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1986/87, and the change to a milder UK climate


Sunny76

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Posted
  • Location: London
  • Location: London

It would be interesting to pop into a time machine and relive the whole of late 1986, until the end of 1987. 
 

Knowing what we know now, from 33 years of experience, it would be interesting to see the subtle changes that took place during 1987, and indications that our climate was changing.

Maybe it was before The Great Storm in October. Was it possibly something that took place in the summer or in the April of 1987. April that year was very warm, and this was the last cold spring for a few years. 
 

Your thoughts?

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Posted
  • Location: Scouthead Oldham 295mASL
  • Location: Scouthead Oldham 295mASL
2 hours ago, Sunny76 said:

It would be interesting to pop into a time machine and relive the whole of late 1986, until the end of 1987. 
 

Knowing what we know now, from 33 years of experience, it would be interesting to see the subtle changes that took place during 1987, and indications that our climate was changing.

Maybe it was before The Great Storm in October. Was it possibly something that took place in the summer or in the April of 1987. April that year was very warm, and this was the last cold spring for a few years. 
 

Your thoughts?

My thoughts are 1987 was the starting point for the sea change in UK winters, and this is not restricted to the UK either.My dads side is Polish , and i can 100% tell you without contradiction winters in Poland have been trending milder and milder over the last 3 decades-(yes there has been the odd exception but the trend is inescapable).

I have posted that i have no idea if this is part of an earth cycle , GW or a bit of both, The ice sheets are melting and temperature records are being broken-scientists have produced evidence the globe is warming.

I fear snow is getting harder and harder to come by, i wouldn't bet against this being a snow less winter for the majority.

Edited by northwestsnow
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Posted
  • Location: London
  • Location: London
13 minutes ago, northwestsnow said:

My thoughts are 1987 was the starting point for the sea change in UK winters, and this is not restricted to the UK either.My dads side is Polish , and i can 100% tell you without contradiction winters in Poland have been trending milder and milder over the last 3 decades-(yes there has been the odd exception but the trend is inescapable).

I have posted that i have no idea if this is part of an earth cycle , GW or a bit of both, The ice sheets are melting and temperature records are being broken-scientists have produced evidence the globe is warming.

I fear snow is getting harder and harder to come by, i wouldn't bet against this being a snow less winter for the majority.

You are right about it not being confined to the UK. I’ve heard the same stories from Latvians, and my partner’s family who live there. A few people have mentioned the fact it used to be minus 30 up to around 1986, and since then temps in winter never go lower than minus 15, with a minus 20 being an exception to the rule. Same goes for Toronto, as I lived over there between 1999 and 2001. There was snow on the ground when I was there, but people told me this was nothing compared to the likes of 1980 or 81(some folk mentioned those years) and the general agreement is the subtle changes started somewhere between 1982-1987.

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Posted
  • Location: Medlock Valley, Oldham, 103 metres/337 feet ASL
  • Weather Preferences: Cold, snow, thunderstorms, warm summers not too hot.
  • Location: Medlock Valley, Oldham, 103 metres/337 feet ASL

I'd say it started from around that October 1987 storm. Having said that there was a lot of mild Winters in the 70s as well with not much snow. Before things took a turn for colder late in that decade with the brilliant blizzards. That mild blip earlier in the decade was probably nothing to do with a warming planet though. Just typical weather of a maritime climate.

Never had a completely snowless Winter here. Worst was 2013/14 when we only got a very light covering one evening in the February. It was gone by the next morning. Didn't think I'd see another Winter as sh*t for a long while but so far this Winter is reminding me very much like that. Temperature wise too. Not very mild or all that cold either. Last Winter wasn't exactly great either.

Edited by Frost HoIIow
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Posted
  • Location: Lincoln, Lincolnshire
  • Weather Preferences: Sunshine, convective precipitation, snow, thunderstorms, "episodic" months.
  • Location: Lincoln, Lincolnshire

The mean global temperature started setting new records starting in 1980 or 1981 (depending on which series you're using) but the tendency for the Northern Hemisphere to warm faster than the Southern Hemisphere didn't set in until 1990.  

