Category Archives: Mark Hunt’s Weatherblog

11th November

Hi All,

Last Thursday was yet another pivotal day in our ever-changing climate picture with excessive daily rainfall falling over a localised area of the U.K.

How many times recently have you heard the forecasters say “A month worth of rain fell in a day” ?

Downloading the stats from a Doncaster-based weather station paints a depressing picture ;

On its way to recording 92.46 mm for the day, the rain rate hit a maximum of 12.7 mm per hour at 6.34 pm (that’s 1/2″ an hour in old money) and didn’t rescind for another 3 hours or so.

That’s the straw that finally broke the camel’s back and the banks of the river Don.

Next week I’m doing a couple of talks at the Sportsturf Ireland Conference (should have them finished some time this week Damian 🙂 ) and in one of them I’ve looked back at daily rainfall and temperature data over the last 55 years and analysed that data statistically for signs of patterns/trends in the Irish weather. Surprisingly temperature trends weren’t consistent but rainfall trends were.

Last week’s excessive rainfall event (I won’t call it biblical) was forecast a good week before by the GFS (Global Forecasting System). I’ll qualify that statement in that GFS forecast a trough pattern to form and for a low pressure system to sit in it. When this happens the low pressure moves very slowly west to east and often pivots round on its own axis. This has the result of dumping rain and more rain over a localised area. You can see in the bottom trace for pressure on the graphic above that the low pressure was moving very slowly over Doncaster.

What we can’t forecast at the moment is exactly where that excessive rainfall event is going to take place. Over recent years, The South West and North West has been hit and now the north Midlands and the north of England.  Here we got 14.8mm last Thursday, another very wet day but nothing like the above.

I can’t help thinking that there’s also other factors at play here. More houses and roads are being built in questionable flood plain areas as local government ticks the U.K governments housing target box regardless of the consequences. More garden lawns are being turned into patio and plastic thereby increasing the run off rate and of course due our friends in London and austerity cuts, there’s been little or no investment into flood prevention measures (until after it happens of course then there’s money available).

A perfect storm indeed…

General Weather Situation

So as predicted we start this week with another low pressure system sitting over the U.K & Ireland and that’s bringing general rain in a belt from the west of Scotland down to The South East. Ireland is seeing rain across Connacht and north Leinster work its way south and east as well. During Monday morning that rain is projected to push away from the south and east of England but at the same time more rain pushes into western Ireland and the west coast of England. In other words a dull, wet and cool day for some with a moderate to strong north-westerly / westerly wind. Away from the rain showers they’ll be some brief sunny intervals. Temperature-wise nothing to write home about at 5-7°C.

Onto Tuesday and overnight the centre of the low has pushed out into The North Sea off the north east coast. So this means most of the rain will be more north and east focused initially on Tuesday. Ireland looks to start and stay dry most of the day but they’ll be rain and wintry showers across Scotland particularly for central and north-eastern regions from the off. As we progress through the morning rain pushes into North Wales and this will then drop south and east into The Midlands and eastern / south-eastern counties. As we approach the early evening most of the rain across the U.K will move out into The North Sea leaving a drier and cooler picture. Again a strong to gale force north-westerly / westerly wind will trim back the temperatures and take the last of the leaves off the trees at the same time. Similar temperatures to Monday with a high of 7°C.

Mid-week beckons and a dry start to the day for the U.K and most of Ireland but of course this won’t be the case for long as a new rain front pushes in from The Atlantic. So the west of Ireland will see rain some of it heavy push in through the course of Wednesday morning moving across Ireland quickly. By mid-afternoon that rain will push into The South West and Wales as the low tracks south and east. Again another feature of a trough pattern in the jet stream is that low pressure systems often track further south. So by late afternoon we see heavy rain into Wales and The South West but further east and north including Scotland, Wednesday will be a drier day. Ireland will see that rain clear from the west through Wednesday afternoon to leave a dry end to the day for all areas except eastern Leinster possibly. Lighter winds for Wednesday and that means slightly milder but maybe only nudging 8°C maximum across the south of England.

Thursday sees that low pressure drop south into The Channel but its northern arm will pull in cool north-easterly / easterly winds as it does so and rain from the off for The Midlands, East Anglia, The South East and for Wales. The latter may fall as snow across The Black Mountains. Ireland and Scotland look to stay reasonably dry with just some rain moving down the eastern coastline of Ireland through Thursday morning. As we move into the afternoon we will see a continuation of showers, some of them heavy across the southern half of the U.K, really anywhere from The Lakes south.  Ireland and Scotland look to stay dry most of the day  with maybe some wintry showers across the north-east of Scotland a possibility.

Closing out the week on Friday and that low has finally moved off to leave a pretty dry picture across all of the U.K and Ireland. There may be a few showers down the north-east coast but winds will be light and they’ll be some sunshine as well so not a bad end to the week after a crap start it has to be said. No change in the temperature though with my lucky number seven being the order of the day across most of the U.K.

The weekend of course won’t be so straight-forward with another low edging in off The Atlantic and bringing rain for west of Ireland from the off on Saturday. This rain will slowly edge eastwards through Saturday and we will also see further rain and wintry showers over elevation as we move into Saturday evening for the western coastline of the U.K. By Sunday this low is projected to bring rain some of it very heavy for the east coast of Ireland, particularly around Dublin and Wicklow I’d say 🙁

They’ll also be further rain for the south coast and a line up to The Midlands and across to North Wales as that low swings up southerly winds as it passes through. Further north we will also see showers on Sunday throughout the day as that low pushes through but from The Lakes northward up to and including most of Scotland should be reasonably dry. Staying on the cool side for everyone with yes you guessed it, 7°C the most you can hope for.

Weather Outlook

So I guess this is the part most people focus on when I write about the weather, the outlook for the next week. i know the question I get asked the most currently is not surprisingly when is it going to stop raining ?.

