Spring is about to begin, but winter is not over. Due to a high-altitude disturbance over the North Pole, we could have frost in March, KNMI experts tell NU.nl. There will probably be a large amount of sun in return.
We are in the last week of February and the crocuses and daffodils are already in bloom. But the old proverb March wags its tail remains valid. It is precisely with the arrival of meteorological spring that it will freeze slightly at night again and this could be a harbinger of polar air.
The cause is sudden stratospheric warming, says stratosphere researcher Michiel van Weele of KNMI. Dozens of kilometers above the North Pole, the very rare air there has warmed up by more than 20 degrees in a short time.
This is a natural phenomenon, which we can also notice. Over time, rapid warming disrupts air currents in the lower parts of the atmosphere, where “our” climate is.
Sometimes it can take more than a month, says Van Weele. This happened in 2021: the stratospheric warming took place in early January, while the Dutch were able to skate in mid-February. If there should still be a response this year, the deadline will be shorter this time. “Within two weeks,” thinks Van Weele.
An area of high pressure with room for the sun
The sudden warming of the stratosphere began around February 16. Weather models already indicate a transition to calm weather towards the end of the month under the influence of an anticyclone over Scandinavia. The wind then turns to the northeast and brings some light frosts in the nights.
Whether there is true winter cold depends on how long this area of high pressure remains in place. This could trigger a flow of cold polar air, which could eventually reach our country over northern Russia.
According to Van Weele, ice skating is not promising: “At this time of the year, a cold period with a few nights of moderate frost is certainly not excluded. It can also be enough in March to be able to skate somewhere .” But there is no such coldness in the KNMI models, which provide two weeks in advance.
Solar panels can slightly reduce gas consumption
In addition, the sun quickly gains strength in March. We will often see this sun in the near future. This is good news for anyone with solar panels.
But otherwise, the cold nights in March mean that this month can still be an expensive month due to higher gas consumption.
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