There has been much talk recently of a sudden stratospheric warming. A stratospheric warming occurs when the temperature at around 100,000ft+ shoots up by several tens of degrees Celsius in a matter of a few hours. In this instance, the Sudden Stratospheric Warming has broke the polar vortex into two halves, which is fairly common in SSW’s.
What is the polar vortex?
Fueled by the more intense temperature gradient in summer fueled by a freezing Arctic, the polar vortex is an area of jet stream activity in the northern hemisphere that is most active during winter months – and brings the UK it’s relatively mild, westerly winds. When the polar vortex is broken, then the chance of a cold outbreak across the UK is increased.
The models are starting to churn out increasingly cold charts in the medium range, next week. Some very cold weather is indicated. A common response to these SSW’s is an area of high pressure over Scandinavia, a Scandi high, and can push very cold air across the UK from Europe, however several things can go wrong. Confidence is increased, however we can not be certain yet.
Several computer models suggest a bitterly cold easterly flow next week, which would by this stage introduce cold weather for all with a flurry of light snow showers brought in on the easterly wind. Heavier snow is possible if Atlantic fronts attempt to make inroads from the west, or if the easterly wind gains strength. More information on this possible cold snap will be released nearer the time.