August 1st

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Hi All,

Back from my hiking and fishing in Alaska and a great break I have to say. It was interesting  living on a camp with no Wifi, phone network or computers in the Alaskan wilderness not being able to forecast the weather, though I have to say Meteoblue’s forecast from the week before was pretty accurate (well done Karl !)

Bearprint

As you can see from the picture above, the bears run pretty big out there, (and have sharp claws !!) this one was about 7ft high according to the relationship between the paw width and overall height that the native Yu’pik Indians use and was active in the same area I was fishing but you rarely saw them. Out there they are wary of man because they are hunted so no Revenant moments for me I’m glad to say. It’s a fact that Moose actually killl more people in Alaska than Bears do and having seen a number, I’m not surprised 🙂

One thing Alaska has in common with us is the fact that their weather and weather patterns are changing with milder autumns and the winter arriving later. This spring was their warmest ever and the Fireweed (related to our Willowherb) was in flower 1 month earlier than usual. The Blueberries, which were growing wild on the Tundra, were also ready a month earlier than usual, not that I was complaining though 🙂Blueberries

Whilst I was away I gather you guys have been having it pretty hot and dry with some blisteringly high E.T days which we can chat about later, but first onto this week and the chance of some rain on the cards for early in the week for the south of England.

General Weather Forecast

Starting today we have a pretty dry picture over the U.K and Ireland at dawn but that’s not going to be the state of play for long with rain already pushing into Kerry and moving across south west Ireland in time for the morning rush hour. East and north of this rain it’ll be a dry start with plenty of sunshine for the south and east of the U.K. As we go through the morning into early afternoon, that rain pushes into the south west of England and Wales and continues its slow progress over Ireland. By the afternoon that rain has pushed across to the West Midlands and is slowly moving eastwards probably reaching as far north as Manchester. North and east of this rain front, you’ll stay dry and warm with hazy sunshine. By close of play Monday that band of rain intensifies over Ireland and stays firmly in place across the south west of England, Wales and central and northern England up to The Humber estuary, though the far south east may miss the worst. Temperature-wise, similar to late with high teens for Ireland and the west and low twenties elsewhere accompanied by a moderate westerly wind, likely to be stronger in the afternoon.

Overnight into Tuesday, the rain pushes south eastwards and is likely to become heavy in places particularly across South Wales and the south west of England around dawn. Ireland is likely to continue wet as well for the start of Tuesday but Scotland is likely to miss the worst initially. By mid-morning we still have rain over Ireland and the heaviest rain across the south west of England and Wales but showers are likely across the whole of the south of England and they’ll adopt more of a northern presence as well as a new rain front is set to push into south west Scotland by mid-afternoon. This will bring rain to Scotland and The Borders through the afternoon and into the evening by which time all of the U.K is under rain, whereas Ireland looks to clear to dry conditions for the evening. Staying warm so humidity is likely to ramp up for Tuesday with the combination of heat and rainfall.

Onto Wednesday and that rain will linger intially on western and eastern coasts but by the morning rush hour will be rapidly clearing to leave a dry picture over most areas for the start of Wednesday. I say most areas because they’ll still be some rain showers around across the north west of England and Ireland and the north west coast of Scotland. We are likely to have a north-south divide for the 2nd part of Wednesday with an increasingly drier and sunny picture for the southern half of the U.K and Ireland, but the north of Ireland and the U.K looks to see rain push in through the late morning and into the afternoon to affect all areas of Scotland. Heavy cloud with light rain will push south across Ireland through the course of the afternoon but for the U.K south of The Pennines, Wednesday looks to finish on a dry and warm note with temperatures pushing up into the low twenties down south but only mid to high teens under that rain and cloud cover 🙁

For Thursday that swirl of rain continues to affect Scotland and Ireland and if anything pushes further south over The Pennines into Northern England first thing. So a dull and damp start for many across Ireland, Scotland and the north of England. The weather than takes on a more showery outlook with sunshine and showers the order of the day for Ireland, especially across the west with more sun across Munster and Leinster. For the south of the U.K we are likely to see hazy sunshine for Thursday morning but it won’t be long before showers bubble up across North Wales and The Midlands through late morning and into the afternoon. For Scotland and the north of England we see plenty of showers about first thing but as we go through the morning into the afternoon, these will lessen across the north of England but intensify to give heavier rain across Scotland I’m afraid. By tea time that westerly Irish rain has moved across country and is now likely to affect Leinster and we will continue to see a showery scenario across Wales, The Midlands and south of England with heavier rain across Scotland. Similar temperatures for Thursday, high teens, low twenties with a moderate to blustery south westerly / westerly wind.

Closing the week out on Friday we have a much drier picture across the U.K though still with that cloud cover and accompanying heavy mizzle across the north of England and Scotland. Ireland will also start off dull but that cloud will lift to give hazy sunshine across most of the country though with a risk of isolated showers across Connacht. For the U.K we will have a mostly dry day spoilt by some showers for the north east of England and Scotland which will hang around till nightfall. Under that thick cloud cover and mizzle, Scotland will sit at mid-teens but further south and west we should see high teens / low twenties again so we can’t complain. Winds will be lighter as well but still westerly.

