Update: Latest model run now shows less cold after New Year’s day…so fast can the weather in the future change!
Much of Europe has been enjoying a mild fall, and early winter thus far as a long series of Atlantic lows laden with warm, Atlantic air masses have been sweeping regularly across the continent.
For winter sports enthusiasts this has not been good news. But for people on a tight budget, the reduced heating bills and low heating oil prices are very welcome news.
Cold returning after Christmas
But the warm weather pattern is about to be interrupted, and now is certainly no time to be putting the winter coats and snow shovels away.
Over the last few days, the weather model runs have been converging on a cold weather pattern taking over Europe right after Christmas. Weatherbell Meteorologist Joe Bastardi also briefly mentioned this in his latest Saturday Summary (5:27), showing the European model for the 5 days after Christmas:
Image cropped from Weatherbell Saturday Summary.
Meanwhile over the last couple of day GFS models have been consistently showing a return to winter on December 26, which for many places in Europe is called the “second day of Christmas”. Some places in Central Europe may even see light snow, even though not long ago a number of meteorologists were telling the public to write off snow for Christmas.
European winters getting colder
So is Europe seeing fewer white Christmases? Wetter.net meteorologist Dominik Jung recently wrote a few weeks ago that there has been no trend in the last 100 years showing white Christmases are becoming less frequent. Overall weather data show that Central European winters have been getting colder over the last 15 years.
Moreover the “Beast from the East” type winters tend to occur when solar activity is low, which means as solar cycle 24 begins to die off, cold and vicious winters may be more common in the second half of the current decade. And should solar cycle 25 be a weak one, as many experts expect, then Europe may be on the doorstep to a couple of decades of generally brutal winters.
Happy shivering New Year
Back to this winter, for the next 15 days or so, a slight thawing is shown to take place before cold really returns in time for New Year’s day. The latest GFS model runs shows widespread frost gripping most of Europe on January 1, 2015 and continuing for a few days.
GFS forecast for January 1, 2015. Image cropped from Wetteronline.de.
The good news is that the upcoming cold does not appear to be the stubborn “Beast from the East” type, which is notorious for sometimes lingering all winter long, as was the case in 2009/10. But as variable as European weather can be, nothing can be ruled out.