Where’s winter? Western Europe basks in record temperatures – but there’s a catch

Credit: planetsave.com

This report more or less answers its own question, possibly without noticing that the answer given virtually rules out the presence of any particular trace gases in the atmosphere as a likely cause. ‘Hottest on record’ does not go back all that far anyway.

As western Europe enjoys record highs for winter temperatures, southern parts of the continent are being hit with snow flurries, reports Phys.org.

What is going on with the weather, and how closely are the topsy-turvy temperatures linked to climate change?

What’s causing the heat?

On Monday Britain saw its hottest winter day on record, with the mercury in the Welsh village of Trawsgoed hitting 20.6 Celsius (70 Fahrenheit).

It was, according to the Met Office, the first time that temperatures had exceeded 20C on the British mainland in winter.

“This is unprecedented… in Wales, 20.6C is like the middle of summer,” said Etienne Kapikian, a forecaster with the Meteo-France weather service.

On Tuesday the record was broken for a second time in as many days, with the Met Office reporting 20.8C in Porthmadog, Wales.

Several other local February temperature records fell in recent days, including 25C in Ourence, Spain, 21C at Pleyber-Christ, France, and 18.8C in Uccle, Belgium.

At the same time, temperatures plunged around the Mediterranean. At Thessaloniki in Greece, it hovered at around 3C and has even had snow. Northwest Turkey also saw wintry flurries.

The culprits, according to Kapikian, are areas of low pressure over the Atlantic and Eastern Europe, trapping warm air over the northwest of the continent.

“This low-pressure/high-pressure/low-pressure pattern is accompanied by north-south air mass exchanges,” said Kapikian.

As warmer air from southern Europe is dragged northwards, there is a corresponding flow of cold air pulled down from the Arctic, resulting in unusually low temperatures in the eastern Mediterranean.

Kapikian said the near-record warm spell would persist across much of the west of the continent until Wednesday.

Weather, or climate?

But where does weather end and climate begin?

Full report here.
– – –
Talkshop comment:

This is a well-known weather pattern. As the forecaster quoted above said:
“This low-pressure/high-pressure/low-pressure pattern is accompanied by north-south air mass exchanges”.

See the diagram below. It’s called an Omega block as meteorologist Jeff Haby explains here.
Quote: The Omega Block resembles the Greek letter Omega. The image below shows an example of this blocking pattern.

[Credit: Jeff Haby]

This is how it looked for UK/Western Europe (upward pointing arrow) earlier today:

So basically a warm southerly wind blew in from somewhere like Morocco.

via Tallbloke’s Talkshop


February 26, 2019 at 11:40AM

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