Winter will soon be fully upon us (overnight low of -4 Celsius at Glasgow Airport last night!) so it time to try and predict what the weather will throw at us, I’m based in the south west of Scotland so most things will be relevant to the UK and western Europe, but some parts that I will try and point out will have an affect on the weather patterns in other regions of the globe.

Last year was the coldest for decade and one of the most decisive anomalies was the stubborn North Atlantic Oscillation which has been negative for a record breaking 13 months now. The previous record of 9 consecutive months was back in 1968 into 1969 which was also classed as a cold and snowy winter. This NAO is a measure of the difference in pressure between Iceland and the Azores and negative values means that more cold air is brought down from the polar regions giving colder weather across northern Europe. Just because its cooler, doesn’t guarantee snow, if a high pressure settles over Europe during this phase ( known as a Scandinavian Blocking Pattern) then it will be cold and mostly dry and this could last for weeks. This leads to cold crisp, sunny winter days! If the value of the NAO is positive then more warm air from the south would flood Europe, leading to a generally mild wet winter.

Other things which can affect the weather on a global scale are volcanoes which there seems to have been quite a lot of recently, general only big eruption have an affect on a global scale but perhaps lots of smaller eruptions would have some kind of affect to. Eruptions tend to have a cooling affect on the atmosphere since dust blocks out some of the Sun’s energy and and the sulphur dioxide released also has a similar affect cooling the atmosphere higher up.

Over recent years the Sun’s energy output has shrunk meaning there is less energy to be absorbed by the Earth, which logically would lead to a slow cooling of the globe. Shouldn’t it?

Climate Change fanatics love graphs! They use the famous hockey stick graph to show the sudden increase in temperature of the coming years, but so far their predictions haven’t come true, the temperatures have been cooler than their predictions. And recent winters, in western Europe and parts of the USA and Russia have really been bitterly cold. I’m not 100% sure but I think that the warmest year on record was 1998, when global temperatures were helped to their maximum by the Strong El Ninó. Which leads to my next point, the pacific is currently undergoing a rapid La Nina, which means the warmer parts of the pacific ocean are cooling, this is one of the major contributors to the Global weather patterns. Changes in the waters here can have widespread and varied impacts, leading to floods in some areas and droughts in others. Australia, which has been suffering drought conditions for years has just had some of the heaviest rains leading to hosepipe bans being lifted.

Another Interesting point that Climate Change fanatics seem to gloss over is that the Antarctic Ice cover is actually way above average and growing. So while the Arctic Ice cover is less than the average over the past 30 years on the other side of the earth its actually growing!

I have always claimed that the climate changes, and it changes naturally through warmer and cooler cycles, driven by many many different things. Man anthropological output is minimal when you compare it to natural CO2 output so I can’t see how they can claim we’re making such a big difference to the natural cycles. There have been times in the past where the climate has been warmer, and there has also been ice ages with more CO2 in the atmosphere.

Nature can often give us clues as to what’s in store for the future, and there is a story that when lots waxwings migrate to western Europe, its a sign that a hefty winter is on the way. Last year this rang true. Heres a quote from the Daily Mail about this years waxwing invasion:

“Last year bird watchers reported 143 waxwings by the end of October and 1,150 over the whole winter. This year there already been about 2,500..”

Now last winter was the coldest in about 30 years, so what does this suggest may be in store for this winter? Remember there is the Negative North Atlantic Oscillation, increased Volcanic activity (

volcanic winter?), the number of Sun Spots has been decreasing during the last decade, and don’t forget these birds, could this year be even more wintry than winter 2010?

Winter Snow and Weather Prediction

I’m going to say yes. This winter 2010/2011, winter weather prediction is for a much colder and snowier winter than average (in the UK at least). It will be cold, so get prepared! What do you think is in store?