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The decline in thunder days.


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Posted
  • Location: Wigan
  • Location: Wigan

Looks like I can add another thunderless June to the bucket. Hopefully July will provide, it always seems to actually.

it did,   with bells on,   but despite the recent thunder i still maintain these mcs systems moving north in  plume systems have still declined in recent years

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Posted
  • Location: Walsall Wood, Walsall, West Midlands 145m ASL
  • Location: Walsall Wood, Walsall, West Midlands 145m ASL

I know it's been 2 years since the last reply to this thread, but in those 2 years things haven't improved much. And been as this issue has come into my mind a lot recently I thought this would be a more dedicated thread to the issue as it's more about the long term than the individual yearly threads. Anyway in 2015 and 2016 I can recall only one decent thunderstorm each for those years and about the same for distant rumbles. This year so far we've had diddly squat despite those in the eastern counties reporting some good storms. Anyway it's clear the trend of decreased thundery activity is continuing for now at least here. Any thoughts.

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Posted
  • Location: Walsall Wood, Walsall, West Midlands 145m ASL
  • Location: Walsall Wood, Walsall, West Midlands 145m ASL

Also a question for Weather-history should you read this. Been as you're probably this forums premier weather historian, do you know of any periods in the past that were as thunderless as now? I ask because I find it a bit of a stretch that this could be something unprecedented. I know your own records only go back to 1981, so based on that alone there has certainly been a decrease since 2010 especially as you say (just thought for fun I would highlight the fact that those 2 previously mentioned years had fantastic December's as you well know and I thought what are the odds of those 2 years been mentioned in the same sentence on this forum without it been a reference to their classic December's, but I digress lol). But I wonder how thundery the 1970s or 1960s were or before then. It's obvious natural variety differs over long periods and certain weather features vary in frequency from year to year and decade to decade and so forth, so there's little uniformity to these things. So surely if such data exists it might be possible to find an equivalent period. If there is one it would be interesting to know how long it lasted before the number of thunder days started increasing again. This would perhaps give us some sort of gauge in determining how long this current period might last. Anyway if you think you might know the answer it would be greatly appreciated, cheers :good:

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Posted
  • Location: Irlam
  • Location: Irlam
4 hours ago, Walsall Wood Snow said:

Also a question for Weather-history should you read this. Been as you're probably this forums premier weather historian, do you know of any periods in the past that were as thunderless as now? I ask because I find it a bit of a stretch that this could be something unprecedented. I know your own records only go back to 1981, so based on that alone there has certainly been a decrease since 2010 especially as you say (just thought for fun I would highlight the fact that those 2 previously mentioned years had fantastic December's as you well know and I thought what are the odds of those 2 years been mentioned in the same sentence on this forum without it been a reference to their classic December's, but I digress lol). But I wonder how thundery the 1970s or 1960s were or before then. It's obvious natural variety differs over long periods and certain weather features vary in frequency from year to year and decade to decade and so forth, so there's little uniformity to these things. So surely if such data exists it might be possible to find an equivalent period. If there is one it would be interesting to know how long it lasted before the number of thunder days started increasing again. This would perhaps give us some sort of gauge in determining how long this current period might last. Anyway if you think you might know the answer it would be greatly appreciated, cheers :good:

Thanks for your comment. :)

Met Office have released their monthly reports and it is interesting reading them because it looks like some months were thunderfests!

Take this from June 1977

"Thunderstorms, which occurred in many parts of England between the 6th and the 14th.."

When was the last time in the last few years had we had a month where they were about a week of thunderstorms? 

July 1968 which started off with the heatwave and spectacular storms.

"Thunder was almost heard daily in England and Wales on the 1st-16th..."

August 1956 which was a shocker for a summer month, many stations in England reported thunder 7 days or more..

You really start to wonder....

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Posted
  • Location: N.E. Scotland South Side Moray Firth 100m asl
  • Location: N.E. Scotland South Side Moray Firth 100m asl


 

Would the thunder belt be moving north as in my area the frequency of storms has increased dramatically since I was a child in the sixties culminating in last summers spectacular storms of 19th-20th of July.(44000 cloud to ground strikes overnight in the north of Scotland and 750000 phones knocked out) I lived in Hertfordshire until I was 7 and always remember the big storms in the summer but after moving to Scotland in the early sixties I almost forgot what thunder was in the summer. I think too it was last summer that thunderstorms were recorded north of the Arctic Circle.

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Posted
  • Location: Irlam
  • Location: Irlam

Another thing, I'm struggling to remember the last time we had a day with more than one thunderstorm? What I mean is a thundery shower or storm then an interval followed by another one.

