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LATE AUTUMN AND WINTER 2013/14: MILD, STORMY- SHORT COLD SNAPS LATER!

winter 2013/14 seasonal prediction winter storms

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#1 iapennell

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Posted 20 October 2013 - 22:47

Hello, I am new to this site.  I am a 44 year old man who lives in the North Pennines (Cumbria/Northumberland border);   I have had a strong interest in the weather for many years, and years ago I took a degree in Environmental Science from Lancaster University.  Sadly my degree was not good enough, and I could not find work being a weather forecaster or contributing to weather/climate related research, and I have had a number of cleaning jobs for the last twenty years.  Alas, I do make sure my knowledge about things meteorological does not go to waste- so I make my debut on this Forum with a prediction about the weather to be expected for Winter 2013/14!

 

Although the Met Office no longer do them, I tentatively offer my predictions for the ensuing winter half-year in Britain for 2013-14 (starting from this month), based on the  likely impact of Arctic Ice extent, sea surface temperatures in the North Atlantic and around Britain and the stage we are at in the Sunspot Cycle.

[color=rgb(0,0,0);font-family:'lucida grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', tahoma, sans-serif;font-size:13px;background-color:rgb(227,244,255);]On the basis of the fact that sea surface temperatures close to 50N across the North Atlantic remain well above normal after the warm summer (anomaly +2C in Sept 2013, see here:[/color]http://www.bobtisdal...-anomaly-update[color=rgb(0,0,0);font-family:'lucida grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', tahoma, sans-serif;font-size:13px;background-color:rgb(227,244,255);]), but sea temperatures are near normal around Iceland this sets the scene for lower pressure over the Atlantic to the west of Britain and a stronger baroclinic temperature gradient over the North Atlantic to encourage deeper depressions: Warm south and SW winds over Britain with deep cyclonic activity south of Iceland has certainly featured through the last week- and looks to persist to the end of October 2013.[/color]

[color=rgb(0,0,0);font-family:'lucida grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', tahoma, sans-serif;font-size:13px;background-color:rgb(227,244,255);]Another feature of the large-scale weather pattern is the fact that the Arctic ice cap is- although larger than this time last year- remains smaller than the long-term normal extent for October. Arctic ice is at near normal levels for late October over the Canadian Archipelago but remains well north of Spitzbergen in the European sector of the Arctic (see here:[/color]http://www.nsidc.org/arcticseaicenews[color=rgb(0,0,0);font-family:'lucida grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', tahoma, sans-serif;font-size:13px;background-color:rgb(227,244,255);]). [/color]
[color=rgb(0,0,0);font-family:'lucida grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', tahoma, sans-serif;font-size:13px;background-color:rgb(227,244,255);]The edge of the Arctic icecap- being further north than usual will encourage subarctic depressions (which tend to stay close to the intense temperature gradient between the very cold Arctic icecap and the warmer air over the open ocean and ice-free land) to move further north than usual: The higher-latitude Westerlies to the south of these depressions will thus blow in higher latitudes; from a Conservation of Angular Momentum consideration it means that the higher-latitude Westerlies will have to blow even harder to cancel out the total frictional forces of the tropical and polar easterlies- because blowing closer to the axis of the Earth's rotation the frictional torque of the Westerlies would be weakened (thus the Westerlies will have to be stronger to compensate if the move into ever-higher latitudes). [/color]

[color=rgb(0,0,0);font-family:'lucida grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', tahoma, sans-serif;font-size:13px;background-color:rgb(227,244,255);]The upper Westerlies and the jet-streams will also remain in fairly high latitudes (these tend to be restricted to zones of strong atmospheric temperature gradient- and if these are in higher latitudes because the Arctic Ice extent remains further north than usual then the jet-streams will follow suit): This means no hurricane-force Westerlies impacting the Pamirs, Rockies or Himalayas absorbing some of the "need" for lower-level Westerlies in the Northern Hemisphere (to cancel out the effect of easterlies elsewhere). This also points to stronger Westerlies and south-westerlies blowing across the north Atlantic from this month onwards and through the winter. [/color]

 

