Two warm April days 128 years apart

The synoptic pattern on Sunday, April 5th, was very similar to the pattern on Tuesday, April 5th 1892.

With so few planes in the sky because of the coronavirus lockdown it offered an ideal opportunity to compare temperatures and sunshine totals between now and then.

Sunday dawned sunny and clear and stayed that way until dusk, some 11 hours of sunshine recorded, exactly the same as 1892!

The temperature in Wanstead reached 22.3C, 0.9C cooler than what was recorded at the Royal Observatory, Greenwich, in 1892. This maximum was reached after an overnight minima of 5.3C, the same as the 41.5F recorded at Greenwich all those years ago.

Looking further afield, and at the spell over 3 days… markmpcc

4th

5thww

6th

 

 

 

 

London’s colder than average months

Last November was on the cold side prompting me to investigate whether we were about to record a third month in a row below average. December turned out to be mild and wet, the lack of snow especially stark in Scotland.

The findings of that study showed that any sustained period of colder than average months was more likely to happen during months of March, April and May, nothing unusual there, especially considering H.H Lamb’s weather types.

I decided to scrutinise further all the colder than average months in this area, considering the 1981-2010 average, back to 1981. This gave the below results.

neg anoms

The dataset covers 399 months, of which 200 were colder than average.

The overall picture shows that negative anomalies are becoming more and more rare, though with notable exceptions being March 2013, December 2010 and January 2010.

The only month that has showed any sort of consistent general decrease in negative anomaly is November.

*For good snowfall at this station needs a negative anomaly of 2C during the months of November, December, January and February.

Winter 2019/20 forecast review

For those interested my winter forecast this year was way out. A prediction of a mean of 4.7C was 2.3C too low. The chief culprit for the 7th mildest winter back to 1797 was most probably the strong polar vortex which has often been at record strength over the past three months.

Rainfall prediction was also over 100mm too low. The wettest winter for 25 years with 248.1mm recorded places it 13th in wettest winters. The only crumb of comfort I can take is that the stats indicated an uptick in precipitation in February! The 90.8mm recorded made it the wettest February for 10 years, just short of 2010. Before that you have to go back to 1951 to find a wetter February. It places 9th in wettest Februaries since 1797.

Over the past months I have looked into the method of seasonal prediction and found some interesting results. For example, the winter of 1989/90 – a winter that was very similar to this one – led to a prediction that was 2.7C too low. Similarly the winter of 2013/14 was predicted 2C too low.

Rainfall looks to be far more random. Though it is obvious that we are now in a wetter than average spell experience shows that it is impossible to tell how long this will last.

Pattern matching and singuarities can be helpful in long distance forecasting. The spanner in the works, however, can be a sharply positive or negative ENSO (El Nino / La Nina) or, as in this year, a very strong polar vortex.

You can find the original forecast here.

anom
The coldest anomaly was at the start of winter.

 

The relentless wind

Damage from Storm Ciara was a lot less notable than further north though the relentless wind saw three records broken locally. Though the gusts were nothing like the St Jude storm in October 2013 the sustained wind blew at its greatest 1, 2 and 3-day rate since this particular automatic station was reset in November 2012.

wind run

Over the 3 days the wind direction was locked in a south-westerly, from 199 to 203 degrees.

9th10th11th

Dynamic early final warming and spring

In my search for some winter weather a tweet by Amy H Butler about dynamic final warmings piqued my interest.

According to the atmospheric scientist a winter where there was no major disruptions of the polar vortex (SSW) we are more likely to see a dynamic early final warming. A table published by Wiley shows the final warming dates.

FW
* means there was a SSW, bold means late FW (after the mean date of April 15).

So what could this mean for the weather in the London area? Considering all the above years with no SSW gives an average date of April 19th for a dynamic final warming.

I then looked at the TMax anomaly for those years for 60 days following a DFW and came up with the following graph.

june cold

The results suggest temperatures in April will be heading down in the final week for a  cold end. The average to cool theme continues into May before temperatures lift in the final week for a warm end, with anomalies up to 5C above average. June, however, looks shocking with temperatures nearly 6C below average by the 16th.

This winter has so far been very similar in type to 1990. The dynamic final warming that year was among the latest in the list and led to a cool and dull June with anomalies in the second week nearly 7C below average!

1990

2019 Wanstead annual weather review

This year finished as the 17th warmest on record – some 0.4C warmer than the 1981-2010 average. Although mild it was the coolest for six years.

After a dry start a wet autumn saw annual rainfall finish above average, the wettest for five years, 105 97 per cent of average.

Sunshine was down on 2018 though the total was just above average.

2019

2019 temp

2019 rain

2019 sun

For a review of each month, click JanuaryFebruaryMarchAprilMayJune, JulyAugustSeptemberOctoberNovemberDecember

You can read the national review of weather events at the Met Office blog here.