Well to me next week does look a bit drier, not completely dry but drier and colder I think with a potential for a trough pattern to extend across from Russia and Scandinavia. So that means more frosts and perhaps snow towards the end of the month. Now I know I’m sitting here on the 11th of November and projecting forward but it does look pretty cold with a pronounced northerly / easterly bias to the weather. In the winter north and east in my book mean cold winds and an increasing risk of snowfall. (and Waxwings…yeah :))

Here’s the GFS output for November 27th…

Image courtesy of TropicalTidbits.com

Now it is just a hunch at the moment but this type of pattern doesn’t appear that often and it would tally with nature.

So next week looks to start off pretty much as a repeat of the end of this week. That is to say with a southerly biased low pressure moving through and bringing rain for the southern half of the U.K and Ireland on Tuesday after a reasonably quiet Monday. So unsettled through Tuesday and Wednesday but then we start to see a drier picture, still with showers around coming in off The North Sea on a north / east airflow. So a cooler, drier end to the week still with some showers across Scotland and north-eastern coasts but less in the way of heavy rain events after the one early in the week. After that we will see…..

Agronomic Notes

Disease Pressure

Now I know your minds are most likely preoccupied with water-logged courses / pitches, washed out bunkers for the ‘nth time’ and the inability to start / continue winter projects but I thought it timely to update the autumn so far from some of the locations we are forecasting disease pressure.

As you can see we had a spike prior to the weekend from the forecasting perspective but there’s another factor coming into play here that probably would negate this spike from a practical perspective, more on this below…

So the good news and let’s face it we need some good news is that we have decreasing disease pressure as an outlook on all sites monitored. Now in sheltered locations there was a recent smaller spike prior to the weekend but of course we must take into account ground conditions in the growth of Microdochium nivale. What I mean by this is that a wet, cold surface isn’t actually the ideal environment for Microdochium nivale and for this reason we can expect low disease pressure when we have saturated ground conditions from a spore germination and mycelium growth perspective.

There’s further good news in terms of spray longevity with the now normal 14-day or so longevity for a spray applied in early October. As with last year, the 2nd half of October was cooler and actually as reported last week one of our coolest. So a spray applied mid-October is still likely to be working well in the grass plant and with a low disease pressure forecast there’s no need to scramble looking for a spray day this week (even if you are able to get a tractor out on your golf course!)

The graphic below shows estimated fungicide longevity for a Northampton location (Ta Rob)

Grass growth dip equals problems for areas under wear pressure…

That tail off of growth over the last 14 days or so has meant that surfaces that are receiving wear are not able to regenerate sufficiently with virtually no growth at the end of October and over the last 5 days (and little on the horizon either).

This means golf greens, tees and winter season pitches will be on the back foot especially when you dovetail that in with the information I posted last week showing reduced solar radiation for October and now November. It’s been estimated that roughly 45% of Solar Radiation reaching the earth is in the correct wavelength for photosynthetic plants to utilise as light energy. So with declining heat energy from the sun comes much lower available light levels for the grass plant, reducing photosynthesis and therefore growth potential. So it isn’t just temperature that is growth-regulating currently, light is also an issue.

Now some grass species (famously Poa annua) are able to grow well at low light levels but others like Bentgrass and Ryegrass are less able to and so we see these species being out-competed by Poa annua currently.

Ryegrass, I think is especially sensitive to low light levels and tends to show senescence on older leaves as a result. These break down on the surface and encourage algae growth and sward thinning as a result. So don’t be surprised to see thinner ryegrass areas at the moment because of lower temperatures and light levels….I’d also expect to see more in the way of algae and moss around because of the above and prolonged surface wetness. Bad news when we no longer have very effective methods for treatment 🙁

Global warming ?

October 2019 in the U.K & Ireland actually went against the global trend for warmest October’s by being one of our coolest since we started monitoring GDD back in 2010.  OK, that isn’t a long time, but it’s enough time to show that we aren’t seeing the same trend in globally rising temperatures as the rest of the world in some months of the year

What we measured as a cooler October agreed with The Copernicus Program which monitors global and European temperature trends. (see below)

Image courtesy of The Copernicus Program https://climate.copernicus.eu/surface-air-temperature-october-2019

This doesn’t mean global warming isn’t happening here but its effects (I think) are likely to be different for the U.K and Ireland because of our location in terms of longitude and latitude on the planet and the fact that we lie slap bang in the path of the sub-polar jet stream. 

Let us remember, eighteen of the 19 warmest years on record have occurred since 2001, with 2016 the hottest since monitoring began 169 years ago. The current decade is set to be the planet’s warmest on record, according to the UK’s Met Office, who expect 2019 to “amongst the warmest of years”. Well let’s see but I’m reckoning on different.

The above graphic also highlights that some of the biggest temperature anomalies are taking place at the poles and again I think in the case of The Arctic this is because of the phenomenon of Rossby Wave formation in the jet stream. These undulating waves form peak and trough patterns in the jet stream and can pull cooler air further south and push warmer air further north. Currently Russia is experiencing a mild and wet autumn compared to usual and that is directly as a result of the sub-polar jet stream pushing warmer air than normal further north….

Image courtesy of TropicalTidbits.com

OK that’s me done  for another week, most likely they’ll be no blog next week as I’m away in Germany and Ireland doing talks unless I can grab some airport time courtesy of Ryanair 🙁

All the best.

Mark Hunt

November 4th

Hi All,

When you start the week looking at a Weathercheck forecast like the one below you won’t need me to tell you that we are still in the same pattern that started towards the end of September.

We are now into our 7th week of unsettled weather and heavy rain and to be honest there is still no break in this pattern for the foreseeable.

No re-alignment of the jet stream and no blocking high popping up to give us some respite. As you can see from the graphic above, the jet stream is sitting south of the U.K & Ireland and that’s pretty much where it has been for 6 weeks now. This allows low pressure systems forming over The Atlantic to continually swing in from the south and west, drop into the trough and dump heavy rain on us. It’s mild as well but we will get progressively cooler.

