Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
damianslaw

Where have the long fetch northerlies gone?

Recommended Posts

I think Northerlies are becoming rarer in the true sence of what your describing is because of increased in shortwave activity in Greenland, see it all the time these days and its why we rarely get a proper ridge into Greenland during Winter anymore. Then if its not that, its because the Northerly flow becomes messy and cold air starts to mix out.

The classic Northerlies are where high pressure very slowly topples in and because of the orientation, the Northerly turns into a more NE'ly and Easterly.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It was classic northerlies that gave my part of the world its best & most long-lived snowfalls. The lack of snow here these last few years I feel can be directly correlated to the change we have seen.  

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

18th December 2010 sticks in my mind. 

Clear blue skies interrupted by huge snow showers. 

Marvellous stuff.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Gone, just like easterlies and any other winter setup, northerlies nowadays are just tame

Tom Martin Williams

  • Sad 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Any Northerly that we may get in Winter now will it seems have less bite to them than years ago.The warmer Arctic and the southern extent of the main Icecap in early Spring on our side of the Pole means a longer than ever track over open sea.

I can recall in the 60's a number of really cold Northerlies especially around Feb/March when the southern limit of the Ice touched the North coast of Iceland at that time.

Look at this chart from Feb 69 as one notable example 

archives-1969-2-7-12-1.png

Wrt 2010 the real deep feed of cold was more from the north east(polar continental air mass)-(image 1 below) rather than a true maritime Arctic feed.

archives-2010-11-30-12-1.pngarchives-2010-12-8-12-1.png

The wind did swing around to a somewhat less cold northerly later on(image 2) but by that time the deep surface cold was well established.

I think these days our best chance of seeing our lowest Winter temperatures is from the north east or east,basically continental air masses from Northern Russia/Siberia, often via Scandinavia, along the lines of that exceptional 2010 outbreak,anything else becomes modified more easily these days it seems.

  • Like 1
  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
10 hours ago, phil nw. said:

Any Northerly that we may get in Winter now will it seems have less bite to them than years ago.The warmer Arctic and the southern extent of the main Icecap in early Spring on our side of the Pole means a longer than ever track over open sea.

I can recall in the 60's a number of really cold Northerlies especially around Feb/March when the southern limit of the Ice touched the North coast of Iceland at that time.

Look at this chart from Feb 69 as one notable example 

archives-1969-2-7-12-1.png

Wrt 2010 the real deep feed of cold was more from the north east(polar continental air mass)-(image 1 below) rather than a true maritime Arctic feed.

archives-2010-11-30-12-1.pngarchives-2010-12-8-12-1.png

The wind did swing around to a somewhat less cold northerly later on(image 2) but by that time the deep surface cold was well established.

I think these days our best chance of seeing our lowest Winter temperatures is from the north east or east,basically continental air masses from Northern Russia/Siberia, often via Scandinavia, along the lines of that exceptional 2010 outbreak,anything else becomes modified more easily these days it seems.

There is no doubt the winter polar vortex is weaker nowadays because of the warmer Arctic but a true stright Northerly which is sustained can still produce pretty cold uppers if thicknesses and longevity is in our favour.

Unfortunately what seems to happen these days is a shortwave will form across Greenland which stops any Atlantic ridgding and the ridge then collapse on top of us quite quickly therefore cutting the Northerly feed off. All that said, Northerlies in such a true form are probably quite rare in winter and you can never rule out a potent Northerly to hit in the future.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 10/9/2017 at 08:13, I remember Atlantic 252 said:

Gone, just like easterlies and any other winter setup, northerlies nowadays are just tame

Tom Martin Williams

Yes, this is correct.

I have mentioned the changes in our winter patterns before- its not just confined to the UK either,i mentioned Poland where the winters are no where near as harsh as they once were.I was speaking to a ukraine friend the other day and he said pretty much the same thing, the last 2 years he said there was no snow at christmas( this is west Ukraine).And its happened quite a few times in recent times.Something utterly unheard of before the 1990s.

