The difficulties of long-term forecasting
Following our first really cold snap this year there has been much speculation about what the winter will hold in store for us.
Will it be the worst for decades, milder and more benign or just average?
It's perhaps not surprising that any speculation catches our attention.
As a nation we are obsessed with the weather, and severe winter weather in particular can impact greatly on our everyday life.
I could mischievously point to a striking similarity between the set-up of highs and lows this week compared to the most severe winter of them all - 1962-63.”
As we head towards December it would be a bit odd if snow were not to fall at some stage across parts of the UK.
It would be even more unusual if there wasn't frost in the forecast. We've already had both in the last week or two.
No two winters are the same and part of the fascination with our climate is the variety that it throws at us.
The chaotic nature of the atmosphere makes predicting its evolution beyond a few days increasingly difficult.
The world's leading meteorologists, aided by powerful supercomputers, take on that challenge on a daily basis.
From such efforts, we can glean vague signals of how the weather might be trending in the weeks ahead.
Government and emergency planners are regularly advised with these forecasts.
However, the certainty of such signals is admittedly very limited and the advice is carefully, and necessarily, delivered in terms of risk and probability rather than a day-by-day forecast.
I could mischievously point to a striking similarity between the set-up of "highs" and "lows" this week compared with the weeks prior to the most severe winter of them all - 1962-63.
However, I would be misguided to imply that pattern means our weather this year will follow a similar path.
It's much more complicated than that.
A bewildering array of interactions between the atmosphere and the oceans around the world will ultimately determine our winter, and our skill at modelling these is ever-evolving.
Over the next few weeks the charts indicate a mixed bag of early winter weather, details of which can be found in our monthly outlook.