Around 50% of the EU's energy consumption is tied to heating , Source: Alex Vasey / Unsplash

Europe expected to have an unusually warm winter

Europe expected to have an unusually warm winter

With skyrocketing energy prices, a warmer winter could take some pressure off energy institutions, businesses and households in the EU

Last week, the Copernicus Climate Change Service published a long-term forecast for the winter in Europe, claiming that the continent may face a cold burst around December, but that overall there will be an unusually warm winter.

As temperatures begin to drop on the old continent, the weather is becoming an important factor in politics, policy and even the economy. Considering that heating accounts for around 50% of the bloc’s energy consumption, a warmer winter could be the difference between energy shortages and smooth sailing for the European Union.

Member States have agreed on a 15% energy consumption cut and have been racing to fill gas storage capacities ahead of schedule. The higher temperatures, however, are good news for households and businesses, as they could allow policymakers to avoid energy rationing.

Explaining medium-range weather forecasts

One very important thing to note when considering the data of medium-range forecasts is that they are different from short-range ones. While modern climate models and data collection, as well as computing, do allow for astonishingly accurate predictions for the next four days, there is always a certain margin of error.

When talking about longer predictions and seasonal forecasts, however, look at different data sets and make broader statements about averaging temperatures and trends, rather than specific figures. As the Associated France Press reports, Carlo Buontempo, director of the Copernicus Climate Change Service, the models give the best information possible to guide our decisions.

A cold block with warmer weather overall

The Copernicus Climate Change Service produces seasonal forecasts for the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF). According to Buontempo, the late autumn to early winter period may see Europe experiencing a so-called block situation.

A block or ‘blocking pattern’ is a weather term that means stable, often wind-free conditions accompanied by freezing temperatures. Experts claim that there is a high probability for this to occur during December.

However, overall, they expect that the winter will see above-average temperatures. This is because of the La Niña global weather phenomenon, meaning cooler surface temperatures in the central and eastern equatorial Pacific Ocean.

Buontempo explained that during La Niña years, the latter part of the European winter tends to favour western winds, meaning warm and wet. The Copernicus Climate Change Service has also said that it would update its forecast next month with greater confidence. This is because all the drivers of the winter climate would be more active, as Buontempo put it.



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