Edited by northwestsnow
  • Like 1
  • Sad 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Warmer seas, more shortwave activity, no proper Greenland highs.

These days you get proper cold only if it can come from the west or northwest and that rules out the UK. We need to move to Quebec or Kamchatka. North Japan also fits the bill.

  • Sad 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Pretty sure the late-April 2016 cold blast was a direct northerly.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well after much consideration my 'expectations' when winter approaches are now very low.

We can talk all we want about the ENSO, SSTs, QBO but the harsh reality for a cold weather fan in much of Europe is the landscape has changed.I do not profess to know for how long the change will be but to deny winters are now mild and wet in the main is denying reality.

Of course there will be cold snaps / spells in future winters but they are becoming rarer and rarer (just like the easterlies) 

I would expect this coming winter to be in the main, wet,and mild.Yes there could be cold snaps but for my money, the chances of a stable block over scandy or greeny recede year in year out, there is just too much energy in the blasted Atlantic nowadays for any block to survive!

  • Sad 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 minute ago, northwestsnow said:

Well after much consideration my 'expectations' when winter approaches are now very low.

We can talk all we want about the ENSO, SSTs, QBO but the harsh reality for a cold weather fan in much of Europe is the landscape has changed.I do not profess to know for how long the change will be but to deny winters are now mild and wet in the main is denying reality.

Of course there will be cold snaps / spells in future winters but they are becoming rarer and rarer (just like the easterlies) 

I would expect this coming winter to be in the main, wet,and mild.Yes there could be cold snaps but for my money, the chances of a stable block over scandy or greeny recede year in year out, there is just too much energy in the blasted Atlantic nowadays for any block to survive!

What do you mean by 'Landscape has changed'? Please elaborate.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Just now, MattTarrant said:

What do you mean by 'Landscape has changed'? Please elaborate.

I feel the the baseline has now changed- meaning the odds on a cold winter have increased, for much of Europe.

FWIW itdoesnt mean we cant get a cold winter, just the odds are higher.

  • Sad 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Interesting thoughts indeed. What Phil mentioned yesterday (Strictly relevant to Northerlies) was excellent. It will be interesting to see the extent of Ice Sheets this winter and the possible role it could play. 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 hours ago, MattTarrant said:

Interesting thoughts indeed. What Phil mentioned yesterday (Strictly relevant to Northerlies) was excellent. It will be interesting to see the extent of Ice Sheets this winter and the possible role it could play. 

The shrinking north of the Ice sheet's southern extent  in Winter inevitably is imo a large factor in restricting the coldness of any Northerlies for us,especially the further south one is in the UK.

At one time a good northerly would bring daytime freezing temperatures to Scotland and maybe max's of 2/3C down south,now we can add at least 2 degrees to these. Of course these are subjective views from memory and i am sure the odd exception can be found in more recent times but generally they do not have the teeth to them so much now.That's why i contend that continental cold from the east/north east usually is our best chance of our coldest weather come Winter.

Just to illustrate how things have changed since my youth we can compare the images below which show ice coverage around the time of maximum extent,give or take a week or so, the first is from 1980(the first available from when satellite data became available and last year,same time.(The dates are American type so month/dates are reversed for us-so 1st March)

testimage.2.sh?first=19790301.png&second=20160301.jpg

We can see the  bigger "bite" of open ocean to the north extending up to Svalbard  plus the retreat from the north coast of Iceland,which as i posted earlier used to reach that coast back in the 60's iirc. 

We really need the shortest sea track possible from a northerly these days with some strength to the wind so the Arctic air coming south has little time as possible to warm up over the open sea.Not an easy pattern to hold for long these days as we would require a solid Greenland Block nicely orientated N/S with a corresponding deep Scandinavian trough.

Still not impossible to achieve of course but with the passage of time these ideal setups are i believe becoming increasingly rare.

