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December 1988


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Posted
  • Location: Irlam
  • Location: Irlam

    December 1988 was a very mild month with a CET of 7.5. Pressure was high to the south and this allowed a westerly and southwesterly flow to dominate. Frosts were very few and most areas were snow free.

    The month however began with an easterly flow over the UK and a high over Scandinavia. The flow was cold but not severe and any snow that fell was confined to the hills in the north. By the 3rd, the high had slipped eastwards and Atlantic systems moved in from the west. By the 6th, high pressure was increasing to the west of the UK and it was generally sunny up to the 9th as a warm front moved around the high and across the UK. This pattern repeated itself a few times over that December, with high pressure to the south and fronts rolling over the high and across the UK. Cold air did come across the north of Scotland on the 23rd but by the next day, a warm front moved up from the SW and reintroduced the milder air. The high was over central Europe and became a Bartlett high. The effect of this was to bring up even milder SWlies across the UK and it was a very mild festive season with maxima in double figures, up to 13C in places. This pattern continued up to the New Year with SWlies drawn up from the Canaries across the UK. Lossiemouth recorded a maximum of 15.6C on the 28th. It was the mildest December since 1974. Many places didn't see any falling snow and frosts were very few.

    Rrea00119881229.gif

    December CET maximum: 9.8

    December CET minimum: 5.2

    22nd-28th December: 9.7

    Highest daily CET maximum: 13.0 (26th)

    Very mild Boxing Day

    Cardiff: 13.3

    Durham: 13.0

    Elmdon: 13.6

    Finningley: 14.4

    Heathrow: 13.9

    Manchester: 13.6

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    • 15 years later...
    Posted
  • Location: Islington
  • Weather Preferences: Freezing cold snowy winters & unsettled summers.
  • Location: Islington

    The month that effectively killed the British climate as we knew it.

    I think I posted it before but this day, te 7th of December, 1988, is an unassuming looking chart - but as the winds backed into the west/southwest you could argue the climate (bar some colder blips in 1991 and the late '00s/'10s) would never be the same again. 😒

    image.thumb.png.7e8bea67aa1fc8c4bf36195d988cbc4a.png

     

    We need an opposite-like event with northeasterlies come December 2022 to set up a century long cooling event 😝 What do you mean I'm being unrealistic??? 😂

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    Posted
  • Location: Edmonton Alberta(via Chelmsford, Exeter & Calgary)
  • Weather Preferences: Sunshine and 15-25c
  • Location: Edmonton Alberta(via Chelmsford, Exeter & Calgary)
    2 hours ago, LetItSnow! said:

    The month that effectively killed the British climate as we knew it.

    I think I posted it before but this day, te 7th of December, 1988, is an unassuming looking chart - but as the winds backed into the west/southwest you could argue the climate (bar some colder blips in 1991 and the late '00s/'10s) would never be the same again. 😒

    image.thumb.png.7e8bea67aa1fc8c4bf36195d988cbc4a.png

     

    We need an opposite-like event with northeasterlies come December 2022 to set up a century long cooling event 😝 What do you mean I'm being unrealistic??? 😂

    i was always under the impression that the Great Storm of Oct 87 was the the so called turning point not 7th Dec 1988

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    Posted
  • Location: London
  • Location: London
    3 hours ago, LetItSnow! said:

    The month that effectively killed the British climate as we knew it.

    I think I posted it before but this day, te 7th of December, 1988, is an unassuming looking chart - but as the winds backed into the west/southwest you could argue the climate (bar some colder blips in 1991 and the late '00s/'10s) would never be the same again. 😒

    image.thumb.png.7e8bea67aa1fc8c4bf36195d988cbc4a.png

     

    We need an opposite-like event with northeasterlies come December 2022 to set up a century long cooling event 😝 What do you mean I'm being unrealistic??? 😂

    December 2010 happened, and that was very cold. I remember day after day of temps even in London, hovering barely above 0c and on some days it was colder. 
     

    A cold winter month will happen again, it’s just a case of when. 

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    Posted
  • Location: London
  • Location: London
    36 minutes ago, cheeky_monkey said:

    i was always under the impression that the Great Storm of Oct 87 was the the so called turning point not 7th Dec 1988

    I’ve always argued that autumn of 1987 marked the change to milder winters, milder autumns and earlier advances into spring.

