2023 begins with heat records in France and throughout Europe. The year 2022 being the hottest ever recorded in France, it ended in the same way in an extremely mild way with the hottest December 31 ever recorded in France. “2023 starts strong in Europe with massive thermal anomalies of 10 to 20 ° C this New Year’s Day over a large part of Europe, between northern France and Russia”, wrote on Twitter the meteorologist of Météo France François Jobard.
New Year’s Day was also abnormally mild in France with maximum temperatures ranging from 13 to 18°C in the northern half of the country, up to 23°C in the Pyrénées-Atlantiques and Landes, or between 16 and 20 degrees on the Mediterranean border. “We will most certainly have the hottest December 31 since the start of measurements in 1947. The temperature anomaly across the country could exceed 8°C, which is huge”, explains Frédéric Nathan, forecaster at Météo -France, in the World. Christmas Day had already clinched the title of second warmest Christmas since records began in 2022.
Heat waves, early and late heat waves, natural disasters… “Punctured by climatic extremes, 2022 is a symptom of climate change”, warned Meteo-France already in November.
The Indian summer lasted until the end of October and it is very worrying. Météo-France noted this Tuesday, November 1 a “new record” for temperatures with a month of October 2022 which turns out to be the hottest ever recorded in France, far “ahead of October 2001 and October 2006”. As a reminder, the beginning of meteorological measurements began in 1900, which makes this month of October a record for 122 years! The average temperature was 17.5°C, ie 3.5°C higher than normal and 1.5°C higher than the previous record, set in 2001 (16.3°C). This is the ninth month in a row with a “positive anomaly”, that is to say temperatures above average, noted Météo-France, relayed by AFP.
In question, according to Météo-France, an “unprecedented late heat episode” which settled in the country and lasted particularly long, with “tropical nights” (temperatures not falling below 20 ° C) in the south of the country. “Normally, from mid-October, the temperatures start to drop and there, it’s the opposite”, had recently explained to AFP Christine Berne, climatologist at Météo-France. As a reminder, it was 30 degrees in Bordeaux on October 16, a record in the history of the town.
Seven departments in the Mediterranean arc were placed on orange alert overnight from Tuesday August 16 to Wednesday August 17, 2022, due to the risk of potentially violent storms. Météo-France was particularly concerned about stationary thunderstorms, which could lead to heavy accumulations of rain after several weeks of heat waves.
In Hérault, where strong thunderstorms had started in the evening, the rain fell heavily, without causing overflows, according to firefighters. Météo-France had forecast locally violent summer storms, without qualifying the episode as “Mediterranean”. Namely “stationary cells which give strong accumulations of rain from thresholds of 100 mm locally”, specifies Frédéric Nathan, forecaster for Météo-France.
Firefighters have been reinforced and some campsites have been evacuated as a precaution. Waterspouts, strong winds, hail: between Tuesday evening and Wednesday morning, thunderstorms swept the South-East, from Aude to Var, but no significant damage was recorded, according to the emergency services
In Paris and Ile-de-France, traffic was temporarily disrupted on Tuesday evening in public transport due to severe weather, thunderstorms qualified as “very intense” but which did little damage in the capital.
After a lull on Wednesday morning, new storms will reform during the day in Hérault and Gard, then in Var and Bouches-du-Rhône, and Météo-France expects very intense rains, up to 80 mm in a short time, with hail and strong gusts of wind.
Manche, Calvados and Seine-Maritime were in turn placed on Wednesday by Météo-France on orange vigilance for thunderstorms, bringing the number of departments concerned to eight, with the five departments of the Mediterranean arc on which a deluge s is shot in the night.
The departments of Hérault, Gard, Vaucluse, Bouches-du-Rhône and Var have been on orange alert since Tuesday. Météo-France, on the other hand, had raised the alert overnight for Aude, Tarn and Aveyron.
France is barely recovering from the heat wave which hit many departments in mid-July. But that respite could be short-lived. According to forecasters, a new episode of strong heat could take place from the first days of August.
“The first ten days of August will be characterized by the presence of hot and sunny weather in France. A new episode of heat wave should occur in most of our regions due to a cold drop off the coast of Portugal”, indicates Patrick Marlière, director of Agate Météo. According to the forecaster, 40 degrees could be exceeded in places, especially in the Southwest.
If these high temperatures are to drop from August 11, the end of the month could be very hot. From August 21 to 30, “we will monitor new heat strokes that could set in throughout France. Problems related to drought could increase again, especially in the South-East”, explains the specialist.
