What is a Sudden Stratospheric Warming (SSW)?

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The Met Office explains the compression-warming of the stratosphere and how it can bring cold snaps to the UK.

Official blog of the Met Office news team

You may have heard talk of the UK possibly seeing some colder weather next week and that ‘things going on’ in the upper atmosphere may be playing a part.

The ‘thing’ happening in the atmosphere is known as Sudden Stratospheric Warming (SSW). When it does happen, it attracts a lot of interest in the UK because it is sometimes linked to the onset of cold weather in winter.

Here we shed a little bit more light on the phenomenon.

What is an SSW?

The term SSW refers to what we observe – rapid warming (up to about 50 ­°C in just a couple of days) in the stratosphere, between 10 km and 50 km up.

You may have heard of the jet stream which helps to steer Atlantic weather systems towards the UK. Well there are other jet streams high up in our atmosphere in both the northern and southern…

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October 5, 2018 at 02:27AM

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