Europe April & Spring Outlook 2016 (Includes Video)

The warming trend of the stratosphere in recent weeks is casting a shadow over spring 2016 and by that I mean there’s unlikely to be a sudden summer with lingering cool well into April, possibly extending into May. A cold mid and upper atmosphere and warming surface may increase convective shower activity with heavy downpours of rain, hail and possibly even sleet and snow along with cold, frosty nights where clear and winds light.

This cool follows a warm, wet winter in which the polar vortex started off record strong, leading to the warmest December on record both sides of the Atlantic. Through January and February, it weakened and warmed and by early March it was said to be record weak.

CREDIT: JUDAH COHEN (AER)

CREDIT: JUDAH COHEN (AER)

This in turn has led to colder air circulating the mid latitudes with a still strong, fluid jet stream, lows are still highly active across North America and after a 10 day respite over Northwest Europe, this more active pattern shall return.

The influence of this strat warming has been noticeable through the first 20 days of March over particularly Southwest Europe while warm across Northern Europe thanks to blocking high pressure.

CREDIT: MICHAEL VENTRICE

CREDIT: MICHAEL VENTRICE

The demise of what was once a record strong polar vortex may be in response to the weakening of this year’s Super El Nino which tied the record of 1997-98 as strongest. The El Nino peaked at the same time the polar vortex was at it’s strongest, leading to record warmth throughout the mid latitudes into United States, UK and much of Europe.

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The current and projected status of the 50hpa temperature profile of the arctic over the next 7-10 days suggests a delayed spring.

Now

CREDIT: NOAA

CREDIT: NOAA

7 days

CREDIT: NOAA

CREDIT: NOAA

10 days

CREDIT: NOAA

CREDIT: NOAA

Long range modelling agrees of a positive over negative height field which supports more trough and cooler than normal temperatures for both eastern North America and Western Europe.

CREDIT: TROPICAL TIDBITS.COM

CREDIT: TROPICAL TIDBITS.COM

CREDIT: TROPICAL TIDBITS.COM

CREDIT: TROPICAL TIDBITS.COM

CREDIT: TROPICAL TIDBITS.COM

CREDIT: TROPICAL TIDBITS.COM

Canadian model

CREDIT: TROPICAL TIDBITS.COM

CREDIT: TROPICAL TIDBITS.COM

CREDIT: TROPICAL TIDBITS.COM

CREDIT: TROPICAL TIDBITS.COM

CREDIT: TROPICAL TIDBITS.COM

CREDIT: TROPICAL TIDBITS.COM

The energy transfer of cold from stratosphere down to troposphere essentially leads to colder than normal air suspended within the mid and upper mid latitudes atmosphere and with the energy associated with low pressure  combined with an ever strengthening sun and angle, instability increases with the lapse rate (temperature difference with height) and therefore you can get mountain snow, spells of rain and cold or the classic April sunshine and showers. Where the winds are light and sun out, it feels pleasantly warm. Beneath the cloud or exposed to the breeze it can feel downright cold and nights can still be very cold with hard frosts.

So, I am going for a cooler than normal April with potential for further snowfall in the mountains of the UK, possibly into Iberia and Alps with warmer than normal conditions extending from central to eastern Europe.

What About May?

I suspect May will see a change as I believe we may well see a cooling and regrouping of the polar vortex which should draw warm high pressure out of the tropics into the subtropics with northward bulges extending into North America and Europe.

May is likely to be changeable with chill and warmth and potentially the first taste of summer even for the UK.

CFSv2

CREDIT: TROPICAL TIDBITS

CREDIT: TROPICAL TIDBITS

CREDIT: TROPICAL TIDBITS

CREDIT: TROPICAL TIDBITS

Canadian

CREDIT: TROPICAL TIDBITS.COM

CREDIT: TROPICAL TIDBITS.COM

CREDIT: TROPICAL TIDBITS

CREDIT: TROPICAL TIDBITS

In the coming weeks I shall be discussing more and more about the upcoming summer and what we can expect.

Official summer 2016 forecast will be released May 1.

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