Wednesday, 2 September 2009

Forecasters defend their prediction

Forecasters have defended their prediction of a 'barbecue summer' by claiming they got the temperature right - just not the amount of rain!

The Met Office has said Britain has basked in three months of above-average temperatures, but the warm weather has been spoiled by the wettest July for 100 years.

Figures show the country's average temperature over the last three months has been 14.8C - 0.7C above the normal.

August was the hottest month for many of us, with England 1C warmer than normal.

But the rain spoiled many people's summers, and the Met Office was heavily criticised for its 'barbecue summer' prediction.

Forecasters say they did not get it entirely wrong, but have now admitted they they find it difficult to accurately predict the amount of rain that will fall in summer. In April, they told us the summer would be hotter than the past two years and temperatures would reach 30C - and they were right.

However, warmer temperatures don't create growth in plants, that is done by light, and the sunlight was continuously blocked by rain clouds causing our Cannas to have as bad a year as the two previous growing years.

This is the third consecutive year when we have suffered these high rain levels, at least this year we have not suffered flooding! The wild species plants have suffered worse than I have ever seen them, and most of the foliage is yellow due to lack of light. These all come directly from tropical and sub-tropical climates and cannot cope with the small amount of light reaching them in what now appears to be the new typical British summer. There is no point in growing these plants outdoors, and we have no room in the poly tunnels during the summer months for anything that we cannot eat! So, reluctantly, the species will be dropped next year.

We first fell in love with Cannas nearly 20 years ago and started to collect them in ever increasing numbers, but if they had looked like ours currently do, then we would not have bothered. Hopefully next year will provide enough sunlight to provide us with a good growing year.

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