Superb snow

Our regularly updated blog discusses the weather prospects for the major winter sports regions. Like incomprehensible jargon and meteorological babble? Then you've come to the wrong place!

It’s mild out there!

Posted Tue, 22 Dec 2015 16:03:07

The snow level should be going down the hill at this time of year but instead it’s heading higher. Very mild air is sitting across much of Europe and this is having a big impact on many of the ski resorts this Christmas.

The view from Signal today shows there is skiing and on the plus side the weather looks glorious. However, it’s impossible not to notice that even at about 2100m there currently isn’t a lot of snow here.

signal

Will the weather flip in the near future

Several times in recent years the snow scene hasn’t looked great in the Alps but a sudden flip has transformed the prospects. Is that imminent now? The answer is very probably not and the reason is the persistence of high pressure.

The UK and most of western Europe is sitting under very mild air and that isn’t expected to change quickly. The freezing level chart for 18GMT, Christmas Day shows the problem clearly. There is colder air over the northern half of the UK and Scandinavia but the Alps and Pyrenees are under a mild blanket with freezing levels probably between 2500m and 3500m.

06_84_alps0c

 

It’s dry too and the deterministic forecast from this morning’s GFS6z run doesn’t really bring any notable snowfall before Saturday 2nd January. Those of you with more than a passing interest in meteorology will know that with current technology it’s not possible to be confident in deterministic forecasts at this range. Therefore, to gauge how likely an outcome is ensemble models such as the GEFS are used – on IcyBlasts you’ve got free access to the GEFS ensemble snow forecast data.

Does the GEFS ensemble back up the deterministic GFS6z forecast of snow on 2nd January? Not really! On the plot below each of the individual ‘postage stamps’ shows the snow forecast for 06GMT, 2nd January. The pink shading indicates forecast snowfall and from a glance it’s clear that most of the individual runs in the ensemble don’t back up the GFS6z forecast.

snow_264_ps_slp_alps

So what does all that mean?

Very simply it means the deterministic model runs are suggesting no significant snowfall until the New Year. However, confidence in this isn’t high and many of the individual ensemble members keep it dry even longer.  I’ll not post in the longer range charts but to end on a positive note there are suggestions of pressure falling over Europe by January 7th. This would increase the chances of colder and unsettled conditions in the mountains …. snow!

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Posted Tue, 22 Dec 2015 16:03:07

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Previous Superb Snow

High pressure over Europe
Snow, snow and more snow
Blowtorch air mass in the Alps
Snow conditions get better
More snow for the Alps
Alpine snow drought is ending
Transformation soon in the Alps?
It’s mild out there!
New snow charts and ensemble forecasts
Hairdryer blowing in the Alps

Forecasts

16 day

Deterministic forecast updated 4 times every day. The quickest and easiest way to view a snapshot of the expected weather.

Probability

Up to 16 days ahead these use data from the GEFS ensemble forecasting system. Not resort specific but a fantastic tool for judging confidence levels and seeing the possible temperature and precipitation spreads.

LRF

The long range forecast updated daily is intended to give an indication of possible regional trends.

Weather charts

Like more detailed information? Check out the latest weather forecast charts for winter sports regions in Europe, North America and Japan. Updated every 6 hours, include guidance on freezing levels and expected snow fall.

Latest charts