Science

Snowpocalypse

So what caused the beast from the east to awaken from it's slumber?

By Caterina Dassie’

The UK, together with other European countries, has experienced the coldest week of winter, with already 20cm of snow fall in the middle of the week and temperatures which have reached -15C in Northern Scotland.

This freezing weather is supposed to last at least until the middle of the week, where UK temperatures will compete with Iceland and Northern Ireland and therefore delaying the start of the Spring season by a couple of weeks.

The unusual weather was caused by a rapid stratospheric warming in the atmosphere around 18 miles above the north pole producing an unexpected twist in the winds, which then had travelled from Siberia and Scandinavia to finally had hit the UK and Europe. The northern part of Greenland and the North Pole have recently been 17-22C warmer than historical trends, affecting the air movements around these areas and thus, the global climate. The Met Office spread the voice about the forecast of the meteorological event already on the 19th of February.

The Met Office spokesman Oli Claydon claimed that this freezing blast “can lead in around 70% of instances to it impacting the drivers that affect our weather in northern Europe as well. So what we are seeing in this case is it disturbing the jet stream and weakening the jet stream.”

Also, the UK unusually experienced dry snow, enhancing the chance of having windstorms. This is due to the fact that with Arctic temperatures there is a smaller percentage of water in the snow, which makes the snow lighter and prevents snowflakes to stick together.

The Siberian and Scandinavian “beast(s) from the East” brought blizzards, snow, gales and Arctic temperatures, falling to -10C in some parts of Wales and was followed by a second storm, Emma, which arrived between Thursday and Friday bringing stronger wind and snowstorms. The arctic weather was depicted by Frank Saunders, Met Office forecaster, as “significantly disruptive”, with flights and trains cancelled, delayed, service limited and power cuts since the beginning of the storm. Saunders also added that some parts of the UK experienced “their coldest spell of weather since at least 2013, and possibly since 1991”.

Hopefully, the temperatures below the freezing point, together with wind and snowstorms, will not last longer than this week, but attention should be drawn to the fact that this sudden drastic weather seems to be caused once again by the rising of temperatures in the north pole, thus by global warming, which instead is a lasting issue needed to be faced.

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