‘Beast from the East’ I heard mentioned at the weekend in the tabloids…yeah right, pretty difficult when its currently 6°C and raining north of Moscow 🙂 You can see the tail end of the jet stream is pushing that mild weather further north into Scandinavia and Russia so the cold isn’t going to come from there at the moment. More tabloid hype to sit alongside that which we are getting from the politicians currently. I mean really ?

General Weather Situation

As predicted last week, we start this week on Monday with a low sitting over the U.K and Ireland. During the course of this morning this will pull in heavy rain across Scotland from the east and also down the east coast of Ireland with Leinster set for some heavy stuff. Further south and west the low is pushing showers on a light to moderate wind up from The South West / South Wales / South Coast and moving them inland. Already there’s some significant showers pushing up across northern England. Now not everywhere will have rain, The Midlands and further east should miss a chunk of the showers though the risk increases through the day. Through the afternoon we will see more consolidation of that rain along the south of the U.K, north of England, Scotland and east / Midlands of Ireland. A cool day particularly on the west / north side of that low where the wind will be north / easterly respectively and keep temperatures into the high single figures. Further south on that slightly milder wind we will be 10-12°C

Overnight into Tuesday and that low pressure is sinking south and eastwards onto the continent so a drier day is on the cards but not everywhere. It’s likely that a band of rain associated with that low will lie across The Midlands and North Wales and this will track south and east through the course of the day bringing rain to those areas as it does so. So the threat of rain on Tuesday is more along the eastern coastline of the U.K from The North East down through Lincolnshire, East Anglia and The South East. Feeling cooler on Tuesday as that low sinks south and pulls in a keen north wind behind it so 9-11°C likely.

Onto mid-week and Wednesday sees the next rain fronts pushing in from The Atlantic into the west of Ireland and tracking eastwards through the course of the morning. By lunchtime that rain will be across most of Ireland into the western coastline of the U.K. From here it’ll slowly move inland but fizzle out as it does so leaving a drier day for central and eastern parts of the U.K. The same for Scotland with showers across the north-west failing to make progress inland. Away from the western rain it’ll feel a good bit cooler on Wednesday with temperatures 2-3°C down on the start of the week. This is because of the colder air mass associated with the new low pressure pushing in rather than the wind direction. Talking about the wind, it will be light for the first half of the day, freshening from the south later. So a cool dull day with only a little in the way of sunshine pushing through and temperatures down at 7-9°C.

Thursday sees the low pressure move eastwards overnight pulling that cold rain across Wales, The South West and into most areas of the U.K. Now this rain is cold so over higher grounds it will fall as sleet overnight. By the morning rush hour the centre of the low will be across The Isle of Wight leaving a dry region across central England. Further north this low will be pushing rain and wintry showers across Scotland, The Midlands, The Peak District and Pennines and down the east coast of Ireland again with some white stuff for The Wicklow mountains I reckon. As we progress through the morning the centre of the low tracks barely 50 miles along the south coast and so that means a continuation of the rain / sleet for most areas pushed long on a cold easterly wind turning from the north for the west wide of the country and Ireland. Not a nice day it has to be said for some but like the beginning of the week there will be gaps in the rain fronts so some areas may not receive much rain at all. Remaining on the cool side though with those easterly / northerly winds so 7-9°C looks to be about right. It is November after all.

Closing out the week on Friday we see that low still just across the Kent coast and that’s a feature of a trough pattern in the jet stream as we know, slow-moving weather systems. Well this one will nearly be east of the U.K & Ireland by dawn and so that means it’ll be taking the majority of its rain elsewhere. As with earlier in the week, the threat of rain / wintry showers will now be more for the north-east, Lake District and south-east of England as that low drifts slowly away into The Channel. So a largely dry day away from that eastern rain for Ireland, Scotland, England and Wales with the sun even popping through across Ireland and the west. Further east will see more in the way of clouds and with the low to the east of us, a cool northerly wind for The Midlands and central areas. Scotland also looks to have a largely dry day on Friday with the low sitting at the other end of the country (the benefit of a low-lying jet stream). Remaining cool though with 7-9°C the new norm.

With no change in the weather patterns at the time of writing this blog, it is no surprise that the outlook for the weekend is unsettled as a band of rain crosses Ireland overnight and pushes eastwards across the U.K during the course of Saturday. Stretching from Scotland down to the south coast it’s a case of if you are dry, you won’t be for long on Saturday as that rain moves eastwards. Ireland will see more in the way of showers behind that rain front through the course of Saturday. I’d love to say it’ll be feeling milder but it’s unlikely with temperatures remaining down in the mid-single figures despite a westerly wind direction. Sunday sees a new deep low pressure push into Ireland bringing heavy rain and strong winds with it. Later this will move into The South West and South Wales / Wales edging slowly eastwards through the course of Sunday. It looks like the rain associated with this front will be heavy. That said central and eastern areas may avoid the worst until later on Sunday evening / night. Similar temperatures to Saturday, 7-9°C with a freshening south / south-westerly wind for most.

Weather Outlook

So no surprises then that we will start the week with an intense low pressure sat over the U.K, so that means windy and very wet, perhaps the wettest period of next week will be at the start. So Monday and into the first part of Tuesday looks very wet, especially for the south and west of the U.K and possibly the south-east corner of Ireland. The northern part of this low pressure will be across Scotland and the Borders. Tuesday could be a little drier for eastern and central areas but it’s only a brief respite before more rain pushes through from the east on Wednesday and particularly Thursday looks wet for the southern half of the U.K. The end of the week and weekend look a little drier as the low slides away but already a new low is pushing into the Bay of Biscay. With predominantly easterly and northerly winds associated with the jet stream and position of the low pressure systems, it’ll remain on the cool side.

Agronomic Notes

As it is the first blog of November, here’s a look back at October from a GDD / Rainfall perspective.

GDD October 2019 – Thame Location

That’s the benefit of doing this kind of thing you know. I was wondering to myself whilst fishing yesterday whether this autumn / winter is following the same pattern as 2015 when the jet stream dropped southwards and we just got wet and windy weather for practically most of the winter ?