A huge heat wave is hitting France this week of July 14. In the most pessimistic scenario, the 40°C mark could be exceeded in several regions as early as the start of next week. From this Monday, July 11, a very strong rise in temperatures has been observed throughout France, but it is the South-West which should display very high temperatures first, with “in Aquitaine and in the south of Brittany, a average temperature of 34°C, maximums up to 39°C and night temperatures that will not fall below 20-21°C”, warns Pascal Scaviner, forecaster for La Chaîne Météo, with Le Figaro. According to La Chaîne Météo, “a large-scale heat wave is therefore setting up in the south-west at the start of the week”. This heat wave extends “to the Loire Valley and Poitou-Charentes as well as part of Occitania. Ile-de-France is affected by temporary heat wave values”. 13 departments have already put heat wave yellow vigilance by Météo France this Monday, July 11, 2022, from 2 p.m.
According to the specialized media, it is this Wednesday, July 13 which should be the hottest day. “In general, these scorching heat will last 3 days and 3 nights between Poitou-Charentes and the Pays de la Loire, and 3 to 7 days from Aquitaine to Occitanie”, he specifies. . The reason ? “A huge heat dome is setting up over the Maghreb and rising towards western Europe via France”. Our country will be located “in the heart of this torrid air dome”. This blocking situation could “bring temperatures to levels close to record levels”. “The whole country will be affected at one time or another by these scorching temperatures,” he concludes.
According to Météo France, the period between Christmas 2021 and New Year’s Day 2022 is the mildest ever recorded in France. The record was set this Thursday, December 30 with, for example, nearly 21°C in Marseille or more than 23°C in the Var. Even in the north of France, the temperature was more than 10°C above seasonal norms. “This is the mildest day observed in France on December 30”, assures Météo France. A week in 2021 called the “confectioners’ truce” between Christmas and New Year’s Day is now shaping up to be “the sweetest ever recorded in France”: 10.75°C VS 10.45°C in 2002 on the same period.
Already the day before, on December 29, we had broken records for minimum temperatures, which are recorded at the end of the night. In New Aquitaine, 13°C was recorded in Sabers, in the Landes, and 13.2°C in Saint-Emilion, in Gironde. This Wednesday, December 29 “was the mildest day observed in France past December 21 with a national average of 12.7°C”, according to Météo France.
France could experience this Tuesday, December 21 the coldest winter solstice day for 15 years. Indeed, in its 4 a.m. weather report this morning, Météo France warned of a sharp drop in temperatures on Tuesday. A sign of the arrival of winter since this year the winter season begins this Tuesday, December 21, 2021 at 4:59 p.m. with the winter solstice and will end on Sunday, March 20, 2022 at 10:37 a.m. according to the Institute of Celestial Mechanics and Calculation ephemerides (IMCCE. And for this first day of winter, Météo France announced negative morning temperatures, down to -3 to -5 degrees from the Grand Est to Limousin and Auvergne Rhône-Alpes, as well as in the interior of Provence.
The drop in maximum temperatures is felt over a large northeast quarter as far as the center and the north of Auvergne Rhône-Alpes, it is not more than 1 to 5 degrees. It was expected from 4 to 8 degrees in the Cotentin and from Brittany to Poitou-Charentes. Frosts are generalized and sometimes severe in the center-east, with up to -25°C in the Doubs.
“We are heading towards the coldest winter solstice day in France for probably 15 years”, predicts on his Twitter account the meteorologist of Météo France, Francois Jobard. He also explains that it will then soften with “an average temperature on the days of December 21 and 22 of around 3°C”. In question, according to La Chaîne Météo, “a cold wave concerns Eastern Europe and is close to France at the start of the week”.
Gullaume Séchet, meteorologist on BFMTV, publishes a map showing the “breakthrough of cold air from Siberia towards Eastern Europe and Central Europe”. “France is on the fringes of this area affected by a cold wave”, specifies the meteorologist.
Gaétan Heymes, forecasting engineer at Météo France, had already predicted on December 17 that temperatures would “gradually drop until December 21, probably (and temporarily..) the coldest day of the current winter season”.
However, he predicts “a marked mild spell under the effect of the disturbances” in the coming days. According to the meteorologist, Christmas should indeed be mild this year despite this cold peak of the winter solstice. “The mild temperatures at Christmas promise to be noticeable in France, after the relative cold at the start of the week. It is even likely that this December 25 will be in the top 5 of the mildest over the period 1947-2021”, he explains on Twitter. The cold of this Tuesday, December 21 therefore does not in itself constitute the return of a cold snap to the country since, as Météo France reminds us, “a cold snap is a long-lasting and extended episode of cold (at least three days )”.
