The country wants it, research indicates it, but nobody dares to say it out loud. Whisper it then: maybe, just maybe, we could be heading for a barbecue summer.
After the Met Office’s fingers were metaphorically burnt last year by its prediction of a sizzling summer, it is declining to offer public proclamations. However, its long-term research, which is backed by the US Climate Prediction Centre, indicates that a warm and even dry summer is likely for much of the United Kingdom.
A spokesman for the Met Office, which was roundly criticised last year after the nation was drenched with rain, refused to be drawn. “We are not doing any seasonal forecasts for the public,” he said. “It’s only for research.”
In April last year the Met Office boosted sales of buckets and spades by declaring prospects were “odds on for a barbecue summer”. Ewen McCallum, its chief meteorologist, said then: “After two disappointingly wet summers, the signs are much more promising this year. We can expect times when temperatures will be above 30C [86F], something we hardly saw at all last year.”