Duplicate from exactaweather.com (Published: 13th December 2010)
I have had a stream of questions, in regards to solar activity and my forecast on the widespread heavy snowfall. In Layman's terms, the position and strength of the jet streams help meteorologists to predict future weather. Climate factors such as La Nina can also hugely influence the jet streams. In terms of the UK and Europe, the general trend is more precipitation due to a stronger jet stream in the North Atlantic. As I have previously stated, this extra precipitation during below average temperatures from low solar activity and the gulf stream shift, will result in widespread heavy snowfall. Especially with a La Nina of this magnitude, that has the potential to cause a sharp decline in global temperatures and may well last through until 2012.
I am also well aware that sunspot activity has increased this year, and I will consider this in my future forecasts. I will however also be considering the energy within these sunspots and a number of other important factors, that do not appear very convincing at present. It is also vital that we understand the lag effect within our climate system on earth, from the low solar activity in 2008 and 2009.
So far we have had at least seven deaths in the UK, and at least sixty across Europe, all due to the recent cold weather we have experienced in what was technically autumn. Hence my past and present warnings! We have also seen the earliest widespread UK snowfall in decades, and the coldest night on record in parts of the UK during November.
So there is good news and bad news in all of this. The good news is that a white Christmas is a high possibility across many parts of the UK. The bad news is that my forecast remains exactly the same as below, in terms of well below average temperatures and widespread heavy snowfall. Awareness amongst the vulnerable is still therefore key, especially as we are about to enter round two of the severe winter I forecast earlier this year.
May I take this opportunity to wish everyone a Merry Christmas!
However please take extra care with this next bout of severe weather, as my gut feeling is telling me that we could be in this for a long haul with very few mild spells, due to the natural factors I have considered in my forecast.
James Madden (UK Long Range Forecaster)