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Terminal Moraine

Spells of consecutive 'ice days' and long periods of lying snow

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Having come to the end of this recent cold spell, which produced 9 consecutive ice days here, I've had a look back through my records at this site to see how it compared with other spells of ice days.

For clarity the definition of an 'ice day' is one on which the maximum temperature does not exceed -0.1c therefore 0.0c doesn't count.

I picked out only spells of 5 consecutive days or more and since the record here began in 1977 there have been 16 such spells including the latest one.

The spell of 9 days this month is well up there on the list with only 4 other longer spells, most of them by just one or two days.

The longest spell by far was 20 days from 4th-23rd February 1986 and the second longest was 11 days from January 23rd-February 2nd 1996.

The spell in February 1986 was broken by just one day, the 24th, before another 5 day spell occurred, lasting until March 1st.

The extended winter of 1978/79 ( November to March ) produced a total of 34 ice days but there were only two qualifying spells, both of 7 days, as that winter was notable for 'battleground' situations where slightly less cold air would make inroads for a day or two without any significant thawing.

2010 was notable in that it produced 3 qualifying spells, the only year to do so. 1979, 1985 and 1986 each had 2.

Looking at the frequency of spells with between 7 and 10 days and the large jump to the 20 day spell in 1986 it would appear that, by the law of averages ( if there is such a thing) that a spell of around 15 or 16 days is overdue.

With regard to long spells of lying snow ( Met' Office definition of at least half the ground covered with snow at 0900 ) I looked at spells of 10 consecutive days or more.

There were 26 such spells since 1977 excluding the current one which stands at 15 days and looks unlikely to make a 16th.

The longest spell was 52 days from Jan 10th to March 2nd 1979, but for a temporary thaw on Jan 9th this would have been a 63 day spell as there was a 10 spell from Dec' 30th 1978- Jan 8th 1979.

The second longest spell was 37 days from Jan 28th to March 5th 1986 and only 3 other spells were 20 days or longer; these were 24 days from Dec 10th 1981 to Jan 2nd 1982, 23 days from Jan 6th- 28th 1985 and 20 days from Feb 1st- 20th 1991.

Once again 2010 was unique in that it managed 3 qualifying spells within the calendar year.

The earliest spell was that of November 19th- 29th 1996 and the latest was March 7th-16th 1987.

With the last 20 day spell occurring in 1991, and if the law of averages is anything to go by, another spell of similar length is long overdue. If the short thaw in the middle of December 2010 had not occurred a 32 day spell would have been achieved but then again there would be lots of spells of all kinds if not for 'ifs and buts'

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Very interesting...

I know my relatives house in Co. Durham saw lying snow from 16th Dec 2009 until mid Jan 2010 where there must have been at least 20+ days of lying snow consecutively, here in Gateshead we saw a temporary thaw in between Christmas and New Year.

Again in the winter of 09/10 I know that places in Scotland (mainly in the Highlands) saw lying snow from mid Dec 2009 until mid March 2010. Loch Morlich near Aviemore was frozen throughout that period.

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Hi TM what about december 1995 just before and after christmas? Itwas about the coldest I can remember. Also another date to stick in mymind was Nov/dec 1993 very cold anticyclonic conditions then in scotland.

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Hi TM what about december 1995 just before and after christmas? Itwas about the coldest I can remember. Also another date to stick in mymind was Nov/dec 1993 very cold anticyclonic conditions then in scotland.

Dec 1995 was cold especially in Scotland but I don't believe it lasted that long. Nov 1993 saw deep snow here in the north east and was a brilliant spell of cold weather especially so early in the season. I remember it well as I went to the Newcastle vs Liverpool match on the sunday afternoon (Newcastle won 3-0 Andy Cole scored a hat trick), it started snowing while I was at the match and began to stick, in the morning when I got up to go to school there was a nice thick covering of snow. Just from memory I believe it stuck around for about a week.

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Hi TM what about december 1995 just before and after christmas? Itwas about the coldest I can remember. Also another date to stick in mymind was Nov/dec 1993 very cold anticyclonic conditions then in scotland.

December 1995 had 6 conseciutive ice days from the 25th-30th. The period just before Christmas that year was chilly ( apart from the 22nd ) but no ice days. I think overall the spell in 1995 was more severe in Scotland than it was down here.

The second half of November 1993 was certainly very cold with 3 ice days recorded but no sustained spells here.

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We managed a 9 day spell between

17 and 26 december 2010 which is Good going. You have done exceptionally well to see a run of 9 data this jan. For many maxima often hovered between the 0 and 2 degree mark.

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Counting consecutive ice days is a pretty futile exercise at this location to be honest, as being less than 7 miles from the North Sea by crow they are a pretty rare feature. Since 1980 there have only been 32 ice days here so we average around a single one a year and have long spells without them (between 30th Dec 1995 and 28th Dec 2005 we saw none). The longest string of them is three days in 11th-13th Jan 1987 and 27th-29th Dec 1995, the period 17th-21st December almost made five consecutive days but it briefly reached 0.2C on the 19th. The recent cold spell also managed just one ice day on the 16th and even that was very close with a max temp of -0.1C.

