Energy Meteorologist Matthew Dobson
Summer (June to August) 2016 was typified over Italy and Central Europe by an episodic pattern of weather. Several short but quite intense periods of hot weather were interspersed with cooler, windier and more unsettled spells. Compared with the persistent very warm/hot conditions of summer 2015, the June-August average temperature anomalies for 2016 have been close to normal over Italy and France and only 0.5-1C above normal over Germany. Precipitation and wind speed anomalies were relatively close to normal overall as well. These rather ‘flat’ averages obviously mask the more extreme and interesting periods of weather that occurred.
June 2016 saw a ridge of high pressure over Spain and another over Scandinavia and western Russia, while a low pressure trough was evident between the UK-Germany-Italy. Slightly below normal temperatures over France and Italy, while Germany experienced warmer than normal conditions, in the southerly winds on the eastern side of the trough. A short hot spell affected Italy mid-month, and a more widespread period of warm weather developed between 22nd and 26th June. However, sustained and extreme heat was absent and June 2016 will be remembered for the widespread and frequent heavy rainfall events, especially during the first week, when severe flash flooding affected parts of France and the Alps. More than 200% of the normal June rainfall fell over western half of Germany, Low Countries and eastern France. It was a poor month for solar production as well.
July 2016 saw the stubborn low pressure trough lift away northwards to affect northern UK and Scandinavia, allowing several high pressure ridges to bring drier conditions to France, Germany and the Alps. Some central and northern parts of France saw less than 25% of the normal July rainfall. Scattered thunderstorms over the Alps and Italy brought seasonal amounts of precipitation here. The sunnier conditions allowed better solar production than June, especially across France. There were a couple of very good wind output days over Italy and Germany, in north-westerly flows, as low pressure areas slipped south-eastwards over Denmark and Eastern Europe. Temperatures were 1-2C above normal over Italy and southern Germany, near normal elsewhere. A short period of intense heat between 18th and 22nd July saw temperatures in France climb to between 35C and 38C.
August 2016 featured a persistent belt of high pressure for much of the month over France, Italy and Central Europe, bringing drier and sunnier conditions than normal to most regions. Excellent solar production at times, with peaks in Germany ~25GW. Several low pressure troughs, tracking SE from the UK across France, Germany and down to Italy brought brief interruptions to the dry/warm/settler weather, with short periods of stronger NW winds and precipitation. Saturday 6th August saw a very strong renewable energy output day over Germany with >40GW of combined wind and solar power output. France (along with Spain) in particular, had a warm month, while Germany was closer to normal and Italy saw temperatures ~1C below normal over Central and Southern Italy, due to a few cool N’ly or NE’ly wind flows.