Experts discuss UK weather patterns
Leading scientists and meteorologists are meeting at the Met Office to discuss the UK's unusual weather patterns in recent years.
Experts will discuss the reasons for 2010's icy winter, last year's wash-out summer and the recent cold spring, which is set to be the coldest in more than 50 years.
Discussions at the Met Office in Exeter will seek to answer whether the unusual seasons were the result of natural variation or linked to impacts of climate change, such as melting Arctic sea ice, which could be influencing weather
Stephen Belcher, head of the Met Office Hadley Centre and chairman of the workshop, said: "We have seen a run of unusual seasons in the UK and northern Europe, such as the cold winter of 2010, last year's wet weather and the cold spring this year.
"This may be nothing more than a run of natural variability, but there may be other factors impacting our weather. For example, there is emerging research which suggests there is a link between declining Arctic sea ice and European climate - but exactly how this process might work, and how important it may be among a host of other factors, remains unclear.
"The Met Office is running a workshop to bring together climate experts from across the UK to look at these unusual seasons, the possible causes behind them, and how we can learn more about those drivers of our weather.
"This will continue the UK's world class research effort to understand more about the drivers of monthly to seasonal climate across Europe."
The meeting will assess the research done so far and discuss what needs to be studied in the future to get a better idea of what could be causing the weather extremes.
Earlier this month the Met Office said below average temperatures through March, April and May made it the fifth coldest spring in national records dating back to 1910 and the coldest spring since 1962.
Provisional findings show the UK's mean temperature for the season was just 6C (42.8F), while March was "exceptionally" cold, averaging 2.2C (36F).