[color=rgb(0,0,0);font-family:'lucida grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', tahoma, sans-serif;font-size:13px;background-color:rgb(227,244,255);]The sunspot cycle peaked in 2011-12, and is now declining:  This means there is  likely to be less impact of solar flares causing forces to impact on the upper-atmosphere (solar flares have been known to slightly increase the overall westerly momentum of the atmosphere globally- and ultimately results in deeper subarctic depressions and stronger higher-latitude westerlies).  The solar cycle entering a quiet spell would lend itself to weaker Westerlies coming off the North Atlantic; but the other factors as described above (Arctic Ice constrained in high latitudes and a warmer than usual North Atlantic going into winter) are likely to far outweigh the effect of a slightly "quieter sun". [/color]

 

[color=rgb(0,0,0);font-family:'lucida grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', tahoma, sans-serif;font-size:13px;background-color:rgb(227,244,255);]All this indicates that there will be deeper depressions forming over Newfoundland- encouraged by the strong temperature gradient between the ice-covered Canadian Arctic atmosphere and the atmosphere over a warmer NW Atlantic Ocean; these will intensify and be encouraged to move north-eastwards into the ice-free (and warmer than usual) Barents Sea. This all means stronger prevailing SW winds over Britain throughout the late autumn/winter of 2013; all of which will actively discourage the kind of blocking patterns that would send frigid Arctic or North Russian airmasses in the direction of Britain.[/color]

[color=rgb(0,0,0);font-family:'lucida grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', tahoma, sans-serif;font-size:13px;background-color:rgb(227,244,255);]However, I can be certain that Arctic Ice a little further south than in recent years over Arctic Canada combined with a warmer North Atlantic than usual going into the winter will make for storms: The need for stronger west and SW winds from a Conservation of Angular Momentum consideration certainly lends itself to scope for the North of Britain to get some real batterings- we are set to have some of our biggest winter storms in years. Certainly, later in the winter (December onwards) there is likely to be some short Arctic snaps from the north-west as Arctic Canada and Greenland get very cold and Arctic Highs build over them at times: These are likely to be short-lived, but there is certain to be one or two snaps around February that will bring snow even to the south and a clear night or two down to about -5C (the North and Scotland will be colder with minima locally down to around -10C- over widespread snowcover- during these Arctic snaps). In the main, however the stronger-than-usual baroclinic gradient over the North Atlantic will mean strong westerlies and SW'lies, plenty of gales and rain; although the SouthEast will escape the worst of it![/color]

 

Certainly until December there is going to be little frost or snow anywhere in lowland Britain; even from my home in the North Pennines I have a strong feeling (based on the manner in which potential cold-patterns with highs in the North Atlantic keep crumbling away before their forecast onset!) that persistent southerly and SW winds will keep frost at bay to the extent that for the first time in nine years I will have to wait until November to report an air frost! Contrary to what a number of the pundits might think, warm summers then Octobers tend not to be followed by cold winters. The three past years during which I had to wait until November for our first air frost (in all these years too, the summer half-year was warm),- 1989, 2001 and 2004,- were all followed by mild winters with little serious frost or snow.

[color=rgb(0,0,0);font-family:'lucida grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', tahoma, sans-serif;font-size:13px;background-color:rgb(227,244,255);]However, by way of disclaimer- a Sudden Stratospheric Warming (SSW) event in the Arctic Stratosphere in December or January could completely rubbish my predictions- and usher in a wintry spell of exceptional severity. It was a SSW that resulted in the unexpected cold snap in January 2013. That said, SSW events tend to be more likely if the Upper Westerlies encircling the Arctic are weak- and prone to any distortion liable to put a big pool of "warm" air high over the Arctic. As I have pointed out above, I do not think the upper Westerlies are going to be weak: So one can discount all those predictions of -20C and heavy snow in January that you might have read in The Daily Mail!![/color]

[color=rgb(0,0,0);font-family:'lucida grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', tahoma, sans-serif;font-size:13px;background-color:rgb(227,244,255);]Ian Pennell[/color]

 



#2 Richie V

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Posted 20 October 2013 - 23:13

Welcome and definately an intereasting read there. Brave of you to put your neck on the line. 20 years of atlantic observation myself and I have to say, not too far off the mark I recon. Just remember, the weather does not play by our forecast rules and is good at slamming our forecasts back in our faces. Ric
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#3 Costa Del Fal

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Posted 20 October 2013 - 23:20

Welcome to the forum and a very sensible first post imo! Very clearly outlined and I very much agree with your thoughts. I think there will be very little cold weather before Christmas this year. Could get interesting on the wind and rain front though!


