Dalwhinnie, Highland Ties UK’s Coldest Temperature of 2020

Written by on December 30, 2020 in Rest of Europe, United Kingdom & Ireland with 0 Comments

It’s been a wintry week throughout the UK with frequent snow showers producing many with a winter wonderland. For some, it was their first winter wonderland of the entire year.

As you would expect, the Highlands has captured the greatest falls with a widespread 3-6 inches accumulating above 200 metres across the Highland region from Pitlochry to Inverness and from Fort William to Braemar.

Recent nights has seen cloud which restricts overnight cooling. However, last night was the first proper clear starry night which allowed the still, clear, calm atmosphere to take full advantage of the highly reflective snow cover for ‘maximum radiational cooling’. Where the ground is bare, incoming solar radiation is absorbed and this gets re-released back into the atmosphere at night.

However, with the presence of snow, earth’s most reflective surface, incoming solar radiational by day bounces off the snow cover and immediately returns back to space keeping the air colder. At night, temperatures plummet and often drop a further 3-6C more than where the ground was bare.

Here was the snowdepth according to the GFS at 0300 this morning.

Credit: wxcharts.com

Here was this morning’s lows.

Credit: Meteoceil

The snow vs temperature chart mirror nicely the coldest air settling over the deepest snowpack.

Dalwhinnie took the cold prize this morning with a low bottoming out at -10.2C, the UK’s coldest morning of winter to date and a tie for the coldest night for 2020.

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