El Niño ramps up with blistering temperatures tipped to hit from May

History may be about to repeat itself this year as all the hot weather signs from last summer are beginning to show. A meteorologist has said the UK could be on the path for another “potentially hot summer” after last year’s blistering temperatures. Britain baked in waves of heat throughout last summer, but it was July 19 that smashed records, with a whopping 40C reached in some areas.

Jim Dale, senior meteorologist for British Weather Services, told Express.co.uk that March just gone was “globally the second hottest on record”. 

And hot off its heels, El Niño is set to ramp up, he said. This term is generically used to describe the warming of the sea surface temperature which occurs every few years, the Met Office adds.

It is typically concentrated in the central-east equatorial Pacific – and it is declared when temperatures rise to 0.5C or above in the long-term average. Forecasters often use this as a gauge for how the climate is likely to heat up ahead of the warmest months of the year.

“Surface ocean temperatures off Peru and Ecuador are rising,” he said. “The three La Niña phases are now over and El Niño is stepping up and expected to strengthen.”

This, he said, could provide a key signal that the UK may be set for a repeat of last year’s extremities, with drought scenarios likely to rear their heads once again. 

Speaking about this time last year, Mr Dale, a weather author and TV climate speaker, said last summer’s peaks were “very well spotted ahead of its arrival”. The only outstanding questions were how hot it would get and how long it would hang around. 

He said: “The rest is history. At the time the globe was in a La Nina phase so it was less of an obvious call. El Niños make it that bit more likely, though it is not always guaranteed for the UK.

“But behind that, the main driver is without doubt climate change and global warming. Put the right synoptics in place with those two phenomena and hey presto.”

Many people will wonder how it translates to the Great British weather. The answer is simply, it’s too early to say. Mr Dale explained the theory, and added: “It’s all down to the synoptics of highs and lows – the week to week weather set up.

“The month of May can deliver but far more likely in June and early September, it is likely to come in plumes out of North Africa and Spain.”

For April, the likelihood of such warm weather ramping up is unlikely, although the Met Office’s long-range forecast does allude to temperature increases.

From April 24 to May 8, the Met Office holds its cards close to its chest, but it does say the mercury is likely to heat up, in line with what many will expect for spring. 

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It says: “Confidence in the forecast is fairly low for the end of April and early May. In general, there is a greater chance of more settled weather dominating during this period, maintaining the likelihood of morning fog patches and late season night frosts.

“However, there is also a chance of seeing some unsettled or changeable spells of weather too. Temperatures are most likely to be above average overall for the time of year.”

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