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noggin

Will 2009/2010 Be An Historic Winter?

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I would place 1978/79 with the other group of winters esp for the North of the UK. The number of days snow lying was higher at several sites. Over 100 days snow lying occurred in the snowiest parts, that wasn't achieved in 47/63.

Here I've never felt conditions were that severe this winter, prolonged yes. Widespread blizzards is an element missing from this winter, so far.

I admit that this winter is considerably short of the "Premier League" of winters of say 1684, 1740, (1814, 1895?) 1947, 1962/63 and 1979. We would have to have a prolonged freeze up of shattering proportions to get in there, starting next week and lasting into mid March. But I think we are comfortably mid table of "Championship" winters along with say 39/40, 81/82, 85/86 and a few others people will remind me of - the sort of 1 in 25 year winters rather than the 1 in 50-100 year variety.

Having said that, it may be classed as an SPL winter, seen as it has been the coldest since 1914 up there, but maybe Hearts standard rather than Old Firm!

Apologies for the football analogies.

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I admit that this winter is considerably short of the "Premier League" of winters of say 1684, 1740, (1814, 1895?) 1947, 1962/63 and 1979. We would have to have a prolonged freeze up of shattering proportions to get in there, starting next week and lasting into mid March. But I think we are comfortably mid table of "Championship" winters along with say 39/40, 81/82, 85/86 and a few others people will remind me of - the sort of 1 in 25 year winters rather than the 1 in 50-100 year variety.

Having said that, it may be classed as an SPL winter, seen as it has been the coldest since 1914 up there, but maybe Hearts standard rather than Old Firm!

Apologies for the football analogies.

Philip Eden has posted on the UK sci, its coldest start to winter since 1981 in Scotland. More media hype I'm afraid.

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How exactly is that media hype? Have you lived in mainland Scotland during this historic cold spell for us Scots?

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Wait until the end of february,by then if this month is cold and snowy as it may well be, then in my opinion it will go down with other very cold winters-historic-not quite.

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Philip Eden has posted on the UK sci, its coldest start to winter since 1981 in Scotland. More media hype I'm afraid.

Yeah but you forget Dec/early Jan of 1981 would beat pretty much most starts to winters up north, indeed I'd suspect that winter could well be in the top couple of coldest starts to winters up there.

Don't forget December 81 was exceptional for mist parts, that December was quite easily the coldest in the CET series in the 20th century and I dare say even colder still further north.

Anyway I agree its not quite up there with the legends, but I think its earnt its place in the historic bracket, and its been every bit as good as the winters from the 80s thus far IMO, esp if you were to take the snowy angle.

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I really wish people would listen to what the media say. It's the coldest December and January combined for the UK as a whole since 81/82. And Scotland since atleast 1914 (probably back to 1895)

For Scotland;

December 81' -0.7c

December 09' 0.3c

January 82' 1.4c

January 010' 0.1c

December and January 81/82 0.4c

December and January 09/010 0.2c

December 62' 2.7c (0.9c warmer then England)

January 63' -1.1c (equal with January 1979)

December and January 62/63 0.8c

December 78' 2.4c

January 79' -1.1c (equal with January 1963)

December and January 78/79 0.7c

Not even worth giving 46/47 stats as it was nowhere near as cold as those combinations. February 1947 came in at -2.4c. Far colder then anything 63, 78, 82 or 2010 managed.

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Yeah OP as I suspected it seems 09-10 really has been very exceptional in the 2/3rds of winter for Scotland, I'm quite amazed anyone can claim that we've not just seen a very cold spell!

Lets remember another statistic, that being we had the coldest first 10 days of Jan in over *115 years*...thats colder then your 63's, your 40, your 85, even 79!!

Anyone who doesn't believe this winter has been historic is IMO not really remembering both the snowfall amounts and also the fact we had a 30 day period pretty damn close to freezing, if not actually slightly below after adjustments possibly.