I recall a few occasions in the 90s this happening. Late June 1990, we had three separate thunderstorms/thundery showers, one Saturday afternoon and evening, 1991, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1995... Some of these occasions, we had a storm some time in the morning and another in the late afternoon/evening or night.

These days, we get one storm and that's it, we don't get a second bite of the cherry. 

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Posted
  • Location: Walsall Wood, Walsall, West Midlands 145m ASL
  • Location: Walsall Wood, Walsall, West Midlands 145m ASL
3 hours ago, Weather-history said:

Thanks for your comment. :)

Met Office have released their monthly reports and it is interesting reading them because it looks like some months were thunderfests!

Take this from June 1977

"Thunderstorms, which occurred in many parts of England between the 6th and the 14th.."

When was the last time in the last few years had we had a month where they were about a week of thunderstorms? 

July 1968 which started off with the heatwave and spectacular storms.

"Thunder was almost heard daily in England and Wales on the 1st-16th..."

August 1956 which was a shocker for a summer month, many stations in England reported thunder 7 days or more..

You really start to wonder....

Thanks for your reply. It seems that going back to the mid 1950s at least, thunder was much more common, frequent and longer lasting than it is these days. Though of course these are only individual years, give or take a decade apart, but it at least illustrates that we haven't had events like this for some time. Though I think I recall one year last decade (I'm thinking 2005 perhaps but could be wrong) where there we're a few off and on thunderstorms over a period of a few days as I remember my Mum was often calling me downstairs to sit with her as it was making her nervous. I do hope though this is just a relatively temporary blip and such weather events return. You'd think there has to be an equivalent period in history though similar to the current situation for lack of thunder. I mean take the 1960s for example. Though you mention 1968, I've always had the impression that the bulk of the Summer's during that decade we're generally poor with few heatwaves, so I wouldn't be surprised if thunder was a little rare back then. Also what do we know of the regularity of thunderstorms pre 20th century. I mean was thunder more common in say the late 17th century (which was when the LIA was in full swing) than it is now? Anyway as 'Northernlights' says thunder is becoming more common in Scotland, so maybe it's just swings and roundabouts and the current period is just the effect of long term differing distribution. As for the suggestion the thunder belt has moved north, you'd think that would increase thunder days here, not decrease them? Anyway food for thought and thanks again WH :good:.

 

Edited by Walsall Wood Snow
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Posted
  • Location: Brongest,Wales
  • Weather Preferences: Stormy autumn, hot and sunny summer and thunderstorms all year round.
  • Location: Brongest,Wales

One thing I am certain of thats different is that the overall distribution of thunder days is less in the year, but that when there is a storm its a short lived but violent one.

Of any storms that have happened here in the last few years, i'm sure they are more intense or the lightning is more powerful then the past when there were milder storms but more distributed and frequent throughout.

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Posted
  • Location: Walsall Wood, Walsall, West Midlands 145m ASL
  • Location: Walsall Wood, Walsall, West Midlands 145m ASL
11 minutes ago, wimblettben said:

One thing I am certain of thats different is that the overall distribution of thunder days is less in the year, but that when there is a storm its a short lived but violent one.

Of any storms that have happened here in the last few years, i'm sure they are more intense or the lightning is more powerful then the past when there were milder storms but more distributed and frequent throughout.

Yeah there does seem to be a lack of the tamer yet more frequent type of thunderstorms. The frequency of more violent ones is perhaps unchanged? 

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Posted
  • Location: Irlam
  • Location: Irlam
11 hours ago, Walsall Wood Snow said:

Also a question for Weather-history should you read this. Been as you're probably this forums premier weather historian, do you know of any periods in the past that were as thunderless as now? I ask because I find it a bit of a stretch that this could be something unprecedented. I know your own records only go back to 1981, so based on that alone there has certainly been a decrease since 2010 especially as you say (just thought for fun I would highlight the fact that those 2 previously mentioned years had fantastic December's as you well know and I thought what are the odds of those 2 years been mentioned in the same sentence on this forum without it been a reference to their classic December's, but I digress lol). But I wonder how thundery the 1970s or 1960s were or before then. It's obvious natural variety differs over long periods and certain weather features vary in frequency from year to year and decade to decade and so forth, so there's little uniformity to these things. So surely if such data exists it might be possible to find an equivalent period. If there is one it would be interesting to know how long it lasted before the number of thunder days started increasing again. This would perhaps give us some sort of gauge in determining how long this current period might last. Anyway if you think you might know the answer it would be greatly appreciated, cheers :good:

Found this article from November 1926

1st Jan to 31st Mar 1926: 49 days out of 90 somewhere in the UK reported lightning or thunder.

