Hanoverian summer Posted on June 1, 2018

‘Three fine days and a thunderstorm’. I always wonder why this famous definition of an English summer is attributed to King George II, with the specific date of 1730 attached. He became King of England (as well as Duke of Brunswick) in 1727. Both 1730 and 1731 were famously hot summers; they apparently held the record for summer heat until 2006 (July 2006 was the warmest month in Britain since records began) – and then August was one of the cloudiest and wettest. Are we on to something here? Is this what happened in 1730? Maybe the new king was commenting on the actual weather in a very English way – even if there were far more than three fine days. More to the point, though, is why does this happen (as it just has this week)?

Here is a meteorological answer: a heat wave warms the sea. A warmer sea evaporates faster. The wetter atmosphere generates areas of low pressure. Moist air rises, cools, and dumps as rain. Are three hot days enough? They certainly seemed to be this week – and who would argue with the king?

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