Met Office: Why Storm Eunice was so severe, and will violent wind storms become more common?

Posted: February 21, 2022 by oldbrew in atmosphere, climate, MET office, weather, wind
Tags:

Credit: Wikipedia


Spoiler: the Met Office wouldn’t ask its ‘more common’ question if it was confident it knew the answer. Instead it turns to its new buzz term: “sting jet”.
– – –
The UK Met Office has issued two red weather warnings in as many months for strong winds, says Phys.org.

These are the highest threat levels meteorologists can announce, and are the first wind-only red warnings to be issued since 2016’s Storm Gertrude.

So what’s behind the UK’s recent spate of dangerous wind storms? And are these events likely to become more common in future?

Storm Arwen in late November 2021 caused devastation across Scotland, northern England and parts of Wales. Winds of 100mph killed three people, ripped up trees, and left 9,000 people without power for over a week in freezing temperatures.

The destruction caused by Arwen is still apparent in some areas, and the clean-up from Storm Dudley—which battered eastern England on Wednesday February 16—is underway at the time of writing.

Now the UK faces Storm Eunice, and its gusts of up to 122 miles per hour. Eunice bears a striking similarity to the “Great Storm” of 1987, which unleashed hurricane-force winds and claimed 22 lives across Britain and France in October of that year. Both are predicted to contain a “sting jet”: a small, narrow airstream that can form inside a storm and produce intense winds over an area smaller than 100 km.

Sting jets, which were first discovered in 2003, and likely occurred during the Great Storm and Storm Arwen, can last anywhere between one and 12 hours. They are difficult to forecast and relatively rare, but make storms more dangerous.

Sting jets occur in a certain type of extratropical cyclone—a rotating wind system that forms outside of the tropics. These airstreams form around 5km above the Earth’s surface then descend on the southwest side of a cyclone, close to its center, accelerating as they do and bringing fast-moving air from high in the atmosphere with them.

When they form, they can produce much higher wind speeds on the ground than might otherwise be forecast by studying pressure gradients in the storm’s core alone.

Meteorologists are still working to understand sting jets, but they are likely to have a significant influence on the UK’s weather in a warming climate. [Talkshop comment: Isn’t everything, in Met Office model world?]
. . .
Our research team’s new high-resolution climate models predict bigger increases in winter rainfall than standard global climate models due to a large increase in rainfall from thunderstorms during winter.

We are less certain about how the pattern of extreme wind storms, like Eunice, will change, as the relevant processes are much more complicated.

The UK’s recent cluster of winter wind storms is related to a particularly strong polar vortex creating low pressure in the Arctic, and a faster jet stream—a core of very strong wind high in the atmosphere that can extend across the Atlantic—bringing stormier and very wet weather to the UK.

A stronger jet stream makes storms more powerful and its orientation roughly determines the track of the storm and where it affects.

Some aspects of climate change strengthen the jet stream, leading to more UK wind storms. Other aspects, like the higher rate of warming over the poles compared with the equator, may weaken it and the westerly flow of wind towards the UK.

Our high-resolution models predict more intense wind storms over the UK as climate change accelerates, with much of this increase coming from storms that develop sting jets.

Projections from global climate models are uncertain and suggest only small increases in the number of extreme cyclones. But these models fail to represent sting jets and poorly simulate the processes that cause storms to build. As a result, these models probably underestimate future changes in storm intensity.

We think that using high-resolution climate models, which can represent important processes like sting jets, alongside information from global models on how large-scale conditions might change, could give a more accurate picture. But the UK isn’t doing enough to prepare for the increasingly severe extreme weather already predicted.

Humanity has a choice in how much warmer the world gets based on the rate at which we reduce greenhouse gas emissions. [Talkshop comment: evidence-free assertion].

While more research will confirm if more extreme wind storms will hit the UK in the future, we are certain that winter storms will produce stronger downpours and more rain and flooding when they do occur.

Full article here.

Comments
  1. […] Met Office: Why Storm Eunice was so severe, and will violent wind storms become more common? […]

  2. oldbrew says:

    Did I hear cries of “solar minimum” recently? 😎

  3. Gamecock says:

    ‘While more research will confirm if more extreme wind storms will hit the UK in the future,’

    “We will soon be able to predict the future.”

    ‘we are certain that winter storms will produce stronger downpours and more rain and flooding when they do occur.’

    Wut? You just said . . . oh, never mind. Why wallow in the mud with pigs.

  4. oldbrew says:

    Some aspects of climate change strengthen the jet stream

    Like what?

  5. Stephen Richards says:

    Our research team’s new high-resolution climate models predict bigger increases in winter rainfall than standard global climate models due to a large increase in rainfall from thunderstorms during winter. Q: How many correct predictions has your model made beyond 28 days ?

    I’ve seen an apparent reduction in thunderstorms in recent years. In fact, where i lived in SW France until recently, we used to get one or two severe storms every year usually following a few days at 40°C. In the last 2 years we saw no days at 40°C and no memorable thunderstorms. Their models should tell them that the planet warms faster at the poles which reduces the tropic to pole gradient and the available energy to the jet-stream.

  6. Paul Vaughan says:

    article on recent heat & flooding pacific northwest coast NA says EC claims strictly impossible without humans, 2-5 times as intense as possible without (did not mention lunar schedule)

    true dumb mock crazy no doubt ain’t worth takin’ D-bait

  7. *Humanity has a choice in how much warmer the world gets based on the rate at which we reduce greenhouse gas emissions. [Talkshop comment: evidence-free assertion].*

    *That was an extremely tactful comment! Josh could possibly make a cartoon about that. *

    *Alex Pope*

    On Mon, Feb 21, 2022 at 10:53 AM Tallbloke’s Talkshop wrote:

    > oldbrew posted: ” Spoiler: the Met Office wouldn’t ask its ‘more common’ > question if it was confident it knew the answer. Instead it turns to its > new buzz term: “sting jet”. – – – The UK Met Office has issued two red > weather warnings in as many months for strong winds,” >

  8. […] Met Office: Why Storm Eunice was so severe, and will violent wind storms become more common? […]

  9. Saighdear says:

    Huh, and all this about so many trees blown down.When all the trees are down, the storms will be over …. I’m not saying, nor questioning. But if we had proper MANAGEMENT instead of all these Dictats, we WOULD have had less damage. Allowing trees to grow so big alongside roads and Lines, Planting New ( for the birdies/environment) of wrong flora type and DENSITY alongside New-builds ( of roads and houses) is also a part of the problem. NOt rocket science for COuntry folk – but of course, it’s the idiot townies ( I HAVE to say) who are in the majority and will have their say – so they suffer the consequences , and had their say. but don’t learn. As the Russian said … something about the words being broadcast but they hear and still don’t receive.

  10. Phoenix44 says:

    “As climate change accelerates…”

    That’s going to happen? Why?

  11. Phoenix44 says:

    Gamecock, its just a pantomime. They say they don’t understand something, that it’s rare, that its complex and difficult to model but then are absolutely certain we will get more.

    They feed their models with exactly the assumptions they need to get the results they want (subconsciously, unconsciously, deliberately) then claim their models prove their assumptions. I read an interesting article on a Physics site yesterday that made the point that disproving the other possibilities put forward for a phenomenon doesn’t prove your hypothesis. If only climate scientists understood that.

  12. Gamecock says:

    “strictly impossible without humans”

    An appeal to ignorance. They don’t know what causes it, IPSO FACTO, it MUST be humans.

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