“For an episode to be identified on a national scale, the national average temperature must drop for at least a whole day below a certain threshold (-2°C). Cold waves are also characterized at the scale of a region when the episode lasts at least two days and the temperatures reach values that are significantly lower than the seasonal norms for the region concerned”, specifies Météo France.
Will the year 2022 welcome us under blue skies and mild temperatures, or under snow accompanied by freezing cold? According to forecasts by La Chaîne Météo, the month of January should be “weakly mild and above all very humid, but also very disturbed throughout Western Europe, including France”.
Rain, gales and heavy snowfall in the mountains are expected. So be prepared to cover yourself accordingly! Despite temperatures slightly above seasonal averages, around 0.5°C, the month will not be particularly mild.
Winter is expected to be much colder than expected. “-21.0°C in Mouthe, in the Doubs, this morning. First time since January 2017 that the -20°C threshold has been crossed”, writes in particular Gaétan Heymes, forecasting engineer at Météo France, this Monday, January 11. While 2020 was the hottest year ever recorded in France, and December was generally mild, the cold is back in France this winter.
According to La Chaîne Météo, “the month of January seems to be colder than initially forecast, which could ultimately present a negative anomaly of around -0.5°C”.
Contacted by Planet.fr, Gaétan Heymes specifies that it is “almost certain” that this winter 2020-2021 will be “colder than the two previous ones”. The Météo France forecaster thus specifies that the temperatures for the month of January should be 3 degrees lower than the averages recorded between 1981 and 2010. “With an average temperature of 2°C, the first ten days of January are the coldest in France since 11 years,” he said.
A return of the cold in particular due to a sudden stratospheric warming at the beginning of the month. Météo Contact specifies on this subject that a “polar vortex called ‘deconcentrated’ favors an undulation regime on the scale of the northern hemisphere, which affects France.
According to maps from the European Center for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts, the signal is cold for this week over most of Europe. Conversely last winter, the polar vortex, the air belt around the poles, was very concentrated so there was no undulation leading to cold episodes. There was even talk of a “no winter” last year according to the forecaster from Météo France.
It should also be noted that the effects of La Niña, underway in the Pacific Ocean, could explain the change in weather patterns in January with lower than expected temperatures. But while this eastern Pacific cooling can be correlated with colder winters, there is no demonstrated causal link.
The descent of a polar vortex to the south could bring freezing temperatures soon. According to National Geographic, this “mass of cold air, which revolves around the Arctic, then brings freezing temperatures and snow to the mid-latitudes”. Due to a “hot air mass” over Siberia during the first week of January, the ice vortex was thrown off its North Pole axis and split in two.
One side is over North America and the other over Europe. This could result in “freezing temperatures hitting the Northeast and Midwest of the United States, as well as mid-latitude regions in Europe.” The cold wave is expected “for next week or the week after and should last, intermittently, until February”.
As National Geographic points out, the term “polar vortex” is actually a term that can qualify two meteorological phenomena. It is indeed used to refer to the current of cold air, sometimes called circumpolar, which “circles the planet every year”. “Large in size, it often descends to mid-latitudes, that is, in the region of the globe between the Arctic and the Equator, and moves from west to east,” according to National Geographic.
The polar vortex described as “stratospheric” is “a mass of cold air coming from the Arctic” which “begins to swirl each winter before dissipating in the spring”. It is much smaller than the circumpolar vortex and is located “in the upper atmospheric layer, between 16 and 50 kilometers above sea level”.
Snow and ice have direct consequences on vehicle traffic in France, recalls Météo France. “Traffic conditions can quickly become very difficult on the entire network, especially in the forestry sector where falling trees can accentuate the difficulties”. Here are the “behavioral advice” given by the institute in its bulletin for the departments concerned by the orange alert.
After early snowy episodes, like the one we experienced in October, Régis Crépet, expert from La Chaîne Météo, believes that the winters that follow are “rarely very snowy according to the statistics”. According to him, the presence of snow in the mountains requires disturbed weather. However, the meteorologist judges that “the anticyclonic conditions are likely to be quite tenacious in December before the return of the disturbances in January”.
However, these weather disturbances “circulate mainly over the northern half of France” and the French mountains would therefore be less affected. “It could therefore be that this winter will experience relatively moderate snow cover in the mountains, but at generally quite high altitudes and especially in the second half of winter”, explains Régis Crépet.
Regarding precipitation, according to Régis Crépet, from La Chaîne Météo, believes that there remains “greater uncertainty due to doubt about the predominance of anticyclonic conditions”. Indeed, “the higher the pressures, the more the disturbances circulating in France are attenuated”. Knowing that France could often be affected by the proximity of the Atlantic anticyclone, he believes “that precipitation is likely to be a little lacking in our country this winter”. The driest month could be December, before a more disturbed flow resumes in January.
