Barometric pressure in London ‘highest in 300 years’ at least

Posted: January 21, 2020 by oldbrew in Forecasting, MET office, pressure

High pressure over the UK

This is happening at the time of the deepest solar minimum for over a century. A Met Office tweet shown in the article states the record was set in January 1902: ‘UK record of 1053.6 hPa, Aberdeen 31.1.1902’.

Wikipedia says: ‘solar cycle [14] lasted 11.5 years, beginning in January 1902 and ending in July 1913. The maximum smoothed sunspot number (SIDC formula) observed during the solar cycle was 107.1, in February 1906 (the lowest since the Dalton Minimum)’.

The obvious similarity between January 1902 and January 2020, and indeed between solar cycles 14 and 24, could be a coincidence – but is it?
– – –
The weather forecasters have just given us an impressive display of their skill by predicting the scale of the current high pressure zone over the UK, says BBC News.

Overnight, Sunday into Monday, London’s Heathrow Airport recorded a barometric pressure of 1,049.6 millibars (mbar).

It’s very likely the highest pressure ever recorded in London, with records dating back to 1692.

But the UK Met Office and the European Centre for Medium Range Forecasts had seen it coming well ahead of time.

“Computerised forecast models run by the Met Office and the ECMWF predicted this development with near pinpoint precision, forecasting the eventual position and intensity of the high pressure area several days in advance, before it had even begun to form,” said Stephen Burt, a visiting fellow at Reading University’s department of meteorology.

London didn’t quite experience the highest of the high, however. That honour goes to the southwest of Britain.

Met Office hourly observation reports recorded 1050.3 mbar at Liscombe in Devon, at 2100 GMT on Sunday evening. 1,050.2 mbar was recorded at Dunkeswell in Devon, and 1,050.5 mbar at Mumbles, in South Wales, shortly after.

None of these measurements breach the 1,053.6 mbar recorded at Aberdeen Observatory at 2200 GMT on 31 January 1902, which remains the national record, but the events of the past 24 hours certainly marked the first time for over 60 years that 1,050 mbar has been attained anywhere in the British Isles, said Mr Burt.

“The reason for the extremely high pressure can be traced back to the rapid development of an intense low-pressure area off the eastern seaboard of the United States a few days previously (this is the storm that dumped around 75cm of snow in Newfoundland ),” he explained.

“In simple terms, the air drawn out from this system through the actions of a strong jet stream has to be redistributed elsewhere.

“Normally, this would happen over a much larger area of the North Atlantic, leading to the rapid development of a fairly intense anticyclone, which is not uncommon. On this occasion, the ‘excess air’ (if we may call it that) could only be redistributed over a small area because of the existence of a number of other depressions, resulting in the rapid development and intensification of an anticyclone over the British Isles.”

Compare the two charts below and try to spot the differences.

Continued here.

  1. Gamecock says:

    ‘This is happening at the time of the deepest solar minimum for over a century.’

    Non sequitur. The cause of the weather phenomena is clearly explained.

  2. oldbrew says:

    ‘”It’s remarkable that the models can accurately predict a 1-in-90 year event days ahead, not just ‘day-to-day’ weather,” Mr Burt remarked’

    Why so rare?
    – – –
    30 inches of global warming hits Newfoundland…

  3. ivan says:

    oldbrew, we even had a few inches of white fluffy globull warming hit the village here in the south of France last night but it has now turned into rain.

  4. oldbrew says:

    ‘Bomb’ blizzard buried cars and homes with more than 12 feet of snow in parts of Newfoundland
    By Andrew Freedman and Hannah Knowles
    January 19

    ‘St. John’s superseded its record for the most snow in 24 hours, recording 30 inches, as the storm hit Newfoundland and Labrador on Friday. A state of emergency continued in the provincial capital and elsewhere through Sunday as most businesses were ordered closed and few beyond emergency vehicles were allowed on the roads. Snow drifts rose 12 to 15 feet high on some highways, officials said. The Canadian armed forces were called in to help clear the deluge.

    “Newfoundlanders are going to be talking about this for a very, very long time,” said Ashley Brauweiler, a meteorologist for the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. in the province. Her station lost power during the storm and had to stop broadcasting. At one point, she told The Washington Post, people there couldn’t even open the door because of the snow that had piled up on the other side.’
    . . .
    ‘Brauweiler is a forecasting veteran, but “when you actually experience it, it’s something completely different,” she said.

    And this was no ordinary storm.

    “It is certainly something that I’ll be talking about for the rest of my career,” she said. “I’ve never seen anything like it.” ‘

  5. Gamecock says:

    Weather Underground 10-day forecasts include barometric pressure.

    ‘The weather forecasters have just given us an impressive display of their skill by predicting the scale of the current high pressure zone over the UK, says BBC News.’

    A declaration of ignorance. The weather forecasters have been doing it for a long time. The BBC are Know Nothings.

  6. stpaulchuck says:

    is this the global cooling caused by the global warming?? asking for a friend

  7. Streetcred says:

    LOL Met is all excited because they finally got something ‘right’ a couple of days ahead ? Why am I not impressed ?

  8. donald penman says:

    Weather events occuring somewhere else then the UK are multi causal they can cause both low pressure and high pressure over the UK. It could have been low solar radiation over the UK at the time of year that caused the high pressure but the paradigm is that the UK can cause no change in the weather itself but all weather is caused externally. What caused the low pressure near newfoundland?

  9. oldbrew says:

    Storm Gloria: Sea foam engulfs streets of Spanish town

  10. tom0mason says:

    “The weather forecasters have just given us an impressive display of their skill by predicting the scale of the current high pressure zone over the UK, says BBC News. “

    Not so much weather forecasters’ skill more like all the major weather models had been signaling it for about 10 days. Even amateur forecasters saw this coming, e.g. the very excellent Gavin’s weather videos from 12/1/2020

  11. tom0mason says:

    My previous comment straight to the trash bin?

  12. tom0mason says:

    Oh! There it is. I must learn to be be more patient.

  13. oldbrew says:

    UK pressures still high today. But the jetstream will give us a battering from storms next week.

  14. tom0mason says:

    Just for interest, Gavin Partridge (of takes a look at 13 weather model to try and dig out a trend for the coming spring weather at . Warm and wet maybe?