Weak Polar Vortex could promise Snow for Winter 2016-17?

The POLAR VORTEX drives winter weather across the Northern hemisphere. Every Autumn, reducing temperatures allows air above the Arctic to become as cold as -100'C (-148F), and in turn this allows the jet stream to gain momentum, speed and danger. The JET STREAM is what gives the UK wet and windy weather during winter.

However, a weakening of the polar vortex will in turn weaken the jet stream. This reduces the typical mild westerly winds and allows Northerly and Easterly winds to push cold, usually snow laden air into the UK, giving us seasonably cold and snowy conditions.


Something different is happening with the polar vortex this year. Arctic sea expansion has been extremely slow to start, meaning less cold temperatures over the Arctic. This has in turn lead to a much weaker polar vortex for Autumn 2016. Meaning the absence of typical mild, wet and windy weather. Instead, we have had benign, relatively dry weather.


Will this affect Winter 2016?

The likelihood that it will affect winter 2016 is not measurable. Many other factors come into play when determining a forecast. However, it is possible that if we see a continuation of low Arctic sea ice, and high pressure blocking, the weather systems could realign during the winter months to provide colder than average conditions across the UK, especially later in the winter when solar activity drops to levels supportive of snowfall in the UK.