Well if you compare you can see that the GDD for October 2015 was 147 and for 2019, it was 130. It may come as a shock but that’s nearly the lowest October GDD we have recorded going back to 2010, so 2019 broke the mold in terms of warm October months.

Good news though from a disease perspective 🙂

Cumulatively as well, 2019 isn’t going to be breaking any records I think and courtesy of the cooler, wetter June / October we experienced, it’s falling well behind 2018 and 2017. That’s what makes our climate such a hard one to call in terms of highlighting consistent weather trends.

We are an island, we sit in the path of the jet stream and therefore variability in our climate is the norm.

GDD / Rainfall Comparison – U.K Locations

Not many contributors this month, probably my fault for being a bit hit & miss lately with my blog publishing but thanks to those that managed to send some data through. The story of October 2019 is definitely rainfall and the fact that in both the U.K and Irish locations, the south and south-west were in the firing line with roughly a 2x rainfall volume vs. their eastern counterparts. For some reason, my GDD in Market Harborough was way lower than the average, maybe it is a reflection of the shaded location of my weather station and the fact that I’m a tight arse with my central heating 🙂 100+mm in any month though is a wet one but with declining E.T to dry us down it isn’t surprising that we are soaking.

GDD / Rainfall Comparison – Irish Locations

As mentioned above, you can see the rainfall bias for the south west and southerly locations in Ireland. This is because the low position of the jet stream has meant more of the low pressure systems are swinging down into The Bay of Biscay and so the rainfall effect is more south and south-west rather than north and west as we have traditionally seen. I’m not saying of course that the north-west of either Ireland or the U.K is dry, just that the south and south-west are also getting a pasting. With that variability in rainfall comes variability in GDD because the wettest locations are also the mildest ones posting high GDD numbers for the month. Big variability in the effect of altitude as well when you look at Killiney vs. Dublin (Casement)

So why are we so wet ?

Despite the type of stats I have documented there are plenty of people who still ask why we are so wet. It’s almost as though they live in a hermetically sealed container !

One of the sheets on my GDD spreadsheet is labelled charts and if you scroll down you’ll find some data like this ;

This is for a location in North Devon and looking at the rainfall total is one thing but when you look at the number of wet days vs. dry, that to me is the eye opener.

29 days of October have recorded rainfall with just 2 dry days !

Here’s another way to look at it….

I think this is a smart graph, but then I am biased 🙂

The above shows the last 3 months at The Oxfordshire and tells a convincing story….

Despite the fact that it is in a reasonably dry part of the country, you can see how the rainfall totals are increasing each month and how the E.T and the amount of solar energy the grass plant / ground is receiving is heading in the opposite direction.

So we are receiving less warmth as defined by solar energy with approximately 34% of the solar radiation in October as September. Less heat tends to means less E.T and indeed for October we are only 43.5% of September’s E.T figure.  If you look at the rainfall and E.T in September, they were pretty equal but in October, the rainfall exceeded the E.T by nearly 48 mm.

So surfaces tend to be water-logged and with low E.T levels are slow to dry down.

What we need is a cold, stable high pressure to give us some respite but currently it isn’t anywhere to be seen. Maybe better news next week ?

All the best for the coming week.

Mark Hunt

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So Mr Punter that’s why we are wet…..For my location it’s slightly better, 21 days out of 31 were wet in October.

 

October 28th – Mini Blog

Hi All,

It’s difficult to express sometimes in numbers and graphs the type of weather we have experienced of late and more so its effect on our industry and the people who work in it.

On Friday we were 16°C, balmy, windy and wet and 12 hours later the temperature had dropped to 4.5°C and we had a deluge, just under 30 mm here, which I know is half of what you guys in The North West have experienced.

Our local River Welland that at times in the summer could barely muster a flow turned into a  torrent breaking its banks further downstream.

Just as surreal this morning to wake up to a hard frost with temperatures dipping to -2°C overnight as high pressure takes over, albeit only briefly I am afraid.

So this is the phenomenon that we have to deal with as an industry,

if you look at the lessons of the last two years you’d say invest in irrigation and drainage, but there are limits to what most clubs can do with the resources available. I’d love to say this is a blip and things look better in the short and medium term, but they don’t. The jet stream is sitting low and that means any Atlantic low spinning our way is likely to impact and most likely further south than the usual west and north scenario.

General Weather Situation

As usual with the mini-blog I’ll do a summary of the week ahead which obviously starts with some respite from the extremely wet weather we have experienced. We start the week with low pressure to the south-west of the U.K and a weak high pressure sitting over us. During Monday and Tuesday that high pressure will keep the U.K & Ireland largely dry save for some rain that will push into the far south-west of England this afternoon and overnight into Tuesday. So staying dry and settled with significant amounts of cloud pushing in on a strong to moderate (and chilly) easterly wind. Temperatures will just break double figures and the cloud cover should keep us frost-free after Monday morning. As we approach mid-week that low pressure begins to make its presence felt as a band of rain will push into the south-west of Ireland and move slowly north and east. By dusk it will be into the south-west of England and overnight into Thursday will push into South Wales and by dawn the west coast of England. Thursday then sees a wet start for the west of the U.K though Ireland should just see showers for the west. As we progress through Thursday this band of rain moves slowly eastwards, clearing the west as it does so and orientated in a vertical line from the south coast right up to Scotland. Later on Thursday the next heavy rain front from that low pushes into Ireland and overnight into Friday will see heavy rain across the U.K and Ireland. Friday morning looks to be a pretty wet one I am afraid with heavy rain for most areas though Ireland may pick up a respite between two rain fronts during Friday. By Friday afternoon / evening that heavy rain will have cleared the east of the U.K but another rain front will cross Ireland overnight and push further showers across the U.K early doors Saturday. The weekend looks showery for the north of England and Scotland but largely dry for Saturday further south across the U.K, with showers for the west of Ireland consolidating into heavier rain for Saturday afternoon / evening. Sunday looks wet overnight with further heavy rain across Ireland and the southern half of the U.K before that rain pushes north and eastwards through Sunday morning / afternoon bringing heavy rain to Scotland later on.

