Zonal Pattern Developing For W Europe / What’s The Significance Of Arctic Ice?

Written by on September 19, 2014 in Rest of Europe, United Kingdom & Ireland with 0 Comments

Last night I put up a post on the Antarctic sea ice record and 6th lowest for the arctic. What’s significant is that the arctic has lost far LESS ice this year compared to last and that may or may not be a big deal for the upcoming winter across not just Europe but the hemisphere.

Less ice may suggest lesser snow cover and lesser ‘reflective’ snow cover may mean less extensive and powerful cold air masses come winter.

The point is, we’re well up on arctic sea ice than recent years which have been warm and thus this may help out if in hope of a colder, snowier winter.

Credit: The Cryoshere Today

Credit: The Cryoshere Today

While the arctic is well below normal, the Antarctic (certainly in the modern satellite era) has not seen this much ice surrounding the continental land mass. To me, it’s a balancing act. One sees a minimum while the other sees a maximum.

Credit: The Cryoshere Today

Credit: The Cryoshere Today

The arctic was down near the 2007 all-time record low for ice cover. That doesn’t bode well for a cold Europe or Boreal (hemisphere-wide) winter because there’s more work for the atmosphere as more ice, means colder air above but if you have more water than ice, solar rays become absorbed not reflected. This year, while still low, we should see a more expansive snow cover across the hemisphere and in turn, a more expansive arctic air pool. If the QBO reacts as I am other forecasters hope and expect, then we could see strat warming over the pool and with a Greenland block, you get an increased threat of arctic blasts from the north and east, directly out of Siberia, across Europe into the UK and Ireland.

Hemisphere snow cover as of yesterday. Very little but remember this is pretty normal around the peak of the melt season but from now through late October, watch as snow cover growths and cold becomes more dominant.


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As shown in last night’s post, the models show the start of snow cover building in the coming 10 days.

Credit: AccuWeather Pro

Credit: AccuWeather Pro

Credit: AccuWeather Pro

Credit: AccuWeather Pro

Credit: AccuWeather Pro

Credit: AccuWeather Pro

The GFS confirms that of the ECMWF with cold and snow impacting a decent swath of Scandinavia even in the coming week.

As for here in the UK and Ireland, our pattern is now shifting with the Atlantic door opening. This will continue to bring mild but maritime air in.

GFS ensemble in it’s 7-day mean 500mb height anomalies show the more westerly or zonal air flow in the next 16 days.



Although I am not going all out to call on a cold winter, I am leaning that way but before we get there, I would expect a WARM, WET autumn. Remembering 2009 was a warm, wet autumn which gave way to cold and snowy.

While 2009-10 and 2010-11 were severe and while 2009-10 arrived somewhat late (Dec 15), it lasted through March while arguably 2010-11 produced more severe cold and snow, arrived early (late Nov) but ended early, New Year! Point is, 2009 was warm and got extremely wet into November and the fairly mild conditions extended nearly to the 3rd week of December. That may happen this year, leading many into thinking another 2013-14 winter is heading our way.

The CFSv2 200mb height charts for November, December and January are very eyecatching, suggesting a wet trough develops late autumn (November) and becomes a cold trough in winter.

Zonal (warm, wet) Oct


Zonal (warm, wetter) Nov


Here’s that cold trough for Dec, Jan.



Be sure to watch the video for the discussion.

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