Experts believe that Britain will never again see snow on Christmas Day as Bing Crosby hoped. 

A ‘Dickensian’ scene of widespread snow on the ground on Christmas Day could be consigned to British history due to climate change, the Met Office says.

MailOnline stated that snowflake blankets could be used to protect British soil at Christmas.

But the effects of climate change mean the required conditions for snow in the UK will occur less frequently, and chances could keep getting smaller as this century progresses. 

The average temperature of land and sea has been higher due to greenhouse gas emissions. This prevents small ice crystals, which are formed in clouds and then fall as snow.  

A Christmas scene worthy of 'A Christmas Carol' - consisting of thick blankets of snow covering the ground up and down the UK - may be a thing of the past. Pictured is 'Approach to Christmas', depicting a British town during the festive period in the 19th century (1927)

A Christmas scene worthy to be called ‘A Christmas Carol’ is possible. It was made up of thick snow blankets covering all of the UK. The image is called “Approach to Christmas” and depicts a British village during Christmas in the 19th-century (1927).

The London Eye at dusk. Such scenes across the UK during the festive season seem to be rarer as the 21st century progresses

At dusk, the London Eye. These scenes are rarer in the UK as we move into the 21st century.


The tiny crystals of ice in the clouds that form snow clump together and become snowflakes. When enough crystals are glued together they will become enough heavy to drop to the ground. 

When temperatures drop and the air is moist, snow forms. 

The melting of snowflakes when they fall through moist, slightly warm air will cause them to stick together and produce large flakes. Powdery snow is formed when snowflakes fall through dry, cold air.

Source: Met Office

MailOnline was told by Richard Miles of the Met Office that as temperatures rise, it is likely that snowfall in the UK will decrease in frequency. 

According to modelling, climate change could mean the UK will see less white Christmases this year.

“The notion of the Dickensian White Christmas is more an anomaly than a norm. 


According to the Met Office, a White Christmas can be defined as one single snowflake observed in December 25, somewhere in the UK.  

According to this definition 2020 was the UK’s last White Christmas, and six per cent recorded snowfall.  

But the more generous Dickensian scene worthy of ‘A Christmas Carol’ – consisting of thick blankets of snow covering the ground up and down the country – has proved to be somewhat more elusive. 

The last widespread white Christmas in the UK was in 2010, when snow was recorded on the ground at 83 per cent of UK stations – the highest amount ever recorded – but there was no record of snow falling at any station in the UK in 2018, or in 2019.     

Snow covering the ground at Stonehenge, Wiltshire. In the UK, Met Office told MailOnline it expects snow to occur 'with decreasing frequency'

Stonehenge in Wiltshire was covered by snow. MailOnline in the UK was told by Met Office that it expected snowfall to decrease.

People travelling over Westminster Bridge in London, Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament visible through snow and fog, January 14, 1955

People travelling over Westminster Bridge in London, Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament visible through snow and fog, January 14, 1955


Rainfall could replace snowfall as the main form of precipitation in the Arctic by 2060, a study has warned – up to two decades earlier than previously thought.

Researchers from the University of Manitoba compared the latest projections with the results of previous climate models.

The findings of the research lead the researchers to call for more strict climate mitigation policies from authorities worldwide.  

It is well-known that the Arctic is warming more quickly than any other part of the world, causing significant changes in the environment that will only get worse.

Continue reading: A study suggests that rainfall may replace the Arctic’s snowfall by 2060. 

In terms of the chances of snow on Christmas Day this year – either a few snowflakes or a thick blanket – the Met Office couldn’t make forecasts with high confidence.

‘Is impossible to rule out snow falling anywhere in the UK on Christmas Day at this stage,’ Miles said.

‘But there isn’t anything we’ve seen so far in the long-range forecast to suggest any likelihood of widespread snowfall or lying snow for Christmas Day in the UK.’ 

According to Met Office forecasts, snow is unlikely in Scotland or Northern England. 