The month of January in Paris should most often be characterized by “variable and sometimes rainy weather”. The Weather Channel predicts 10 sunny days in the capital, but 29% of the time is expected to be threatened by generally moderate rain. It will snow 1 day in the month and in terms of temperatures, the minimums will be on average 2°C and the maximums 7°C. On the side of Nice, it will be necessary to count on an unfavorable weather despite 21 sunny days for six days of rain and average temperatures between 8 ° C for the minimum and 11 ° C for the maximum. On the side of the northern capital in Lille, the weather will be very rainy with ten days of precipitation expected for ten sunny days in January.
The average temperatures will be between 3°C for the minimums and 7°C for the maximums. In Orléans, the weather will be variable and often rainy with quite a few showers and intermittent rain. According to La Chaîne Météo, 10 sunny days are expected for nine days of generally heavy rain. The minimum temperatures are on average 2°C and the maximum 7°C.
The month of December in France is most often characterized by variable weather. This year, according to La Chaîne Météo, we can count on “13 sunny days”, but we will also have to deal with “29% of the time threatened by generally very heavy rain”. There will be in spite of the precipitations only one day of snow in the month. For this month of December 2020, the minimum temperatures will be on average 4°C and the maximum 8°C. An anticyclone will be present over the Atlantic, while remaining quite in the background, it is a northwesterly flow which will thus dominate the country in December.
With the arrival of 2021, temperatures should be relatively mild with average minimums at 3°C and maximums at 8°C. Despite two days of snow forecast, the sun should shine for twelve days, for ten days of rain. Régis Crépet thus predicts “fairly standard weather for the season in France, reviving with a more disturbed flow, oriented to the west, synonymous with the return of disturbances”.
According to terre-net.fr, between the low pressures in Scandinavia and the Mediterranean anticyclone, “it’s a west-northwest current that should prevail over France” in January 2021, bringing mildness and cold in alternation and finally offering us a month that is more or less “seasonal”. A few severe frosts will not be excluded.
At the beginning of January, heavy frosts could occur in the morning. However, the thermal anomaly should remain above normal (0.5°C). The climate will therefore not be ideal for ski resorts. In February, the end of the meteorological winter 2021 should be quite wet (15%), but still mild (thermal anomaly 0.25°C). Disturbances should be plentiful. In short, “the weather winter 2020-2021 could resemble its predecessor on all points”.
The probability of cold spells for this winter seems very low. We should alternate between relative mildness and moderate cold over the country with temperatures rather higher than the average for the season. The month of February could prolong the more low-pressure trend that began in January. The return of the fairly vigorous ocean flow should also lead to fairly abundant precipitation, according to forecasts by La Chaîne Météo.
If Météo France announces the arrival of mildness for the next few months, France has experienced episodes of extreme cold in recent weeks, especially in the middle of November. Temperatures gradually dropped, settling 2 to 5°C below seasonal averages. A trend that lasted until the end of November and the beginning of December, since the Advent period began with the return of cold weather in France. Low maximum temperatures, 2°C to 5°C below seasonal averages, should settle until Thursday, December 5.
But by the way, why does the snow appear white to us?
Logically, snow made of water should be transparent. And yet, she looks white. Explanations.
If the 2019-2020 winter should not be one of the coldest we have known, it should not be the one that recorded the most snowfall in the plains either. “The preponderant scenarios envisage a weather situation fairly close to that of last winter in France, with conditions halfway between low pressure weather and high pressure weather. This situation is not conducive to extreme cold or strong disturbances, warns Régis Crépet. If this configuration is confirmed, we should have a completely standard winter, that is to say without extreme cold or marked episodes of snow in the plains”.
The forecaster stresses, however, that “cold and snow are two parameters that are not necessarily linked: the cold requires anticyclonic conditions with continental winds oriented to the east or northeast, while the snow is rather linked to low-pressure systems with air mass disturbances and conflicts”. Also, “brief episodes of snow on the plain are possible even within a “mild” winter, as we saw last January”.
The forecasts of La Chaîne Météo for the winter of 2019-2020 therefore seem to go against those put forward in the conclusion of a study carried out for the Met Office, the British weather service, a few weeks ago and which had then been relayed in Europe. This was advancing while the coming winter would be particularly cold, in particular due to a violent northeast wind called “Beast from the East”.
