This year western Europe has experienced a mild winter as a parade of low pressure systems coming in from off the Atlantic has fed the continent with a steady supply of mild southerly winds.
For Germany this winter will be the first mild one in 6 years after a record 5 consecutive winters of colder than normal winters. The warm winter here may be in part due to the massive cold that has dipped and remained deep into North America over much of the winter. As cold Arctic air clashes with warm Atlantic air off the southeast coast of the USA, low pressure systems are spawned and travel across the pond to Europe.
Yesterday Ulli Kulke of Die Welt writes that this milder winter is more the exception than the rule, resulting from the positive North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO). Despite this year’s warm winter, the winters for Europe over the coming decades are expected to be on the cold side. Kulke writes:
Meteorologist Dominik Jung of ‘wetter.net‘ recently examined the temperature development for many ski areas in Germany, Austria and Switzerland and reached the result that ‘in the last 20 years, its has gotten cooler’ and ‘in some place quite massively’. The trend looks good for skiing.”
The winters, Kulke writes, are very much dependent on the natural ocean cycles.
The changeovers between positive and negative NAO occur in roughly 30 year cycles. And so that means after the last large changeover just before the millennium, there are still over 15 years of ‘good skiing and sliding left’.