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#4 iapennell

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Posted 20 October 2013 - 23:31

Hello, its so lovely to be able to chat about my favourite subject with like-minded folk!

Indeed, my money is definitely on a milder, but stormier winter this year.  I have close to 30 years of records, and have tended to find that substantially warmer than usual summer half years (with the proviso that the warmth is shifted more June-September) tend NOT to be followed by frosty Octobers (though this rule does not always hold); IF September and October together are then mild and no air frost occurs until November that almost always means a mild winter.  Clear examples of such years with warm summers/autumns (and ensuing mild winters) are 1989, 2001, 2004, and 2006.    



#5 Larger than average Hobo

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Posted 21 October 2013 - 07:59

When you live in Alston, it's more difficult not to be interested in weather. Posted Image

 

Your post makes an interesting read. Let's see if you're right.



#6 UV-RAY

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Posted 21 October 2013 - 08:02

Welcome Ian. I agree with your reasoning but we have to remember we are in uncharted waters now so what was one the norm may not be no more due to the effects of solar output. Having said that even during the MM and Dalton minimum mild wet winters were still possible.

#7 syed2878

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Posted 21 October 2013 - 10:28

interesting post. I have a fieling u could be rite if oct 2011's anything to go by then a mild winter is not out of the question, although from what's been said by many posters that patern matching doesn't work in this field. Nice to have u on nw.

#8 Dorsetbred

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Posted 21 October 2013 - 11:59

Welcome to the forum, and a great way to begin, with a well reasoned read.

Interesting thoughts, I shall watch with interest.


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#9 iapennell

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Posted 01 November 2013 - 00:31

We have now gone right through to November without the air temperature dropping below +3C (and that is 400 metres' elevation in the North Pennines).  This flags  up the likelihood of a mild, stormy winter.

 

Oh, and to correct one oversight above, sunspot maximum peaked this year (2013)- not 2011 and 2012 (when it was still actually increasing to its maximum).  Higher sunspot activity lends itself to solar storms that impact on the Earth's atmosphere (which itself is- on its sun-facing side- "moving east to west" at 1.6 million miles per day), thus the impact is to increase the "Westerly" momentum of the atmosphere.  This lends itself to stronger Ferrel Westerlies and south-Westerlies over higher latitudes; these block the passage of bitter Arctic or Russian air towards Britain whilst bringing warmer air from somewhat lower latitudes of the North Atlantic (this, combined with the warm North Atlantic and ice cover in the Canadian Arctic but not the European Arctic encouraging cyclogenisis in the right locations, was responsible for the mild, wet and totally frost-free October!).

 

The warm October will mean that the seas around and west of the UK will have been kept warm, which will encourage mild strong Westerlies to sweep in right through the winter.  The only precedents of a warm extended summer (May to September) then a mild, frost-free October that I have actually recorded were 1989 and 2004- both ensuing winters (1989/90 and 2004/05 respectively) were very mild and wet with little in the way of serious snow until February.  One can therefore infer that winter 2013/14 will be mild, stormy and wet;  but there will be short cold snaps later (probably about February) though the cold snaps won't last.  Don't count on temperatures getting more than a couple of degrees below 0C until then (unless you happen to live in a frost-hollow):  I will go to Ladbrokes and bet a grand on there being no snowcover (or snowfall) across lowland England on Christmas Day 2013!!    



#10 AderynCoch

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Posted 01 November 2013 - 00:43

There was widespread snow across central and northern England on 18th November 2004 as a cold front swept south. Where I was in Sheffield we got about six inches. There was also a good fall of snow in January (can't remember the date) though it melted later in the day.

 

By the way, if you're really using 2004 for deciding to bet a grand on a green Christmas (Posted Image ) you should know that northern and western areas also had snow on Christmas Day, even in Liverpool (it's the last time snow fell and settled here on the big day, though we also had lying snow in 2009 and 2010).


