Feb 1, 2023
Mild February Will Help Extend Europe’s Gas Storage Buffer
(Bloomberg) -- Weather across Europe is expected to be warmer than usual for most of February after a cold snap next week, helping reduce heating demand in the final months of winter and keeping gas inventories well stocked.
Long-range forecasts from Maxar Technologies Inc. and Atmospheric G2 point to mild conditions across the continent this month, with cold weather engulfing the south east from next week.
The continent’s underground storage facilities are currently about 73% full — the highest for this time of the year since 2010 — thanks to mostly mild weather so far this winter.
“Our February forecast is for a milder than normal month widely across Europe,” said Amy Hodgson, head of meteorological operations at Atmospheric G2.
The continent’s unseasonably warm temperatures — while a reminder of the impacts of climate change — have helped to push gas prices below levels seen before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in recent weeks, easing inflation concerns and fears of a damaging recession.
Meteorologists are watching for a so-called sudden stratospheric warming, or SSW — one of the most extreme weather events that can cause extreme cold in the northern hemisphere. Signs of an SSW can already be observed, according to some experts.
However, concerns over the impact of an SSW are relatively contained at this point. Both the Met Office and Maxar say the event isn’t likely to have a major impact on weather now, but the effect could be delayed and may appear later in the month.
“We are currently in a period of brief warming in the stratosphere,” said Hodgson. “However, this anomalous warmth is not forecast to propagate down through the atmosphere.”
In the short term, temperatures from Rome to Berlin and Stockholm will all be colder than normal from Wednesday next week.
In the UK, February weather is expected to be wet and windy with temperatures around seasonal averages, according to Britain’s Met Office. “Unsettled conditions are expected to impact the north and west of the UK at the start of February,” it added, with the south remaining mainly dry.
Germany’s national forecaster DWD expects the “mild” trend nationwide to continue most of the next four weeks, accompanied by windy and rainy conditions. Stronger wind could boost power output and lower prices, though some experts say the impact might not be as strong due to the direction of the winds.
--With assistance from Lars Paulsson.
(Updates with forecasts for next week from first paragraph.)
©2023 Bloomberg L.P.