You can forget about the “beast from the east” this year

I developed an application a number of years ago that collects temperature data from SYNOPs over a week, month or season. From that data I calculate the daily mean, maximum and minimum temperature for that period. That’s all very nice, and it can produce values for thousands of stations, but mean temperatures are nothing without it’s LTA. Monthly maximum and minimum LTA are readily available for many stations across the UK, but elsewhere in the world that’s not so easy. That’s when I had my MacGyver moment – I could use the monthly LTA that the Met Office use to calculate their estimated global temperatures with. There are over 10,000 stations in that list, but unfortunately it only includes the monthly mean LTA. Undeterred I pressed on with the application. To make the whole thing work for periods other than monthly I had to employ a curve fitting algorithm to work out the coefficients of monthly mean curve for each station in the list. It’s pretty crude but at least I can generate an LTA for any day. This sounds like it would take a lot of processing time but it is in fact remarkably quick.

Second doubts

So there you have it. And so I ran the program for the first 22 days of January and that’s when I began to doubt my programming expertise because a large part of Scandinavia and western Russia lit up red with massive positive anomalies of plus ten degrees or more. So I doubled checked my data and the program even to the point of stepping through each line of code in the debugger as it ran. I couldn’t really find anything obviously wrong with data, code or my methodology, but for some reason I still doubted what I was seeing. I’m not sure why that was, because I had already written a couple of blogs recently pointing out just how incredibly mild December and January had been so far in western Russia. Anyway without further ado is that chart of mean temperature anomalies for the first 22 days of January 2020.

Double check with reality

For peace of mind I ran a Google search on ‘temperature Finland January’ to see if I could find any news, I’ve included three of the stories the search came back with. You don’t need to be a genius to realise the weather around the world is seriously out of kilter in the 21st century, and abnormal degrees of warmth like the ones in Finland and Russia are the reason behind most of it. I’ve got to learn not to doubt myself or my programming abilities in future, but extremes in weather, be it extreme high pressure or massive temperature anomalies of ten degrees or more don’t help!

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