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#11 Catacol_Highlander

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Posted 01 November 2013 - 10:44

We have now gone right through to November without the air temperature dropping below +3C (and that is 400 metres' elevation in the North Pennines).  This flags  up the likelihood of a mild, stormy winter.

 

Oh, and to correct one oversight above, sunspot maximum peaked this year (2013)- not 2011 and 2012 (when it was still actually increasing to its maximum).  Higher sunspot activity lends itself to solar storms that impact on the Earth's atmosphere (which itself is- on its sun-facing side- "moving east to west" at 1.6 million miles per day), thus the impact is to increase the "Westerly" momentum of the atmosphere.  This lends itself to stronger Ferrel Westerlies and south-Westerlies over higher latitudes; these block the passage of bitter Arctic or Russian air towards Britain whilst bringing warmer air from somewhat lower latitudes of the North Atlantic (this, combined with the warm North Atlantic and ice cover in the Canadian Arctic but not the European Arctic encouraging cyclogenisis in the right locations, was responsible for the mild, wet and totally frost-free October!).

 

The warm October will mean that the seas around and west of the UK will have been kept warm, which will encourage mild strong Westerlies to sweep in right through the winter.  The only precedents of a warm extended summer (May to September) then a mild, frost-free October that I have actually recorded were 1989 and 2004- both ensuing winters (1989/90 and 2004/05 respectively) were very mild and wet with little in the way of serious snow until February.  One can therefore infer that winter 2013/14 will be mild, stormy and wet;  but there will be short cold snaps later (probably about February) though the cold snaps won't last.  Don't count on temperatures getting more than a couple of degrees below 0C until then (unless you happen to live in a frost-hollow):  I will go to Ladbrokes and bet a grand on there being no snowcover (or snowfall) across lowland England on Christmas Day 2013!!    

 

OK... but September wasnt warm, there is a growing cold anomaly in the mid atlantic which is more and more looking like the -NAO tripole, and I have never seen any evidence of a lack of frost in October meaning anything at all come January. In fact there are some folk who see a warm October as a sign of a cold winter.

 

There does seem to be a warm winter bandwagon developing this year with people jumping onto it. Predicting the long wave pattern 3 months out is a mugs game I think... and more established signals are contradictory. I think we are still a month away from having any idea what winter proper will hold.



#12 iapennell

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Posted 02 November 2013 - 14:29

OK... but September wasnt warm, there is a growing cold anomaly in the mid atlantic which is more and more looking like the -NAO tripole, and I have never seen any evidence of a lack of frost in October meaning anything at all come January. In fact there are some folk who see a warm October as a sign of a cold winter.

 

There does seem to be a warm winter bandwagon developing this year with people jumping onto it. Predicting the long wave pattern 3 months out is a mugs game I think... and more established signals are contradictory. I think we are still a month away from having any idea what winter proper will hold.

 

You are right of course, but severe winters tend to require a strong predisposition towards blocking well to the North of Britain (or to the north-west near Iceland):  The predictor for such blocking patterns would be a warm Arctic (Canadian side, this year the ice there is near normal), unusually cool conditions over the North Atlantic going into winter (sea surface temp anomalies along 45-50N in both the North Pacific and North Atlantic were +2C in September) and cold conditions with more snow/ice than usual over around Scandinavia [to encourage high pressure to form there]- the opposite is true this autumn and sea-ice in the Eurasian Arctic is near record lows for the season.  A colder North Atlantic would provide less moisture to fuel depressions moving across the North Atlantic, less ice and extreme cold over far NE Canada would weaken the Arctic-North Atlantic baroclinic gradient required to further fuel such storms- the reverse is true this year so that points to stronger storms and more consistent mild West/SW winds.

 

The other fly in the ointment affecting things is 2013 is at the peak of the 11.5 year Sunspot Cycle:  Though this peak is weaker than in 2001 and 1989-90 it is still enough to add an extra 0.5 to 1 Wm-2 to the Solar constant and cause a solar wind of sufficient strength to impact with the atmosphere (this has been observed to intensify the strength of the Polar Vortex) at times- ergo this means stronger Westerlies approaching Britain and less chance of bitter north/east winds.

