Weather: Edinburgh scientists crunch heavy snowfall data

Sonny Craig, 3, enjoys some sledging. Picture: Ian Georgeson
Sonny Craig, 3, enjoys some sledging. Picture: Ian Georgeson
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SCIENTISTS in the Capital are examining whether winter weather records dating back 140 years could help them better predict heavy snowfall across Scotland.

Analysis of the logged data by Edinburgh University experts has revealed links between snowfall and a weather phenomenon over the Atlantic Ocean.

The finding could lead to improved forecasting that benefits local authorities and transport bodies.

The study is the first to show how large scale changes in air pressure in the North Atlantic can have a direct impact on where, and for how long, snow is likely to fall.

Michael Spencer, of the university’s school of geosciences, said: “Easterly air flows are known to bring cold weather from the Arctic, causing severe winters like those seen in 2009 and 2010.

“For the first time, we have quantified the relationship between snow cover in Scotland and changing air pressure. As seasonal forecasts of the North Atlantic Oscillation continue to improve, earlier and more informed predictions of snowfall will be possible.”