I know that we are only just a week or so into what’s termed ‘meteorological’ winter, but it seems to me that there are already signs that the long-range weather forecast the Met Office issued last month may already be going off the rails. They’ve got away with the first 5 days of December which were anticyclonic and on the cold side, because if you remember they said that December would be ‘more likely than usual to be cold‘, but since then there has been a distinct change in type, and for the last couple of days the country has been flooded with exceptionally mild south westerlies with maximum temperatures by day as high as 17°C in parts of the country.
Here are the latest Daily CET values, and as you can see the maximum values for the 7th & 8th where both near record highs (provisionally) for each day since 1878.
Not only that, but the Met Office forecast for the next 5 day has the circulation locked into a south or southwesterly type with high pressure remaining anchored over southeast Europe and the Alps.
Looking further ahead towards Christmas, there seems little change in type if the latest 15 day forecast from the GFS model is to be believed. As you can see, Christmas looks exceedingly bleak for snow lovers, as warm air is continually being pumped up towards the Pole in southerlies that have their source somewhere south of the Azores and much of western Europe in the grips of very mild weather. In fact if you look more closely at more of the frames in this particular model run, there are definite shades of last winter when the warm conveyor seemed got stuck over the northwest of the country for days at a time.
December in the face of this NWP evidence looks like it could well be very much milder than average, even if things change do turn cold over the Christmas period (à la December 1962) . Yes I know, a week is a long time in both politics (thank you Harold Wilson) and NWP forecasting, but I wonder if Dr Jeff Knight will live to regret saying this in the Met Office blog by the end of the winter? Of course only time will tell.