    October 1987 storm was probably the first side affect of the shift, then we had a springlike Christmas Day with lots of sunshine, and although the daytime max wasn’t anything exceptional, the temp was around 13c and winds were light.

    Snow became less frequent from the end of 1987, and it seems the decline in snow was Europe wide, as well as Canada. 
     

    Latvia on the other hand, hasn’t had a colder December since 1981, so it could be the case that 1982 was the starting point in other regions. 

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    Posted
  • Location: Edmonton Alberta(via Chelmsford, Exeter & Calgary)
  • Weather Preferences: Sunshine and 15-25c
  • Location: Edmonton Alberta(via Chelmsford, Exeter & Calgary)
    9 minutes ago, Sunny76 said:

     

    Snow became less frequent from the end of 1987, and it seems the decline in snow was Europe wide, as well as Canada. 

    Interestingly looking at environment Canada latest report shows that snow cover at the end of the season across the country as a whole remains pretty much unchanged since 1972 (date the reports start at) there was a decline between 1972 - 2000 then a rebound from 2000 - present.

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    Posted
  • Location: Islington
  • Weather Preferences: Freezing cold snowy winters & unsettled summers.
  • Location: Islington
    32 minutes ago, Sunny76 said:

    December 2010 happened, and that was very cold. I remember day after day of temps even in London, hovering barely above 0c and on some days it was colder. 
     

    A cold winter month will happen again, it’s just a case of when. 

    To be fair, I did say colder blips in the original message. December 2010 was an incredible month, but it’s one of a small handful of exceptionally cold months since 1988 - compare that to the overabundance of significantly warmer than average months 

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    Posted
  • Location: Islington
  • Weather Preferences: Freezing cold snowy winters & unsettled summers.
  • Location: Islington
    1 hour ago, cheeky_monkey said:

    i was always under the impression that the Great Storm of Oct 87 was the the so called turning point not 7th Dec 1988

    The only reason why I don’t think that’s the case - or perhaps consider it the first stage before the shift - is because, while the winter and spring of 1988 did see a prolonged spell of mild but unexceptional temperatures (overall), the weather reverted to cool, typical British fare (for the time) from July to November. Indeed, November 1988 was a very cold month, as was July 1988. So in some ways, yes. I think you could argue there were three stages of the British climate shifting. The first was February 1982: after the bitterly cold winter so far, a long spell of (mostly) warmer than average months contributed over the next two years. 1982 was a warm year across central Europe but we were on the borderline. A boiling summer in 1983 and then another hot summer in 1984 and a very mild autumn.

    The second stage as you say was October 1987 and the great storm as well as a milder winter. Then, imo, the final shift in December 1988. We sort of went back a bit in the late-2000s but then have been mostly warm since July 2013. I thought perhaps early-2021 was setting us up for perhaps a cooler year this year but that’s been completely wrong.

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    Posted
  • Location: London
  • Location: London
    28 minutes ago, LetItSnow! said:

    The only reason why I don’t think that’s the case - or perhaps consider it the first stage before the shift - is because, while the winter and spring of 1988 did see a prolonged spell of mild but unexceptional temperatures (overall), the weather reverted to cool, typical British fare (for the time) from July to November. Indeed, November 1988 was a very cold month, as was July 1988. So in some ways, yes. I think you could argue there were three stages of the British climate shifting. The first was February 1982: after the bitterly cold winter so far, a long spell of (mostly) warmer than average months contributed over the next two years. 1982 was a warm year across central Europe but we were on the borderline. A boiling summer in 1983 and then another hot summer in 1984 and a very mild autumn.

    The second stage as you say was October 1987 and the great storm as well as a milder winter. Then, imo, the final shift in December 1988. We sort of went back a bit in the late-2000s but then have been mostly warm since July 2013. I thought perhaps early-2021 was setting us up for perhaps a cooler year this year but that’s been completely wrong.

    1982 seems interesting to look at. That winter of 1981-82 was very cold across North America, but the following winter was very mild due to the El Niño. Christmas Day of 1982 recording very mild or warm and sunny conditions across many northern regions. Chicago was 19c on Christmas Day 1982.

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    Posted
  • Location: Irlam
  • Location: Irlam
    Posted (edited)

    I could argue that the first shift in the climate was actually after February 1895 not the late 1980s.

