Tag Archives: Aviemore

Aviemore’s worst winter ever?

During the winter of 1988/89 the persistence of the Bartlett / Azores / Eurotrash high was painful to watch for anyone desperate to see some snow.

Week after week of high pressure brought a lot of mild, damp weather driven by Atlantic south-westerlies.

‘Balmy Britain’ the tabloids screamed but the savings on home energy costs were little noticed as the age of extortionate gas bills were still a generation away.

I didn’t think the winter would ever be surpassed in terms of its sheer mildness. And, as I write this on February 11th, it hasn’t. And there’s still time for cold weather in the last few days of the month to stop this season being in the same league as 1988 / 89 or the one the year after.

The stats to date reveal that this winter, according to statistics from Aviemore, is 1.8C colder than 33 years ago.

It has also been much drier though more snow days have been recorded.

MeanMaxMinPressure (mb)Precip (mm)Average snow depth (cm)Snow days
1988/895.07.72.01010.5435.77.210
2021/223.26.10.21011.7238.83.815
Above stats refer to December 1st to February 10th

There have been numerous images on various social media of bare mountainsides. One of the most stark images I’ve seen were on Glenshee.

Were the hills this bare during the winter of 1988 / 89?

Wanstead colder than Aviemore

That’s not a statement that applies much, least of all the second week of January. But the current weather pattern has seen this town in the Highlands subject to the warming influence of the Atlantic, to a higher degree than London.

The above 850mb chart, typical of the past week, shows the warmer air aloft and the south of the UK seemingly cut off from outside influence.

Indeed, lack of solar heating at this time of year ensures that any thermal activity is minimal – with very little mixing of the boundary layers by day.

Wanstead Park, being a frost hollow, has seen this phenomena most days during the past week with this part of London markedly colder than elsewhere in the capital.

By the 16th the 7-day running mean at Aviemore was 2.4C higher than Wanstead!