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Coldest at Leeming since 1979 - and February update

Paul Hudson | 17:43 UK time, Monday, 1 February 2010

The most notable statistic for January comes from the Met Office at RAF Leeming in North Yorkshire, which has just had its coldest January since 1979 with a mean temperature of 0.7C - beating 1985 and 1987 by 0.1C but falling well short of January 1979, which had a mean of -0.7C. It wasn't quite as impressive at Bradford Lister Park, who recorded their coldest January since 1987.

It was also the coldest January based on the CET (Central England temperature) measure since 1987 - making Dec and Jan combined the coldest on this measure since the winter of 1981/1982

According to Met Office provisional figures published this afternoon January was equal 7th coldest across the UK in a temperature series that dates back to 1914. It is the 9th coldest for England, 9th coldest for Wales, equal 7th coldest for Scotland and equal 7th coldest for Northern Ireland.

So whats the long range forecast for February looking like? Well, since my last update on Thursday, there have been some big differences from run to run.

Take a look at the American ensemble chart for Manchester, based on the midnight run of the model which illusrates the point.

Ensemble.jpg

The different coloured lines represent the computer running with slightly different starting conditions. What this is showing is that up until next weekend, the lines are close together, indicating high confidence in the forecast evolution up to that point. But through the weekend, they diverge sharply. A clump of the solutions are milder, with another clump turning cold. This illustrates how very finely balanced the atmosphere is, with only a small change in the atmosphere turning the weather one way or the other.

Interestingly the red line is the control run which uses the same data as the operational model - i.e the actual observed data - which you would expect, on average, to give you the most reliable outcome. It is one of the coldest solutions. And the European operational model is also cold next week.

So it's a difficult call - but on balance the most likely outcome would be for conditions to turn colder again next week as air spreads in from the near continent.

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