    I have read a lot of reports from the period 1895 up to 1940 and there is a lot of talk about a shift in the climate to more milder weather. That perception changed in the 1940s because of those severe winters but actually there were still plenty of warm weather  in that period. Look how many warm Aprils there were, look at spring 1945 which effectively started at the end of January 1945, summer of 1947, the year of 1949 

    Edited by Weather-history
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    Posted
  • Location: London
  • Location: London
    4 minutes ago, Weather-history said:

    I could argue that the first shift in the climate was actually after February 1895 not the late 1980s.

    I have read a lot of reports from the period 1895 up to 1940 and there is a lot of talk about a shift in the climate to more milder weather. That perception changed in the 1940s because of those severe winters but actually there were still plenty of warm weather  in that period. Look how many warm Aprils there were, look at spring 1945 which effectively started at the end of January 1945, summer of 1947, the year of 1949 

    1947 was another year that seems to stand out. It has a very cold winter and early spring,  but the summer was very hot.

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    Posted
  • Location: Edmonton Alberta(via Chelmsford, Exeter & Calgary)
  • Weather Preferences: Sunshine and 15-25c
  • Location: Edmonton Alberta(via Chelmsford, Exeter & Calgary)
    54 minutes ago, LetItSnow! said:

    The only reason why I don’t think that’s the case - or perhaps consider it the first stage before the shift - is because, while the winter and spring of 1988 did see a prolonged spell of mild but unexceptional temperatures (overall), the weather reverted to cool, typical British fare (for the time) from July to November. Indeed, November 1988 was a very cold month, as was July 1988. So in some ways, yes. I think you could argue there were three stages of the British climate shifting. The first was February 1982: after the bitterly cold winter so far, a long spell of (mostly) warmer than average months contributed over the next two years. 1982 was a warm year across central Europe but we were on the borderline. A boiling summer in 1983 and then another hot summer in 1984 and a very mild autumn.

    The second stage as you say was October 1987 and the great storm as well as a milder winter. Then, imo, the final shift in December 1988. We sort of went back a bit in the late-2000s but then have been mostly warm since July 2013. I thought perhaps early-2021 was setting us up for perhaps a cooler year this year but that’s been completely wrong.

    Having grown up in 1970s and 80s ..there was definitely IMO a shift towards warmer summers and milder winters from 1987 onwards..yes we had cpl back to back hot summers in 75/76 and again 83/84 but they were followed by some dire summers of the late 70s and the mid 80s..that didn't really happen after 1987..same can be said of the winters post 1987

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    Posted
  • Location: Longden, Shropshire
  • Location: Longden, Shropshire

    I've always considered winter 1987/88 as being the step change to the warmer period up to now, barring years 2007-13.

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    Posted
  • Location: London
  • Location: London

    It was definitely the last third of 1987 that brought the change. 
     

    October 1987 had some warm and humid wet days, around the time of the Great Storm. The Azores high moved further north during 1987, and the westerly winds became more persistent.

     

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    Posted
  • Location: Shrewsbury
  • Location: Shrewsbury

    February 1997 for me was the month it really seemed to change: after that there wasnt anything resembling a "classic" winter easterly for 12 years, and also the summer climate seemed to change: not so much with mean temperature but they seemed to get a lot cloudier and less settled, as if presaging the more drastic change ten years later. 2006 of course was an exception, but the only other really decent summer month I recall in that decade was July 1999, which is almost forgotten (as is June 2010, the only remotely decent summer month in the 2007-12 summerless years). The phrase "warmer than average due to high minima" is something I associate strongly with early/mid 2000s summer months...

    Regarding 1988, I always think of that November with its early snowfall from the east on the 20th as the last gasp of the mid-80s cold years (87/88 had a decent snowfall in the January I remember, and summer 88 definitely belonged to that era not 89-96). There was a change, as in the mild winters post-88 were (and still are) milder than in 79-87, but there were still some proper winters (90/91, 95/6, parts of 93/4 and first half of 96/7). The early 70s winters seem to have been as bad if not worse as 88/9 and 89/90 and 97/8 to 1999/00 (though perhaps not as awful as 13/14, 15/16, 19/20 and 21/22)?

     

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    Posted
  • Location: London
  • Location: London

    Winter of 1979/1980 was milder than average and a poor winter for the south. January was cold and dry but snowless, but the December before had the warmest first half on record, with daytime temps around 14-15c, and February recorded a daytime high of 15-16c in London. 

