Don't pack away the snow boots just yet

Tuesday 5 March 2013, 16:20

Paul Hudson Paul Hudson

Winter set to return

 

March can be a month a wild extremes across the UK. As the sun quickly strengthens, with the spring equinox less than 3 weeks away, March can often give us a glimpse of warmer times ahead.

 

Last March was glorious and illustrated what potential there is so early in the year. It became the third warmest on record with temperatures across parts of the UK in the 70’s Fahrenheit.

 

But March can also be very disturbed, and with winter’s cold often lurking to the north and east, the risk of snow is never far away.

 

Easter Sunday in 2008, which fell on March 23rd, will long be remembered, with many people waking up to several inches of snow.

 

In fact it’s a little known fact that a white Easter is statistically more likely than a white Christmas.

 

So it doesn’t come as too much of a surprise that wintry weather looks set to return into next week, with cold air pushing across most parts of the UK from the Northeast.

 

This will lead to a risk of snow, not just over high ground but perhaps at some lower levels as well.

 

It’s still a way off, so timings for the onset of winter’s return vary depending on which computer model you look at – indeed the American forecast model is much earlier with the colder air, introducing it later in the weekend.

 

But the message is clear: don’t pack away your snow boots and thermals just yet.

 

Global temperatures for February

 

The Global temperature in February fell to 0.18C above the 30 year running mean according to UAH satellite data, from an anomaly of 0.51C the month before.

 

This equates to a global temperature of approximately 0.433C above the more standard 1961-1990 measure.

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Comments

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  • rate this
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    Comment number 41.

    'At ground level the heat of the sun will have more impact than 2 months ago.'

    Be nice to see some, anyone remember what it looks like?
    Nothing but fog and rain in the East Midlands apart from a couple of odd days over the last month. Don't see much joy out of next week at all perhaps April will fair better.

  • rate this
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    Comment number 42.

    #41. ukpahonta

    "Be nice to see some..."

    The MO have just gone to Def Con 2!

    "Cold weather alert - Current alert level: Level 2 - Alert and Readiness"

    "There is an 80% probability of severe cold weather/icy conditions/heavy snow between 1200 on Saturday and 0800 on Tuesday in parts of England....."

    http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/public/weather/cold-weather-alert/

  • rate this
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    Comment number 43.

    #42 greensand

    It'll be DefCon3 by tomorrow night, if the snow starts Sunday we'll be scuppered for rush hour Monday, gritting costs more on a Sunday.

  • rate this
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    Comment number 44.

    Hi Guys
    First post on this very interesting group. Are the summers in the UK getting wetter ..Is the country actually getting cooler in the midst of this global warming timebomb ...? I wonder.

    Question - We're using about 10% more gas than we did a year since, and that's despite having 4kw solar panels. Can I ask if anyone knows a stat blog for monthly sunshine or temperatures for North East UK or Durham.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 45.

    #44. Consett Mag

    Hi Consett and welcome.

    "Can I ask if anyone knows a stat blog for monthly sunshine or temperatures for North East UK or Durham."

    One of the main stays of this comment board is QV, "QuaesoVeritas", he is from your neck of the woods and if anybody can help with your quest he can. I am sure he will be along soon.

    If its any help we are in the Peak District and have a similar increase in energy consumption despite increased insulation.

  • rate this
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    Comment number 46.

    Consett Mag

    welcome indeed

    QV your man - just don't call him anything to do with cheese.

  • rate this
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    Comment number 47.

    Monday is looking distinctly harsh - wind chill temperature equivalent of around minus 6 Celsius in parts of eastern England.

    Last Tuesday I gather that the whole of England was warm and sunny - except for Nottingham where it was dull, misty, and only 3 Celsius.

  • rate this
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    Comment number 48.

    #47. ashleyhr

    "Last Tuesday I gather that the whole of England was warm and sunny - except for Nottingham"

    Neit comrade! We all suffer, so we together benefit!

  • rate this
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    Comment number 49.

    #47 ashleyhr

    I'll be getting a complex if the weather keeps up like that!

  • rate this
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    Comment number 50.

    #47 "Last Tuesday I gather that the whole of England was warm and sunny - except for Nottingham where it was dull, misty, and only 3 Celsius".

    In east Lincs (east of Louth) it was foggy all day below 100m and when I went to collect my lad from school it was 2c. A taxi driver from Skegness text the SW prog on radio 2 to say it was also foggy there and 2c.

    This last 7 days has been dreadfully dreary here - cold (max 5c) haven't had visibility over 2km during daytime and apart from a very watery sun (behind type 2 altostratus) on Friday no chink of blue sky either. Lack of sunshine does put the heating costs up - hopefully although very cold in the next few days if the sun can emerge it'll help warm the house up a little.

    Oh for the return of a proper westerly . . .

  • rate this
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    Comment number 51.

    with apologies because this is well OT but anyone who has an interest in the great global climate debate should see the video here

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2013/03/08/a-bridge-in-the-climate-debate-how-to-green-the-worlds-deserts-and-reverse-climate-change/#more-81728

  • rate this
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    Comment number 52.

