February 25, 2024

Snow Oracle – What are the chances of a white Christmas? – Meteorological

Snow Oracle – What are the chances of a white Christmas? – Meteorology – SRF


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We dare to look into the crystal ball, or rather at climate science and the latest weather models. Opportunities exist, and as we all know, hope is the last.

Around the first of Advent, the starting situation was promising

The beginning of December is white

Since the Second Coming, a snow disaster has occurred

Already this week, the white blanket of the lowlands has become more difficult. After the Second Coming, there is a very mild phase where temperatures range from 10 to 14 degrees in the lowlands and +5 degrees at an altitude of 2000 m, thus also becoming greener in the mountains. In addition to the warmth, rain also brings down the snow cover: the snowfall limit rises to 1,800 to 2,300 meters and with it the risk of flooding.

How do we define “white Christmas”?


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legend:

Charlotte van Stuyvenburg

Our benchmark oracle is the Bundesplatz in Bern. If there is 1 cm of snow or more on at least one Christmas day (December 24 to 26), we talk about a white Christmas.

What happens next?

This helps the first trend for Christmas climatology: Statistically speaking, white Christmases are fairly rare in the Lowlands. in Bern It is about the long term average Every four years Snow falls during at least one Christmas day. In the mountains, the possibility is much greater. In Davos, for example, there has only been a snowless Christmas Day in 2016 in recent decades. It’s no surprise that white Christmases are becoming less common in times of climate change. Federal government calculations show that the chance decreases significantly, especially at slightly higher elevations and of course also in lowlands. (Source: Federal Office of Meteorology and Climatology)

Table with years with green Christmas and years with white Christmas

legend:

Data: Federal Office of Meteorology and Climatology

SRF Weather

To improve this trend, there is a weekly forecast

Weather forecasts over 7 days are usually unreasonable. Uncertainty is increasing sharply. If you still dare to look forward to Christmas, there are approximate calculations for full weeks. These show a tendency toward average or higher temperatures. However, cold air can still escape. In addition to temperature, precipitation should also decrease. The chances of a white Christmas are sound. However, with current documentation we correct the probability from 25% of the climatology to 20%.


Weather Question SRF1, December 9, 2023, 9:15 AM

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