No one has yet learned how to control the weather. However, forecasters already know how to make more or less accurate forecasts.
Apparently, our world is on the verge of another colossal test. Humanity did not have time, as they say, to “take a breath” after the coronavirus pandemic (which, in fact, is not yet over at all), but a new threat is already approaching it.
Forecasts are louder and louder that the energy crisis unfolding before our eyes is just a prelude to a truly global nightmare that the population of most countries of the planet may expect this year. The “tension” with energy resources, experienced by the warm autumn and the manifold increase in their shortage, which came in a frosty winter – these are, as they say, “two big differences.”
The very harsh winter of 2021-22 will wreak havoc on all markets, from fuel to food, and could well turn the current energy crisis into a global economic crisis, Bloomberg reported.
Already, the population of most European countries is beginning to receive large bills for heating houses and apartments. If the forecasts of the weather forecasters come true, then the accounts will become completely astronomical. This will have far-reaching not only economic, but also political consequences.
The population will not forgive the authorities, who now have to deal with, besides the pandemic, only high inflation, if this winter they also have to pay almost all their income for heating.
Another quite likely consequence of the harsh winter, combined with the energy crisis and all the other misfortunes that have befallen the planet lately, may be a sharp increase in skepticism regarding the transition to “clean” energy, perhaps the most popular and discussed topic of recent months before the arrival of the energy crisis.
Of course, forecasts of weather forecasters often differ from each other, but now most agree on one thing: El Niño, fluctuations in the temperature of the surface water layer in the equatorial Pacific Ocean, which seriously affects the climate, will bring a cold snap to the north and a warmer to the south of the United States, as well as dry most of the planet.
However, the Polar Vortex, a sustained large-scale level of low pressure at the North Pole, will be weaker this year than last. This means that in the coming winter, it is much more likely that the cold Arctic air will repeatedly break out into the vastness of Asia, North America and Europe and bring sharp cold snaps.
“We’re looking forward to a ‘warm sandwich’ in the coming heating season with a potentially very cold center,” Todd Crawford said, director of Atmospheric G2 weather forecasting. – This means an unusually warm start to the season, followed by a cold period in January, a mild end to winter and early spring. This is the forecast for all major energy-consuming centers in the eastern US, western Europe and northeast Asia.”
Of course, this is an early forecast, but the likelihood that it will turn out to be correct is quite high, Bloomberg believes, even despite the high complexity of weather forecasting and the need to take into account a wide variety of factors and conditions. The main ones are El Niño and Polar Vortex, which are now being watched especially closely by scientists.
Typically, El Niño brings cold weather to the northern United States and raises temperatures and dries up the southern. El Niño also typically brings cold winters to Korea and Japan, droughts to Brazil with Argentina, and large regions of China. In total, over the past 70 years, when meticulous meteorological observations have been carried out, this phenomenon has occurred 8 times.
Now in the US Climate Prediction Center (CPC) the probability of the arrival of El Niño and in this and next years is estimated at more than 70%.
The problem with El Niño is that it doesn’t always affect the weather in the same way. Last year, for example, he brought a rather mild winter to the northern hemisphere, but this, scientists say, may turn out to be exactly the opposite.
Winters on the planet owe their coldness to the cold air, which cools the Polar Vortex. It is precisely because of the Polar Vortex, or rather, because the Arctic air is escaping from its “embrace”, that American, Asian and European inhabitants receive large heating bills in winter.
Two early signs that the Polar Vortex is weakening and cold air escaping from it are, for example, the accumulation of ice in the northern seas and warming in the stratosphere over the North Pole. Such warming at an altitude of about 8 to 48 kilometers is recorded in 55-60% of winters. According to Todd Crawford, they can have a very strong negative effect on the weather.
You don’t have to go far for examples. An unexpected warming of air over the North Pole last January brought record frosts to the US South in February, causing severe disruptions to the Texas power system and the death of at least 210 people.
Of course, the Arctic air escaping from the Polar Vortex cannot freeze the entire northern hemisphere at once. The directions in which it will propagate primarily depend on the North Atlantic Oscillation, directing cold air currents to America, Europe or Asia.
Naturally, the lower the outside temperature, the stronger the energy crisis will be and the higher the heating bills will be.
Forecasters consider snow in Siberia to be another sign of the impact of the Polar Vortex on the weather. If there is a lot of it in October, then it can create conditions that, in turn, can weaken the Polar Vortex. It will be possible to talk about the likelihood of Arctic air breakthroughs from the North Pole on this basis already at the end of October.
Another sign of a very harsh winter is considered to be a stable area of high pressure over a vast area from Scandinavia to the Urals. If it persists in November and especially in December, then the likelihood of Arctic air breakthroughs from the Polar Vortex, which forecasters often compare with opening the refrigerator door, is very high.