Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Early winter: The signals of a La Nina Winter??

UK is to be hit by an arctic blast, early this week, with minimum temperatures set to plunge -6C. Maximum temperatures meanwhile are likely to plummet to 7C. This is half the average for the time of year, but will feel more like 3C due to the effect of biting winds. Met Office forecaster Robin Downton was quoted by the Sun as saying,
“It's fairly early on to be getting temperatures below freezing"  According to the Daily Mail: “Council chiefs have sparked outrage after proposing residents dig themselves out of the snow as Britain braces itself for another winter of Arctic conditions.” 
Forecaster Positive Weather Solutions predicts this year's freeze will be as bad as last year's, which saw the average temperature hit 2C from December 1 to February 24 - half the long-term average of 4C . The cold snap left roads scarred by potholes and a poll by the RAC found 10 out of 11 rural councils are still repairing the damage. Meanwhile, some forecasters believe this winter's biggest problem could be a lack of rainfall. Netweather said:  
"Rainfall is expected to be significantly below average in December, January and February. With winter a key period in topping up reservoirs, the below-average rainfall has the potential to cause water shortages in 2011."
But Ski resorts around the world are rubbing their hands in glee. Despite the heatwave in August, end of the same month saw parts of Russia greeted with early snow.  At the height of summer in Siberia, temperatures plunge to -13C. By first week of September, the Alps started receiving snow too. By end of last month, its higher slopes were enveloped with two feet of snow, raising high expectations for the coming winter. The heavy snowfall was particularly intense over Austrian glaciers, several of which are currently open for summer skiing. The Tux glacier near Mayrhofen received more than a foot of new snow. In Switzerland Saas Fee and Zermatt are open for summer skiing too.  
Across the Atlantic, the trend was similar. Oregon started freezing by mid-August, so did California's Mt. Shasta. By mid-September, Mammoth Lakes as well as in some areas of north central Montana, Rocky Mountain Front received snowfall, Jacksonville receiving 12 inches by end of last month. Meanwhile Alaska experienced record cold in September. By first week of October, Southern Sierra Nevada, CA started receiving snow. On October 15th, New York unbelievingly received six inches of snow.

In India, by second week of September, the higher reaches of Garhwali Himalayas received snowfall, sending the mercury plummeting in Chamoli and Rudraprayag districts. The hills around Badrinath and Kedarnath temples also have received snowfall while lower areas received rainfall forcing the people to take out their woollens. The higher hills in Lahaul and Spiti, Chamba, Kinnaur and Kullu districts also experienced mild snowfall. Rohtang Pass, located at an altitude of 13,050 feet was clad in two to three inches of snow by mid- last month.

With La Nina effects forecasted to last well into the first quarter of 2012, it can only be expected to rapidly strengthen as we enter into winter. The fact that temperatures are plummeting even before this, bringing prospect of early winter, does suggest that we are not only heading for one of the harshest winters in recorded history, but a prolonged one as well. The most intense La Nina conditions since the 1955, are brewing near the equator, leading experts to predict that winter will be a whopper this year.

The omens are obvious. We are entering the decisive endgame of the climate change debate. It would be ended not by either by any
“weighty” scientific data or international treaty, but ironically by the climate itself. From now on, NGOs and climate activists would be squirming as the “climate” turns more and more against them. By end of April next year, they will stand totally discredited with their reputations in tatters.

Latest photos of snow in the UK provided courtesy the Daily mail:


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