Remember the Beast from the East parts one and two last March?
For those who dont, There was bitterly cold temperatures with numerous heavy snowfalls effecting the majority of the UK.
Forecasters believe this came about due to what is know as ‘Sudden Stratospheric warming’
The term SSW refers to what we observe – rapid warming (up to about 50 °C in just a couple of days) in the stratosphere, between 10 km and 50 km up.
Ultimately this allowed high pressure to effect the flow of the UK’s weather. Rather than have mild Atlantic storms roll in high pressure blocked the flow from the west, And in turn gave way to periods of Easterly winds.
Since this occured the Atlantic has been very quiet with very little influence on the UK’s weather.
Infact the Summer that comes to an end today may well top the lot as the warmest on record. This once again down to the dominance of high pressure over or close to the UK.
(In summer a high pressure dominated pattern will generally result in warmer than average temperatures, The reverse is true in winter.)
The theory therefor is that should the pattern we have seen for the last 6 months or so persist the risk of a Beast from the East bringing a brutally cold winter and periods of heavy snowfall increase.
There are other factors in play which would add to the potential for a cold winter.
Currently we appear to heading towards a possible Solar maunder minimum, (an extended decades-long period of low solar activity) And a slow down of the Gulf stream due to a increase of fresh water in the North Atlantic.
Its all food for thought and one that could make Winter 2018/19 even more frosty than the last.
We will release a full winter forecast in October when we can look at further contributing factors.