The future of white Christmases

It’s December, which means the usual discussion as to whether or not it will be a white Christmas. You can even bet on it. But, how might these odds change in future? Are children going to know what snow is?

As a bit of fun, the figure below shows the total snowfall in December and January in south-east England in 4 realisations of the HadGEM2-ES climate model, assuming high future emissions (RCP8.5).

At present, the model suggests an average of around 10mm of snow per year, expressed as the quantity of water after melting, but the snowfall is very irregular. This is in pretty good agreement with the recent observed average (around 8-10mm per year) from the University of Reading weather station (data provided by Roger Brugge).

For the future, we see an overall decline in snow amount, but there are still occasional years with significant snowfalls, even at the end of the century.

So, you can safely bet on getting snow in future, though the chances of a white Christmas will probably diminish. Merry Christmas!

Snowfall in December & January for the south-east of England in 4 realisations of the future using high emissions (RCP8.5) and HadGEM2-ES.

About Ed Hawkins

Ed Hawkins (twitter: @ed_hawkins) is a climate scientist in NCAS-Climate at the Department of Meteorology, University of Reading. His research interests are in decadal variability and predictability of climate, especially in the Atlantic region, and in quantifying the different sources of uncertainty in climate predictions and impacts. Ed is a Contributing Author to IPCC AR5 and a member of the CLIVAR Scientific Steering Group.
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2 Responses to The future of white Christmases

  1. Scott Mc says:

    we see an overall decline in snow amount, “but” there are still “occasional years with significant snowfalls”, even at the end of the century.

    So, you can safely bet on getting snow in future, though the chances of a white Christmas will “probably” diminish.

    Now there is a forecast that “will certainly” come true…

    no buts. mights, could be’s or probably’s in my statement.

  2. Pingback: The Climate Change Debate Thread - Page 3817

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