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  1. Re the definition of a polar low, I searched and found a back copy of my 'Weather' magazine and the article states: "A polar low has been defined (Met Office 1964) as a 'fairly small-scale cyclone or trough (sometimes the surface isobars show only a very minor ripple) embedded in a deep cold current which has recently left northerly latitudes.'" Make of that what you will but it would seem to suggest that the trough showing up to our north-east has been too clearly defined to be a true polar low.
  2. Adding to the record low uppers debate, in my copy of Prof Gordon Manley's 'Climate and the British Scene' now sadly out of print - (Manley it was who devised the CET) - in late December, 1739, the temp in London was 15' Fahrenheit (or -9'C) with an easterly gale blowing. Temp in Holland was -17'C or around zero Fahrenheit. That would suggest 850 uppers of around minus 25'C perhaps? Fascinating modelling atm. Tony47
  3. My apologies for putting it in a separate thread. I meant it to go in the media thread but I misunderstood what to do. No, I don't work for the Mail - perish the thought. It was just to show that the public generally are beginning to get hints re low sunspot activity and the possible effects on our climate.
  4. The Daily Mail today has a full pager regarding a cooling trend leading to harsher winters. It explores the position held by some climatologists that the reduction in solar output over the next 40 years or so, as evidenced by a huge drop in sunspots, will bring back the 'little ice age' scenario. Needless to say, other climatologist weigh in with the view that the Maunder minimum etc had little to do with the waxing and waning of the sun and more likely to do with volcanic activity. It's an interesting article but I don't think most seasoned Netweather members will find it adds anything to their knowledge on the subject.
  5. I got this month's edition of 'Weather' today and found an obituary of Lorenz who died in April. He was Professor of Meteorology at Massasuchsetts Institute of Technology in the early sixties and was the one who coined the 'butterfly effect' phrase in 1972, where a tiny event in one place can have a profound effect on the weather in many others. And he was using a computer to simulate weather predictions and found, by accident, that if he only put in the very same data, but minus some decimal points - like 0.304218 shortened to 0.304,- the end result forecast was completely different. He used his experience to suggest that long range forecasting more than a few days could never happen. Too many variables. In this I think we see a parallel with our own model watching. Clearly GFS and all the others are constantly updating their data and even in six hours this will change a lot more than a few decimal points. Hence the reason why the 00z can be very different out at 300 hrs from the succeeding 6z run. Todays computer models are vastly more sophisticated and faster than in Lorenz's days but there are still too many different routes to take every few seconds. I think the best we can do, as many members have seen, is to look for trends, particularly where the forecasting computer keeps on picking up on something basic and/or recurring, eg, a preponderance of mobility/frequency or positioning of anticyclones etc. I love looking to the furthest extremes of GFS (maybe UKMO is very wise to restrict theirs to a week) but know full well that a snow-lover's dream model can be snatched away with the next set of charts. And I've learned, through bitter experience, never to see anything as set in stone. "Life's a cruel teacher but you learn, by God you learn" as Antony Hopkins said in another context in Shadowlands. It applies to us.
  6. I lived through 3 of the 4 Feb CET's below zero but comparisons are difficult as I was living in a different part of Britain each time - ie, 1956 - Edinburgh; 1963 - Birmingham; 1986 - near York. However they all register, with sledging on the Pentland hills (I was 9 at the time) in '56, sliding on frozen ponds in '63 and seeing bus windows permanently (so it seemed) frozen up on the inside on my way to school in Small Heath, and the hedge and grass 'scorching' in 86 on the fields around Pocklington (relatively little snow that winter away from the east coast fringes so little to blanket and protect the ground. Great times, though I chiefly remember 62-63 for its sheer length and intensity (plus two great blizzards at the end of December and beginning of January) and the longest, heaviest - one and a half foot - continuous snowfall in January 1982 (when I was living in Gloucester) plus the lowest temperature I've ever encountered in that month of minus 15C - about 4 Fahrenheit. Add on Jan 12th 1987, the very cold spells (blizzards east of the Pennines) in 78-79, the polar low of Feb 69, and Feb 91 and I can't ever complain that I haven't experienced some of the best, ie wintriest, weather in my life-time. I am aware of a generation which has no real concept of what those days were like and only hope they will come round again. As yet, despite the GW issues. I see no reason why they can't, though they may become ever rarer.
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