Europe set for unusually warm winter but faces cold blast in December

Europe faces a higher-than-usual chance of a cold blast of weather before the end of the year, but the winter overall is likely to be warmer than average, the continent's long-range weather forecaster said Thursday.

Europe set for unusually warm winter but faces cold blast in December

Temperatures this winter will be crucial for homeowners worried about the record cost of heating their homes, and for European policymakers seeking to avoid energy rationing due to cuts in Russian gas supplies.

“We see the winter as being warmer than usual,” said Carlo Buontempo, director of the Copernicus Climate Change Service that produces seasonal forecasts for the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF).

“Nevertheless there is a still a significant chance of a block situation, which can lead to cold temperatures and low wind over Europe,” he told AFP as the service issued a monthly update to its forecasts.

A so-called block or blocking pattern in the winter can bring stable, often wind-free weather accompanied by freezing temperatures.

“This was looking more likely in November, but there now looks like a pronounced probability of a cold outbreak in December,” Buontempo said.

The ECMWF produces weather modelling with data from a range of national weather services around Europe.

Its forecasts are based on indicators such as ocean and atmospheric temperatures, as well as wind speeds in the stratosphere, but do not have the accuracy of short-range reports.

The models provide the “best information possible, to give a hint, to guide our decisions”, Buontempo said.

The European winter was expected to be warmer than usual because of the “La Nina” global weather phenomenon, which is related to cooling surface temperatures in the central and eastern equatorial Pacific Ocean.

“We know that in a La Nina year, the latter part of the European winter tends to favour westerly winds, so warm and wet,” Buontempo said.

The agency will update its winter season forecast next month when it will have greater confidence because “all the drivers for the winter will be more active”, he said.

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.


Denmark’s November snow not expected to last

Snow that carpeted Denmark on Sunday and Monday will melt over the next few days, according to forecasters, meaning traffic disruptions will be short-lived.

Denmark’s November snow not expected to last

Temperatures will be above freezing for most of this week, the Danish met office DMI said on Monday.

While the temperatures are expected to remain above zero, there may still be some risk of icy roads during the night and early mornings, the agency said.

Several accidents and disruptions related to hazardous roads were reported on Monday morning but conditions had improved by later in the day, the Danish Roads Directorate (Vejdirektoratet) said.

“The positive degrees have [already] made a difference, that’s for sure,” Jakob Riis-Petersen of the roads agency said.

“A combination of plus degrees and no rain or snow has helped,” he said.

Difficult conditions could return again on Tuesday, he also said.

“But it depends on what happens with precipitation. But so far it doesn’t look like there will be large amounts,” he said.