Winter Hazards

The shortest day may have passed (21 December), but the coldest months on average are still to come and can bring with them some potential risks. However, with knowledge comes power, so we hope that after you read this article, you’ll be fully equipped to face winter weather head on!

2020: Feeling the Heat theWeather Club Thu, 14/01/2021 - 18:43

Another year has passed and with it, more weather records have fallen.  Recent reports from the UK Met Office and the Copernicus Climate Change Service show that 2020 was the UK’s third warmest year since 1884 as well as Europe’s warmest on record.

Frozen Ponds

I used to ask this question at job interviews.  All candidates were science graduates but on only a handful of occasions have I had answers that are close to the truth.  Most often the conversations went something like this.

Interviewer:  Why do ponds freeze from the top down?


People in and around Edinburgh were woken by the sound of thundersnow last week.

What is thundersnow?

Thundersnow is the name given to a wintry thunderstorm, that's associated with heavy snowfall rates, as well as thunder and lightning.

The 4 ingredients needed for thundersnow are moisture, lift, an unstable atmospheric temperature profile and below-freezing air in the cloud and near ground level.

Winter is coming

The maps above show the UK winter (Dec, Jan, Feb) averages for 1981-2010. The analyses are based on 1 km grid-point data sets which are derived from station data (Source: Met Office)

As we approach the winter season and temperatures start to dip, we take a look at winter weather in the UK – what affects it, seasonal extremes, what an ‘average’ winter looks like and link to some ‘wintry’ articles of interest.

Sting Jets

What is a sting jet?

A sting jet is an isolated area of particularly strong and damaging wind. A jet of fast-moving, cold, dry air descends from higher in the atmosphere, accelerating as it descends and hits the ground near the centre of the depression.

Aurora Borealis

The Aurora Borealis, also known as the Northern Lights, and Aurora Australis (Southern Lights) in the Southern Hemisphere, are a spectacular natural phenomenon. They light up a night sky, dancing around in fantastic colours. There are few places in the Northern Hemisphere where you can see them, but they can be elusive if you are really unlucky. Here we explain the science behind the Northern Lights and share few tips on how to maximise your chances of witnessing this wonderful spectacle.