The official start date of summer is up for debate. Astronomers believe summer starts on 21 June, whereas meteorologists say it is 1 June. However, memories of muddy musical festivals in Glastonbury and Cliff Richard singing to the crowd while the rain fell on Wimbledon’s Centre Court are still strong….
Whether you side with the astronomers or meteorologists, expectations of good weather in June are certainly raised. And I for one believe that June gets bad press and it’s got better weather than July, and that’s when true summer starts.
Let’s use our earlier examples of Wimbledon and Glastonbury to see whether the weather is better in June than July (try saying that after a few glasses of Pimms!). Using available data from weather stations from last 25 years from Met Office, we find that on average June is cooler and cloudier than July, and wetter in Glastonbury, but dryer in Wimbledon.
However, averages hide more insightful detail about what this meteorological data can provide.
First of all, we need a better definition of what constitutes ‘nice’ weather in order to compare. This is a subjective topic: some people obsess over the temperature, others how sunny it is. Either way, I think most people would agree that dryer is definitely better. There is an argument for considering rainy days as different from rainfall, but to simplify for the purposes of this blog, I will only consider rainfall, recognising that one downpour a day is not the same as a drizzly month for assessing weather.
So we will consider maximum temperature, sunshine hours and rainfall for June vs July over the period from 1991 to 2015. Without even looking at the data,I think it is highly unlikely than June is hotter than July, but my personal measure of nice weather is lots of sunshine hours and minimal rain. I do prefer sunny than hot. Indeed, increased sunshine and reduced rain have been shown to improve well-being.
So how often was June both sunnier and drier than July in last 25 summers?
Additionally, for optimists like me who count either dryer or sunnier as well as both, then Wimbledon has had 18 better Junes in last 25 years, and Glastonbury has had 15 – one indicator that June is really not as bad as it seems.
So break out the barbecues and throw away those wellies, and celebrate June as the first month of summer!