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Keywords:

  • North Atlantic Oscillation;
  • Icelandic Low;
  • Central England Temperature

Abstract

Western Europe has experienced a sequence of unusually cold winters culminating in December 2010, which was the coldest December in the United Kingdom for over 100 years. The North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) is the most important indicator of the climate of the North Atlantic and Western Europe. However, in this article, we argue that the record cold temperatures in December 2010 cannot be explained by appeal to the NAO alone. Rather we show that the consideration of another atmospheric teleconnection pattern, the East Atlantic (EA) pattern, provides for a more robust explanation as to why December 2010 was so cold. Copyright © 2011 Royal Meteorological Society