LONDON This winter is likely to be warmer than
average, particularly in northern Europe, but cooler than last
year, the UK Met Office said on Tuesday.
Last winter was the second warmest in Britain since the UK
Climate Series began in 1914 and the weather was "exceptionally
mild" across Europe, Britain's official weather forecaster said
in its latest winter forecast update.
"Above-normal winter temperatures are more likely than
below-normal temperatures over much of the European region," it
said in a statement. "Probabilities for above-normal
temperatures are higher for northern Europe than for some
central and southern regions, where there is more uncertainty."
In north and northwest Europe and parts of the
Mediterranean the odds for warmer-than-normal versus
colder-than-normal are at least 60 to 40.
"Elsewhere, in parts of eastern and southern Europe, the
odds are more evenly balanced, but still slightly favoring
warmer than normal conditions," the forecaster said.
The latest update is broadly unchanged for the UK but now
includes a forecast for the rest of Europe.
The 1971 to 2000 average winter temperature for the UK, for
December, January and February, is 3.7 degrees Celsius.
But global warming means long-term averages for both summer
and winter are becoming less relevant as temperatures in both
seasons have been higher than average in recent years.
The Met Office said its forecast continued to point towards
a drier winter than last year, one of the wettest on record,
over the UK. But the forecaster said it was still unsure
whether winter precipitation totals are more likely to be above
or below the 1971-2000 average.