Weather Outlook

Like I said earlier, I love to report that the outlook looks better but currently it doesn’t I am afraid. We have a deep trough pattern forming at the end of the week / weekend and the low pressure will circulate round in that trough instead of moving off eastwards. This means an extremely wet run of weather I am afraid again for the weekend and early part of next week.

You can see how the low is fixed in place in the graphic below ;

So the first part of next week looks cool, wet and windy and as we approach Wednesday, a new low pushes in from the west to bring further rain across the U.K and Ireland, mid-week. This new low is projected to track south of the U.K and so that may mean a drier, showery outlook for the end of the week follows but no real let up in sight.

Agronomic Notes

Disease Pressure

The only crumb of consolation from the recent run of extremely wet weather we have experienced is the decreased risk of Microdochium nivale looking ahead. Last week we saw significant disease pressure as high overnight temperatures, dew and light winds encouraged fungal growth but with cooler winds, frequent rain and less risk of dew forecast, disease pressure is dropping off for the next 7 days at least, perhaps longer.

You can see the peaks in last week’s output from Central England below hitting 90% on the 23rd / 24th October  ;

As we move into November at the end of this week, we typically know temperatures take a dip and so disease pressure tends to become confined to shorter peaks of milder air, but last year taught us that both November and particularly December can see high disease pressure.

You can see the rapidly-changing temperature dynamic that we experienced this weekend in the graph below as milder air moved away and cooler air pushed in  ;

Those cooler temperatures impact on the drying down of the turfgrass canopy with lower daily E.T figures the norm now.

Spray Days

This week will provide a spray window for fungicides / non-fungicidal sprays on Monday / Tuesday / Wednesday with it closing down from the west on Wednesday and after that i can’t see another window for the next 7-10 days.

Hypoxia (lack of oxygen)

Hypoxia is a general term for oxygen deficiency and applies to plants and people alike.

Without a doubt during these periods of intense rainfall and water-logging, we will have a situation when the oxygen status of the rootzone is depleted and the plant will struggle to respire properly. The problem is when the ground is saturated there’s nothing you can do and arguably even getting to fine turf surfaces is a challenge at times like these. Less is definitely more when it comes to working on surfaces during spells of weather like this.

Hopefully all the aeration, topdressing and vertidraining prior to this type of weather will be paying dividends but there are limits for the rootzone and the grass plant alike. Hypoxia at its extreme will manifest as yellow tipping on the leaf as the plant cannot uptake nitrogen due to a low soil oxygen status, however partial hypoxia doesn’t show up in terms of lack of colour and in this situation we have to be very careful what we apply onto the plant to avoid tipping it over the edge.

If we fertilise during hypoxic conditions we encourage the plant to grow and in order to do so it needs to take up more oxygen to support that growth. So you tip the plant over the edge and instead of providing a benefit you put it at a disadvantage (see image above) 

Best just to grin and bear it and look forward to the back of this recent run of pretty rubbish weather.

All the best.

Mark Hunt

October 21st

Hi All,

At this time of year I get a lot of questions about what winter has in store and whether we are likely to experience a hard winter ?

Now if you follow all the climate data it would seem less and less likely that we will a hard winter but because of our position on the jet stream and its ability to throw in some peaks and troughs over the winter months I don’t think you can rule it out.

If I look to signs from nature I saw / heard my first Redwings and Fieldfares nearly a month ago which is very early for them to be making the trip west from their summer nesting grounds in Scandinavia and Russia. I also think the Martins and Swallows shipped out earlier than usual this year for warmer southern climes. So maybe nature is forecasting a harder winter ?

I wouldn’t even bother looking at a forecast beyond 7 days for a longer-term meteorological perspective because its accuracy would be about as likely as a bunch of politicians making a collective, progressive, logical decision.

I place a lot of store in nature so we will see.

On the home weather front, at last some respite from the succession of Atlantic low pressure systems that have been feeding in for the last 3 1/2 weeks now pretty much unhindered. This has led to saturated surfaces, a good deal of worm activity but as explained last week, lower than normal disease pressure for October. The risk in terms of the latter doesn’t come from Atlantic low pressures but from continental high pressure particularly those that push their winds up from The Med / Africa.

If you are a weather watcher this is the weather pattern we don’t want to see any time from October to February. As you may be able to read from the image, this occurred on the 26th December, 2018. The high pressure sat just off Ireland and pulled up warm air accompanied by high humidity and light winds and gave us rampant disease pressure. A great day for walking off Christmas dinner but not much else 🙁

So as we go into more avariable weather pattern with low pressures pushing through and then a period of high pressure, we have to be especially on our guard from a Microdochium perspective.

General Weather Situation

So looking back at last week’s blog, I predicted a calm, dry start to the week with a low pressure moving through from Tuesday for the west and that’s pretty much how it will play out this week.

So Monday starts off dry for most of the U.K & Ireland save for a slow-moving rain front that’s affecting The South Coast and South East bringing consistent rain this morning I’m afraid. Elsewhere we have a few scattered showers pushing in off The North Sea on a north-easterly wind so expect some sharp showers across East Anglia and Lincolnshire. As is usually the case with a NE wind, the west / Ireland ends up being drier and that’s the way we look at the moment with a cold bright start for Ireland and Scotland (more in the way of cloud over the latter). Through the course of the morning we will see that rain over the south-east of the U.K remain stubbornly in place and only slowly move off into The Channel this afternoon. Elsewhere we look to remain dry if a little dull with the odd shower pushing in off The North Sea. As normal with a NE wind, it’ll feel cool with 8-10°C for Ireland in that bright sunshine, and 11-13°C for the U.K with more in the way of cloud cover.