 

I still assert that there are likely to be one or two cold snaps by February:  The Canadian Arctic and Greenland gaining a head-start with cooling this year will be very cold indeed by February- so it is entirely possible that the Greenland High will develop stronger in February this year.  It is certain to mean that following the passage of some of the deeper depressions to the north of Britain some of this very cold Arctic air will plunge south-east towards Britain with a ridge forming in the old air to the west- some snow and a couple of sharp frosts are likely.  But this cold wont be coming from the east, it will be Maritime Arctic air and Scotland is likely to bear the brunt of it:  Such cold snaps will also be of short duration- as the ridge in the North Atlantic collapses over  (likely) still warmer-than-usual seas and the very strong baroclinic atmospheric temperature gradient between bitterly frigid NE Canada/Greenland and the North Atlantic ushers in renewed cyclogenisis and more mild, strong Westerlies!



#13 iamstuart

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Posted 07 November 2013 - 11:16

We have now gone right through to November without the air temperature dropping below +3C (and that is 400 metres' elevation in the North Pennines).  This flags  up the likelihood of a mild, stormy winter.

 

Oh, and to correct one oversight above, sunspot maximum peaked this year (2013)- not 2011 and 2012 (when it was still actually increasing to its maximum).  Higher sunspot activity lends itself to solar storms that impact on the Earth's atmosphere (which itself is- on its sun-facing side- "moving east to west" at 1.6 million miles per day), thus the impact is to increase the "Westerly" momentum of the atmosphere.  This lends itself to stronger Ferrel Westerlies and south-Westerlies over higher latitudes; these block the passage of bitter Arctic or Russian air towards Britain whilst bringing warmer air from somewhat lower latitudes of the North Atlantic (this, combined with the warm North Atlantic and ice cover in the Canadian Arctic but not the European Arctic encouraging cyclogenisis in the right locations, was responsible for the mild, wet and totally frost-free October!).

 

The warm October will mean that the seas around and west of the UK will have been kept warm, which will encourage mild strong Westerlies to sweep in right through the winter.  The only precedents of a warm extended summer (May to September) then a mild, frost-free October that I have actually recorded were 1989 and 2004- both ensuing winters (1989/90 and 2004/05 respectively) were very mild and wet with little in the way of serious snow until February.  One can therefore infer that winter 2013/14 will be mild, stormy and wet;  but there will be short cold snaps later (probably about February) though the cold snaps won't last.  Don't count on temperatures getting more than a couple of degrees below 0C until then (unless you happen to live in a frost-hollow):  I will go to Ladbrokes and bet a grand on there being no snowcover (or snowfall) across lowland England on Christmas Day 2013!!    

We broke the temperature record in 2011 for october with 29° so warm autumns don't precursor mild winters, in fact just the opposite i have found. During the last period of cold winters we have had rather warm Sept/Octobers. Until we see some significant evidence of sustained trending, one can only assume we are still in this cycle of blocking patterns. The models still suggest a blocking pattern forming. Maybe not as extensive as recent years but the trend is still cold or at worst average. From what i have seen in the models high pressure will again dominate the northern hemisphere with well above average temps for the acrtic, disturbing the vortex and leading to some stratosphere warming as previous years have shown. How strong it gets is usually down to timing with the tropical wave cycle!!!!



#14 iapennell

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Posted 03 December 2013 - 23:37

11.30 pm on Tues, 3rd December 2013

 

It would seem that my predictions for the winter 2013/14 based on the warm summer in 2013, warm sea-surface temperatures in the North Atlantic along 50N in September and Arctic ice only approaching the seasonal norm near Canada in the autumn- for mild and stormy conditions would seem to be confirmed:  Check out the 16 day surface pressure charts up to the 19th December- high-pressure to the south and SE over central/southern Europe and deep depression tracks well north and NW of the country-

 

http://www.weatherch...e-t120-t384.htm

 

There is a short cold snap for the next couple of days, though I anticipated there would be some short cold snaps from the north-west as the winter progressed- but nothing prolonged or severe.  So it is proving!

 

That said, the air temperature outside my home at 410 metres' elevation in the North Pennines is 7C; the seasonal norm here at night in early December is around 1C!!