So onto the weekend and the north-south divide continues with some pretty heavy rain forecast for Ireland on Saturday pushing in overnight from Friday with Connacht and Donegal set to get the heaviest I think. This rain will push across The Irish Sea into Scotland and the north west of England by Saturday morning and may be particularly heavy for south west Scotland and The Lakes I am afraid. By luchtime that rain will be across Scotland and the north of England so a wet day is on the cards here, accompanied by strong westerly winds. At present the dividing line seems to be across The Pennines but this may change, however the outlook south of this is for a hot, hazy close day with temperatures pushing up into the low twenties in the south of England. Sunday looks the better day of the weekend for everyone with quieter winds and a much drier outlook with warm, hazy sunshine on the cards for most of us.

Weather Outlook

A tricky one to forecast looking ahead to next week because we have a classic high vs. low battle in store and depending on which one dominates our weather could vary from unsettled and cool to hot and dry !

Models are split between hot and dry and cool and unsettled but I’m going with Unisys on this one. So it looks like we will continue the north / south split in the weather next week with an unsettled, cool, wet and windy start to next week in the north and across Scotland as a low pressure skirts close by. Further south we will be more settled and drier. As the low pressure spins through it’ll pull down cooler northerly winds for Tuesday / Wednesday and this in turn will bring down some rain later in the week, especially for the west. High pressure will continue to sit south and west of us so tantalisingly close and as commented upon earlier, don’t be surprised if this unsettled weather doesn’t manifest itself and instead we end up with a mini-heatwave, it’s that hard to call.

Agronomic Notes

Monthly GDD Summary

GDDmonthlycomparisonandcumulativeJantoDec2010to2016image

So the GDD figures above show July to be a hot month, but not the hottest we’ve had by a long way. They hide a story though and that’s one of low rainfall and high daily E.T and I’ll cover this shortly.

You can see really see the difference in July and sometimes August (if we get the heat) when comparing the Irish and southern half of the U.K’s climate in that the latter reaches higher temperatures as a rule. Both areas had their maximum temperatures in the 3rd week of July but the south of England topped out 6°C higher in terms of maximum daily air temperature compared to Ireland.

IrishGDDJuly2016

July in detail…

It’s interesting for me looking at the weather data for July (and bearing in mind I was out of circulation for half of the month) to try and determine how it affected plant growth. The first thing I did was to plug in the minimum and maximum air temperatures to the spreadsheet which converts them to Growth Potential  to see if the temperatures got high enough to put the plant under stress. Here’s how it looks for the Thame location ;

GPTempJuly

So we can see a pronounced dip in the Growth Potential on the 20th July and that coincided with the highest temperatures we experienced and the highest E.T level as well. So we can conclude that the plant experienced high levels of stress on the 19th and 20th of July and this was enough to practically stop it growing with a G.P figure of 0.25. After that the temperatures dropped off and that allowed the plant to settle back into normal growth.

Initially this would imply that the stress in July was short-lived but you can see from the graphic below that this peak in temperature coincided with a peak in E.T of 10mm on the 20th of July, This is pretty severe E.T and akin to what you’d experience in some of the hottest climatic zones across the world ! You can also see that for 19 days of July, the E.T exceeded 4mm per day which is a high daily level and so the plant was on the back foot, moisture-wise for the majority of the month culminating in a peak in the third week of the month. So that’s why areas have dried out so much during July and if you dovetail that with the low level of rainfall some areas have experienced, it’s not surprising that we’re on the dry side.

ETRainfallJuly2016

The graph above shows a total monthly E.T of 138.1mm and rainfall of only 10.2mm so the moisture deficit is 127.9mm.

If we work on replacing 50% of E.T loss as a minimum requirement to maintaining plant health, that means you’d have needed to apply 63.95mm of irrigation through July to meet this goal, so what did you do ?

If we look at a location in Ireland (Gurteen in County Tipperary – one for Colm) you can see a reduction in Growth Potential occurred at the same time, but it was less pronounced because the maximum day and night temperatures were lower.

GPTempJulyGurteen

Is this 2014 all over again ?

In 2014 we experienced a similar weather pattern with high temperatures at the end of July and this kicked off the most aggressive Anthracnose outbreak that we have seen to date. Certainly the air temperatures in July 2016 were high enough to initiate spore germination and coming on the back of a wet June, we’ll have to keep an eye out on this disease.

Little, but often is key for this month…

Depending on what Mother Nature serves us up in the way of weather (i.e cool and unsettled or another heatwave) we have to keep things simple, but consistent this month in terms of plant nutrition. Any of you fortunate enough to be aerating will most likely up the nutrition to gain swift recovery and this in itself is usually enough to keep Anthracnose at bay. Those of you who aren’t in this boat need to maintain ‘little, but often’ nutrient inputs to keep the plant healthy and avoid dips in nutrition, which are a calling card for this disease in particular. Fingers crossed.

Ok that’s it for this week, all the best.

Mark Hunt

 

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