Brexit for better summers? A Wanstead weatherman disagrees
PUBLISHED: 10:01 18 June 2016
As the European Union referendum approaches, politicians on both sides have been accused of filling the debate with hot air.
But now a weather enthusiast has crunched 43 years of weather records and discovered summers have been warmer since Britain joined the EU.
Scott Whitehead, 44, from Wanstead, found summers have been 0.8 degrees warmer on average since we joined the EU, formerly known as the European Community, compared from 1930 up to 1973.
He said: “It was just a bit of fun really.
“The weather has nothing to do with our political membership, but I have heard some ridiculous statements on both sides.
“It can’t be too long before a politician says that if you vote out, your summers will be better.”
Scott, who has a weather station in his garden in Wanstead Park Avenue, Aldersbrook, wrote a blog on his website Wanstead Meteo contemplating whether EU membership had influenced sunshine levels.
He said: “I wanted to find something that would catch people’s attention.
“Both sides have warned of ridiculous things happening, and I wanted to write something quirky.”
Ahead of the vote next Thursday, Scott is keeping a close eye on the forecast, which he believes may impact turnout.
He said: “A Dutch study found rain can reduce turnout by one per cent, while a 10 degree increase in temperature increases turnout by 1pc.
“There may be people that are not quite bothered, look out the window and see rain, and decide to not go and vote.
“Obviously this doesn’t account for postal votes, that’s unaffected.”
Currently, Scott believes the rainy weather will subside over the weekend, leaving a largely dry and occasionally sunny day for voting.
If Britain does vote to leave, the amateur weatherman is confident it won’t affect weather forecasting in the future.
The 26 member states are part of the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasting, but this organisation is independent of the EU.
Scott said: “It’s not something that will be affected.
“Personally I’m voting for remain, as I believe the EU is very good for science and the environment.”
He has been monitoring and predicting the weather since he was at school and now runs a Twitter account with forecasts for Wanstead.
The hyperlocal weatherman has also pursued his interest for politics as a journalist and works for the Financial Times.