Onto Tuesday and overnight we see rain push into the north-west of Scotland. This is associated with a new low pressure system but unlike my projection last week it isn’t now due to push in till overnight Tuesday so we have another reasonably dry day for the U.K and Ireland as a bonus 🙂 It’ll feel a little milder as well because the wind will swing round from north-east to south-west and it’ll pick up in strength for the north and west as that low makes its presence felt. So 11-13°C  again I’d say for Tuesday, plenty of cloud cover so a little on the dull side with the occasional sunny interval. With skies clearing later it looks like being a cold night with some mist / fog patches and light winds.

Overnight into Wednesday we see that rain nudge into the west of Ireland and push eastwards into The Midlands by lunchtime. It then looks to stall which is bad news for the west of Ireland as that means the associated rainfall totals will be high I’m afraid. Further east we look to stay dry  and largely dull though the north and north-east of England may see more in the way of the sun during the day. During the late afternoon that rain front makes a 2nd push and moves eastwards into the east of Ireland and north-west of Scotland. At the same time an associated front looks to push into the south of England, South Wales and the Midlands during Wednesday evening so a wet end to the day there. Overnight some of this rain will be heavy for these areas but either side of that rain will remain dry. Similar temperatures to Tuesday with 11-13°C. Winds will be light to moderate and southerly.

Onto Thursday and that rain will be straddled in vertical bands across the U.K first thing in the morning and these bands will move slowly eastwards through the course of the morning. Ireland, Scotland and The Border counties though should start off reasonably dry as that rain stays east and south of these areas. As we progress towards lunchtime the rain begins to dissipate but they’ll still be plenty of showers for across the U.K and we will also see a new front push into the west of Ireland and north-west of Scotland. This rain moves eastwards across Ireland during Thursday afternoon and we will also see that rain over the bottom half of the U.K consolidate to central areas leaving showers for the west / Wales. As we approach dusk that rain clears Ireland to leave coastal showers behind with more showers across the east of the U.K through Thursday evening. The rain over the north-west of Scotland doesn’t look to move into central and eastern areas through Thursday so a reasonably dry picture here, some showers around until later into the evening when the rain pushes eastwards. Winds will be moderate to strong westerlies for the north and west with lighter winds further south.

Closing out the week on Friday we will see a drier picture initially but we have a sneaky Bay of Biscay low zipping up into the south-west of Ireland in time for the Sneem morning rush hour (:)) bringing rain some of it heavy. This rain will quickly push north and east across Ireland on Friday morning. Further east and north we have a dry start to Friday with moderate south-westerly winds but by lunchtime that rain has crossed The Irish Sea and will be pushing into The South West, Wales and west / north-west of England / Scotland. The rain consolidates over Ireland and looks to be extremely heavy with flooding possible through Friday afternoon into Friday evening. Not pleasant for you guys. The path of this rain looks to affect Ireland, mid-Wales northwards and the north-west of England / south-west of Scotland later on Friday night with some of that rain turning to wintry showers over elevation. South of this rain front probably from The Peak District south should have a mainly dry and dull day with a moderate to strong south-westerly wind. Similar temperatures to the rest of the week on Friday, 11-13°C .

Not surprising then that Saturday look some heavy rain overnight for the north-west of England and Scotland with Saturday morning looking to start with a band of showers across Ireland and England and heavier rain for Scotland combined with a freshening wind that swings northerly through the day. Saturday afternoon could see those showers move through to give a brighter picture over England and Wales but still the threat of showers across the south and west of Ireland with heavier rain over Scotland. Some of the rain over Scotland will again fall as wintry showers over elevation. Sunday looks a much better day as we pick up lighter winds and that rain pushes away so not a bad 2nd part of the weekend for the U.K & Ireland with maybe some showers Sunday p.m. across The South West. Remaining in that 11-13°C temperature range though.

Weather Outlook

That drier end to the weekend is courtesy of the high pressure system that I predicted last week should settle our weather down from next weekend onwards but the question is will it last ?

Well at this stage the high pressure doesn’t look like it’ll keep the rain away from Ireland and the west, but it should give the south east and east of the U.K some respite. So we will have a west-east split next week I think, well at least for the 1st part of the week with warmer air for the south and south east of England pushed up against a more unsettled picture for Ireland, the north-west of England and Scotland with rain pushing through here on Monday, Tuesday and to a lesser degree on Wednesday. By Thursday those Atlantic fronts are lining up again and the high is projected to get pushed out of the way allowing the unsettled weather to encroach further east across the U.K. So by the end of next week I think we will be back into the western air stream with strong westerly winds and frequent rain. Ho hum it will be a wet October for many of us.

Agronomic Notes

Microdochium nivale disease pressure

As you can see from the graphs below we are predicting a high spike in activity this week for some areas of the U.K and Ireland with mild air, light winds and high leaf wetness probability for some.

For the north and west this probably won’t be a problem because you’ll already have higher wind speed and rainfall as a new low pushes in but for The Midlands south I think we will see some heavier pressure this week if we get lighter winds at night and mild temperatures.

This is pretty much on par with last year.

You can see the milder nights on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday that could present an issue in the Meteoturf graphic for the Bracknell area below ;

Contrast this with Meteoturf output taken from Dunbarton, Glasgow and you can see how the scenario’s are quite different with the milder nights early in the week for the north (and Ireland) and then a pronounced drop off in temperature at the end of the week as that cold low pressure moves through. Unlike the southerly locations though, those milder nights will be accompanied by higher wind speeds and rainfall and that should lower the Microdochium pressure.

One size hat certainly doesn’t fit all when it comes to disease pressure….

Fungicide Longevity

Now I’ve used some weather data from Northampton (cheers Rob) to plot likely fungicide longevity this month assuming an application was made at the beginning of the month (which is normal) . I work on a cumulative G.P of 10 for fungicide longevity but of course that number comes with a few caveats. Firstly, a fungicide won’t just suddenly stop working nor will it work from day 1 of the application unless it is a contact curative fungicide and we don’t have those anymore. That said you could apply that definition to a protectant chemistry like Fludioxonil (Medallion and a component of Instrata Elite) because it sits on the plant leaf rather than enters into it and so is effective as soon as it is applied as a protectant. (Not as a curative note)

So that figure allows for a ‘cross over’ between one product dipping out and another one being taken up by the grass plant.

