WESTERN EUROPE: A Look At Stratospheric Temperature… Building Blocks To A Cold Outbreak!

Written by on November 6, 2014 in Rest of Europe, United Kingdom & Ireland with 0 Comments

We’re seeing an early start to stratospheric warming over Siberia and the North Pacific Ocean. This appears to be fuelling early season arctic outbreaks into North America but for us here in Western Europe to waiting game continues.

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When it comes to cold here, we watch for a term known as sudden stratospheric warming events which leads to cold air usually suspended up high in the atmosphere being forced down and south.

Here’s the map I usually show when looking at the stratosphere.


Little change from recent weeks and from last year. Why are we seeing it here again? It’s the unusually big snow pack over Siberia that’s causing a reaction with the atmosphere above. We are still seeing the transitional shift from autumn towards winter and it’s the lack of snow and cold that means we’re typically don’t seeing anything favouring our part of the world until winter itself, i.e Dec onwards.

What’s interesting is, take a look at the (below) 1mb strat temperature and notice that there’s a ribbon of warmth stretching from Siberia across the UK or just south of the UK out into the Atlantic. It’s plausible to think that as our atmosphere adjusts to a more winter time state and this warming in the UPPER stratosphere progresses into the lower stratosphere and forces the kind of blocking we associate with cold outbreaks here.


It’s a slow, progressive, complex large-scale atmospheric development which only occurs when conditions are just right. We’re seeing things going on early and very different to last year but I can’t help but think we have favourable strat warming heading our way which could bring some snow and cold UK-bound by early or mid December.

When a major strat warming event takes place, warming usually begins in the upper stratosphere and works downwards.


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