19th November - Today's News: Winter to Make an Early Arrival in Britain?

Well, I admit I was sceptical about it at first, but forecast models are now in good agreement that the first really wintry spell of weather for Britain will set in next week, with some snow likely for low-lying areas in north and east Scotland and down the east coast of England - and maybe elsewhere too by next weekend (though still considerable doubt on this). I said before I expected an early start to winter - which looks like happening (bear in mind it was not till December last years that we had our first frost in Evesham, and only just before Christmas did the cold start to set in with snow waiting until January to make an appearance here). Hopefully my other prediction of an early start to spring will also hold true - but I know some are talking of a longer, colder winter than even last winter. We'll see.

Update: For the record, the latest MetO forecast (issued just after this blog entry was written) reads:

UK Outlook for Wednesday 24 Nov 2010 to Friday 3 Dec 2010:

The period will begin cold, with many central and western areas having some bright or sunny spells. Wintry showers will affect eastern areas, particularly along the coast but these will extend inland at times. The showers will start turning to snow even at lower levels at times. During the first weekend, there is a risk of more widespread sleet and snow for a time, with the possibility of some significant accumulations in places. The cold or very cold conditions are likely to continue into the second week, with widespread overnight frosts and the risk of icy surfaces. There is a chance as we move into December that southern and southwestern parts will become more unsettled as rain, sleet and snow try to push up from the south.

Updated: 1148 on Fri 19 Nov 2010

That latter comments suggests that we in the South Midlands could see some heavy snow the week after next in a 'classic' Atlantic fronts hit cold block scenario!

All this follows news that global warming could cool down northern temperatures in winter - a conclusion which seem to make logical sense. Though it's only parts of northern Europe affected, not the Arctic. And for elsewhere in the world, scientists warn or more rain, heat and hurricanes.

But anyone looking forward to a 'Siberian blast' hitting Britain might like to note that earlier this week West Siberia sees new temperature record - and it's not for a low temperature either! Although 3.7c is not exactly peachy by our standards. And temps there are now falling.

Last year's Cumbria floods resulted in £276 million bill - meanwhile Cornwall mops up after devasting flash floods and whilst the worst hit place this time was Lostwithal, the Cornwall village of Altarun at mercy of floods off Bodmin Moor. And winter storms keep raging in Northern Ireland too.

NASA probe flew by 'snow globe' comet - revealing the main body to be surround by snow balls .... Maybe we've finally discovered Santa's reall hidey hole?

Worrying news for climbers and sailors as Ministers plan to privatise search and rescue. Our RAF teams are the best in the world - and any privitisation would surely lead to charges being levelled against any needing rescuing. This may also put volunteer MRTs in an awkward situation, reluctant to call out a helicopter due to cost. Bad, bad decision. Pretty sure they're be a big campaign against this daft and very dangerous idea. We really have got our priorities totally wrong when it comes to our armed forces - they're primary (peacetime) role should be to help those in need, at home and abroad.

Months of geological unrest signalled reawakening of Icelandic volcano

Doomsday messages about global warming can backfire

As Arctic temperatures rise, tundra fires increase - acting of course as a positive feedback since the resulting soot - and charred landscape - can increrase absorbtion of incoming radiation leading to further warming. Although a treeless landscape may, conversely, hold snow in winter, increasing albedo and reducing insolation then.

Thailand's flood related death toll reaches 232

Latest data from NOAA shows that up to the end of October, 2010 tied with 1988 as warmest year on record still - despite reduced solar activity.

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