranean garden. Grow most of the old favorites for Essex area lawn, fruit, vegetables, flower beds but I do have an Olive tree producing olives albeit very small at the moment. Also have taken cuttings that seem to be doing well. Like a lot of plants olvies are expensive to buy but not too difficult to propagate. Nothing nicer than buying a plant and spiltting it into numerous offspring.

    My gardening policy is if you don't grow after a bit of love and attention you are on the compost heap. Possibly where the media should go?

    Regards

    Habsish

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    Posted
  • Location: Heswall, Wirral
  • Weather Preferences: Summer: warm, humid, thundery. Winter: mild, stormy, some snow.
  • Location: Heswall, Wirral

    I agree what has been said above about mediterranean plants needing drainage, thats is fundamental. In species like Agave americana, they are not particularly fussed about cold, but they hate cold and wet they will simply rot.

    I have moved towards a solution to this, growing sub-tropical plants, instead of mediterranean. Sub-tropical plants like bananas, cannas and monstera have a much better chance being more humid tolerant.

    I wouldn't build your garden based on climate change yet though, if warming occurs it wont be very noticeable until later in our lifetimes, and unless you live on the coast theres not much point in building a garden to accommodate that (unless you dont mind losing plants)

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    Posted
  • Location: Mytholmroyd, West Yorks.......
  • Weather Preferences: Hot & Sunny, Cold & Snowy
  • Location: Mytholmroyd, West Yorks.......

    I suppose it really depends on how you believe we will experience the rigours of climate shift. If we are to continue to 'flush out' the Arctic of ice over the next few years (whist continuing to melt off the Greenland ice cap) until we have only single year ice remaining then we could well be set for our 'summer monsoon' season extending as air mass bases are 'modified' by meltwater outflow prior to making landfall over the NW of Europe.

    This state of play could flip-flop as more severe El-Nino events occur with more frequency leading us to a kind of South American Western Coastal strip type weather patterns of drought years interspersed with occasional years of torrential rains.......maybe we'll take to the building temples and the cutting out of foe's hearts??

    If we do place some type of limit/reduction on our emissions then maybe we will inherit a new but 'stable' climate type ,if not then we may just have to look forward to a constantly altering (but uniquely extreme) run of climate types as the planet writhes in her imposed alterations.

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