The UK will experience a very unsettling Christmas this year. Many will see wet and cloudy conditions as mild air dominates over the south and west of the UK,’ said Chris Bulmer, deputy chief meteorologist at the Met Office. 

“Where the mild air meets the colder air, trying to sink south, there’s a possibility of Christmas snow. This is most likely looking over Pennines. However, it is not clear exactly where that boundary will lie.

Clearer skies and colder conditions will give you a wintry feeling. A notable wind chill can be expected in many places due to a strong easterly breeze.   


While large and extensive snow events were observed in 2013, 2010, 2009 and 2012, they have been much less common than their intensity since the 1960s. 

Only four Christmases in more than five decades recorded snow at more than 40 per cent of UK weather stations, the Met Office claims. 

According to its predictions, under a high emissions scenario there will be a decrease in both falling and ‘lying snow’ – snow that covers the ground – across the UK between 2061 and 2080 compared with 1981 to 2000.  

In the UK, snow in mountainous regions is more common (e.g. Scottish Highlands), will not be affected as much as in low-lying locations (e.g. Southern England 

Met Office data also shows a decrease in lying snow in the UK when comparing two time periods – 1971 to 2000 and 1991 to 2020. 

The data indicates that snow is rare in England’s south, and in parts of Wales, too. 

This graphic shows projections based on Met Office modelling. It shows the anticipated change in UK winter snow for 2061-2080 compared to 1981-2000. Top row shows snowfall, while bottom row shows 'lying snow' - snow that covers the ground. The graphic shows big changes in lying snow when comparing the two time periods

The graphic below shows projected projections using Met Office modeling. The graphic depicts the expected change in UK winter snow between 2061 and 2080, compared with 1981-2000. While the top row is snowfall, the bottom row is ‘lying sugar’ which refers to snow that remains on the ground. This graphic compares the time periods and shows significant changes in the amount of lying snow.

Met Office data show a decrease in lying snow in the UK when comparing 1971 to 2000 with 1991 to 2020

Met Office data indicate a drop in UK’s lying snow when we compare 1991 to 2020 with 2001 to 2000.


For most parts of the UK, Christmas is only at the beginning of the period when it’s likely to snow – the country is actually more likely to see snow in January, February and even March than in December, the Met Office explains.   

Miles explained that “the UK climate means widespread lying snow at Christmas has always been somewhat irregular.”

“There were several particularly cold Christmases between the 1830s & early 1840s. This was before there was an 1843 Christmas Carol.

“This might have contributed our continued national association Dickens with snowy Christmas. 

In the 19th century, white Christmases became more common due to climate change caused by fossil fuel burning.

In 1752, Britain adopted the Gregorian Calendar. It effectively brought Christmas Day back twelve days.   

Pictured is an illustration of Bob Cratchit and Tiny Tim in Charles Dickens 's 'A Christmas Carol'. Illustration by Harold Copping, 1924

This is an illustration showing Tiny Tim and Bob Cratchit in Charles Dickens’ ‘A Christmas Carol. Illustration by Harold Copping. 1924


Jet streams – cores of strong winds blowing from west to east around six miles above the Earth – can also affect the likelihood of conditions cold enough for snow.

Like a river’s currents, jet streams move warm and cold air throughout the world. But, seasons can alter their locations.  

Depending on its position, the jet stream above the UK – called the Polar Jet Stream – can act as a barrier shielding the UK from the cold, keeping conditions temperate. 

The Met Office states that the Earth is divided into two halves and that air constantly moves to transfer heat and energy from the Equator to the Poles.

The troposphere, which is the lowest level of atmosphere, has three large, cell-sized groups or cells that circulate the air. 

“The jet stream is therefore largely due to a difference of heat. This in the northernhemisphere refers to cold air at the north and warm air at the south. 

If the Polar Jet Stream path falls to the south of the UK, it draws in cold air from the Arctic, but if it sways north, it attracts warm air from the tropics

Polar Jet Stream is able to draw cold air from Arctic regions southwards, while it can attract warmer air from the tropics northwards.