England and Wales : 17 Jan; 11 Feb: 9 Mar

Scotland: 4 Jan; 6 Feb; 11 Mar

Ireland: 15 Jan; 5 Feb; 6 Mar

low figures for Ireland and Scotland maybe due to small number of observers.

Areas which experienced 4 or more storms during that period: large area around Severn Estuary and south Lancashire/SW Yorkshire

The year before (1st Jan - 31st Mar 1925) there were 57 such days 

And an article from the following year.

1st October 1926 to 31st March 1927: 96 days out of the 182, at least one observer in the British Isles observed thunder/lighnting

Cornwall,Devon, Surrey, Sussex, Lake District, SW Yorkshire, central part of Scotland were the thundriest part that season.

 

 

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Posted
  • Location: Brighton (currently)
  • Location: Brighton (currently)
4 hours ago, Weather-history said:

Another thing, I'm struggling to remember the last time we had a day with more than one thunderstorm? What I mean is a thundery shower or storm then an interval followed by another one.

I recall a few occasions in the 90s this happening. Late June 1990, we had three separate thunderstorms/thundery showers, one Saturday afternoon and evening, 1991, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1995... Some of these occasions, we had a storm some time in the morning and another in the late afternoon/evening or night.

These days, we get one storm and that's it, we don't get a second bite of the cherry. 

I can remember only one occassion in recent years where this happened. It was summer 2013 but I can't remember the exact day. I think it was July. It was a day of sunny spells and thundery showers. The showers moved in bands from west/southwest for a good part of the day, attenuating as the afternoon progressed. It was not during a hot spell, but in the light winds and sunshine in between the showers it felt quite warm.

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Posted
  • Location: Walsall Wood, Walsall, West Midlands 145m ASL
  • Location: Walsall Wood, Walsall, West Midlands 145m ASL
9 hours ago, Weather-history said:

Found this article from November 1926

1st Jan to 31st Mar 1926: 49 days out of 90 somewhere in the UK reported lightning or thunder.

England and Wales : 17 Jan; 11 Feb: 9 Mar

Scotland: 4 Jan; 6 Feb; 11 Mar

Ireland: 15 Jan; 5 Feb; 6 Mar

low figures for Ireland and Scotland maybe due to small number of observers.

Areas which experienced 4 or more storms during that period: large area around Severn Estuary and south Lancashire/SW Yorkshire

The year before (1st Jan - 31st Mar 1925) there were 57 such days 

And an article from the following year.

1st October 1926 to 31st March 1927: 96 days out of the 182, at least one observer in the British Isles observed thunder/lighnting

Cornwall,Devon, Surrey, Sussex, Lake District, SW Yorkshire, central part of Scotland were the thundriest part that season.

 

 

Very interesting. Weird though that there were such frequent thunderstorms in the first 3 months of the year, especially as the first 2 are Winter months. That's got to be pretty unusual, even then? Once again this is just a small window of time and probably doesn't paint the whole picture, but it does once again illustrate how much of a thunder drought we're currently in (here in the west midlands and up your end in the north west anyway), though my region isn't highlighted in that article, but there's a good chance I'd imagine that this region caught some of the action.

It's fascinating looking back at past weather events, especially going back to times in the era of our great grandparents (for me anyway). It's kind of depressing though looking back at past eras and seeing all the great weather events, as it feels a bit like these days are pretty uneventful. It's probably not quite like that though and as I say sometimes looking at the data can give you a slightly false impression as it doesn't necessarily paint the whole picture for everywhere all the time. This decade though despite getting off to a good start (with some classic Winter weather in 2010 and 2013), does seem to of gone down hill a bit, especially since 2014 (though the Winter at the start of that year as well as December 2015 were meteorologically interesting, if not to my particular tastes). The lack of thunder along with that just exacerbates the overall dullness of it all in my opinion. Then again we're not talking a massive amount of time here. I mean just for arguments sake if say what's left of Summer or even Autumn suddenly started to provide a thunderfest, next Winter we have a repeat of Winter 1962/63 and next Summer we have a repeat of Summer 1976 and the next decade became something of a weather fanatics dream, this period would soon pale into insignificance. Though this is very far fetched and is pure fantasy surely some interest has to make a comeback at some point. 

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Posted
  • Location: Hanley, Stoke-on-trent
  • Location: Hanley, Stoke-on-trent
1 minute ago, Walsall Wood Snow said:

Very interesting. Weird though that there were such frequent thunderstorms in the first 3 months of the year, especially as the first 2 are Winter months. That's got to be pretty unusual, even then? Once again this is just a small window of time and probably doesn't paint the whole picture, but it does once again illustrate how much of a thunder drought we're currently in (here in the west midlands and up your end in the north west anyway), though my region isn't highlighted in that article, but there's a good chance I'd imagine that this region caught some of the action.