 

Summary for 2019

Temperature (°C):
Mean (1 minute)  11.7
Mean (min+max)   11.7
Mean Minimum     7.3
Mean Maximum     16.1
Minimum          -6.5 day 30/01
Maximum          36.8 day 25/07
Highest Minimum  19.6 day 23/07
Lowest Maximum   1.3 day 23/01
Air frosts       43
Rainfall (mm):
Total for year  667.4
Wettest day      20.6 day 19/07
High rain rate   65.8 day 09/08
Rain days        158
Dry days         207
Wind (mph):
Highest Gust     36.5 day 10/03
Average Speed    2.5
Wind Run         22211.5 miles
Gale days        0
Pressure (mb):
Maximum          1053.4 day 09/08
Minimum          969.8 day 12/12
Days with snow falling         5
Days with snow lying at 0900   2
Total hours of sunshine        1451

December 2019: wettest for 17 years

The December monthly mean finished 6.3C, that’s 0.7C above average, making it the ninth month of 2019 where the monthly mean temperature finished above average.

The wet theme of October and November carried on into December; the 111.1mm collected was 209 per cent of the 1981-2010 average, the wettest since 2002.

Some 51hrs of sunshine were recorded, 126 per cent of average, the sunniest for three years.

There were seven air frosts.

To view full stats follow this link:http://1drv.ms/1kiTuzv

december t max

November 2019: coldest for nine years

The November monthly mean finished 6.4C, that’s 1.6C below average, the coldest November since 2010. It was the third month of 2019 where the monthly mean temperature finished below average.

The wet theme of October carried on into November; the 68.5mm collected was 116 per cent of the 1981-2010 average, slightly drier than last years.

Some 59.7hrs of sunshine were recorded, 102 per cent of average, the dullest for four years.

There were six air frosts.

You can find my thoughts on how winter is going to pan out here.

To view full stats follow this link:http://1drv.ms/1kiTuzv

nov t.PNG

Summary for November 2019 – to follow

London winter forecast 2019/20

For this year’s winter forecast, because of time constraints, I am sticking purely to what the local analogues reveal.

Meteorological autumn was the wettest for 18 years and the coolest for 6 years, revealing some interesting similarities with past climate. Considering data back to 1797 I was able to make the following suggestions on how the next 90 days may unfold.

December is most likely to be on the cold side with rainfall slightly below average.

January is most likely to finish average temperature-wise and wetter than December.

London’s February extremes temperature also look average overall and the precipitation signal also creeps up in comparison to the first two winter months.

Best chance for snow? Impossible to pin down but the coldest weather is likely to be at the beginning of February, the third week of January and just after Christmas.

The warmest period looks to be around January 10th while there’s also a signal for that often phenomena of milder temperatures just before Christmas day.

Most of the probabilities in the above statements are relatively low and are explained in the table below.

Mean temperature 2019/20

December January February
1981-2010 average 5.6 1981-2010 average 5.3 1981-2010 average 5.3
Forecast median 4.4 Forecast median 4.7 Forecast median 5
Rather cold 40% Normal 40% Normal 44%
Normal 28% Rather cold 32% Rather cold 32%
Mild 20% Very cold 12% Mild 16%
Cold 4% Mild 12% Cold 4%
Very cold 8% Cold 4% Very cold 4%

 

Rainfall 2019/20

December January February
1981-2010 average 53.2mm 1981-2010 average 55mm 1981-2010 average 40.1mm
Forecast median 48.3mm Forecast median 55mm Forecast median 40mm
Wet 32% Wet 32% Wet 36%
Normal 20% Normal 28% Normal 36%
Dry 48% Dry 36% Dry 28%

Months of perpetual cold

It’s been a while since this region has seen a sustained colder than average period. Though the past few weeks have seen colder than normal weather we have to go back to the beginning of 2015 where at least three consecutive months were colder than the 1981-2010 average.

The spell, which coincided with winter, was unremarkable with just one day of lying snow. The season finished 55th out of 73 of the most recent winters,  the anomaly for the 90-day period was -0.3C. For deep, lasting snowfall events a monthly mean temperature must be at least 2C colder than average.

For anything ‘snow-worthy’ you have to go back seven years to a 10-month long colder than average spell that began in September 2012 and coincided with probably the last winter I can remember that had more than one cold spell with snow that lasted longer than a few days. The average mean for this spell was -1.3C.

The most potent cold period occurred during the winter of 1984/85, a winter where snow lay nearly a foot deep by the end of January and where seven ice days were recorded – these days we’re lucky to record just one ice day per winter! Only just behind was the 3-month period January to March 1987.

As with previous blogs I have devised a way of ranking these cold periods, by dividing the mean with the length in months. The first nine months of 1986 achieved the highest ranking, a period that included the 5th coldest February in this area since 1797.

rank

And in chronological order…

chron

cold month index

It is looking like the mean this November will finish below average, making it the second month in a row, something that hasn’t happened since March last year. Will December make it three in a row and a new addition to the list?

 

Meteorology-based musings about east London and beyond

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