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North-Easterly Blast

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  1. It looks absolutely shocking that, with an easterly QBO and declining solar activity and only a weak La Nina we still get a January that is a degree or more above the long term average (1971-2000 and 1961-90 LTAs), and it was still over 0.8*C above the 1981-2010 LTA. This is to say that despite the above factors it was not far from the Januarys of 2014 and 2016 (both with westerly QBOs and around or just after solar maximum, the latter also with a strong El Nino). The sort of January CET that we have just had despite the easterly QBO, declining solar activity etc, makes you wonder if it is even possible for the UK to see winters like 2009-10, Dec 2010, or even winter 2012-13 again. January 2018 was a bit of a failed month, as only the first few days and a number of days in the last week really saw proper mild synoptics (SW'lies). At times the synoptics looked promising for cold (a build of HP over Scandinavia in the second week not coming to anything for an easterly, and cold zonality in the third week; although one of the better examples of cold polar maritime zonality in recent years, it didn't amount to anything significant of the likes of January 1984, so for a good chunk of the month the synoptics got half way to a significant cold spell, but never quite came together. Jan 2018 synoptics just go to show that every bit of the whole pattern has to fall into place accurately to bring a significant cold spell to the UK, and unfortunately last month it got half way there but didn't make it fully.
  2. No, February 2008 was not cold. It was a mild month overall with some very warm days in the second week, although there were a few days that were colder and frosty during the third week under a mid-latitude block. Feb 2008 was certainly not a month that brought any cold synoptics at all. Winter 2007-08 was a mild one overall although there were spells of weather that were colder in the spring, in the late part of March and in early to mid April.
  3. Winter 2017 2018 General Discussion

    Well if you look at it, background signals in the last four winters such as the QBO, solar activity, and ENSO status never looked good for cold prospects. 2013-14 came in a solar maximum, westerly QBO - never a good combination for winter cold in the UK - but the exceptional lack of cold weather during winter 2013-14 was certainly extreme. 2014-15 looked a bit better with an easterly QBO, but still just after a solar maximum, so still suggested that a cold winter was less likely - and we got a winter that was near or a touch above normal. 2015-16, westerly QBO, strong EL Nino, a combination of which were bad for a cold winter - and we got the warmest December on record, then a Jan / Feb that remained milder than average, but not as markedly so as in Dec. 2016-17, westerly QBO, weak La Nina, declining solar activity, slightly better than 15-16 and 13-14, and we still got another milder than average winter, although Jan 2017 was closer to average, but a bit of a failed month, as HP never set up favourably to bring a really cold spell. Winter 2017-18 all these background signals looked more favourable for the chances of cold weather this winter to be better than the last four winters, and it is just a disappointment that so far there has been no sign a significant cold spell in the UK - with the rest of January looking unlikely to come to much now, it only leaves February, which could deliver something, but then again it might not.
  4. Winter 2017 2018 General Discussion

    As we face another winter unlikely to deliver a significant cold spell to the UK - with the rest of January now looking unlikely to deliver much. OK there is still February that could deliver something, but then again it might not. Yet with only a weak La Nina, declining solar activity, and an easterly QBO it is now looking as though we could still be facing another milder than average winter for the UK. Background signals for winter 2017-18 like solar activity, the easterly QBO, and a weak La Nina all looked promising for a better chance of cold weather this winter in the UK than in at least any winter since 2012-13. I have to say that these sort of background signals have never looked good for the chances of cold weather in the last four winters. I think that this week we have certainly seen cold polar maritime zonality (a rarity in winters over the last 30 years), with a number of areas further north particularly with elevation seeing snowfall, but this week has certainly been very lacksture in cold zonality, compared to the sort of cold zonal spells in January 1984. Surely an easterly QBO, declining solar activity, and a weak phase of La Nina should have brought a good chance that this current winter would at least be a significant improvement on the last four winters in the UK from a cold perspective. So what is going wrong with winter 2017-18? With the background signals this year if we cannot at least manage the coldest winter since 2012-13, then a question has to be asked is; are cold winters on the scale of 2009-10, intense cold spells like December 2010, or are even relatively cold winters on the scale of 2012-13 possible in the UK any more.
  5. Model output discussion - into 2018

