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Winter weather & transportation

Snow, ice, wind, storms, floods, fog - the winter season can bring a host of extreme weather which can impact on all transportation networks. As such, there is an obvious need for regular weather forecasts and updates (i.e. for informing gritting routes, applying speed restrictions etc).

Roads and railways are extremely vulnerable to extreme winter weather, yet they are integral to everyday life.

Sudden Stratospheric Warming event

A Sudden Stratospheric Warming (SSW) event has taken place, resulting in the split of polar vortex in two vortices which may impact our weather later this month (there is a lag time between an SSW and the impact it has on UK weather).

A SSW of the atmosphere refers to a rapid rise in temperatures in the stratosphere (which is found at an altitude of 10 km to 50 km) when the temperature can rise by up to 50°C over a couple of days – and this often leads to cold conditions across the UK.

Time for a climate communication audit

By Adam Corner*, Research Director at Climate Outreach, and an Honorary Research Fellow in the School of Psychology, Cardiff University.

Over the last decade, the level of interest in climate change communication has grown rapidly – there’s now a huge number of people, organisations and institutions involved in the theory and practice of public engagement.

Cyclone Gita: Tonga’s worst storm in 60 years

Cycle Gita has hit islands of Tonga in the South Pacific. It is the worst storm to reach the islands in more than 60 years, bringing winds of more than 140 m.p.h.

Gita peaked overnight on 11th and 12th February, battering the main island of Tongatapu, flattening many buildings including a parliament building and bringing down power lines. Gita then picked up pace as it headed towards Fiji, where it hit the Lau Islands south of the mainland as a category 5 storm, flattening several homes and crops.

World weather review: January 2018

Whilst Spain and France experienced temperatures well above the seasonal average, Austria, Northern Italy and some parts of Eastern Europe experienced heavy snowfall for a few weeks in January.  Indeed, on the 5th January, heavy snow cut off a number of alpine ski resorts, including Cervinia in Italy and Adelboden in Switzerland. France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg and Germany suffered damage and suspended flights as a result of depression Friederike (not named by the Met Office/ Met Éireann) on the 18th January.

UK weather review: January 2018

January began rather mild and wet. Storm Eleanor passed across the UK on the 2nd and 3rd bringing windy conditions to much of the UK. From the 6th to the 12th is was more settled with high pressure often nearby leading to frost and fog at times, but the second half of the month was changeable, with significant snow at times in parts of northern England, Scotland and northern Ireland.

Met Office UK Weather Radar Network Upgraded

The Met Office have completed a £10 million pound state-of-the-art upgrade of the UK’s rainfall radar network.  For the first time the size and shape of raindrops and snowflakes can be captured, as well as wind speed data. These new scientific advancements have not only improved radar coverage but will lead to improvements in the accuracy of rainfall estimates, particularly during high impact weather events, such as flooding.