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Certainly for Scotland the winter so far has been historic, however, there is still a month to go, so whether overall it will be classed as historic remains to be seen, but I feel it will only take a slightly below average Feb - which seems very likely for it to go down as historic, given the very cold Dec and Jan.

As for England and Wales, taking the last century some would certainly argue the winter so far has been historic, but I think overall it will not go down as a classic compared to 1939/40, 1946/47, 62/63 and 78/79. Overall though it will beat the likes of 81/82 which had a mild Feb, 1984/85 and 1985/86 which had mild Decembers and our last cold winter 90/91.

Some will determine historicness on amount of snow as opposed to cold, in this respect location will be a key player, for Cumbria this winter so far pales into insignificance compared to even fairly average winters of recent years, and is a far cry from 95/96, hopefully this month will put that right.

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Some will determine historicness on amount of snow as opposed to cold, in this respect location will be a key player, for Cumbria this winter so far pales into insignificance compared to even fairly average winters of recent years, and is a far cry from 95/96, hopefully this month will put that right.

Snow is only a byproduct of cold. If there's no moisture then there's no snow. Logically you cannot base winter on snow. If I had this winter for this area would go down as exceptionally snowy. But I don't class snow as the main driver of definition for a cold winter. Looking at Osbourne one-nils stats it's been a bonechilling winter in Cumbria (mostly due to being borderline with Scotland which has been exceptionally cold)

February 1986 is a forgotten month. Despite it being exceptionally cold (CET -1.1c Scotland Temperature -1.2c) there was little or no snow for Scotland where it was very dry, much like January 63. But with an average that low, can'y really class it as not historic?

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Almost certainly an historic month OP, I personally tend to class historic on both cold and snow and usually would like to have a bit of both for it to get to that status, however when you've got a month that amazingly cold it'd be insane IMO not to call that a historic month, its just not that memorable to most because of the lack of snow...something that the cold spell in Dec-Jan had in decent amounts.

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Certainly for Scotland the winter so far has been historic, however, there is still a month to go, so whether overall it will be classed as historic remains to be seen, but I feel it will only take a slightly below average Feb - which seems very likely for it to go down as historic, given the very cold Dec and Jan.

As for England and Wales, taking the last century some would certainly argue the winter so far has been historic, but I think overall it will not go down as a classic compared to 1939/40, 1946/47, 62/63 and 78/79. Overall though it will beat the likes of 81/82 which had a mild Feb, 1984/85 and 1985/86 which had mild Decembers and our last cold winter 90/91.

Some will determine historicness on amount of snow as opposed to cold, in this respect location will be a key player, for Cumbria this winter so far pales into insignificance compared to even fairly average winters of recent years, and is a far cry from 95/96, hopefully this month will put that right.

95/96 was a great winter in the North. Perhaps the cold wasn't as prolonged as this winter, but there several memberable severe events. True blizzard conditions in late Jan and again in early Feb, something that hasn't occurredhere yet this winter. In terms of snow days lying here we will need about another 20 days lying snow to beat 95/96. This would need a good few cold spells over the next few months. The classic winters 47/63/79 had widespread blizzards something that hasn't occurred yet. Indeed blizzard conditions have been very limited.

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The only snow much of the SE had on the winter 62/63 was in December 62 when 7 inches fell widely and drifted. Some places received little or no snow after this. Although widespread exceptionally heavy level snow hit the SW during the start of the second week of February giving record amounts in some parts. Parts of Scotland had some astonishingly dry weather during January and February 1963 with heath fires being set off as a result.

The SW did well in 1963 with milder atlantic air approaching from the SW but most of us just froze with little falling snow.

1947 was snowy virtually everywhere from December - March.

1979 had more westerly type snowfalls and extreme blizzards hit many a part of the west while the east got snowshowers from the easterly episodes.

The winter of 2008/2009 was fairly snowy for the south west due to a similar snowy situation from the easterly and approaching weather fronts from the South West in February. West Is best had a foot I think.