    To me when weather forecasters call day temps of 5*C cold in winter - I would more likely describe that as cool - 5*C in the day is hardly what I would call cold in mid winter.
  6. December 2017 ended up a very close to average month, by the standards of recent years and the whole of the 1900s - in the last 100 years, 45 Decembers were colder, two had the same CET, and 52 were warmer. Although temperatures were close to average, at least all the colder spells came from proper cold synoptics (not mid latitude Rex blocks), and a number of places have seen some snowfall both in the second week, and in a few colder days between Christmas and New Year.
  7. We will most likely end this month similar to the CET for December 2012 after adjustments. It is going to be tight as to whether we beat 2012's 4.8 and see the coldest December for seven years. December 2017 is looking like a very average December for the CET, compared to both recent years, and the average for the whole of the 1900s as a whole. At least this month all the cold spells have come from proper cold synoptics, and not mid-latitude Rex blocks (Faux cold) like we saw in months such as December 2007, and to some extent in late December last year.
  8. White Christmas 2017

    I think that there have been very few years where most of the UK away from high ground in the north have seen snowfall on Christmas Day. In recent years Christmas 2010 saw snow on the ground from earlier falls, as did 1981, but nowhere saw snow falling in either of those. Parts of Britain also had snow on the ground on Christmas Day 2009, although I do not think that very many places actually saw falling snow. I believe that a number of places saw falling snow on Christmas Day 2004, although there was no widespread snow cover. I think a few parts of the country saw falling snow on Christmas Day 2000 but I do not think very many places actually saw it settle. If anyone can think of any more wintry Christmases in recent years, they are welcome to add more to my list.
  9. Last year (2016) the second half of December was colder than the first half (7.0 first half, 5.0 second half). In the 1990s and 2000s many Decembers were actually colder in the second half compared to the first half. In recent years the Decembers of 2008, 2011, 2012, 2014, 2015 had a warmer second half than the first, with 2012 being the largest swing (2.5 to 7.1).
  10. We are certainly going to see the first half of December 2017 being below average for the CET. Next week a few milder days are probable which will put the CET back up into the 4s, but beyond that the final part of the month is still up for grabs, with a range of outcomes in the output atm.
  11. Winter 2017 2018 General Discussion

    Winter 2005-06 was roughly overall average; although there was a fair amount of blocking that winter it never set up favourably to bring serious cold air to Britain. It was bookended by a November that had a lot of cold frosty weather and even a little snow for some in the second half, and the March that followed was also below average.
  12. Winter 2017 2018 General Discussion

    A very mixed bag for pre solar minimum winters - 1962-63 is in there, and was the most severe since 1740. 1995-96 was also considerably colder than most winters in the last 30 years. 1983-84 was good for the cold polar maritime zonality in the January; 1953-54 was cold by today's standards in January and February although it did have a mild December. Some decent winters there, but 1974-75 was rubbish. Winter 2007-08 was also a mild one overall with nothing more than occasional surface cold under short spells of mid-latitude blocks.
  13. Winter 2017 2018 General Discussion

    No, November 1962 was not mild; it was below average, with a CET of 5.5.
  14. October 2017 C.E.T. forecasts

    October is the only month where the 1971-2000 average (10.4) was lower than the 1961-90 average (10.6). By the 1981-2010 average it had risen to 10.7. If you look at it this way, the last time we had a below average October was in 2012 (CET 9.7), more than 0.5C below the long term mean. Oct 2008 was also on the cool side (9.7). The last time we had an October cooler than that was in 2003 (9.2). The last really cold Octobers were in 1992 and 1993. What is striking about October is that in recent years it has tended to be either slightly above average or very warm with nothing in between. Since and including 2001 the October CET has reached or exceeded 13*C three times, and also been at least 12.5*C on three more occasions. The last two years (11.0 and 10.9) have seen the October CET slightly above average but by no more than 0.5*C. In fact since 1996 October has come in between 0.5 and 2.0 above average (between 11.0 and 12.5) on only one occasion (2009 11.6). This is a strange statistical fact and does not look likely to be broken this year with October almost certain to be warm.
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