Daily Archives: January 8, 2021
Another ‘Beast from the East‘ as seen in 2018 is on the cards thanks to a sudden stratospheric warming event around the North Pole, a study reported. During such episodes, the stratosphere — the layer 6–31 miles (10–50 km) above the Earth’s surface — can increase in temperature by up to 90°F (50°C) over mere days. This disturbance can travel down through the atmosphere and — if it reaches the ground — can cause shifts in the jet stream that cool Europe and northern Asia.
UK experts studied 40 stratospheric warming episodes from the last six decades — and learnt to track their signals that they travel down to the Earth’s surface. They said the current warming could bring snowfall within weeks — a prediction that appears to have come true with London dusted white this morning. The Met Office predicted the stratospheric warming episode back in late December — and forecast, as a result, increased changes of cold weather across January.
‘While an extreme cold weather event is not a certainty, around two thirds of sudden stratospheric warmings have a significant impact on surface weather,’ said paper author and climate dynamics expert Richard Hall of the University of Bristol. There is an increased chance of extreme cold temperatures — and potentially snow, also — over the next week of two, he continued. ‘What’s more, [the current] sudden stratospheric warming is potentially the most dangerous kind, where the polar vortex splits into two smaller “child” vortices.’