    44. Consett Mag

    Hello. You can access all the UK Met Office data for UK and main regions from here: http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/climate/uk/datasets/#

    Make sure you select 'year order' (as opposed to 'rank order').

    "Are the summers in the UK getting wetter ..Is the country actually getting cooler in the midst of this global warming timebomb ...? I wonder."

    Using the last 30 years of data for the UK then UK summers are indeed getting slightly wetter at a rate of about 32mm per decade. Over the last 10 years that rate rises to 120mm/decade.

    UK temperatures over the past 30 years have been warming at a rate of +0.3C/decade, which is higher than the global average over the same period. However, the vast majority of that is occurring in spring and autumn. Over the last 10 years UK temperatures fell by -0.9C, with most of this fall occurring in winter and summer. The WMO data also shows cooling over 10 years for global data (-0.02C).

    So while the UK has warmed over the past 30 years (the decade ended 2012 was +0.8C warmer than the 1970s), it has also seen wetter summers. In the past 10 years annual temperatures in the UK have cooled by nearly 1C and summer rainfall has increased greatly. While warming in the UK got off to a fast start, it is now slowing down towards the global average. Perhaps not the best time to have invested in solar panels? Sorry.

  • rate this
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    Comment number 53.

    #44.Consett Mag :
    "Question - We're using about 10% more gas than we did a year since, and that's despite having 4kw solar panels. Can I ask if anyone knows a stat blog for monthly sunshine or temperatures for North East UK or Durham."

    Yes, I am located on the NE Coast, but I know Consett quite well (or rather knew), since I battled the snow for a few years, going to Technical College there. That was in the time of the "red dust" from the iron works, so that shows you how long ago. I probably breathed in several kilos of iron particles over the years.
    I don't understand the relationship between solar panels and gas, but presumably you use gas to provide central heating and/or heat water and there is some input from the solar panels.
    The MO sunshine data (from the site URL provided by newdwr54), for the NE and E show that Nov & Dec 2012 were up about 16h on 2011, but that Jan 2013 was down about 29h on Jan 2012, so that might account for some of the diff. in generation. Also, mean temp. was down 3,2c in Oct, 2.6c in Nov, 1c in Dec. and 1.5c in January, so that might have increased usage.
    There is no guarantee that those figures would have been applicable to Consett, but it gives a general idea.
    One thing I have wondered about is whether the efficiency of solar panels declines with time. Does your electricity supply company not provide any breakdown of how much power is generated from the panels?

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 54.

    #47.ashleyhr
    "Monday is looking distinctly harsh - wind chill temperature equivalent of around minus 6 Celsius in parts of eastern England."

    So far, at least here, the wind is proving not to be anywhere near as strong as the MO foreast, so the wind-chill isn't anywhere near as bad.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 55.

    Thanks for all the information. Appreciated.
    The lower temps for the said months would probably account for more use of gas for heating. I'll check out the met office page that earlier I couldn't find.

    QV - The efficiency of solar panels does decrease with age but by a small amount. The money paid out is for everything generated and should break even by about year 7 or 8 of the 25 year contract

    I have a meter that records everything generated, and since July all but Jan and Feb have exceeded the monthly predictions.

    I made a documentary about how Consett has changed since 1980 when the steelworks closed - I didn't mention too much about the weather mind ..

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 56.

    Perishing cold and gusty wind in Bromley tonight. No snow as yet.

    Should be less glacial after Tuesday.

  • rate this
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    Comment number 57.

    Rather a lot of snow expected on the north coast of France and in the Channel Isles:
    http://www.europe1.fr/France/Neige-huit-departements-en-alerte-1442559/

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 58.

    It seems likely that parts of eastern, central and southern England will fail to get any 'warmer' than 0 Celsius on Monday.

    From Philip Eden's Sunday Telegraph weather article for yesterday I gather that the last time many places failed to exceed 0 Celsius on a March day was in 1986. And that was on 1 March, not 11 March!

  • rate this
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    Comment number 59.

    And might the coldest official temperature of the meteorological winter, which was minus 13.6 C, be exceeded overnight tonight in Scotland? Apparently it was 'minus 12 C' in Aboyne last night, and winds may be lighter tonight.

  • rate this
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    Comment number 60.

    #56 ashleyhr

    We could be stuck with this for a wee while, probably into the weekend.

    Just driven for an hour in sunshine to have a snow storm pass over duration of 5 mins and everywhere is white over, back to sunshine now.

 

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Hello, I’m Paul Hudson, weather presenter and climate correspondent for BBC Look North in Yorkshire and Lincolnshire. 

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I worked as a forecaster with the Met Office for nearly 15 years locally and at the international unit, after graduating with first class honours in Geophysics and Planetary physics at the University of Newcastle upon Tyne in 1992. I then joined the BBC in October 2007, where I divide my time between forecasting and reporting on stories about climate change and its implications for people's everyday lives.

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