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for me this winter does not hold a candle to 1978/79..in fact the only historic fact in my mind is the length of the cold so far...there hasnt been any deep cold..yes there have been some very cold night time temperatures..but we have not seen that biting east wind with day time max struggling to -5c with blowing snow and high windchill..no blizzards or repeated heavy snowfall....and apart from the virtual nationwide snowfall of the 5/6th Jan (a feat in itself)..snow has been fairly sporadic and regionalised....so far this winter is on a par with some of the 1980s winters..but still not up with 1981/2 (not yet) and no where near 1978/9.

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The notable feature about this winter in this area are the number of days with lying snow, yet another day with lying snow here, today. It has been a very snowy winter for the Manchester area, one of the snowiest since WWII.

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For me the answer depends on what happens this month.

So far for my location snowfall hasn't been anything special with the deepest lying snow being around 10cm in Dec. The cold spell after xmas only delivered a few cms due to some very bad luck. However in saying this the amount of days with lying snow has been very impressive and I would have to go back to the 1980's for something similiar.

This is why if the E,ly does arrive next week im hoping for a large snow event rather than x amount of days with lying snow. If this happens then it will be the best winter since the 1980s but still unlikely to eclipse 78/79.

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Here's the 90 day temperature graph for Shawbury courtesy of NOAA, Climate Prediciton Centre.

You can see the very mild November but since about the 11th of December, how few mild spells there have been

tn03414_90.gif

Bournemouth

tn03862_90.gif

Aldegrove

tn03917_90.gif

Dublin Airport

tn03969_90.gif

Aberdeen

tn03091_90.gif

Even balmy Valentia

tn03953_90.gif

http://www.cpc.noaa.gov/products/global_monitoring/temperature/weur_90temp.shtml

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Interesting tables there Kevin.

The Aberdeen one surprises me a little-given that Scotland overall is experiencing its coldest winter for many years. The number of occasions it tends into above normal is higher than I would have expected?

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My Dad works on the rigs off Aberdeen in the North Sea and he says they have had snow most days in the past two weeks which is extremely rare.

This winter has already been historic in Scotland in relation to Dec-Jan combined temps. The ski areas are having the best season for years and most areas in the highlands have had some sort of snowcover for the past seven weeks.

In the context of the 'even larger teapot' this winter has already been 'historic', in the sense that many predicted we would not see a spell of winter weather like this again. If February is relatively cold and there are more snow events countrywide I would personally class it as 'historic'.

Hopefully it will go down in 'history' as the winter that heralded a return to colder winters in the UK.

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The only snow much of the SE had on the winter 62/63 was in December 62 when 7 inches fell widely and drifted. Some places received little or no snow after this.....

I'm not sure if this is quite right, OP, though I cannot speak for everywhere in the SE.

It is certainly true that the heaviest snowfall was in the last few days of December '62 - indeed below is a picture of me and my sister in it (in central London) on or about Jan 1st 1963.

However I certainly remember further snow during January & February - I would have been in London or, later on, away at school in Sussex. The statistics for Hampstead (inner North London - see here http://www.weather-uk.com/hampstead/data.htm ) during the winter tend to support this. The Hampstead weather station is quite high (128m), and snowy for London; but London generally does not usually get as much snow as many other areas in the SE:

Dec 1962: falling snow 09 days - lying snow 07 days - max depth 30 cm on 30th December

Jan 1963: falling snow 18 days - lying snow 31 days - max depth 45 cm on 1st January

Feb 1963: falling snow 20 days - lying snow 24 days - max depth 35 cm on 2nd February

The snow at the end of December, incidentally, was more like 12 inches than 7, even in London - the Hampstead data, my photo, and this useful website http://www.napier.eclipse.co.uk/weather/bonacina.html all seem to confirm that. The latter talks, too, of "widespread falls" in Jan & Feb. There had also been several days of snowfall in November as well, with a couple of cm lying at Hampstead on the 21st.

post-384-12652900519088_thumb.jpg

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I'm not sure if this is quite right, OP, though I cannot speak for everywhere in the SE.

