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Mild December Set to Push Europe to Warmest Year on Record

  • Temperatures set to be above-normal for the time of year
  • Bearish for natural gas amid above-average stockpiles

December is forecast to be warmer than normal in Europe, possibly making 2015 the region’s hottest year on record.

Temperatures this month will be above normal for the time of year, according to all six weather forecasters surveyed by Bloomberg News. Average temperatures this year are poised to outstrip 2014 which, according to MDA Information Systems LLC in Gaithersburg, Maryland, was Europe’s warmest since the forecaster’s records began in 1981.

“There’s a high chance 2015 will end up as the warmest year for Europe, particularly if the December outlook will hold true,” Giacomo Masato, a meteorologist at Marex Spectron Group Ltd., said by e-mail. “We forecast a warm December as a strong jet stream stretches up to western Europe and confines the cold air masses over the sub-polar region.”

Temperatures have been rising globally, with the United Nations forecasting 2015 will be the planet’s hottest year on record. The mild weather has left Europe with more than enough gas in storage to last the rest of winter, according to Fabio Cedronio, a senior gas trader at Repower AG.

Gas Storage

Natural gas storage in the 28-member European Union is near last year’s record levels for the time of year, according to data from Gas Infrastructure Europe. Natural gas for January in the U.K. has fallen for nine straight months on the ICE Futures Europe exchange.

A “swathe” of liquefied natural gas that is set to arrive in Europe and the U.K. is damping any supply worries even if colder weather comes next year, according to Nick Campbell, an energy risk manager at Inspired Energy Solutions.

The “corridor” from Spain and France, to Italy and central Europe up into Scandinavia will be the warmest area this month, Matthew Dobson, an energy meteorologist at MeteoGroup U.K. Ltd., said by e-mail. Any colder spells will be short-lived, he said.

The north and northwest regions are expected to be cloudier, wetter and windier than normal in December, while south Europe will be sunnier, drier and less windy than usual, Michael de Villiers, senior meteorologist at WSI Corp., said by e-mail Tuesday.

The mild weather is forecast to last into January with “widespread” above-average temperatures, according to MDA Information Systems LLC. The warmest region will be Scandinavia, the forecaster said.

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