European summer weather may be predictable months to years in advance

Sea ice breaking up in spring. Near Kulusuk, Greenland. iStock.com/ steve_is_on_holiday
  • A study by the National Oceanography Centre (NOC) has discovered a chain of events that leads to hotter and drier European summers.
  • This means European weather may be predictable months to years in advance.
  • This study is a step forward for improving models, which will enable industries and stakeholders to plan ahead for events such as flooding.
  • Read the paper here in Weather and Climate Dynamics.

Scientists from the National Oceanography Centre (NOC) have discovered a chain of events that lead to hotter and drier European summers.

The paper, published in Weather and Climate Dynamics, suggests European summer weather is predictable months to years in advance. It also proposes a mechanism whereby meltwater in the North Atlantic initiates the identified chain of events, triggering hotter and drier weather over Europe in summer.

Lead author Marilena Oltmanns, Research Scientist at the National Oceanography Centre, commented: “The location and strength of meltwater occurrences in the North Atlantic in winter provide valuable clues about the location, strength and character of European weather anomalies in the subsequent summers.”

Melting sea ice and glacial ice are a growing source of freshwater to the North Atlantic. With increases in ice melt, the study suggests that European heatwaves and droughts will become more frequent and intense in future. The warming over Europe after strong freshwater releases in the North Atlantic will add to the warming already happening because of climate change, by causing weather patterns to shift.

The research findings demonstrate the importance of ocean observations, to ensure climate models capture all physical processes required to make accurate weather predictions. This study is a step forward for improving models, which will enable industries and stakeholders to plan ahead for specific weather conditions, such as adapting agricultural methods to be more resilient, predicting fuel usage, and bracing for flooding events.

You can read the full paper here: WCD - European summer weather linked to North Atlantic freshwater anomalies in preceding years (copernicus.org)

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News Splash: European Summer Weather May Be Predictable Months to Years in Advance

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