  • Like 3
  • Sad 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
19 minutes ago, phil nw. said:

The shrinking north of the Ice sheet's southern extent  in Winter inevitably is imo a large factor in restricting the coldness of any Northerlies for us,especially the further south one is in the UK.

At one time a good northerly would bring daytime freezing temperatures to Scotland and maybe max's of 2/3C down south,now we can add at least 2 degrees to these. Of course these are subjective views from memory and i am sure the odd exception can be found in more recent times but generally they do not have the teeth to them so much now.That's why i contend that continental cold from the east/north east usually is our best chance of our coldest weather come Winter.

Just to illustrate how things have changed since my youth we can compare the images below which show ice coverage around the time of maximum extent,give or take a week or so, the first is from 1980(the first available from when satellite data became available and last year,same time.(The dates are American type so month/dates are reversed for us-so 1st March)

testimage.2.sh?first=19790301.png&second=20160301.jpg

We can see the  bigger "bite" of open ocean to the north extending up to Svalbard  plus the retreat from the north coast of Iceland,which as i posted earlier used to reach that coast back in the 60's iirc. 

We really need the shortest sea track possible from a northerly these days with some strength to the wind so the Arctic air coming south has little time as possible to warm up over the open sea.Not an easy pattern to hold for long these days as we would require a solid Greenland Block nicely orientated N/S with a corresponding deep Scandinavian trough.

Still not impossible to achieve of course but with the passage of time these ideal setups are i believe becoming increasingly rare.

Its not only that, but that cold air that has to take a longer track over warmer seas is also warmer to start with. Take a look at 2016 above 80N, temps are some 10C above normal in winter on average:

meanT_2016.png

Compare to 1963:

meanT_1963.png

Its some 20C cooler during he first three months of the year.

If the source of the air is 20C warmer, going across SSTs some 5C warmer and travelling across 500-1000 miles more of that sea, then its no surprise how things have changed. More energy in the system means a stronger jet stream (high pressure topples quicker) and more shortwaves. Its like the perfect storm of factors going against us. Time will tell if this is permanent though, as even 2010 was much more favourable:

meanT_2010.png

 

Edited by reef
  • Like 4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 8 October 2017 at 21:44, damianslaw said:

It seems an age that we have seen a direct long fetch northerly hit the country, whilst they are very often shortlived,

I remember Oct 2008 producing a wonderful northerly late month with fronts and troughs embedded within.

That was just a toppler. Shortwave activity near Greenland which dived down across the UK which pulled down fresh cold air in its wake but it wasn't exactly a stable set up. Azores high pressure had been displaced northwards. 

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I miss long fetch and potent northerlies a million times more than my imaginary girlfriend.  I believe the rapid loss of Arctic Ice and snow over the last 30 years has played a part with the cold air being increasingly moderated at source.  The loss of ice and snow has caused the strongest thermal gradient and with it the Jetstream to shift north which makes it ever harder for northerlies to establish and/or last long.  Mind you, I think Phil nw has explained it better than me.

Edited by Lettucing Gutted
  • Like 4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Stuck in the bygone era don't forget it's the christmas pudding. :rofl:

  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
9 hours ago, northwestsnow said:

Yes, this is correct.

I have mentioned the changes in our winter patterns before- its not just confined to the UK either,i mentioned Poland where the winters are no where near as harsh as they once were.I was speaking to a ukraine friend the other day and he said pretty much the same thing, the last 2 years he said there was no snow at christmas( this is west Ukraine).And its happened quite a few times in recent times.Something utterly unheard of before the 1990s.

The autumn of 87 was the start of it. The great storm in October, was one of the first signs of a shifting climate. 

  • Sad 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Is there anywhere online where a list of northerlies can be found going back over decades? Saves looking through every chart in the archives.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 10/9/2017 at 15:57, phil nw. said:

Any Northerly that we may get in Winter now will it seems have less bite to them than years ago.The warmer Arctic and the southern extent of the main Icecap in early Spring on our side of the Pole means a longer than ever track over open sea.