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    Posted
  • Location: Edmonton Alberta(via Chelmsford, Exeter & Calgary)
  • Weather Preferences: Sunshine and 15-25c
  • Location: Edmonton Alberta(via Chelmsford, Exeter & Calgary)
    13 hours ago, Summer of 95 said:

    February 1997 for me was the month it really seemed to change: after that there wasnt anything resembling a "classic" winter easterly for 12 years, and also the summer climate seemed to change: not so much with mean temperature but they seemed to get a lot cloudier and less settled, as if presaging the more drastic change ten years later. 2006 of course was an exception, but the only other really decent summer month I recall in that decade was July 1999, which is almost forgotten (as is June 2010, the only remotely decent summer month in the 2007-12 summerless years). The phrase "warmer than average due to high minima" is something I associate strongly with early/mid 2000s summer months...

     

     

    what about summer of 2003? and June 2005? and August 1997?

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    Posted
  • Location: Shrewsbury
  • Location: Shrewsbury
    20 hours ago, cheeky_monkey said:

    what about summer of 2003? and June 2005? and August 1997?

    June 2005 was pretty decent, at least the second half was ( I mainly remember it for the thunderstorm on the 19th*, although there were several warm sunny days too). 

    August 1997 was in a way the first of the "warm but cloudy and unsettled" summer months that seemed to dominate from then until 2007. August 2004 was an even more extreme example, memorable for its mugginess and a few storms, but it had lots of rain days and little sun compared to the warm summer months of the 80s and 90s. 

    I didn't mention summer 2003 on purpose. It was average here; warmish but often cloudy and unsettled June and July, August had one hot day on the 9th, two or three sunny ones around 24-28C in the previous week (though some of that week was cloudy despite the forecasts of 30C+ and sunshine), but the majority of the month was full of cloud despite not being very wet. Admittedly this is a local perception, I know it was a different story in the SE but in this area I think 2014 was a better summer overall, never mind 1995 or 2018.

    *The step change that caused the huge decline in thunder round here is another thing that seems totally independent of either the summer or winter step-changes. It occurred around 2008-9 so a bit after the summers changed in 2007, and it has continued after they recovered somewhat from 2013. 

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    Posted
  • Location: Longden, Shropshire
  • Location: Longden, Shropshire
    On 15/07/2022 at 00:38, Summer of 95 said:

    Regarding 1988, I always think of that November with its early snowfall from the east on the 20th as the last gasp of the mid-80s cold years (87/88 had a decent snowfall in the January I remember, and summer 88 definitely belonged to that era not 89-96). There was a change, as in the mild winters post-88 were (and still are) milder than in 79-87, but there were still some proper winters (90/91, 95/6, parts of 93/4 and first half of 96/7). The early 70s winters seem to have been as bad if not worse as 88/9 and 89/90 and 97/8 to 1999/00 (though perhaps not as awful as 13/14, 15/16, 19/20 and 21/22)?

     

    Interesting you mention January 1988 as I remember an unexpected snowfall occurred one night which was not forecast, affecting northern home counties and the Chiltern region.  Not sure of the exact date but I think it was towards the end of the month?

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    Posted
  • Location: Irlam
  • Location: Irlam
    Posted (edited)
    32 minutes ago, Don said:

    Interesting you mention January 1988 as I remember an unexpected snowfall occurred one night which was not forecast, affecting northern home counties and the Chiltern region.  Not sure of the exact date but I think it was towards the end of the month?

    21st/22nd January. Snow was forecast but it was further south, I remember waking up disappointed to see nothing but got a shock when I looked out the window again about an hour later and it was snowing and lying. There must have been an area of preciptation to the north of the main band that moved across.

     

    Edited by Weather-history
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    Posted
  • Location: Longden, Shropshire
  • Location: Longden, Shropshire
    2 hours ago, Weather-history said:

    21st/22nd January. Snow was forecast but it was further south, I remember waking up disappointed to see nothing but got a shock when I looked out the window again about an hour later and it was snowing and lying. There must have been an area of preciptation to the north of the main band that moved across.

     

    I remember it was a Friday and my mum woke me up for school telling me it had snowed heavily overnight with 4-6 inches reported in Hertfordshire and the Chilterns .  20 miles south and what did I wake up to?  Cold bloody rain and was most disappointed!!

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