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Winter 2021: Polar vortex split is approaching – Germany threatens Arctic cold

The polar vortex determines how the winter weather will be in Germany. According to experts, this could cause Arctic cold and a lot of snow through a split.

Update from October 14th: The polar vortex over the Arctic has a huge influence on the temperatures in winter in Germany and also on how much snow there is. Because the vortex bundles ice-cold air of up to minus 80 degrees – but if the polar vortex breaks, the arctic cold can escape and flow to Germany. In this case, experts speak of a polar vortex split. According to the latest findings, such a polar vortex split could occur in winter 2021/2022.

The polar vortex splits if it is not stable enough. This winter it is very likely that the eddy is weakened, as the Arctic is covered by less and less sea ice. According to , the sea ice is a crucial indicator of a polar vortex split: the less ice there is, the warmer the air above it and the weaker the polar vortex. Because it needs icy air for its stability. This year the sea ice is not at an all-time low, but there is relatively less and less ice.

Due to the warmer air due to the lack of sea ice, a polar vortex split in winter 2021/2022 is very favorable. If the vortex actually breaks, there will be frosty temperatures in Germany. If there is also precipitation, there is also a lot of snow, possibly also in the lowlands.

Winter weather 2021: polar vortex brings arctic cold – is there also snow?

Update from October 1st: The polar vortex affects how much snow there is in winter in Germany. It forms over the North Pole at the beginning of autumn and is responsible for how cold it gets in Europe. If the eddy splits, the so-called polar vortex split can cause arctic cold in Germany, as the cold air breaks out of the eddy. If there is a lot of precipitation, there will be a lot of snow. What are the experts’ forecasts for winter 2021/2022 in Germany?

The polar vortex could lead to a strong ingress of cold air this year, explains meteorologist Veronika Krieger at The Weather Channel : “The polar vortex should be weak, especially at the beginning of winter, and this alone increases the likelihood of a split. In addition, a long-distance connection between the equator and the pole favors this split. “

Weather in winter 2021: Arctic cold in Germany? The snow forecast

Once the polar vortex has split, icy air flows into Germany. But what about precipitation? Precipitation forecasts are not really meaningful, reliable and constant at this point in time. A clear trend for the winter of 2021/2022 has not yet been seen and the European and American weather models are partly in disagreement.

What we do know, however, is that the Arctic is warming up much faster than the rest of the world as a result of climate change *. The temperature differences are therefore no longer so great – the polar vortex becomes more unstable and weakened, as reported by This increases the likelihood of extreme weather. That could be heavy rainfall or winter storms, which according to “can bring record snow in high altitudes”.

However, it is best to just wait and see instead of dealing with wild speculations. Because the long-term forecasts are too uncertain and change regularly. On the other hand, short-term forecasts, such as a 14-day trend, are more reliable. Even the predictions for October 2021 * are not set in stone. It will be a while before winter begins in Germany and the hope for a white Christmas should not be given up too early.

Snow forecast for winter 2021: polar vortex is picking up speed

First report from August 31st: When you look out of the window, it’s hard to believe that the weather is improving again this year. But according to the German Weather Service (DWD) there should actually be a sunny and mostly dry late summer * in Germany. While the uncomfortable autumn weather is being scared away again, the course for winter 2021/2022 is currently being set over the North Pole. The polar vortex is already picking up speed. * explains what that means for this winter.

Winter 2021: Polar vortex is picking up speed – what that means for the weather in Germany

How frosty or mild a winter becomes depends on the polar vortex. But what actually is a polar vortex? The polar vortex forms at the beginning of autumn – right now at this time when the days here are getting shorter and the sun barely reaches the North Pole. There are two polar vortices on Earth: one over the Arctic and one over the Antarctic. Polar eddies are huge high altitudes with a diameter of around 1,000 kilometers. The temperature of the eddy high up can sometimes be as low as minus 80 degrees.

The polar vortex over the North Pole is relevant for the course of winter in Germany. The eddies are differently pronounced every year. If the polar vortex is unstable, a polar vortex split can occur, which then causes arctic cold in Germany. If there is also a lot of precipitation, there is a lot of snow – just like last year in the Black Forest. In the winter of 2020/2021 *, the polar vortex broke in November and divided.

But back to winter 2021/2022: How strong the polar vortex will develop this year cannot yet be said at this point in time. Also not whether there will be a polar vortex split. Incidentally, this is not so rare – as the weather expert Paul Heger explained on the weather portal last year, polar vortex splits occur “on average about every two years”. “But with great variability that can hardly be estimated. There were only two polar vortex splits in the 1990s. In the 2000s there were nine, ”explains the meteorologist. As reported by , the onset of winter should nevertheless take place earlier than expected *.

Polar vortex 2021/2021: How will the weather be this winter in Germany?

An initial forecast for winter 2021/22 * is already available from the American weather model NOAA – and at first glance it is not particularly promising for all winter and snow fans. Because according to the NOAA model, the winter in Germany should be on average warm. But: According to the meteorologist Dominik Jung, the winter forecasts of the long-term models in recent years have been significantly above the climate mean – that is, they were too warm.

For the first time in a long time, the experts are predicting an average warm winter – which many Germans might find too cold. “A normal average winter would probably be too cool a winter for most of us,” explains Dominik Jung in his analysis of the NOAA winter forecast. NASA’s forecast, however, puts a damper – according to it, this winter, as in previous years, will also be too warm.

So far, the prognoses are not really clear or certain. A clear trend for the winter of 2021/2022 has not yet emerged and the weather models are sometimes divided. There should be more reliable forecasts as soon as the polar vortex over the North Pole has finished forming. * and are offered by IPPEN.MEDIA.

List of rubric lists: © Johann Groder / dpa

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