It's fascinating looking back at past weather events, especially going back to times in the era of our great grandparents (for me anyway). It's kind of depressing though looking back at past eras and seeing all the great weather events, as it feels a bit like these days are pretty uneventful. It's probably not quite like that though and as I say sometimes looking at the data can give you a slightly false impression as it doesn't necessarily paint the whole picture for everywhere all the time. This decade though despite getting off to a good start (with some classic Winter weather in 2010 and 2013), does seem to of gone down hill a bit, especially since 2014 (though the Winter at the start of that year as well as December 2015 were meteorologically interesting, if not to my particular tastes). The lack of thunder along with that just exacerbates the overall dullness of it all in my opinion. Then again we're not talking a massive amount of time here. I mean just for arguments sake if say what's left of Summer or even Autumn suddenly started to provide a thunderfest, next Winter we have a repeat of Winter 1962/63 and next Summer we have a repeat of Summer 1976 and the next decade became something of a weather fanatics dream, this period would soon pale into insignificance. Though this is very far fetched and is pure fantasy surely some interest has to make a comeback at some point. 

Not really WW. Thunder is common in the showers that form over the sea in winter. Thunder in inland areas is rare in winter, usually needing a very active trough or cold front, but in coastal areas not.

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Posted
  • Location: Walsall Wood, Walsall, West Midlands 145m ASL
  • Location: Walsall Wood, Walsall, West Midlands 145m ASL
20 minutes ago, davehsug said:

Not really WW. Thunder is common in the showers that form over the sea in winter. Thunder in inland areas is rare in winter, usually needing a very active trough or cold front, but in coastal areas not.

You live and learn :). Then again I've heard of thundersnow, not that I think I've actually witnessed it.

Edited by Walsall Wood Snow
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Posted
  • Location: Irlam
  • Location: Irlam
11 hours ago, davehsug said:

Not really WW. Thunder is common in the showers that form over the sea in winter. Thunder in inland areas is rare in winter, usually needing a very active trough or cold front, but in coastal areas not.

4 or more storms for my area back iduring the first three months of 1926? Crikey, we struggle to get that even during the summer now.

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Posted
  • Location: Irlam
  • Location: Irlam
On 16/06/2015 at 06:39, Weather-history said:

I can only speak for this area as you are going to get local variations as always when it comes to the weather but looking at the figures for Manchester Ringway, Woodford, my observations and feelings, the number of days with thunder have definitely declined in the last few years especially since and including 2010.

The figures I have

1981: 12

1982: 15

1983: 21

1984: 19

1985: 7

1986: 7

1987:13

1988: 14

1989: 6

1990: 21

1991: 15

1992: 20

1993: 14

1994: 21

1995: 17

1996: 12

1997: 13

1998: 17

1999: 23

2000: 17

2001: 12

2002: 10

2003: 4

2004: 17

2005: 5

2006: 12

2007: 9

2008: 10

2009: 8

2010: 2

2011: 3

2012: 8

 

 

More figures that I have obtained

1956: 20

1957: 20

1958: 21

1959: 22

1960: 24

1961: 12

1962: 9

1963: 14

1964: 17

1965: 12

1966: 14

1967: 24

1968: 15

1969: 17

1970: 14

1971: 10

1972: 16

1973: 12

1974: 10

1975: 14

1976: 9

1977: 8

1978: 8

1979: 9

1980: 9

The back end of the fifties was a thunderfest. It's pretty clear that this decade has been the worst decade for thunder since at least the fifties

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Posted
  • Location: Walsall Wood, Walsall, West Midlands 145m ASL
  • Location: Walsall Wood, Walsall, West Midlands 145m ASL
5 hours ago, Weather-history said:

More figures that I have obtained

1956: 20

1957: 20

1958: 21

1959: 22

1960: 24

1961: 12

1962: 9

1963: 14

1964: 17

1965: 12

1966: 14

1967: 24

1968: 15

1969: 17

1970: 14

1971: 10

1972: 16

1973: 12

1974: 10

1975: 14

1976: 9

1977: 8

1978: 8

1979: 9

1980: 9

The back end of the fifties was a thunderfest. It's pretty clear that this decade has been the worst decade for thunder since at least the fifties

What a shocker. If there has been an equivalent period in the past for lack of thunder, it's quite clear it was a very long time ago. 

