According to some long range winter forecast, there is snow forecast in October in the UK when and where exactly isn’t sure (I started writing this a few weeks ago, and the snow has fallen on the hills already, down to 800m ASL here on Goatfell, on the Isle of Arran). There have been some snowfall in Aviemore during a hurricane tail end that hit the UK. In meteorological terms winter doesn’t start until December (to the end of February). After the last two or three years harsh winter weather in the UK people want to know earlier and earlier what the winter snowfall will be this year. Quite right too, when temperatures drop to below -20C then you have to be prepared for all eventualities, you do not want to get stuck out in your car with no food or drink or warm clothes for example.

Lets have a look at just a couple of the many factors which affect the winter weather snow fall in the UK. The weather patterns around the Globe are driven by the biggest storage heaters, the oceans. You may have heard of the El Nino or La Nina, which is the heating or cooling of the Pacific ocean. Changes in the oceans have a huge affect one what happens around the globe. Currently the temperature anomaly in the pacific is negative which means its cooler than average, so this means its currently a La Nina phase which usually means a cooler weather phase for the UK/ Western Europe.

NAO heading for a negative phase?

The North Atlantic Oscillation, the difference in pressure between Iceland and the Azores is also an indicator of what will be in store for winter. Recently the NAO has been positive, which was when the UK had a warmer than expected spell, whereas during the summer, which was famous for being one of the coldest for a long long time, the NAO was negative. So if this pressure difference continues on its downward trend into winter then yes, it will be a cold one! Since I started researching these teleconnections for this post, the NAO has began to hover around 0 or slightly positive, again this is contributing to the warmer than average weather at the moment. There is however a huge High Pressure, sat over Scandinavia, it was this high pressure that gave us such cold winters over the last 2 or 3 winters, all it needs to do is to move in a westerly direction and we’ll be in for a treat, if the Scandinavian Blocking occurs, this kind of deflects our usual warm wet South Westerly winds to the south of Spain. At the moment (28th November) The pressure systems are just in the wrong place to give us cold air, the low pressure systems either side of the UK and drawing up warm air from the south across the UK. I’m pretty sure that there will be a hefty cold blast this winter, but when and exactly where can’t be determined. This has been the hardest winter weather prediction terms of research because the weather systems have been so dynamic recently!


What other meteorologists are forecasting:


In Piers Corbyn’s Climatefools video from this year, he predicted that a period of extreme cold would hit the UK and Western Europe on the 27th of November through to the 28th of December. If this turned out to be true, then that would be a very similar kind of cold spell to last winter. At the moment however, I wouldn’t class this as “extreme cold” yet… Bear in mind this winter prediction forecast of his was done months ago. 3 days before his predicted date, the weather certainly did change from the warm balmy temperatures to much cooler, it was even cold enough for snow down to about 600m on the hills of Arran, and much more widespread snow on the Highlands. He did say in his video that the confidence in the winter forecast at that point was lower than last year, due to the activity on the Sun, which was making for much more changeable winter weather to come and because of this the weather systems will be less stable than last years.



My Winter Weather Predictions

Well, this year I think it will be a very erratic winter, there seems to be a lot more energy in the atmosphere than last year. For weeks there wasn’t even the slightest puff of wind which allowed the ice crystals to grow long on the the trees. This year the winds have hardly stopped! Lots of big winds from the Atlantic bringing warm wet weather. This has coincided with an increase in the Sun’s activity, so I think the rest of the winter will continue on the same style. I can’t see a similar pattern like last winter occurring, where there was weeks on end of extreme sub-zero temperatures. Of course the end of December into January and possibly February will be colder, that’s just normal. As always with temperature, it will fluctuate up and down so there will still be some cold snaps which you must prepare for. For all the snow lovers, I think this erratic weather, may include a couple of huge dumps of snow, probably more localised and restricted in in-land locations rather than last years snow falls which saw the nation grind to a halt but will still be impressive none the less.


So that’s about it! Sorry my ability to write flowing articles is not fantastic, it took me a month to write this on and off due to sheer laziness more than anything! I’m not an expert when it comes to weather either, it might end up being a 3 month heat wave, or a deep freeze, only time will tell. The last few predictions I have written have been pretty accurate getting the general scheme of things right. Hope everyone has a good winter! I’ll keep this updated with any revalations 🙂


Links: Piers Corbyn






Originally posted 2011-12-02 22:41:18.