Norway is facing its most powerful storm in 30 years, causing flooding and power outages. Cyclone winds of up to 180 km/h lashed central parts of the country, causing flooding and highway disruptions. The storm, named Ingun by Norwegian meteorologists, originated from a powerful jet stream crossing the Atlantic. It has “explosively deepened an area of low pressure” that has hit the Scandinavian country since Wednesday afternoon, explained Aidan McGivern of the UK Met Office.
“Norway is used to windy weather and deep low pressure, but this is something else,” he added. Red warnings have been put in place by the Norwegian Meteorological Agency – its highest alert. Ingun's storm was the strongest since the 1992 New Year cyclone in the country.
After experiencing the tenth named storm of the season last week, the UK was spared the full ferocity of Storm Ingu. Cyclone Joslin was behind Cyclone Isha with winds of 156 kmph.
Not surprisingly, many in the United Kingdom, Ireland, Norway, Sweden and other storm-hit European countries wonder if climate change is partly to blame.
“This is the most distant point on the list of cyclone names we've encountered at this time of year,” a Met Office weather service spokesman confirmed to the Euronews green service, referring to the alphabetical lists used to name storms. United Kingdom. But because storms only started being named in 2015, it's not the best way to measure the impacts of climate change.
“This is a very complex issue and not a simple one [a] “The frequency of heatwaves in the UK is increasing as a result of human-induced climate change,” he added.
Since 2015 the British average has been six or seven storms a year. 2023-2024 season will be very good. The 2013-2014 winter was the wettest and stormiest on record in two decades.
The UK Met Office says there is no evidence of positive or negative trends in the number or intensity of wind storms in recent weather. Trends in storm numbers are difficult to detect because they naturally vary from year to year and decade to decade.
Storm Ingun was an exceptional Atlantic storm that gave Norway and Sweden sustained winds of 122 mph and 116 mph respectively. If confirmed, these would be fresh air records for both countries. The flavors were even stronger! Stronger than the winds of The Great Storm of 1987! pic.twitter.com/rL17btqyF9
— BBC Weather (@bbcweather) February 1, 2024
This is expected to change according to most climate projections. Scientists believe the number of winter storms in the UK and other European countries will increase slightly in the coming years. Attribution studies can indicate how frequent and intense a particular weather event was due to climate change. But wind storms are not prioritized in this type of study.
Why so many storms this winter?
The factors responsible for the formation and maintenance of storms are complex. One of the main drivers is the powerful jet stream – a corridor of strong winds about 10 km above the Earth's surface, blowing from east to west across the Atlantic.
It is affected by the temperature difference between the poles and the equator. In recent weeks, very cold air from the Arctic has made a drastic change, leading to a strong jet stream. It forms areas of low and high pressure near the surface, which translates into thunderstorms.
— Copernicus EU (@CopernicusEU) February 1, 2024
Meteorologists say the El Niño weather phenomenon has had the same impact as many other storms in the UK between 2014 and 2016. Warmer-than-average Pacific sea surface temperatures driven by El Niño are having effects around the world. In northern Europe, they usually bring wet, windy weather at the start of winter, before temperatures eventually drop.
The relationship between this natural climate phase and the climate crisis is a topic of ongoing scientific investigation. But scientists are convinced that the impacts of each El Niño are more extreme weather—that is, more extreme weather—as the climate warms.
What are the storms in Europe called?
Tropical cyclones are not named in South American countries, although it is different in Europe. European countries have come together to track and name their extreme cases. In the United Kingdom, Ireland and the Netherlands, storm names are determined by the Met Office, Met Eireann and the Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute (KNMI) respectively.
Storms are named alphabetically, excluding the letters Q, U, X, Y or Z in accordance with international standards. The names come from a list released at the start of each season in September, which usually alternates between male and female options.
The public can submit names, and some are chosen by the agencies to honor famous climatologists and scientists. German storms get very different names after the online campaign. Norway, Sweden and Denmark name the storms as a separate northern group.
Why are storms named?
“Naming storms helps communicate severe conditions and make it clear when people are affected by the weather,” explained Will Long, head of situational awareness at the Met Office. There are no strict criteria that the three agencies meet to name a storm. They take into account the potential impact of a storm system – for example, assessing whether it will cause flooding.
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