It is certainly true that the heaviest snowfall was in the last few days of December '62 - indeed below is a picture of me and my sister in it (in central London) on or about Jan 1st 1963.

However I certainly remember further snow during January & February - I would have been in London or, later on, away at school in Sussex. The statistics for Hampstead (inner North London - see here http://www.weather-u...pstead/data.htm ) during the winter tend to support this. The Hampstead weather station is quite high (128m), and snowy for London; but London generally does not usually get as much snow as many other areas in the SE:

Dec 1962: falling snow 09 days - lying snow 07 days - max depth 30 cm on 30th December

Jan 1963: falling snow 18 days - lying snow 31 days - max depth 45 cm on 1st January

Feb 1963: falling snow 20 days - lying snow 24 days - max depth 35 cm on 2nd February

The snow at the end of December, incidentally, was more like 12 inches than 7, even in London - the Hampstead data, my photo, and this useful website http://www.napier.ec...r/bonacina.html all seem to confirm that. The latter talks, too, of "widespread falls" in Jan & Feb. There had also been several days of snowfall in November as well, with a couple of cm lying at Hampstead on the 21st.

post-384-12652900519088_thumb.jpg

62/63 was very cold but no where near as snowy as a number of winters including of course the famous 47 (I'm talking over a 200yr period)

I can believe the lying snow stats no problem but 38 days of falling snow Jan/Feb 63 nope, maybe some of that snow was whip around in the wind

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Interesting tables there Kevin.

The Aberdeen one surprises me a little-given that Scotland overall is experiencing its coldest winter for many years. The number of occasions it tends into above normal is higher than I would have expected?

My guess is that Aberdeen may have been warmed by the North Sea due to the frequent onshore winds, resulting in lower cold anomalies relative to most of the rest of Scotland. The thing with Aberdeen is that it doesn't need to get much colder than normal there to generate significant snowfalls- as was demonstrated in early Feb 2009 with 13 days of snow cover despite no outstanding cold.

Regarding cold vs snow, it's a question where I don't think there is a right or wrong answer- some people think a remarkable winter is all about cold, others think it's all about snow, others think both. The difference between cold and snow is that it is much easier to give a numerical value to cold than to snow- hence why I came up with my attempt at a UK snow index. A good middle ground is Kevin's winter index which combines the two.

For example the winter of 1954/55 was not outstandingly cold but in parts of Scotland it was probably the snowiest of the century, beating even 1946/47 and 1978/79. Similarly, the winter of 1962/63 was exceptional for cold, but in most parts the winters of 1946/47 and 1978/79 were much snowier.

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I can believe the lying snow stats no problem but 38 days of falling snow Jan/Feb 63 nope, maybe some of that snow was whip around in the wind

You may possibly be right - but I'd be surprised if Hampstead's 'falling snow' recording is based solely on finding it in the funnel. It is a long-standing and highly-regarded manual station run by the Hampstead Scientific Society, and it seems likely that experienced human visual assessment forms an integral part of their observations.

Edit: More on the station here: http://www.weather-uk.com/hampstead/index.html

Observations seem to have been made twice a day. It does appear that at the relevant time direct observations were actually made by Water Board staff (though at all times collated and supervised by a very distinguished meteorologist, Eric Hawke), so perhaps they got it wrong. It would be interesting to read data from other south-eastern stations, if I knew where to find it....though I fear I am getting a bit off-topic here, sorry.

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Parts of NW England reported 20 days or more with snow falling in February 1986, most of which was light powdery flurries.

That's what needs to be reiterated. Areas exposed to a Easterly will always get wintry flurries at some point. Didn't February 2005 have the most falls of snow in London since February 1947? And yet very little settled for any frame of time.

It can snow for 28 days of February but doesn't mean any of it will settle.

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