This is just an observation, because sometimes even a simpleton’s observation can trigger entire chains of thought in better minds.
Europe’s weather has almost no effect on weather here in New Hampshire, as Europe is “down stream.” My interest is mostly in how Europe’s weather is effecting the weather north of Scandinavia in Barents Sea, due to my hobby of studying sea-ice. However I did live in Scotland for nearly a year, so perhaps I have a few fond memories that increase my interest, and cause me to focus more than I would if I were sensible.
One thing I’ve focused on is how our warm air masses head across the Atlantic, sometimes fueling huge gales and hardship, and sometimes arriving in Europe as benign northern arms of the Azores high, begiling and enchanting northern lands with southern warmth.
Last winter North America was so cold much warmth was shunted off shore and headed north to aid Europe. It was like the good old days, when America could afford to be generous. Europe hardly had a winter, so much mildness poured over it on southwest winds. Now, however, perhaps America is bankrupt and shrunken, for even when we send our warmth northeast, it seems pirates rob the freighters of air before they get to Europe. Our promises are reduced to those made with a forked tongue.
I became aware of this keenly, quite recently, after I had decided the past cold spell had ended in Europe, and England was being rescued by warm west winds, but then read a blogger describe how the west winds held snow, at a rate of an inch an hour. This was so utterly different from last year I sought a cause.
Of course, I can’t describe the cause in terms a scientist would think much of. However, as a layman, I can state there certainly is a thing-in-the-way. Something is causing the nice, mild flow of air we send to Europe to fork like a snake’s tongue. Where it flooded straight ahead last year, this year it either turns left towards the top of Greenland, or turns right to head through the Mediterranean, or, if plows straight ahead, gets occluded, in which case the warm air is to high up to do those on the ground much good.
Last year I described Siberian air as “the snout of Igor”. This year it as if that snout has kept nosing west, then flinching back, but then nosing further west, before flinching back not-as-far. It is a repetitive, progressively westward sort of snouting. It doesn’t take a nice, neat form, as a high pressure, though sometimes it builds a high pressure. Rather it is just a cold, sinister, east wind.
I’ll leave it to larger minds to fathom it all, and to study the differences between last year and this year, and explain it to fools like myself. I’ll just give you a series of UK Met maps,showing how the nice warm air we send to Sweden never gets there.
The first map shows that, while our last warm package may have been thwarted short of the coast of Norway, southeast of Iceland we have a total of four warm fronts, headed straight for Sweden to impress those Swedish babes. (Click maps to enlarge.)
24 hours later we’ve only impressed the babes of Ireland.
48 hours later we may be impressing the babes in Paris, but what the heck happened in Sweden? No sooner did we get there when a cold front boots us out! What kind of welcome is that. (Also note the sourse region for the west winds is not the Azores. It is the southern tip of Greenland. It may not be Siberian air, but it isn’t summery.)
At least we can look west. and see two more lows crossing the Atlantic, bringing reinforcements of mild air.
After 72 hours we are wondering “What the heck is going on?” The warm air that wooed Paris is now a shrunken warm sector by the Black Sea, and all the warmth of our first reinforcement is occluded aloft as it approaches Norway. (Please remember last year warm fronts surged right over Scandinavia with little trouble.) However at least we have our second reinforcement approaching Ireland.
After 96 hours we are definitely discouraged. Though we did manage to again get a warm front into Paris, the Swedes are laughing at us, as we never get there. Furthermore, winds are turning north in the north of Sweden. Our rivals the Russians are coming!
By 120 hours all our attempts to warm Europe are a shambles. A fragment of a warm sector is over the Black Sea, but all other warmth has been occluded and is aloft. The Atlantic air over Europe is not from the Azores, but from Baffin Bay and Greenland. And Siberian air is starting to swoop around the north side of the low east of Finland.
How did that low get there, anyway? Last year lows charged up over Scandinavia and continued on, at least in part, along the Siberian coast, east all the way to the Bering Strait. This year they have no identity, and form and reform into a ill-defined shape that sags southeast, and allows Siberian cold to come west over the north side.
Last year the maps always seemed to show southwest winds over Scandinavia. This years map shows winds swinging to the northeast. An invisible shape is forking what was a straight flow.
That is my observation. You figure out the details.