TWO Buzz

Weather news and views from Brian Gaze.

Ignore persistence at your peril

Could it point to a cold winter?

Posted Thur 27th September 09:15

Persistence according to Google is "the continued or prolonged existence of something". When it comes to the UK's weather you ignore that relatively simple concept at your peril. As we head towards another winter it is something I will be keeping in mind.

Strange weather since the SSW

In February this year a record breaking Sudden Stratospheric Warming (SSW) event took place. During an SSW temperatures in the stratosphere rise quickly and the westerly flow slowdowns or reverses. That leads to an increased risk of high pressure blocking, and cold arctic air being displaced to mid latitude locations such as the UK.

The Beast From The East spell followed the SSW in March. Since then my view is the weather hasn't returned to normal in the the UK. Summer equalled the hottest on record and the tendency for high pressure has continued for much of September. It hasn't always been the case of course, for example last week there was a marked contrast as low pressure systems moved in from the Atlantic and brought stormy periods. 

Looking ahead and the signs from the medium range computer models are that high pressure will dominate for much of the next few weeks. The GFS chart below for Sunday 7th October is quite representative of much of the current output, although there are differences in the positioning and orientation of the high pressure cells.

GFS forecast chart 1

Why is this relevant?

The next few months could of course see the weather returning to business as usual. Anyone who discounts that possibility is in my view either telling porkies or showing a lack of basic knowledge. Having said that I come back to my point about persistence and would argue it is equally daft to discount the chance of the rather unusual weather patterns lasting through the rest of the autumn and into the winter.

Now if the prevailing southwesterly flow continues to be disrupted we could see rather cold conditions developing at times later this autumn as the continental landmass cools. It would also suggest an increased risk of cold outbreaks in the winter. Things get really interesting if low solar activity (always contentious), the possibility of an easterly QBO and a weak to moderate El Nino (possibly increases the chance of cold spells during the second half of the winter) are factored in.  


Since the SSW in February weather patterns across the North Atlantic region seem to have been out of kilter. Persistence suggests anomalies could continue through autumn and into winter. If that happens the chance of cold spells could be increased.  

From Brian Gaze, TWO founder
Since establishing TheWeatherOutlook over 15 years ago the site has grown enormously and running costs have risen. I intend to continue expanding TWO and keeping it free if possible. If you find it useful and would like to contribute to its development please consider making a donation.

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Your comments

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brian gaze 2 years ago
antss1: I've been asked to do tv interviews several times in the past.

antss1 2 years ago
So buzz you got your name up with the big boys ,just read an article on the news about the 3 month's wether up to Xmas ,can see you being on tv before long

antss1 2 years ago
Barrow,that shows you how long ago I last Used the word

BarrowiceInfo 2 years ago
antss1. Ha! do you mean Hoar Frost? We get those when the humidity is high like when it's foggy and we do still get them occasionally.

antss1 2 years ago
Buzz why do we no longer get raw frosts like we use to in the 70s ?

antss1 2 years ago
I think your right vincee

vinceedwards 2 years ago
The usual culprits in the media are tapping speculation into this and are concluding that we are in for months of snow. :-)

antss1 2 years ago
Winter 76/77 in Norfolk was much the same as other winter's their was a little bit of snow and a few cold days from what I can remember; winter 78/79 Feb 18 we had about 3 foot of snow in 24 hours

kieron6791 2 years ago
Was there a SSW pre 1976 summer? And was the winter of 1976/7 notably cold? Thanks.


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