A study carried out for the Met office, the British weather service, and relayed by the Sunday Times and among others the Breizh-Info site, affirms that the winter of 2020 could be particularly cold. This one even goes so far as to speak of the coldest winter of the decade. The report, titled Long Range Forecast of the North Atlantic Oscillation and UK Weather in January-February 2019, by scientists at the University College of London, reports a strong northeasterly wind that is expected to freeze Europe in the months of January and February 2020. Its name: the beast from the East.
More commonly known as “Le Paris-Moscou”, the beast from the East had already crossed the European continent during the winter of 2018-2019. This phenomenon is described by the Met Office as “cold, wintry conditions, resulting from low temperature winds” coming from Siberia.
In 2018-2019, the Paris-Moscow had caused snowy episodes and caused the death of dozens of people, reports Le Monde. In London, the temperature had dropped to -6°C, and to -14°C in Scotland. Several construction sites had to be put on hold during the cold period. Public transport was also disrupted.
However, the Breizhinfo article is quite alarmist, and includes some untruths. Indeed, the British study only cites the Beast from the East as an example to talk about the winter cold. In addition, the document evokes Great Britain, and not French Brittany as asserted by Breizhinfo (Breton regionalist site, ranked on the far right), notes the evening daily.
The report never mentions “the coldest winter in thirty years”. According to the document, there would be a 57% chance that the months of January and February 2020 will be, on average, the coldest since 2013, in Great Britain.
Asked by Planet, Lauriane Batté, team leader for seasonal forecasts at the National Center for Meteorological Research (CNRM) – Météo-France, confided to us that “this statistical forecast effectively announces for the United Kingdom the possibility of a warmer winter 0.5°C colder than the average for 1981-2010, a value which would place this season as the coldest since 2013”.
In contrast, “the scientists behind the study also communicate the results of their study in the form of probabilities,” she notes.
For Lauriane Batté, “some media have interpreted the results of the study as predicting the return of a marked cold wave phenomenon (“Beast of the East” in the Anglo-Saxon media). It is important to remember that one of the authors of the study himself, Mark Saunders, deplored the interpretation of it made by certain media and moreover declared that the latter “was not intended to be publicized and that its intention was to wait to see if the predictions were verified and, if so, to publish its predictive model and its results”
Indeed, contacted by France Info, one of the authors of the study specifies that he was not interviewed by the Sunday Times before publication and affirms that this media coverage is a distortion of his study.
Moreover, the English prediction comes several months before the dates mentioned. However, weather forecasts are more effective when they are close to the deadline.
The Met Office would therefore be reluctant to validate this study. “There is a fairly strong chance that (this winter) will be colder than the year before, in particular because the previous winter was quite mild,” say the researchers. “But the Met Office cannot say, at this time, that the coming winter will be the coldest of the decade, because it is far too early to know”, continues the British public service.
The forecaster from Meteo France reminds us that “climatic anomalies on the scale of a season are more predictable in tropical regions than in mid-latitudes”. “At Météo-France, we do not use statistical methods like the one used in the study in question, but numerical climate models representing the atmosphere, the ocean, and the surfaces of the globe. These models are initialized each month at from the observations we have, in order to predict the evolution of the climate over the next six months”, she explains.
The Deputy Director of the Climate and Climate Services Department of Météo-France (DCSC), Jean-Michel Soubeyroux, adds:
What if winter 2020 was on the contrary much milder?
According to Meteo Contact, which is based on 3 different meteorological organizations developed by the American, Japanese and European agencies (CFS, CGCM and MFS), the first projections “consider temperatures above normal”. Especially during the month of December. Precipitation would be in the seasonal normal.
Winter would alternate between dry anticyclonic phases and more low-pressure and therefore wetter periods.
Moreover, if the ENSO (El Nino Southern Oscillation) does not impact Europe directly, it could have a slight influence in view of the statistics (occurrence of more frequent cold winters during La Nina episodes for example).
No particular anomaly is currently expected. “Neutral conditions are expected during the winter of 2019/2020 even if some models give off a weak signal of el Nino conditions.”
According to Laurianne Batté (Météo France), “we cannot exclude the possibility of a cold snap occurring during the winter, but this type of event which lasts a few days is not predictable with such anticipation. And it’s not impossible to have a cold snap in a warmer than normal season on average, due to climate variability.”
“For the next quarter, a wet-dry contrast should appear between the drier than normal south-east of the continent and the wetter-than-normal north-west. France is in this transition zone,” says Jean- Michel Soubeyroux (DCSC).
Does global warming affect the forecasts made? “If the question relates to conditions observed in recent years, you have to go back to 2013 to find a winter colder than the 1981-2010 normal. The last six winters have all been above normal with a record 2.6°C in 2016”, concludes the deputy director of the DCSC.