The graph above is obviously using predicted max and min temperature data from 21st October – 31st October. The initial application is projected to have lasted around 19 days from 1st October, with the 2nd application likely to last a good deal longer because of the cooler 2nd part of the month that is forecast.

This follows a very similar pattern to October 2018 with the 1st application lasting 14 days and then the 2nd one extending into well November.

Spray Windows…

Now obviously with the variable weather dynamic across the U.K your local forecast is key.

The Weathercheck output above indicates that finding a spray window is a tricky proposition this week especially in the north and west with the growing chance of rain as we go through the week and the cooler outlook meaning slower uptake of products.

Further south it isn’t a whole bunch better with Monday and Tuesday good spray days and then a decreasing probability thereafter. If the disease probability projections are right you’ll need to be covered this week going into next for sure…

OK,  that’s all for today, the in-tray beckons…

All the best.

Mark Hunt

 

October 14th

Hi All,

It’s the 3rd weekend in a row now that I’ve been met by this flooded torrent in place of what is normally a gentle, babbling brook.  Out walking in the countryside, there’s a lot of wet lying fields for the middle of October. The figures don’t really do it justice but we are certainly getting some serious rain, not in gentle dollops but 15-20 mm in a few hours. The strange thing is a couple of hours later and all the roads were dry because we still have temperature and therefore E.T to dry things out.

Nothing compared to Japan though where Typhoon Hagibis brought 939.5 mm (37 inches) over a 24-hour period. It is difficult to imagine the effect of that volume of rainfall in a U.K or Irish scenario.

Whilst out mountain biking yesterday I came across a Range Rover whose driver thought that it would be a good idea to attempt a local river crossing despite the fact that it was in flood. There he was up to his dashboard in flooded water, inside and outside of the car…not the greatest of ideas I thought as I cycled over a footbridge next to him. (I didn’t think it pertinent or fair to take a picture)

With out further ado I’ll take a look at what this week and next has in store as we continue our march through October.

General Weather Situation

So Monday starts off dull and calm in this next of the woods but we have two weather systems bringing rain to the U.K and Ireland. One is across most of Ireland save the east coast of Leinster and the other pushing up from The Bay of Biscay and already covering an area from Exeter to The Wash. Both rain fronts are associated with the same low pressure system and through the course of the day they will slowly edge northwards so for The Midlands, South Wales and north of England, you may be dry now but it is heading your way I am afraid. For most of Ireland it looks like a total washout today with consistently bad weather with heavy rain throughout the day. Scotland will see that rain over Ireland push into the west of the country and later this evening into central areas but the east and north-east of Scotland should stay dry. Little point in forecasting wind direction because with the low pressure over Ireland we will see great variability in direction, but overall winds will be light to moderate, freshening as we go through the day. Temperature-wise, pretty much par for the course now with 11-13°C across the U.K and Ireland.

Onto Tuesday and overnight that low pressure spins off into The North Sea to give us a pretty dry picture to start the day thankfully. Just a risk of some showers across The South West and east of Ireland. Enjoy it while you can though because by late afternoon another thick band of heavy rain is set to swing in from The Atlantic and slowly push eastwards across Ireland. This does mean that for the bulk of the U.K, Tuesday will end up being largely dry as this rain won’t impact until later in the day. Some showers may break out later in the afternoon across central areas of England whilst the rain will slowly move across Ireland, clearing the west later into the evening. So a largely dry day for the U.K and really Ireland as the rain isn’t set to arrive till late in the afternoon / dusk. Slightly better temperatures for the U.K pushing up to 15°C but under that cloud and rain expect 11-13°C again.

So by mid-week the boot is on the other foot as that rain is projected to clear most of Ireland by dawn on Wednesday but overnight it has moved across The Irish Sea into the west of the U.K, Wales and The South West and stretches in a line up to the tip of Scotland. Through the course of the morning this rain front will edge eastwards into The Midlands, northern England and central areas clearing the west as it does so. Ireland will start dry but by late-morning you’ll see more in the way of showers pushing into western coasts. That rain keeps moving eastwards so by lunchtime it should have cleared Wales and the western coasts and moved into central and eastern areas finally clearing the eastern coastline of the U.K by dusk. So a dry (ish) day for Ireland, a wet start for the west but clearing through the day and a wet one for central and eastern areas. Similar temperatures to earlier in the week with a moderate to strong south / south-westerly wind in situ.

Onto Thursday and that rain is but a distant memory heading over to the continent, unfortunately absence doesn’t make the heart grow fonder in this case because yet another Atlantic low pressure system is on its way as the Meteoblue clip above shows. So as you can see Thursday will already see a freshening wind across Ireland and showers for the west quickly pushing across country during the first part of the morning. Those freshening winds and showers will also affect Wales, The South Coast and the western coastline of the U.K.  This low though is tracking slowly north-east so whilst Ireland is the firing line we may see the bulk of showers across the U.K confined to the south and west with fewer showers pushing inland. This could easily change as I type this on a Monday morning but currently the further east you are across the U.K, the drier you’ll likely to stay. So a wet day for Ireland, Wales, The South West and western / southern coasts with plenty of showers rattling in on that strong to moderate south-westerly wind. Again similar temperatures to the rest of the week 11-13°C.

Overnight into Friday and that low is still off the north-west coast of Ireland so expect another day of sunshine and showers for Ireland and the western coastline of the U.K. We will also keep the strong south-westerly wind and are likely to see showers push further inland across England and Scotland through the course of Friday morning. Again though the bulk of those showers will be across Ireland, Wales, The South West and western coasts stretching all the way up to Scotland where we may see more push inland because of the proximity of the low pressure. So a sunshine and showers day with windy and unsettled conditions but as mentioned earlier if you get a gap between the showers, things will soon dry down. Temperatures remain consistently low double figures – mid-teens.