A step-change occurred in Britain's winter synoptics starting with the winter of 1987/88, after a period of winters with anomalously cold synoptics in 1978-87.  From then until 2004, westerly winds were more dominant than usual and accounted for much, but not all, of the mild and relatively snow free tendency of the winters from 1988 to 2004.  The westerlies had a tendency to persist into March during this period, resulting in a marked step-change to warmer Marches also.  From 2005 onwards, the westerlies have fallen back to near-normal levels and the continued warmth has been chiefly down to the overall warmth of the Northern Hemisphere.  I often wonder if there is a link between this and the changes in the Arctic, where the Arctic Amplification kicked in starting with winter 2004/05, but the research on this topic has so far given mixed results.

There was also a marked step-change to summer synoptics that favoured warm dry sunny weather that started in 1989 and persisted through much of the 1990s, again contributing somewhat to the warmth of that decade, and contrasting somewhat with the summers of 1985 to 1988.  Since the turn of the century there has been a shift towards synoptics that favour cool cloudy wet summers, especially during the period 2007 to 2012, but the warming trend in the Northern Hemisphere has again prevented a marked cooling of the summers.

These synoptic shifts appear to have combined to produce a step-change in our climate starting in 1988/89 (the winters warmed up starting in 1988, and the summer warming started in 1989).  In the 1990s it would appear that both winters and summers were anomalously warm synoptically, but the warmth of the 2000s and (especially) 2010s can only be explained by the larger-scale Northern Hemisphere warming trend.

If I had to pinpoint an individual event that marked the shift to a warmer UK climate, I would go for the switch-around from the cold snowy spell of late November 1988 to the very mild conditions that started in the second week of December.  Winter 1987/88 would have seemed very mild and snow free compared with those of 1978-87, but it was nothing like as warm or snowless as the winter of 1988/89 - in many parts of the UK the winter quarter was completely snow free until the last week of February 1989.

Edited by Thundery wintry showers
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Posted
  • Location: N.E. Scotland South Side Moray Firth 100m asl
  • Location: N.E. Scotland South Side Moray Firth 100m asl

I think I go along with this as for about a 20 year period from 1987 to 2007 we never had to hand  feed the wintering sheep from mid January to 1st April when they went home to Skye as January February and March all had fresh green grass growing. Having said that the springs can still be late and cold up here.

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Posted
  • Location: Ashbourne,County Meath,about 6 miles northwest of dublin airport. 74m ASL
  • Weather Preferences: Cold weather - frost or snow
  • Location: Ashbourne,County Meath,about 6 miles northwest of dublin airport. 74m ASL

Early dec 87 if I remember was cold and it was thought a fairly big cold spell was on the way but it never happened the milder air won out which was my first big disappointment regarding cold spells,seems to have become the norm nowadays ......

 

Edit: looking at the archive the first half of dec 87 was cold but became milder from mid month. 

It was strange that the cold never really returned for the rest of the winter,which seemed strange at the time.

Edited by sundog
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Posted
  • Location: Galway
  • Weather Preferences: Snow, frost hail, ice.
  • Location: Galway

I was a teenager in the 80s and we got snow and cold every winter interspersed with milder spells but cold spells were more frequent than nowadays,I remember coming in from hanging out with my mates and my hands would be numb with the cold. We had epic sledging, snowball fights and if it was just cold and frosty we would make slide much to the annoyance of oul ones lol. I was always sad to see the milder weather come along and melt our works of art away and it wasnt pleasant walking in 1 foot of slush. Places near the coast and in the city itself rarely seen snow, so it was a matter of altitiude itself. Where I lived there could a foot of snow on the groumd and we could drive 1 km down the road and there was nothing. So altitude is important, I lived at an altitude 181 metres above sea level.

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Posted
  • Location: halifax 125m
  • Weather Preferences: extremes the unusual and interesting facts
  • Location: halifax 125m
19 hours ago, Sunny76 said:

It would be interesting to pop into a time machine and relive the whole of late 1986, until the end of 1987. 
 

