European December 2018 Outlook

Written by on November 23, 2018 in Rest of Europe, United Kingdom & Ireland with 0 Comments

Up until mid November it had been a warm month with temps soaring to 18C as far north as Kinlochewe, Northwest Highlands.

Credit: Sean Batty

The 2nd half of the month turned seasonal to slightly below average as winds turned from southerly to easterly courtesy of the development of a powerful Scandinavian high. The colder flow wasn’t enough to constitute a ‘beast from the east’ nor enough to balance out the the month ‘average’, in other words the warmth was far stronger through the first half of November than the colder second half. It’s been a wet month also but not stormy. We’ve had our share of windy days but nothing noteworthy.

Credit: Michael Ventrice

The month will also be remembered for hype of a major cold end to November in which I back tracked and held up my hands as wrong. Wrong because I stated ‘no significant cold before Christmas’. Ironically that ‘forecast’ remains correct as my thoughts on the polar vortex proved right and the models were VERY wrong.

So, as it stands, the overall ideas remain unchanged as we leave meteorological autumn and enter winter’s first month.

Up until now, the stratospheric polar vortex has been near average in strength and position for the time of year. Recent days has seen it beginning to flex and stretch with warming on it’s edge between Siberia and Alaska. The modelling shows this displacement continuing with the PV core drifting to between N Greenland and Scandinavia.


Credit: Tropical Tidbits

At 192 hours (Nov 30), the core of coldest at 10mb is over Scandinavia but note the cross polar flow connecting Siberia with the central USA. This suggests a major cold pattern for the US and deep trough from Iceland to Scandinavia with Atlantic flow into Britain.

Credit: Tropical Tidbits


This supports a strong Alaska ridge-Iceland low setup. Colder pattern for the eastern side of North America but more unsettled and relatively mild for Western Europe including the UK.

The GFS ensemble shows an initial dip in both AO and NAO but they both could come up again. Worth a watching as we enter December.

So as it stands, we end the month frequently wet and windy as the Atlantic jet stream strengthens. Based on the PV forecast through the next 10-15 days, I DON’T see any major cold and the continuation of a more westerly air flow through the first 20 days of December. Even the US sees a significant break perhaps mid month from the cold pattern as the Alaska ridge is replaced by a trough and ridging floods the Lower 48 with Pacific air but this should get replaced by the return of AK ridging and cold for Lower 48.

Yes I do fear another 2013-14 winter which was cold for the US and stormy for UK with strat warming remaining on the Siberia-Alaska side, but I believe the low solar and modoki El Nino could support a big 2nd half to winter for UK.

CFSv2 weeklies

Credit: Tropical Tidbits

Credit: Tropical Tidbits

Credit: Tropical Tidbits

Credit: Tropical Tidbits

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