Europe January 2018 Outlook

Up until Sunday of last weekend we had a pretty decent spell of winter but as is often the case, it doesn’t last forever and we’re now back in the mild, mucky Atlantic flow.

Our cold spell brought some cold nights with Dalwhinnie and Shawbury registering a minimum of -13C and spectacular days such as this from Glencoe Ski Centre back on Sunday 10th.

Ben More Isle of Mull on the 14th

Credit: Iain Cameron

Campsie Fells on the 14th

Credit: Mark Vogan

My daughter Holly enjoyed her 4th birthday in the snow!

Credit: Mark Vogan

Before the break in the cold to mild, it was a chilly first half to December through the 14th.

Credit: Michael Ventrice

Since the flip, it’s nearer normal now, especially for Scotland.

Credit: Michael Ventrice

The fluid ‘Atlantic pattern’ looks to continue through the remainder of the month/year with a white Christmas unlikely outwith the Scottish Highlands. In the wake of a Christmas/Boxing day storm system, a punch of arctic air looks set to sweep south over the UK and this does increase our snow chances BRIEFLY before we reach the end of 2017.

GFS ensemble 500mb height anomaly through December 27th

Credit: Tropical Tidbits

GFS surface/precipitation for 0900 Christmas Day

Credit: wxcharts.eu

Hum, very latest run of GFS has backside snow into central Scotland later Christmas Day. Likely overdone but time will tell.

Credit: wxcharts.eu

Credit: wxcharts.eu

During Boxing Day the winds blow out of the north rather than south so a noticeable dip in temp and feel compared to Christmas Eve and early Christmas Day.

The weather livens up further into the week as the thermal gradient over North America increases so the westerly Atlantic jet stream strengthens and lows deepen. With colder air entrained within the lows from North America, northern snow chances increase, but central/southern UK sees rain. Strong winds at times for all as we say goodbye to 2017.

Credit: Tropical Tidbits

How’s January looking?

With the NAO (North Atlantic Oscillation) likely holding positive, so the Atlantic low pressure pattern remains dominant.

Interestingly the AO (Arctic Oscillation) appears to have a shot at flipping negative.

An Atlantic driven pattern doesn’t necessarily mean mild because the US could be shivering and the Atlantic jet stream can drive arctic air across the pond and bring snow, not rain to the UK.

Interestingly the CFSv2 weeklies should the +AO/NAO pattern to open 2018 but a flip towards a -AO towards mid mouth while NAO remains negative with low heights over NE Atlantic, high heights over Europe.

Credit: Tropical Tidbits

Credit: Tropical Tidbits

Credit: Tropical Tidbits

At the moment I don’t see any significant displacement or collapse in the stratospheric polar vortex through the next 10 days at 50mb or 10mb.

Therefore I don’t see much potential for Greenland blocking and a locked cold pattern for the UK or Northwest Europe through much of January.

The Atlantic looks likely to rule January but we’ve opportunity for progressive, quick hitting, transient cold spells accompanied by snow.

I have to agree with the CFSv2 with it’s January 500mb height anomaly

Credit: Tropical Tidbits

Warmer than normal UK? If it’s the 500mb anomaly is correct then warmer than normal is most likely.

Credit: Tropical Tidbits

FEATURED IMAGE CREDIT: PAUL KINGSTON @PaulKingstonNNP

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