Number of UK ice days slipping away

The Met Office have already announced their new climate tool today that tells you how global warming will affect your postcode, and now there Press Office has published a story about ice days of all things that kind of vaguely links in with that. Ice days are termed a day when the maximum temperature fails to rise to 0.0°C or above. The decreasing number of ice days is rather old news I’m afraid, and it’s the number of them has erratically fallen for the last 30 or so. I’m surprised Dr Lizzie Kendon a science fellow at the Met Office didn’t mention the decrease in the number of frost days which, because they occur more frequently, proves a much better yardstick to judge how temperatures across the UK have warmed in the last hundred years or more.

The RCP8.5 Pathway

The above projections are based on a pathway known as RCP8.5, which works on the basis of emissions of greenhouse gases continuing to rise through the century. 


I still don’t have a clue what the RCP8.5 projection is, but I do have a couple of bar charts of ice and frost days in central England with linear trends. If you’re clever you could extend and extrapolate the line to find out exactly when winters in the central England will be totally frost free, a bit like our freezer. If the line behaves itself then I guess we should be able to dispense with the notion of frost warnings in approximately 284 years time in the year 2304 (I’m sounding very Zager and Evans like now).

Annual number of ice days
Annual days of frost

The above two bar charts that show the decline in the number of ice days and frost days in central England since 1878. The linear trend for the number of air frosts in a year in 2020 is a third lower than it was in 1878, with only 34.6 days of frost now compared with 51.7 in 1878. For a slightly more detailed analysis please follow this link to my Central England Temperatures site.

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