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mike Meehan

Bartlett Set Up

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I keep seeing the term Bartlett set up and I am not quite sure what it means - can somebody explain it to me please?

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A 'Bartlett' High (also referred to as a 'Eurotrash' High) is a very persistent area of high pressure situated over Europe during the winter months - for Britain this means weeks or months of very mild though often wet and windy weather under a predominantly southwesterly airflow. The worst possible conditions for anyone wanting cold and snow. A typical 'Bartlett Winter' was '88/'89 - one of the mildest winters on record.

Rrea00119890120.gif

The terms is sometimes wrongly used to refer to any short lived period of high pressure over Europe

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A good description. The Bartlett also tends to bring a pronounced NW-SE split in the weather- areas under the influence of the high sometimes end up very dry, and if the high doesn't have much cloud trapped within its circulation it can be rather sunny as happened in January and early February 1989 and also in February 1998. Meanwhile, western Scotland and north-west England from north Lancashire northwards are almost invariably dull and wet (sometimes exceptionally so) and intervening areas are often dry and cloudy. I remember some frustrating experiences up in the North East hearing about the springlike sunshine in the SE, described as if it was occurring across the whole country, while further north up the eastern side it was cloudy and windy.

As well as being the worst possible setup for those after cold and snow, it's pretty tedious for fans of convective setups as well because the high prevents showery polar maritime airmasses from establishing and keeps the British Isles firmly locked into stable tropical maritime air.

1989 is the most prominent example of a winter dominated by a Bartlett, while in the meantime here's a chart from the February 1998 instance:

http://www.wetterzentrale.de/archive/ra/1998/Rrea00119980212.gif

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Thanks for that - in fact a great chart for the summer but p**s poor for the winter

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The Bartlett also tends to bring a pronounced NW-SE split in the weather- areas under the influence of the high sometimes end up very dry, and if the high doesn't have much cloud trapped within its circulation it can be rather sunny as happened in January and early February 1989

I was in the Scottish Highlands at the time! Not very dry and sunny there ...... As the 5/6th feb 1989 showed! A foot of rain fell on my tent that night ..... Mind, as well it was mild; had not been I might not be here today.

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And yes, the Bartlett was still there on the 5th/6th Feb 1989! Looks like exactly the kind of setup that often brings a dump of rain to the Scottish Highlands:

http://www.wetterzentrale.de/archive/ra/1989/Rrea00119890206.gif

Trevor Harley makes a specific mention of it here:

http://www.personal.dundee.ac.uk/~taharley/1989_weather.htm

Re. it being a great chart for the summer, that's open to debate. August 2009 and July 2010 were the nearest to a summer "Bartlett" in recent years and still saw a similar NW-SE split.

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