I can recall in the 60's a number of really cold Northerlies especially around Feb/March when the southern limit of the Ice touched the North coast of Iceland at that time.

Look at this chart from Feb 69 as one notable example 

archives-1969-2-7-12-1.png

Wrt 2010 the real deep feed of cold was more from the north east(polar continental air mass)-(image 1 below) rather than a true maritime Arctic feed.

archives-2010-11-30-12-1.pngarchives-2010-12-8-12-1.png

The wind did swing around to a somewhat less cold northerly later on(image 2) but by that time the deep surface cold was well established.

I think these days our best chance of seeing our lowest Winter temperatures is from the north east or east,basically continental air masses from Northern Russia/Siberia, often via Scandinavia, along the lines of that exceptional 2010 outbreak,anything else becomes modified more easily these days it seems.

The heaviest snowfall in Dec 10 came from a Northerly. a lovely crisp day here.

archives-2010-12-17-12-1.pngAVN_1_2010121600_2.thumb.png.a9a4be701f0f279dc3a65b5a223ea3b2.pngAVN_1_2010121700_2.thumb.png.9534aa599b5ebbb4f169ad452decc975.png

In the 2000-2009 decade we did very well locally out of Northerlies even topplers with numerous heavy snow events.

This decade with the exception of 2010 has been much worse. Partly as northerlies have not been as potent, but also because there has been a lack of proper cold beforehand. So this makes a difference between between now settling on frozen ground, and snow melting on impact leading to wet conditions. What does the future hold, time will tell.

Of course I am biased as these events are very good locally.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
11 hours ago, MP-R said:

Is there anywhere online where a list of northerlies can be found going back over decades? Saves looking through every chart in the archives.

Of note and be no means a comprehensive list. (Period 2000-2010 by memory and those which gave heavy snow, with the exception of 25 Dec 2004, which gave a dusting the following morning.

25 December 2001                                              26 February 2004                          25 December 2004                                    25 November 2005                                                              

image.thumb.png.ad13bb9a88fd83c77cc4bb2036eb5ef0.pngarchives-2004-2-26-0-1.pngimage.thumb.png.e237597aaaa424a02dcc406d4198a535.pngarchives-2005-11-25-0-1.png

28 February 2006                                     07 February 2008

image.thumb.png.0aadabec5ce392ddbfae87e72e36180d.pngimage.thumb.png.ed44471fb93fc7c2f899cc7a179cb35b.png

For the winters of 2009-2010 and 2010-2011 there were numerous events of snow from all different directions.

Edited by J10
  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
26 minutes ago, J10 said:

Of note and be no means a comprehensive list. (Period 2000-2010 by memory and those which gave heavy snow, with the exception of 25 Dec 2004, which gave a dusting the following morning.

25 December 2001                                              26 February 2004                          25 December 2004                                    25 November 2005                                                              

image.thumb.png.ad13bb9a88fd83c77cc4bb2036eb5ef0.pngarchives-2004-2-26-0-1.pngimage.thumb.png.e237597aaaa424a02dcc406d4198a535.pngarchives-2005-11-25-0-1.png

28 February 2006                                     07 February 2008

image.thumb.png.0aadabec5ce392ddbfae87e72e36180d.pngimage.thumb.png.ed44471fb93fc7c2f899cc7a179cb35b.png

For the winters of 2009-2010 and 2010-2011 there were numerous events of snow from all different directions.

Yes indeed, thanks J10, though I kept records in the 2000s so fortunately have those :) I was thinking more 90s and preceding that.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 09/10/2017 at 08:10, mountain shadow said:

18th December 2010 sticks in my mind. 

Clear blue skies interrupted by huge snow showers. 

Marvellous stuff.

Mine too 18 December 2.42pm this pic was taken. Heavy snow for hours. 

248703_10150184004726467_3207169_n.jpg

Edited by stewfox
  • Like 3
  • Haha 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

Sign in to follow this  

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×