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Posted
  • Location: Irlam
  • Location: Irlam
16 minutes ago, Walsall Wood Snow said:

What a shocker. If there has been an equivalent period in the past for lack of thunder, it's quite clear it was a very long time ago. 

It is not the simple case of mediocre or poor summers (lack of heat) and indeed superb summers (lack of rainfall) for affecting the figures.

Summer 1956 was terrible but still 20 days of thunder that year were recorded.

Summer 1959 was a superb summer which was an extended summer but still 22 days of thunder that year were recorded.

Summer 1995 was very dry and logic would say that would have an impact but infact 17 days of thunder were still recorded that year.

There has to be a reason or reasons for the lack of thunder of recent times at least around here.

Edited by Weather-history
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Posted
  • Location: Walsall Wood, Walsall, West Midlands 145m ASL
  • Location: Walsall Wood, Walsall, West Midlands 145m ASL
6 minutes ago, Weather-history said:

It is not the simple case of mediocre or poor summers (lack of heat) and indeed superb summers (lack of rainfall) for affecting the figures.

Summer 1956 was terrible but still 20 days of thunder that year were recorded.

Summer 1959 was a superb summer which was an extended summer but still 22 days of thunder that year were recorded.

Summer 1995 was very dry and logic would say that would have an impact but infact 17 days of thunder were still recorded that year.

There has to be a reason or reasons for the lack of thunder of recent times at least around here.

I just hope it's not a long term or permanent thing. I mean are the met office actually conscious of this, or is it something a bit overlooked. Does anybody have a consensual opinion of why it is, or is it just seen as nothing overly unusual, which could break at any time?

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Posted
  • Location: Walsall Wood, Walsall, West Midlands 145m ASL
  • Location: Walsall Wood, Walsall, West Midlands 145m ASL

Just a thought that's popped into my head. I wonder if it's got anything to do with the quieting Sun?

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Posted
  • Location: Walsall Wood, Walsall, West Midlands 145m ASL
  • Location: Walsall Wood, Walsall, West Midlands 145m ASL
7 minutes ago, Weather-history said:

I think it could possibly be. 

If this is the reason, perhaps if the quieting Sun starts delivering a good quota of cold and snowy Winters as occurred late last decade and early this one, I wouldn't mind.

Edited by Walsall Wood Snow
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Posted
  • Location: Wigan
  • Location: Wigan

I too have noticed a gradual decline, having been a young child in the seventies , i can recall many storms during the summer months and occasional ones at other times of the year,  the main decline seems to have set in during the millennium

I was thinking it just random, but it seems to much of a pattern,  as for why , decling sun spots seems the obvious , but man made interference has even entered my head ,  is there cloud seeding taking place on a large scale that we are unaware of ??  increasing amount of contrials from passenger jets ??,   I even had the theory of increasing percentage of heavy CO2 in the air, is making it less bouyant for rapid convection,  which is probably an unlikely explanation,

as a thunderstorm lover,  its very very depressing  :sorry:   just like the lack of regular snowfall in winter for snow lovers  

 

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Posted
  • Location: Irlam
  • Location: Irlam
49 minutes ago, IanR said:

I too have noticed a gradual decline, having been a young child in the seventies , i can recall many storms during the summer months and occasional ones at other times of the year,  the main decline seems to have set in during the millennium

 

It's stark how much thunder during May has declined, it was a pretty OK month for thunder. 24 days of thunder recorded during the Mays of 1980s, since and including 2000, just over half that amount and that period covers 18 Mays.

Last thundery May around here was ages ago.

 

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Posted
  • Location: Walsall Wood, Walsall, West Midlands 145m ASL
  • Location: Walsall Wood, Walsall, West Midlands 145m ASL

It's also pretty clear based on the Manchester figures for the 1956 to 2012 period, if we say the average is say 10ish then there we're periods more than twice that in say the late 50s and  was still pretty high in the 60s, with the 90s also been quite a peak period. The 70s and 80s seem a bit more average, with the 80s still overall leaning towards a slightly higher than average count. The 00s are also pretty average but leaning slightly below, as we start seeing some of the lowest figures here with 5 and below, so getting in the less than half of average category for some years with 2003 at 4 and 2005 at 5. But even the 00s seem ok really with some pretty respectable years, like 2000 and 2004 with 17 each and the other years been pretty much around average, give or take a little. 

It seems then that it's only really been from 2010 (which WH's figures show a measly 2) that we've had such a pronounced lack of thunder, and could therefore be just an opposite type of period to what were the giddy heights of the late 50s say. The idea gives me a little comfort that it could just be a blip, and we could start creeping back towards average anytime. 

 

Edited by Walsall Wood Snow
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