Eye in the sky

Most days I keep my Web Satellite application running to keep an eye on the latest visible satellite images which I download and assemble every 15 minute from the Met Office. Every so often I would purge the image archive, but it seems such a shame just to keep deleting them when I have so much disk space, so I thought that I’d write a viewer that displayed a 4 x 7 grid of 1200 UTC visible images – and here they are for the last 28 days!


It’s amazing how much of a feel that you can get for the weather of any particular month by just viewing thumbnails of each days satellite image. By the way the coloured blank images are the days that I missed.

Look back at October 2016


Data & Images courtesy of the Met Office

October 2016 ended with a flourish


Knightshayes near Tiverton in Devon (31 October 2016)

The Central England Temperatures [CET] for October 2016 ended up with a bit of a flourish, and what looked liked being a very average month in terms of temperature, ended up a little bit on the warm side. The monthly mean was 11.05°C, which made it +0.54°C above the 1961-1990 long-term average, and the 36th warmest October since 1659 in Central England. I have got egg on my face with this month ending up warmer than average, because I was convinced when it started that it was going to be a cold month in general – my advice to anyone who is reading this is – never trust an analog.


There have been many warm October’s since the 1950’s and this is just one more of them. October is quietly becoming less of an autumn month as the years go by and more of a summer one.


As you can see in the chart below the last week of October was not only warm by day, it was even warmer by night, which pushed the overall mean temperature up that bit higher.



Unprecedented early intense Scandinavian high?


The maximum central pressure of the anticyclone over Scandinavia at midnight (5 October 2016) was 1051 hPa, which I thought was very high and unusual for early October, so I went delving into the synoptic charts for pentad 56 (2-6 October) with the aid of the objective Lamb Weather Types [LWT] from the University of East Anglia [UEA].  Below is a analysis of pentad 56 for 1871 to 2015 ranked on the highest pressure over the LWT area, and as you can see October 1945 tops the list.


The 2nd of October 1945 was very anticyclonic, but the high was over central England and not Scandinavia and not intense enough, so much for the highest pressure.


Courtesy of Wetterzentrale

If you do a secondary sort on the highest mean pressure to find the highest E’ly component in pentad 56 then the 2nd of October 1902 comes out top, and although quite similar (if you ignore the missing vigorous low near Iceland), the high is still not as intense as the that sits astride Norway and Sweden at present.


Courtesy of Wetterzentrale

Then I checked out the fourth in the original list and I found a much better match, not perfect but close, again forget the vigorous low of 959 hPa nearing Iceland on last night’s midnight analysis. Interestingly it even has a similar cold-pool over the low countries even though the central pressure of the high in 1902 is still around 6 hPa lower than the 1051 hPa of 2016.


Courtesy of Wetterzentrale

That’s about the best I can do in searching out an analog to match the current intense anticyclone over Scandinavia. Why do I look? Because the synoptic patterns in October have always been seen as some kind of guide to what the forthcoming winter may bring. And this, if you’re curious, is what the central England temperatures [CET] were like in the following winter of 1881-1882. Another cold December in the offing maybe?