As for snowfall, the recent cold spell produced 13 consecutive days with snowfall covering half of the ground at 0900 which is a pretty respectable figure in this location. Last February managed 10 consectuive days aswell. The closest we've come in recent times to an especially long spell was an 18 days period from 25th Nov - 13th Dec 2010 and 11 day spell between 18th Dec - 28th Dec. Its a shame the snow didnt last for those four days in the middle as we would have managed 32 days otherwise. The only other longish spell since I began recording lying snow days in 1987 was back on 7th - 19th February 1991, which managed a 13 day spell and 2nd-11th January 2010, a 10 day period. The figures really highlight how relatively snow-free lowland eastern England is, with only a handful of double-digit consecutive snow lying days in 25 years.

What is interesting though is how recent winters have seen long spells of lying snow make a comeback, the period 1987-2009 was particularly barren of spells with snow on the ground for at least a week. As for your area TM, Im very envious! smile.png

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You have done exceptionally well to see a run of 9 data this jan. For many maxima often hovered between the 0 and 2 degree mark.

That bit extra altitude does help, with Emley Moor and Leek Thorncliffe managing 8 days. Some parts of the east Midlands did surprisingly well with Bedford chalking up a highly respectable 7 days.

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For this location here in the Trent Valley, my records only go back to 2005. Regarding qualifying consecutive ice days for the 24 hour period ending at 09:00 GMT, I can only manage the odd day, until 2010 when there were amazingly 6, even more astonishing is that December the 6th saw a maximum of just –5.8c. 2010 was very special indeed.

Ice days

2005 consecutive = 0 total 1

2006 consecutive = 0 total 1

2007 nothing

2008 consecutive = 0 total 1

2009 nothing

2010 consecutive =6 total 14.

2011 nothing

2012 consecutive =0 total 1

2013 consecutive = 0 total =3

Consecutive days with snow lying : > 50% cover at 09:00 GMT

2005 = 5

2006 = 2

2007 = 2

2008 = 2

2009 = 7

2010 =14

2011 = 0

2012 = 8

2013 =14 so far

Considering this winter has seen no severe cold as yet, it has done very well regarding the number of ice days and snowfall.

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Just one ice day during this snowy spell,the coldest air was always further east during this spell,temps just crept above 0c even though there was little to no thaw.

Higher up there would of been more as in that icy east wind.

Made 10 days with total snowcover,for the 2nd half of january that is a turnaround.

December 2010 gave 9 consecutive ice days.

Last feb gave 3 consecutive ice days,as for snow last feb it was next to nothing,freezing drizzle/rain it was mainly ice.

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Winter 2010-2011 was exceptionally snowy in Edmonton Alberta and relatively cold...something like 135 ice days between Mid October and the end of March and 165 days of lying snow from Mid October to end of April.

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Having come to the end of this recent cold spell, which produced 9 consecutive ice days here, I've had a look back through my records at this site to see how it compared with other spells of ice days.

For clarity the definition of an 'ice day' is one on which the maximum temperature does not exceed -0.1c therefore 0.0c doesn't count.

I picked out only spells of 5 consecutive days or more and since the record here began in 1977 there have been 16 such spells including the latest one.

The spell of 9 days this month is well up there on the list with only 4 other longer spells, most of them by just one or two days.

The longest spell by far was 20 days from 4th-23rd February 1986 and the second longest was 11 days from January 23rd-February 2nd 1996.

The spell in February 1986 was broken by just one day, the 24th, before another 5 day spell occurred, lasting until March 1st.

The extended winter of 1978/79 ( November to March ) produced a total of 34 ice days but there were only two qualifying spells, both of 7 days, as that winter was notable for 'battleground' situations where slightly less cold air would make inroads for a day or two without any significant thawing.

2010 was notable in that it produced 3 qualifying spells, the only year to do so. 1979, 1985 and 1986 each had 2.

Looking at the frequency of spells with between 7 and 10 days and the large jump to the 20 day spell in 1986 it would appear that, by the law of averages ( if there is such a thing) that a spell of around 15 or 16 days is overdue.

With regard to long spells of lying snow ( Met' Office definition of at least half the ground covered with snow at 0900 ) I looked at spells of 10 consecutive days or more.

There were 26 such spells since 1977 excluding the current one which stands at 15 days and looks unlikely to make a 16th.

The longest spell was 52 days from Jan 10th to March 2nd 1979, but for a temporary thaw on Jan 9th this would have been a 63 day spell as there was a 10 spell from Dec' 30th 1978- Jan 8th 1979.

The second longest spell was 37 days from Jan 28th to March 5th 1986 and only 3 other spells were 20 days or longer; these were 24 days from Dec 10th 1981 to Jan 2nd 1982, 23 days from Jan 6th- 28th 1985 and 20 days from Feb 1st- 20th 1991.

Once again 2010 was unique in that it managed 3 qualifying spells within the calendar year.

The earliest spell was that of November 19th- 29th 1996 and the latest was March 7th-16th 1987.

