bees, honey and other sticky subjects

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Bitter winters that helped defeat Hitler may return

I normally snort with derision at long-range weather forecasts, but an explanation of one made me sit up today: apparently the British Isles have a 65% chance of a very cold winter based on correlation with Atlantic sea temperatures:
Paul Simons, The Times weatherman, said that the shift in temperature was influenced by a phenomenon known as North Atlantic Oscillation, or NAO, influenced by a lowpressure system over Iceland and high pressure over the warm Azores islands in the sub-tropical Atlantic. When the Icelandic pressure rises and the Azores pressure dips, Britain catches blasts of bitterly cold air.

He said: “In the 1940s the NAO turned negative and brought some of the coldest European winters of the 20th century, including the bitter freezes that helped to defeat Hitler’s invasion of Russia. Another bout of negative NAOs in the 1960s included the worst winter for more than 200 years, when homes were buried under snow and ice floes drifted in the English Channel.

“The Met Office is forecasting a negative NAO this winter. Although they cannot tell how severe the weather will be, the past ten winters had such ridiculously mild weather that even an average British winter will come as a rude shock.”
Bees take note!


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