Knowing what we know now, from 33 years of experience, it would be interesting to see the subtle changes that took place during 1987, and indications that our climate was changing.

Maybe it was before The Great Storm in October. Was it possibly something that took place in the summer or in the April of 1987. April that year was very warm, and this was the last cold spring for a few years. 
 

Your thoughts?

Just to note the 12 month period from November 1985 to September 1986 has given 5 months where there hasn't been a colder one since

November 1985,coldest to this day

February 1986  Ditto

April 1986

August 1986

September 1986

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Posted
  • Location: Scouthead Oldham 295mASL
  • Location: Scouthead Oldham 295mASL
45 minutes ago, hillbilly said:

Just to note the 12 month period from November 1985 to September 1986 has given 5 months where there hasn't been a colder one since

November 1985,coldest to this day

February 1986  Ditto

April 1986

August 1986

September 1986

November 1985 was a cold month, i started secondary school in Sept 1985 and i recall it being a warm start to life at 'big school'.

image.thumb.png.547d02d3f107acc73677572912cd9e2a.png

By mid  November high pressure had built to out NE and it it was very cold..

image.thumb.png.0dcb007f06bbc4421eb1fa3df1d62a97.png

The following winter maintained the tradition of the older kids snowballing the new starters with huge snow ball fights breaking out on the school yard.

image.thumb.png.c13d00b0188fdd2de177a317c5bfd65d.png

Certainly fabulous memories for me and i would imagine similar for anyone else of my age, 

 

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Posted
  • Location: NR Worthing SE Coast
  • Location: NR Worthing SE Coast

It’s gone on too long now to be just a normal weather fluctuation ,between mild periods and cold periods,we have barely had a notable winter since 1987.

 

Who would have thought after January 1987 for those lucky enough,or older enough to experiencelol,that nothing since would even come close,we barely get an ice day throughout the whole winter.

Also the lack of deep cold over Europe is noticeable too.I remember in the late 70s onwards till late 80s seeing sometimes extremely cold weather over say  Helsinki in Finland,as the Telegraph used to show the weather from the previous day over Europe.

Maxes of around minus 27 - 25 c  were common at times in the winter  then over there,and you knew if the wind would come from that direction it would turn bitterly cold here.

Now I rarely see those kind of temps over in Finland now,which also effects us here too in the lack of depth  of the cold.

Maybe we will get a sudden flip back to cold, in the same manner as we had sudden flip to mild,but it seems unlikely.

Edited by SLEETY
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Posted
  • Location: London
  • Location: London
1 hour ago, SLEETY said:

It’s gone on too long now to be just a normal weather fluctuation ,between mild periods and cold periods,we have barely had a notable winter since 1987.

 

Who would have thought after January 1987 for those lucky enough,or older enough to experiencelol,that nothing since would even come close,we barely get an ice day throughout the whole winter.

Also the lack of deep cold over Europe is noticeable too.I remember in the late 70s onwards till late 80s seeing sometimes extremely cold weather over say  Helsinki in Finland,as the Telegraph used to show the weather from the previous day over Europe.

Maxes of around minus 27 - 25 c  were common at times in the winter  then over there,and you knew if the wind would come from that direction it would turn bitterly cold here.

Now I rarely see those kind of temps over in Finland now,which also effects us here too in the lack of depth  of the cold.

Maybe we will get a sudden flip back to cold, in the same manner as we had sudden flip to mild,but it seems unlikely.

This is what I hate about post 1987 weather. 1991 and a handful of 2000s/10s winters, and the trend of very bleak for cold winter lovers.

I also wonder if the milder winter weather since late 1987 has been a contributing factor to the rise in crime in UK cities, especially London. 
 

Maybe there were always little toe rags, and antisocial behaviour even in the 70s and early 80s, but the lack of snow could be part of the reason kids are bored in winter, and this leads them to get up to more mischief. 
 

The above statement is a little farcical I know, but it would be interesting to see the level of crime during the winters of 1987/88-89/90 compared to let’s say 1978/79 to 86/87. 
 

I reckon the latter years probably saw a rise in more crime. 

