December 2013 was stormiest on record
December 2013 was the stormiest December on record according to the Met Office.
As gales and high tides lash the coast of Cornwall the Met Office has tried to explain what has caused the stormy weather.
Analysts found this December was the stormiest ever in records dating back to 1969.
A Met Office spokesman said: “Even accounting for the fact that it’s winter, the jet stream has been particularly strong over the past few weeks – but why is this the case?
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“It’s partly due to particularly warm and cold air being squeezed together in the mid-latitudes, where the UK sits. This could be due to nothing more than the natural variability which governs Atlantic weather.”
Climate scientists said another factor that could be crucial is the quasi-biennial oscillation (QBO).
This is a cycle, discovered by the Met Office in 1959, which involves a narrow band of fast moving winds - much like the jet stream - which sits about 15 miles up over the equator.
The Met Office spokesman said researchers discovered in 1975 that when the QBO is in its westerly phase, it tends to increase the westerlies in our own jet stream.
The spokesman said: “This means there’s a higher risk of a stronger, more persistent jet stream with more vigorous Atlantic storms. It has been in its westerly phase since early 2013 and we expect it to decline over the next few months.”
The Met Office said there was no evidence to suggest the level of storms was increasing overall in the UK.