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From drought to flood: dramatic turnaround in UK water resources

Representatives from the Environment Agency, Met Office and NERC Centre for Ecology & Hydrology (CEH) gave a briefing today (18 October 2012) on how the UK's driest spring for over a century gave way to the wettest April to June on record.

The UK has recently experienced two dry winters (2010 and 2011-12) and 2011 was the UK's 2nd warmest year on record. These dry conditions led to a hosepipe ban affecting 20 million people, damage to roads and a range of ecological impacts, such as the drying out of wetlands and the appearance of algal blooms. However, in April 2012 weather patterns changed dramatically to very wet conditions, during which river levels tripled, reservoirs went from their lowest ever levels to full or exceptionally high and flooding incidents were widespread across the country. This was due to the jet stream adopting a more southerly track, bringing rain-bearing Atlantic frontal systems to the country.

CEH has just published a briefing note on the 2010-2012 drought and its dramatic termination [PDF]. A comprehensive report on the transformation is currently being compiled.

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