4th September 2023
By Brian Gaze
As the days grow shorter and the autumn chill deepens, one of the most common questions we are asked is whether a White Christmas is on the way.
Unfortunately forecasting more than a few days ahead in the UK is prone to error because of the changeable nature of our maritime climate. Therefore, making a forecast for Christmas Day with any degree of confidence often isn't possible until the middle of December at the earliest.
Despite that, there are some things to consider even though they are tenuous. Seasonal computer models are designed to give pointers to the weather trends, for example whether the chance of cold periods greater than the average. Other factors, for example the state of El Nino and long term persistence, may have a bearing on the prospects.
In addition, our Weather Analogue Index (WAI) matches current atmospheric patterns with those in previous years. One factor considered by the Christmas weather forecast feature is which years best match the current one and did they produce cold snaps in late December.
The countdown is intended to be fun and this year we've added in a free game called "Make it a White Christmas". It's very simple and the idea is you catch the falling raindrops and gradually they turn to sleet and then snow.
There's a leader board so you'll be able to check the top scores. If you want to see where you feature, you'll need to be logged in with a site account when playing. You can create a free site account and also enjoy advert free access for up to 5 days.
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Models include UK Met Office UKV and MOGREPS-G, ECMWF, NCEP GFS, Meteo France Arpege and Arome.