Is there a system of classifying synoptic weather types over the British Isles?
(NB: 'synoptic' in meteorology is used in the sense that the weather is analysed over a wide area at approximately the same time.)
A. In the early 1950's, Hubert Lamb expanded upon a classification system originally proposed in an article in 'Weather', into the now widely used Lamb's circulation types. The late Professor Lamb(*) was responsible in the UK for much work involved with deciphering the climatological changes that have undoubtedly occurred, and will continue to occur. Indeed, in the early days, the work was rather unfashionable, but is now required study given current concerns. Professor Lamb consolidated his distinguished career by taking a professorship, and the post of first director, at the University of East Anglia's Climatic Research Unit. (see the section on climate change). The system is based on the analysis of the direction of the overall isobaric pattern (not the individual wind direction at any one place) over the region 50-60N, 10W-02E. Once one of the 8 compass point directions, from which the wind blows is allocated, the curvature of the flow is considered, and the directional letters are prefixed by either: A, anticyclonic or C, cyclonic or it is left unclassified (neutral or irregular), when a qualifying letter is not used. Three other categories are recognised: A=anticyclonic (i.e. a notable high pressure itself over the region), C=cyclonic (i.e. a notable low pressure over the region), or U=unclassifiable. This gives rise to 27 classes.
Visit the UEA site to find out more, and to view the catalogue maintained by them.
(*) Professor Lamb died on Friday, 27th June, 1997