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Dr. Arnd Bernaerts




Met-Off loose talk on cold March 2013?
North and Baltic Sea should not be ignored!
by Arnd Bernaerts
Posted: 23 April 2013 (ocl_9-8)   
First: Addendum 24. April 2013 (below)

  1. Overview

How much have the regional seas in Northern Europe contributed to the record low temperature in March 2013? It can be a significant figure , or a rather small contribution of only few percent, but there was definatly one. Not even mentioning the possibility, and investigating the matter, is irresponsible and unprofessional.

 The Met-Off/UK sees many distant causes, but not at all the North and Baltic Sea (N&BS): “A number of potential drivers may predispose the climate system to a state which accounts for these conditions”. HERE  Fact is that March 2013 was the second coldest March in the UK record since 1910, and was associated with a negative phase of the North Atlantic Oscillation, and, according Met-Off – associated with “the loss and thinning of Arctic sea ice predisposes the winter and spring atmospheric circulation over the North Atlantic and Europe to negative NAO regimes (s. Box1), as was experienced at the start of this spring.” (op.cit; and in PDF)  All what they are telling is that they do not know (see Box 2, below "First: Addendum").  

BOX 1 -Fig. 1

The North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) is a climate phenomenon in the North Atlantic Ocean of fluctuations in the difference of atmospheric pressure at sea level between the Icelandic low and the Azores high.. Through east-west oscillation motions of the Icelandic low and the Azores high, it controls the strength and direction of westerly winds and storm tracks across the North Atlantic .  

A large difference in the pressure at the two stations (a high index year, denoted NAO+) leads to increased westerlies and, consequently, cool summers and mild and wet winters in Central Europe and its Atlantic facade. If the  NOA-index is low, westerlies are suppressed, Central Europe  suffer cold winters.
. (Source

 Wikipedia summarizes the causes in this way: In Northern Hemisphere the weather pattern repeatedly directed cold Arctic air southward, leaving Greenland and north-eastern Canada much warmer than average for March. The Arctic oscillation index changed from positive to negative, weakening the pressure gradient. Throughout March the west Atlantic winds, which normally kept the winters in Europe relatively mild, have been blowing chiefly from the northeast, convening cold Arctic air. The westerly Atlantic winds were weakened by small air pressure difference between northern and southern latitudes.  In late March, the Arctic oscillation index dropped to -5.6 and much of Northern Hemisphere experienced particularly low temperatures.  The low value of the Arctic oscillation was the second lowest March value on record. (HERE)
Fig. 2

At several location across Europe a number of record low temperature, or high snow fall happened, but a record low monthly average was only recorded from countries close to the North Sea and southern Baltic, stretching from the UK to Poland . In the United Kingdom March was set to be the joint, country’s fourth coldest March since records began in 1910.  In Germany a deviation of 3,4 Grad versus the reference period  1961-1990 was observed, which was the coldest since 25 years and the fifth coldest since 1881 (DWD-Press release -12.April 2013).

Sea surface temperature – SST- anomalies in spring 2013

Fig. 3;  15. March 2013

Fig. 4; 31. March 2013

Fig. 5; 14. April 2013

Fig. 6; 22. April 2013

 B. Discussion

 Any analysis has to start with a look a the temperature situation in February 2013,  Fig. 1. The temperature in the East of the Baltic is well above average. The anomaly in March is shown in Fig. 7, which indicates that the cold is primarily in the West of the Ural, which is confirmed by anomaly-maps already posted, for example:

__27.Feb. to 7. March; __9.March to 16.March;
 __20.March to 27. March; __27.March to 3.April

Looking for cold spells from Siberia or the Arctic (discussed earlier HERE) that shall have caused low SST from Dover to Bornholm, should not ignores the very decisive fact that than the northern Baltic should have been the region to show the highest temperature deviation during March 2013. But the SST (sea surface temperature) was not below the winter season mean, nor was the sea ice covers ever heavier than long term average. Below average had been the SST in the south-western Baltic and most parts of the North Sea since early March. The downward trend continued until the end of March, and is still well below average on the 22nd of April; see Fig. 3-6 (15/03, 31/03, 14/04 & 22/04). The SST along a stretch from Florida to the UK is slightly below average, Figure 1, which can hardly explain the cold North Sea in March 2013 on its own.  