The graphic above shows how the jet stream works and where it's located between seasons

This graphic shows you how and where the jet stream is located in between seasons.

The jet stream will draw in air from the Arctic if it falls south, while if it winds north it attracts air from the tropics. 

‘The jet stream normally transports temperate weather from the Atlantic across the UK,’ explain climate scientists at the University of Bristol.

“But, if it is displaced southwards it allows persistent high pressure system of colder air, from the north or over the Eurasian continental, known as blocking high tensions to settle over the UK over extended periods. 

British heatwaves are increasing in frequency, according to Professor Liz Bentley, the CEO of Royal Meteorological Society.

Professor Bentley said that climate change is occurring in the UK. ‘There has been an increase in temperatures – the average monthly temperature has increased by 1°C (1.8°F) in the last 30 years. 

‘Temperature records breaking are becoming more frequent and there’s a greater chance of heatwaves lasting longer and more intense. 

Britain’s exceptional weather may also partly be due to five air masses that ‘fight for supremacy above our skies.


According to a Met Office analysis last year, the South of England will no longer see freezing days by the year 2040 due to climate change.

In the meantime, sub-zero temperatures could only be experienced on very high ground or parts of Northern Scotland by 2080.    

At the time, Dr Lizzie Kendon from the Met Office stated to the BBC: “We are saying that by the end century most of the lying-snow will be gone completely except for the top ground.

“The overall picture is hotter and drier winters with warmer, more wetter summers. 

“But, within that, there is a shift toward more extreme events so it’s more frequent and more intense, as well as heavier rain when it does occur.” 

“It’s an enormous change… over the course of our lives.” 

This picturesque scene shows the Cotswold village of Broadway in snow, Worcestershire, England. Warming temperatures may prevent snow from settling in the UK

The picturesque scene depicts Broadway, a Cotswold village, in snow. It is located in Worcestershire, England. The UK may not see snow due to warmer temperatures. 

It could also be snowball fights and sledging. History is relegated to the past without any action taken to decrease global greenhouse gas emissions.   

Reducing greenhouse gas emissions including carbon dioxide and methane is seen as key to achieving the aims of the Paris Agreement to limit climate change.

Adopted in 2016, the Paris Agreement aims to hold an increase in global average temperature to below 3.6ºF (2°C) and pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 2.7°F (1.5°C).

The Paris targets are essential to avoid a catastrophe on the planet. It will lead to mass destruction in the form frequent climate disasters, and death to millions.  

Boris Johnson has promised to cut greenhouse gas emissions in the UK by 78%, which is a significant reduction from 1990 levels. 

The UK’s Net Zero Strategy aims for net zero emissions by 2050. This means that any carbon emissions would be offset by similar amounts of greenhouse gasses from the atmosphere.   


Study warns that if there are not enough measures to combat climate change, the summers in Britain and elsewhere in northern hemisphere could continue for six more months by 2100.

Researchers from China used historical climate data and modelling to determine how the seasons have shifted in the past, and will likely alter in the future.

Changes could also see winters shrunk down to the span of just two months — with far-reaching impacts on agriculture, human health and the environment. 

In their study, Yuping Guan of the Chinese Academy of and colleagues analysed historical climate data on the Northern Hemisphere that was collected daily from 1952–2011 in order to determine how the length and onset of each season has been changing with time.

Each summer began when temperatures hit the maximum temperature for that year. The start of winter was the arrival of coldest temperatures.

Based on the historical dataset, researchers then used climate models to forecast how seasons would change in the future.

In the 1950s the Northern Hemisphere’s four seasons were predictable and evenly distributed. 

However, the team found that, on average, summers grew in length from 78 to 95 days between 1952 and 2011, while winters shrank from 76 days to 73.

The length of spring and fall also decreased, falling from 124-65 days to 115 and 87-82 days respectively.

These shifts resulted in the team noticing that spring/summer are starting earlier than before, and fall/winter later.

The greatest changes in the seasonal cycles, meanwhile, were found in the Mediterranean region and the Tibetan Plateau. 

Geophysical Research letters published all findings.