Dreaming of a White Christmas?
From snowmen to sleigh rides, much of the cultural imagery of Christmas revolves around the wintry weather.
even in the southern hemisphere – where Christmas falls in the middle of summer – glitter often appears in Christmas cards and decorations snow carpet, but as Climate change wreaks havoc with traditional weather patterns, will such dreamlike visions become rarer everywhere in the world?
In short, yes. But don’t throw out your gloves just yet – it’s complicated. And as proven by the blanket of snow across much of Europe and the UK, chilly weather is not yet a thing of the past.
What will climate change do to the chances of a white Christmas?
Globally, temperatures are rising.
The Earth has warmed about 1.1 °C since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution.
Without sweeping emissions cuts, we are on track to exceed 3°C of global warming by 2030.
The United Nations has warned that current climate pledges provide ‘no credible path’ to preventing temperatures from rising above 1.5 degrees Celsius over pre-industrial levels.
Intuitively, it seems like this would make a white Christmas less likely.
The UK Met Office says, “White Christmases were more frequent in the 18th and 19th centuries.”
“Climate change has brought higher average temperatures over land and sea and this generally reduces the likelihood of white Christmas,
The last eight years have been the hottest on record.
Where Can You Get a Guaranteed White Christmas?
Your chances of a snowy Christmas obviously depend on where in Europe you are. In some places – such as the Alps, or Scandinavia – ice is common.
The possibility of having a white Christmas will remain. However, this is not guaranteed.
Scientist Forecast “Significant decrease in snow depth” in the Pyrenees over the next 50 years.
According to a 2021 study published in the journal Hydrology and Earth System Sciences snow day In Alps That would halve by 2100 if greenhouse emissions remain high.
Mountains above 2,500 meters would lose 76 days – about three months – of snow days. Areas with a height of less than 500 meters will get snow only for five days in a year.
But the power to prevent this scenario is still in our hands. According to the study, in line with emissions reductions Paris agreement Will save more than 80 percent of snow days in the Alps.
What about areas where it is generally mild?
In areas where temperatures are generally mild – such as the United Kingdom, or parts of France, Italy, and Germany – The chance of snow is slowly decreasing. When the temperature is above the freezing point, it falls in the form of winter rain.
According to a 2020 study, ice may have disappeared from all of Britain by the end of the century.
Dr Lizzie Kendon, senior Met Office scientist, told BBC Panorama: “We are saying that by the end of the century most of the snow will be completely gone except on the highest ground.”
“The over-arching picture are warm, wet winters; hot, dry summers.
In Germany, the possibility for a snowy Christmas have also been declined in recent decades.
“Weather records show that in the 1970s, a white Christmas, or at least according to colder temperatures, occurred every three or four years,” Peter Hoffmann of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impacts Research told Inside Climate News.
“With an average temperature increase of about 1 degree Celsius in late December, the chance of Christmas snow has decreased to roughly every five to eight years.”
Will climate change make winter storms more intense?
This is a complex question to answer.
Compared to the 30-year average from 1981-2010, 64 percent of places in the US are less likely to have a white Christmas.
But 31 per cent raised the possibility of a white Christmas.
This is because some regions are more likely to climate change heavy snow.
A warmer world is more humid, with more moisture in the atmosphere. This moisture eventually falls as rain or snow.
This is why climate change is on the rise Flooding,
But when temperatures are cool enough, the increased humidity will mean severe blizzard.
For example, the 2010 ‘Snowmageddon’ blizzard in the US has been linked to higher surface temperatures in the Atlantic Ocean.
Ultimately, climate change is going to mess with weather patterns in ways that we don’t fully understand yet. White Christmases may be a thing of the past in milder climates, but winter storms can be even more dangerous.