Fig. 7  

Searching for the reasons of the low March 2013 temperatures in Europe , and offering explanation to the general public should include the question on what has caused the low SST as indicated in Fig. 3-6, which could be anthropogenic. Huge human activities take place every day, forcing the heat form the previous summer more quickly out as wind would cause it alone. Not providing a very good answer is irresponsible.

__MetOff_Research News_17.April 2013:  , and  __Wikipedia 22 April 2013: ,   and


First: Addendum 24. April 2013

 What an interesting SST anomalies map for today, the 24th April (Fig. 8). How it is possible that such a pronounced stripe of sub-low temperature anomalies stretch from the English Channel, along the Belgian and The Netherlands’s coast up the German Bight. The water temperature throughout the North Sea is still very low (Fig. 9). Any human activities will exchange already warmed-up surface water with colder water from lower levels. Figure 8 and the cold-band could just be the proof of anthropogenic change in SST and consequently a change of regional air temperatures. The record cold March 2013 in West Europe was presumably partly caused by human activities as well. Only Met Office does not know.  Further material and discussion, see list & links below.

Fig. 8, SST Anomalies 24. April 2013

Fig. 9, SST 24. April 2013


BOX 2 :Met Office’s Private Briefing Document For The Environment Agency , April 8, 2013
“……….how little the Met’s scientists understand about what affects our ( UK ) climate, and, in particular, what caused the unusual weather last year (2012).”

MORE: ___ __

The Met Office ……. admit they do not have a clue. This is what they say:

The jet stream, like our weather, is subject to natural variability – that is the random nature of our weather which means it is different from one week, month or year to the next. We expect it to move around and it has moved to the south of the UK in summertime many times before in the past. It has, however, been particularly persistent in holding that position this year – hence the prolonged unsettled weather.

This could be due to natural variability – a bad run of coincidence, if you will – but scientific research is ongoing research to investigate whether other factors at play.


Temperature Anomalies for March 2013, 1962 & 1942  // Reference period 1981-2010

Fig. 10; March 2013

Fig. 11; March 1962

Fig. 12; March 1942


 To Front Page

The cold March 2013 and any anthropogenic contribution
needs to be investigated and explained!

 Material winter 2012/13 and discussion at :

23. April 2013: Met-Off loose talk on cold March 2013? North and Baltic Sea should not be ignored! (ocl_9-8)
11. April 2013: 'Urgent' need to see if Arctic affects UK extreme cold? No! MetOffice should investigate the impact of human activities in the North- and Baltic Sea ! (co_9-4) 
03 April 2013: Did the cold March 2013 came from Siberia ? A not well founded claim! (ocl_9-9) 
29 March 2013: Cold March 2013 in company with March 1942 & 1917 (co 10-2)  
27. March 2013: Strong Start – Strong Ending; Winter 2012/13. About the Role of North- and Baltic Sea (2007seatraining 1310)
26. March 2013; March 2013 snow in the UK and the North Sea . Did human activities contributed? (ocl 10_2) 
21 March 2013; Cold March 2013 in UK and North Europe science should be able to explain! (ocl_10-3) 
07 March 2013:  Winter 2012/13 for Northern Europe is over! The Baltic and North Sea will prevent a surprise in March! (ocl-10_4)
19. January 2013: Northern Europe's bulwark against Asian cold from 19-31. (oc_12-8)
14. January 2013: North- and Baltic Sea influence Europe ’s winter 2012/2013 until now. (ocl_12_6) 
09 December 2012 (+ 21 & 26 Dec) : Are we heading to severe Baltic Sea ice conditions by 30th December 2012? (2007seatraining)


 Essays on arctic warming causes cold winters 

2013__Environmental Research Letters Volume 8 Number 1 Qiuhong Tang et al 2013 Environ. Res. Lett. 8 014036 doi:10.1088/1748-9326/8/1/014036 
Cold winter extremes in northern continents linked to Arctic sea ice loss 
___”The results suggest that the winter atmospheric circulation at high northern latitudes associated with Arctic sea ice loss, especially in the winter, favours the occurrence of cold winter extremes at middle latitudes of the northern continents.”


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