 

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Posted
  • Location: South Liverpool
  • Location: South Liverpool

Hi Sunny,

Chicago has a very high crime rate (murders/shootings especially)  very high by our standards and they have colder winters than London so I doubt there is a link between cold weather and low crime rates maybe we could look at the crime stats of US cities that get cold weather and the effect on crime rates but on both sides of the Atlantic I would think it would be more to do with the weather discouraging people from going outdoors than anti social behaviour and boredom per say especially in the US cities that get severe winters.

 

Regards,

 

Luke

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Posted
  • Location: Medlock Valley, Oldham, 103 metres/337 feet ASL
  • Weather Preferences: Cold, snow, thunderstorms, warm summers not too hot.
  • Location: Medlock Valley, Oldham, 103 metres/337 feet ASL
24 minutes ago, Sunny76 said:

This is what I hate about post 1987 weather. 1991 and a handful of 2000s/10s winters, and the trend of very bleak for cold winter lovers.

I also wonder if the milder winter weather since late 1987 has been a contributing factor to the rise in crime in UK cities, especially London. 
 

Maybe there were always little toe rags, and antisocial behaviour even in the 70s and early 80s, but the lack of snow could be part of the reason kids are bored in winter, and this leads them to get up to more mischief. 
 

The above statement is a little farcical I know, but it would be interesting to see the level of crime during the winters of 1987/88-89/90 compared to let’s say 1978/79 to 86/87. 
 

I reckon the latter years probably saw a rise in more crime. 

 

It will add to it as statistics show that snow & ice definitely puts criminals off. But I think it's more to do with a lack of morals these days, lack of police, soft "justice" system. To some criminals prison isn't punishment. No bills to worry about, access to TV, computer games & education system. Nothing much to fear.

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Posted
  • Location: Lincoln, Lincolnshire
  • Weather Preferences: Sunshine, convective precipitation, snow, thunderstorms, "episodic" months.
  • Location: Lincoln, Lincolnshire
On 26/12/2019 at 22:23, sundog said:

Early dec 87 if I remember was cold and it was thought a fairly big cold spell was on the way but it never happened the milder air won out which was my first big disappointment regarding cold spells,seems to have become the norm nowadays ......

Edit: looking at the archive the first half of dec 87 was cold but became milder from mid month. 

It was strange that the cold never really returned for the rest of the winter,which seemed strange at the time.

Yes, subsequent cold weather was pretty half-hearted.  There was a brief cold snap around 22 January 1988 which brought a surprise snowfall to a swathe of England and Wales via a secondary low and some areas had frontal snow on the 23rd also before it turned milder.  Northerlies dominated during late February and early March but, again, these were not very potent compared with many of the northerlies during the period 1978-87 - many areas did wake up to a snow cover on February 25th and/or March 1st but for most of us it quickly disappeared in the sun during the day.  Looking through the archives it would seem that some anomalously warm air got sent up into the Svalbard region in the third week of February which helps to explain why the subsequent northerlies were not really that cold.  That said, parts of East Anglia and north-east England had upwards of 5 mornings with lying snow during that spell.

I think the step change from winter 1986/87 would have been even more marked in continental Europe where January 1987 was abnormally cold in many areas (of course paving the way for a chunk of that exceptionally cold air to come over to the British Isles in the second week).  In Moscow temperatures during that month averaged out at 7-8C below the long-term normal.

Edited by Thundery wintry showers
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Posted
  • Location: London
  • Location: London
On 27/12/2019 at 19:50, SLEETY said:

It’s gone on too long now to be just a normal weather fluctuation ,between mild periods and cold periods,we have barely had a notable winter since 1987.

 

Who would have thought after January 1987 for those lucky enough,or older enough to experiencelol,that nothing since would even come close,we barely get an ice day throughout the whole winter.

Also the lack of deep cold over Europe is noticeable too.I remember in the late 70s onwards till late 80s seeing sometimes extremely cold weather over say  Helsinki in Finland,as the Telegraph used to show the weather from the previous day over Europe.