With such an unsettled week, does the weekend look to follow the same pattern or will we get a breather ?

Saturday will see that very slow-moving low centred over the north of Ireland so that means a continuation of a strong south-westerly air stream / sunshine and showers theme for the start of the day. During the morning we are set to see the showers merge across Ireland, Wales, The South West and western coasts and this rain will push inland as showers through the 2nd part of Saturday. For Scotland we look to start off showery but then later in the morning those showers will consolidate  to longer spells of rain for western and central areas.

Temperatures ?

Yep you guessed it….11-13°C 🙂

Sunday sees that low finally move through and so we will see a drop in the winds and a change in wind direction to northerly / north-easterly, so that means a cooler day on Sunday. Still some showers around mind across the south and west of England and Wales and these could push inland later on Sunday, so not a dry day by any means. Ireland looks to be largely dry, notably cooler but still with the threat of showers across the north and south-west. Temperatures a degree or two down on the norm so just nudging into double figures but as we go through the day, the winds look to strengthen from the north-west and that’ll keep temperatures down.

Weather Outlook

I think sometime at the end of September i mentioned that it seemed like the floodgates had opened when the jet stream finally dipped south after a dry September and allowed low after Atlantic low to push in and bring us wet, mild and unsettled conditions.

So far that pattern has remained pretty much set for the last 3 weeks or so.

Well next week looks at present to see a continuation of that pattern as a very deep Atlantic low pressure system with very strong winds associated with it is due to push in from Tuesday after a calmer, drier day on Monday. So stronger winds and showers from Tuesday initially across the west but pushing across the U.K through the day. By Wednesday we see heavier rain push across the southern half of the U.K from the south before more heavy rain for Ireland and the remainder of the U.K on Thursday accompanied by strong winds. This pattern continues on Friday but there is a change in the air if the projections are true with high pressure establishing over the continent and forcing that rain initially across Ireland but then clearing from the south. This drier weather will also pull up warmer winds from the south so it could mean another balmy end to October and not for the first time. That said it is a long way away yet so we will see.

Agronomic Notes

Wet and windy weather provides leaf dry down opportunities…

Now I know the latest run of weather has significant drawbacks from a practical perspective with lots of areas waterlogged and courses closed on heavy ground sites but it is also ‘tending’ to provide lower than normal disease pressure for this time of the autumn.

Normally I’d be approaching this time with concern because for the last 3-4 years the middle of October has seen significant disease pressure. This was normally due to a period of weather with light winds, high humidity / overnight temperatures and a prolonged duration of plant leaf wetness. Currently we have the opposite i.e high winds, heavy rainfall but still with mild temperatures.

One of things that has struck me recently is how quickly areas dry down during such weather because we still have high enough air temperature to generate sufficient E.T to dry down the grass plant leaf.

I downloaded some data that highlighted this point quite neatly…(well I think so anyway 🙂 )

So here is a diary of a day in 1-hour segments from 11/10/19 00:00 – 12/10/19 00:00.

The top graph shows hourly E.T, the middle rainfall and the bottom leaf wetness….

You can see how quickly the leaf dries down when the rain stops provided there is sufficient E.T to achieve this….Within 15 minutes of the rain stopping the leaf wetness has decreased by 30% and within an hour it is practically dry during a morning rainfall event. The same scenario in the afternoon gives even quicker dry down with the leaf not fully wetting up because the E.T was at its highest. In this scenario within 30 minutes of the rainfall stopping the leaf was dry.

So from a Microdochium nivale perspective I think it isn’t easy for the fungus to develop when the leaf is wetting and drying down consistently because of the weather conditions generating E.T. Of course as we go further into the winter we will see less and less E.T as the ambient temperature drops. You’ll notice this on the roads as they wetter for longer finally reaching a point when they don’t dry out over a 24-hour period. For now though as we are right in the sweet spot of Microdochium nivale activity I’d take these dry-down periods any day of the week and the wet and windy weather that accompanies it over calm, humid muggy weather.

Microdochium nivale pressure

This doesn’t mean we are devoid of a threat from this perspective because as one weather front moves through, there is a period between when the winds drop, the humidity and air temperature are high and the grass plant leaf stays wet. This is the danger period and of course it is a more significant danger in a sheltered, shaded environment with poor air flow, lower E.T and slower dry down of the leaf.

So currently we are seeing short-term spikes in disease activity as disease pressure rises between weather fronts before dropping down again as the next bout of wet and windy weather pushes through.

Here’s how the intensity chart looks for the 3 locations I used a few weeks back using an ‘open’ and ‘sheltered’ green scenario commencing on the 1st Sept and up to the current day.

The other important feature to consider is the consistent growth during October which hopefully is already well underway in growing any early autumn disease scars out.

You can see this clearly in the Growth Potential chart below…

Even last week we were hitting G.P figures of 0.8 here in The Midlands which means very good growth, maybe a pain to cut in these prolonged periods of wetness but good for growing out scars and for germinating / establishing seed after the dry September many of us have endured.

Looking ahead this week we can see the cooler day temperatures are knocking back the G.P to 0.4-0.5 and once the winds change round to northerly over the weekend it drops further still.

My concern is the longer-term forecast for warm high pressure to establish towards the end of this month. This could (and it is only a ‘could at the moment) result in some pretty aggressive disease activity especially if it is difficult to get a spray window beforehand.

Other diseases…

You could be forgiven in thinking Microdochium nivale is the only disease out there such is my focus most autumn’s however I’m also seeing lots of Fairy Ring, Etiolated growth at present as the combination of warm soil and rainfall stimulate fungal activity. Plenty of Red Thread as well on rye / fescue swards and still there’s some lingering Anthracnose from the summer now manifesting itself as basal rot.

OK that’s me for another week…

All the best..

Mark Hunt