Europe on the long term 23rd Feb

6th-10th March

Ridging dominates Western Europe, blocking snowfall for the UK and the Alps. The far eastern Alps may do a little bit better. Far Eastern Europe is set to do well in this period with troughing.

11th-15th March

Ridging dominates the European continent, with a +NAO in the Atlantic as a background feature, helping to pave out the Synoptics.

16th-20th March

The +NAO trough strengthens forcing a more zonal setup for the UK, ridging persists for both most of the UK and the Alps.

21st-25th March

The +NAO consolidates and brings zonal conditions for the UK and Scandinavia. Ridging continues over the European Alps.

26th-30th March

The +NAO weakens a bit, and allows ridging to move north back over the UK, while continuing to persist over the Alps.

Climate Drivers

The atmospheric momentum budgets show less positive deposits in the tropics after the spike in January, that had little consequence in terms of changing the pattern. Those tropical deposits are starting to pick up again, because the MJO is making another pass.

The positive deposits between approx 40N-60N and the negative deposits at approx 15N-35N have reestablished, which is essentially a consolidation of the status quo. This means that the strong Atlantic +NAO will continue and the +AO strong vortex state will persist for the next month or so.

The stratosphere is holding firm with a very strong polar vortex state. This means that the Arctic Oscillation is likely to stay positive for quite some time deep into March and probably beyond.

The past 10 days of the MJO being in Phase 6 is behind the somewhat neutralisation of the NAO, which will potentially help bring about decent snowfalls for the UK and the European Alps, as well as the rest of the continent.

After the tropical support has gone away in mid-March, Europe is likely to continue to be subject to bouts of European ridging as predicted by the EC Monthly model above, and to a +NAO base state, fuelled by a strong +AO.


Here are the predictions that I made in November for the European seasonal outlook:

  1. December is expected to more average like.
  2. January and February will be the months that define the image to look like this, the strongest months of the winter.
  3. Scandinavia should expect lower than average snowfall.
  4. UK should expect above average snowfall throughout winter IMO, with the best of the falls in January and February. The falls will be less climatologically significant in the highlands, but it should ultimately be a snowy and cold winter, presuming extratropical and stratospheric forcing goes our way.
  5. The Southern Alps should expect a very good snowfall season, based on a more equator-ward jetstream.
  6. The Northern Alps should expect an average-above average season.
  7. Eastern Europe should expect a colder and snowier than average season.
  8. The Pyrenees should expect an above average snowfall season IMO.

Unfortunately it didn’t really pan out this way:

  1. This did pan out okay.
  2. This of course didn’t pan out, the season didn’t improve in the way I forecasted.
  3. Scandinavia had a pretty good season (as far as I can tell using seasonal charts).
  4. The UK didn’t have a good season at all. So this big call did not pay off and was a failure.
  5. The Southern Alps started off well, but a relatively average winter hasn’t really qualified for an above average season overall.
  6. This is probably the best verification for me (the Northern Alps), it was mostly average and a little bit above average in some areas from what I can tell. Lower down, the verification has not been so great, with less snowfall.
  7. This prediction failed, with Eastern Europe having a pretty meagre season.
  8. And this one failed as well with much of the lower Pyrenees doing poorly. The higher slopes are doing about average, but overall not so great.

So overall Europe was milder and more zonal than I had expected, due to the base state failing to budge throughout the season. Limited stratospheric activity and a strong positive AO helped to fuel a poor snow season for much of Europe.

Thanks so much to everyone who has read the blogs throughout the season. I hoped you enjoyed reading them.

Disclaimer: There is lower skill asssociated with using long range model forecasts to find snow systems. 

Thanks again for reading this European long range snow forecast, follow me on Twitter @longrangesnow and subscribe to my email list by clicking on the tab on the main header above. Enjoy the spring’s worth of skiing, and you will see me again in September and October for next season! I will hopefully see you then.

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