Maxes of around minus 27 - 25 c  were common at times in the winter  then over there,and you knew if the wind would come from that direction it would turn bitterly cold here.

Now I rarely see those kind of temps over in Finland now,which also effects us here too in the lack of depth  of the cold.

Maybe we will get a sudden flip back to cold, in the same manner as we had sudden flip to mild,but it seems unlikely.

1991 was fairly close, if not colder for some people. I remember both spells, and February 1991 felt just as cold, but didn’t last as long. 

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Posted
  • Location: Windermere 120m asl
  • Location: Windermere 120m asl

I was 9 during winter 87/88 an age when you really want snow, but alas don't remember any, indeed that winter and the following two were very poor on the cold and snow front. I do remember thinking where has the snow gone, compared to the winters when I was younger. A step change did take place in 87/88 but only compared to the 76-87 winter period, there was a run of mild winters in 71-76.

Most notable feature of winters 87- 07/08 lack of any lengthy significant high lattitude blocking episodes with exception of Feb 91 and latter part of Feb 05. Cold spells came courtesy of shortlived northerly shots, or warm fronts moving into cold air. A change did take place in 08/09 up to 12/13 when northern high lattitude blocking came back, alas since then apart from late Feb 18 its disappeared again.

For those bemoaning lack of cold and snow in recent winters, and prospects for the future, take positives from the events of winters 08-09 to 12/13 against a warming background, there was some very cold very snowy weather at times then, as good as anything seen during the 20th century.

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Posted
  • Location: Hertfordshire/Malatya, Turkey
  • Location: Hertfordshire/Malatya, Turkey

This is interesting , because for SE Europe there has been generally no increase in winter temperature and more incident of snowfall and extreme cold periods in last 20 years - much of Turkey has recorded lowest minima - though I'm not sure of when records go back - in the 2000s/2010s

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Posted
  • Location: Merseyside/ West Lancs Border; North West England
  • Weather Preferences: Winter: Cool & dry, with regular cold, snowy periods.
  • Location: Merseyside/ West Lancs Border; North West England

I was still in school, and had a paper round; I do remember the end of Dec 86/ Jan 87 being quite cold, if not particularly snowy - in fact I recall finishing a morning round wearing the 'newish' hand heaters which you placed inside your gloves. Also, the end of Jan was cold as quite a few FA Cup games were postponed.

March was also quite a wintry month; there was snow on a Saturday in the early part of the month - then mid month the Cheltenham Gold Cup was delayed by 90 minutes due to a snowstorm. Yet barely a month later, at Easter, we had a very warm weekend.

The following winter I can't remember much cold weather; in fact I remember getting a good soaking quite a few times - rather than getting cold.

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Posted
  • Location: Medlock Valley, Oldham, 103 metres/337 feet ASL
  • Weather Preferences: Cold, snow, thunderstorms, warm summers not too hot.
  • Location: Medlock Valley, Oldham, 103 metres/337 feet ASL
4 hours ago, Erdem said:

This is interesting , because for SE Europe there has been generally no increase in winter temperature and more incident of snowfall and extreme cold periods in last 20 years - much of Turkey has recorded lowest minima - though I'm not sure of when records go back - in the 2000s/2010s

Probably because we've had a lot of Winters with high pressure nudging into southern/central Europe from the Atlantic & on the eastern flank of that high where Greece & Turkey are it drags in cold air from the north. 

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Posted
  • Location: Hertfordshire/Malatya, Turkey
  • Location: Hertfordshire/Malatya, Turkey
39 minutes ago, Frost HoIIow said:

Probably because we've had a lot of Winters with high pressure nudging into southern/central Europe from the Atlantic & on the eastern flank of that high where Greece & Turkey are it drags in cold air from the north. 

Without a doubt from the synoptic , but why is this happening , the lack of high pressure further North 

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Posted
  • Location: Hertfordshire/Malatya, Turkey
  • Location: Hertfordshire/Malatya, Turkey

Having done bit more research the figures really do show amazing changes since late eighties.

If UK has mild December then mild Jan and Feb have nearly always followed which is amazing over 30 year plus period timeframe 

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