Jun 21, 2016

First 6 months set a new weather record

Michaël Torfs
Flanders News
Photo: Flanders News
Photo: Flanders News

Pronounced long-term trends have been observed in precipitation amount in some places, including northern Europe. As the climate changes, several direct influences alter precipitation amount, intensity, frequency and type. A well-established physical law (the Clausius-Clapeyron relation) determines that the water-holding capacity of the atmosphere increases by about 7 percent for every 1.8°F (1°C) rise in temperature. Over the 20th century, based on changes in sea surface temperatures, it is estimated that atmospheric water vapor increased by about 5 percent in the atmosphere over the oceans. Because precipitation comes mainly from weather systems that feed on the water vapor stored in the atmosphere, this has generally increased precipitation intensity and the risk of heavy rain and snow events.

The first six months of the year were the wettest on record, the VRT's weather presenter Frank Deboosere confirmed. The measuring station in Ukkel, which is used as the main reference, has seen 608 millimetres of precipitation so far, breaking the previous 1937 milestone of 543 mm.

An average year only has 399 mm of rain, snow or hail in the first 6 months. The driest start to the year - since records began in 1833 - was in 1976, when Belgium had only 177 mm precipitation. The summer would then continue to be very hot and dry. Some experts claim that this extremely wet start will be followed by a very wet and unstable month of July