With the last 20 day spell occurring in 1991, and if the law of averages is anything to go by, another spell of similar length is long overdue. If the short thaw in the middle of December 2010 had not occurred a 32 day spell would have been achieved but then again there would be lots of spells of all kinds if not for 'ifs and buts'

love the data,i remember 1979 i was 11and we had snow under the walls well into spring probably helped by a big blizzard in the third week of march,the drifts were almost black with muck(or soot?)and left lines of black when they finally melted.1986 i remember much more clearley i worked on a farm at 360m we also had the coldest november(1985)for 60 yearshad a wintery 2 week spell around new year and almost two weeks at the end of march into the first few days of april

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For lying snow, in the last 20 years the longest was 13 days Nov 27-Dec 9 2010, followed by 12 later in the same month, namely 17th to 28th. Next up are two 10 day spells: Dec 30 1996 to 8 Jan 1997 and 6-15 Jan 2010. Then 9 from 18th to 26th this month (although the 17th had lying snow, it melted before being topped up the following night).

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No ice days in the recent cold spell.

6 ice days in Dec 2010 with a run of 4 successive days up to Christmas Day which reached just -6.2c.

Snow lay for 8 successive days in the recent spell compared with 14 days in Nov - Dec 2010.

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I've taken a look at the records from my original station, about 7 miles from where I am now and 140 m lower. I have a 10 year overlap of records between the two sites and have applied a correction in temperature, based on the two records, to compensate for the difference in altitude.

The original record began at the end of 1963 and the only qualifying spells of ice days at my current site would have been;

Jan' 14th-22nd 1966...... 9 days

Feb' 9th-13th 1966.... .5 days

Jan' 8th-13th 1968..........6 days

Feb' 12th-16th 1969.......5 days

Jan' 30th-Feb' 5th 1976..7 days

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For this location here in the Trent Valley, my records only go back to 2005. Regarding qualifying consecutive ice days for the 24 hour period ending at 09:00 GMT, I can only manage the odd day, until 2010 when there were amazingly 6, even more astonishing is that December the 6th saw a maximum of just –5.8c. 2010 was very special indeed.

Ice days

2005 consecutive = 0 total 1

2006 consecutive = 0 total 1

2007 nothing

2008 consecutive = 0 total 1

2009 nothing

2010 consecutive =6 total 14.

2011 nothing

2012 consecutive =0 total 1

2013 consecutive = 0 total =3

Consecutive days with snow lying : > 50% cover at 09:00 GMT

2005 = 5

2006 = 2

2007 = 2

2008 = 2

2009 = 7

2010 =14

2011 = 0

2012 = 8

2013 =14 so far

Considering this winter has seen no severe cold as yet, it has done very well regarding the number of ice days and snowfall.

What was your maximum on 20/12/10? I remember Buxton's was something like -6.6c although it may have rose above that by 9am the next day. In the (upper) Dove Valley it was -16c at 8am and still -9c at 1pm. I think the morning inversion lasted all day, so the maximum could have been even lower than -6.6c.

I should really invest in my own equipment once I've got a more permanent home.

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What was your maximum on 20/12/10? I remember Buxton's was something like -6.6c although it may have rose above that by 9am the next day. In the (upper) Dove Valley it was -16c at 8am and still -9c at 1pm. I think the morning inversion lasted all day, so the maximum could have been even lower than -6.6c.

I should really invest in my own equipment once I've got a more permanent home.

The maximum for the 20th was just –3.6c, after an overnight low of –11.8c. Usually very low daytime maximums are accompanied by freezing fog here in the valley, but the 20th was bright with hazy sunshine.

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six consecutive ice days here in Northamptonshire, and 7 ice days in total, in fact only one day between the 6th and 7th day which had a max of 0.3c stopped it from being 8 consecutive ice days! Pretty good for about 120m asl in middle England, actually equalled our tally from December 2010.

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There was not one ice day and hardly any ice nights this last cold spell in my 30ft asl locaton.The north west region did woefully badly albeit given a bit of elevation this changed to the contrary. Buxton, for example had plenty ice days and consecutive sbow througout the spell.By the end of tthe spell there was 30cm of snow on the ground and drifts of a foot at least.Herre in paltry low level Manchester we may have well been on Iberian coast.I hat Eccles,we not only produced the most disgusting excuse for a'cake' but the weather is even more temperaate that england[the most temperate palce this lattitude...oh well ,I live in hope of a mini ice age.

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Longest spells of consecutive days with snow lying at 9am here -

2012/13: 15

2011/12: 2

2010/11: 18

2009/10: 26

2008/09: 13

2007/08: 3

2006/07: 5

2005/06: 10

2004/05: 6

2003/04: 8

2002/03 had about 8 days while 2000/01 and 2001/02 both managed around 14 consecutive days. The 90s winters were much less snowy with only 90/91, 93/94, 95/96 and 98/99 managing as much as 7 consecutive days and only 1998/99 managed as much as 10.

I won't bother with ice days as we hardly ever get them and this winter has been so dire that there has barely been any air frost either. Just 9 air frosts this month totaling 83 hours below freezing. Average would be 12 and over 100 hours while December 2010, a proper cold winter month, managed 19 and an incredible duration of 393.7hrs.

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