 

Ian Pennell 



#15 Weather-history

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Posted 04 December 2013 - 06:37

11.30 pm on Tues, 3rd December 2013 It would seem that my predictions for the winter 2013/14 based on the warm summer in 2013, warm sea-surface temperatures in the North Atlantic along 50N in September and Arctic ice only approaching the seasonal norm near Canada in the autumn- for mild and stormy conditions would seem to be confirmed:

I'm sorry but how can your winter prediction be seemed to be confirmed when we are only into the first week? Further to that, where has it been stormy recently during late autumn? Granted there will be a storm on Thursday but if you look at the charts currently, I don't see vigorous frequent gales buffeting the country. And even mild is not a cert not if we get anticyclonic inversion. Infact, November was below average, so it wasn't even a mild end to autumn at that. I don't like criticising but I feel I don't think you can make such a claim just yet.

Edited by Weather-history, 04 December 2013 - 06:40 .

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#16 smithyweather

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Posted 04 December 2013 - 07:51

More like a blink cold snap. My chances of snow now have become ziltch. the cold air actually lasts 6 hours. From 510dam and -12c uppers for 4 days to 535dam and -7c uppers for 6 hours. Pathetic. Think this winter is going to be awful based on the latest cold spells or should I say cold failures. I have now decided that I will not trust that a cold spell is coming until it is within 24 HOURS Depressing because I was looking forward to a few snow showers and up until 18 hours ago that lookked good. Now I am stuck with wind and rain, something I have already experienced today. Yawwwn. Get me out of this boring nondescript hell hole

Edited by smithyweather, 04 December 2013 - 07:54 .


#17 cheese

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Posted 04 December 2013 - 07:54

More like a blink cold snap. My chances of snow now have become ziltch. the cold air actually lasts 6 hours. From 510dam and -12c uppers for 4 days to 535dam and -7c uppers for 6 hours. Pathetic. Think this winter is going to be awful based on the latest cold spells or should I say cold failures. I have now decided that I will not trust that a cold spell is coming until it is within 24 HOURS

I won't believe a cold spell is coming until it has actually arrived. Too many  false hopes.


Edited by cheese, 04 December 2013 - 07:54 .


#18 johnholmes

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Posted 04 December 2013 - 07:55

11.30 pm on Tues, 3rd December 2013

 

It would seem that my predictions for the winter 2013/14 based on the warm summer in 2013, warm sea-surface temperatures in the North Atlantic along 50N in September and Arctic ice only approaching the seasonal norm near Canada in the autumn- for mild and stormy conditions would seem to be confirmed:  Check out the 16 day surface pressure charts up to the 19th December- high-pressure to the south and SE over central/southern Europe and deep depression tracks well north and NW of the country-

 

http://www.weatherch...e-t120-t384.htm

 

There is a short cold snap for the next couple of days, though I anticipated there would be some short cold snaps from the north-west as the winter progressed- but nothing prolonged or severe.  So it is proving!

 

That said, the air temperature outside my home at 410 metres' elevation in the North Pennines is 7C; the seasonal norm here at night in early December is around 1C!!

 

Ian Pennell 

 

Come on you comic its the 4th December and you seriously believe your forecast is correct for WINTER after just 3 days, today being the 4th!



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#19 smithyweather

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Posted 04 December 2013 - 08:03

I won't believe a cold spell is coming until it has actually arrived. Too many false hopes.

Well it was looking good within 3 days. In December where I live we usually get a few days of lying snow at least. So this is just atrocious, we have only seen snow once and we have had like six frosts.. Yawn. I've never seen a cold spell downgrade so much in my life. Yesterday 528 line was over galway now it is over glasgow. Think tbh the cold spell will downgrade right until it happens until we are having 7c and rain on friday. But yeah thats typical.. This time we have all learn't not to get drawn in because the onionsty axores high will destory everything I. Have to agree. I think our winters are going back to their mild norm after the cold in 2010, think that was just a blip and not a patteen change. The last two winters would back me up.

Edited by smithyweather, 04 December 2013 - 08:06 .


#20 Weather-history

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Posted 04 December 2013 - 08:24

I think our winters are going back to their mild norm after the cold in 2010, think that was just a blip and not a patteen change. The last two winters would back me up.

Can't see how last winter can back you up? Both January and February were below average for the CET even by 1961-90 values and then came March! Granted March is a spring month but it was anything but a spring month!
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