Review and Experimental Long Range Forecast for SW England. September 2019.

Published 18 September 2019.

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1. Influences.

Changes in sea temperature.


Except for a cooler area around Spain and to the north of Scotland the Atlantic continued to warm above the long term average. Cooler water can be seen near ther Bahamas following recent tropical storms. In general the tropical area is forecast to remain slightly above average through to Spring 2020.


In the Pacific neutral or weak El-Nino conditions have become establish and are likely to remain through the remainder of Autumn, into Winter and spring  – see CFSv2 and NMME multi model ensemble forecast below.


The North Atlantic Oscillation index (shown by a 500hPa index in the image below) has recently been in a positive phase and the recent dip is forecast to be short lived with a return to a positive phase withing a week or so. A positive phase, if maintained implies a milder wetter winter 2019/2020.


NAO background information see the Met Office NAO information.

Recent Climatology

September, so far (18th), has been about half a degree warmer than average with near or slightly above average sunshine and 30 to 45% of monthly rainfall.

Temperature and rainfall anomalies for Spring and Summer are shown below.


River flows and groundwater in August reflect wetter month but for parts of the E/SE of England drier types have left significantly low river flows and groundwater values. Soil moisture deficit is extensive across much of England and Wales . Details can be found in the August 2019 Hydrological summary PDF 


The reservoir levels in the SW of England (9th September) show 60% storage which is close to or slightly above normal levels.


Looking ahead (September to December) the experimental product from the Global Flood Awareness System (Version 2) suggests reduced flood risk for the SW over the next few months although local flash flooding would not be included in this.


Atmosphere: Predictions.

A:  1: Stratosphere

Stratosphere is in summer mode as shown by the ECMWF 50hPa chart for 1200UTC 17th September 2019.


In the Antarctic region there has been a sudden stratospheric warming resulting in an early demise of the ozone hole leading to a record short lived ozone hole. The graphic below slows the extent of the ozone hole on the 16th September 2019  with associated 50hPa temperature and contour heights. The ozone being well above normal


A: 2: Upper Troposphere

CFSv2 200hPa monthly mean forecast height (contours) and anomaly (lower row) for the period October 2019 to February 2020, based on September data, shows above normal heights throughout the Autumn and Winter but with hints at stronger than average Atlantic jet in December and possible January 2020.


B: Lower Troposphere:

A selection of October to December 2019 solutions in low resolution from WMO using September data are shown below. Three month season and individual months, top row temperature anomaly and lower row precipitation anomaly.

White areas are area where the probabilities of below/normal/above are similar hence there is no overall signal for this period from the WMO super ensemble which includes DWD, BoM, Seoul, CPTEC Brazil, UKMO, Washington, Pretoria, Tokyo, ECMWF, CMC and Toulouse seasonal models.  DWD and Beijing are missing.


WMO super ensemble




Washington CFS2


BoM Australia

The complete set of graphics is available at weather-info site.

Graphics For the winter period December 2019 to February 2020








For SW England there is good agreement for above normal temperatures and for normal or above normal precipitation. However precipitation forecasts are often misleading and a shift northwards of the wetter zone as in ECMWF may lead to lower rainfall values.

C: Recent results for (June to August 2019):

Temperature forecast for above normal for the season were good although some output may be a little warm. Many precipitation forecasts were poor but a trend to wetter types was suggested although the month to month detail was poor.

Comparison graphics can be seen at the verification page for June July August 2019

2. Forecast. SW England.

Remainder of Autumn 2019  (October November)

Overall the season is likely to see above normal temperatures with each month probably having above average values.

Rainfall forecasts slightly favour above normal rainfall for the season, perhaps with a less wet October then a wetter November but this is not clear.

Autumn climate: 1981 to 2010 average mean temperature 11 or 12°C but nearer 10°C in rural areas. Maximum temperatures average 14 to 16°C. November normally colder than October. Average 1981 to 2010 rain 300 to 400mm, 600 to 800mm over the moors but east of the moors and in lowland Somerset more like 200 to 300mm. 

Winter  (2019 December 2020 January February)  limited data

The indication for a milder than average winter remains the main signal although February may see closer to normal values with December having the largest anomalies compared to the average.  Precipitation is likely to be above average especially in December, and possibly parts of January, although February may see nearer normal. Below average snowfall is more likely than above average.

Winter Climate: 1981-2010 average temperature values for lowland areas 7°C in the West and 5°C in the East. Rainfall; Dec and Jan typically wetter than February. 1981-2010 Autumn average 300-400 mm lowlands but 200-300 mm areas to E of Dartmoor. Snow climatology less than 5 days lying snow over lowland areas 5 to 10 hills, say hills around 200 metre elevation – one in three years have no lying snow.

Spring 2020  (March April May) very limited data

Above average temperature for the season but May could be a less mild month. Precipitation uncertain  but possible near average although Pparts of April or May could be drier.

Spring climate: 1981-2010 average mean temperature 9 or 10°C but a few degrees cooler over the moors. Roughly Mar 7 or 8°C Apr 8 or 9°C  May 11 or 12°C. Average 1981 to 2010 rain 200 to 300mm lowest values in E Devon and over parts of Somerset.

3. Caution.

Experimental Long Range Forecasts do not have a good success rate. The data used for the above forecast summary can be seen at  here.

The attempt at a Regional Forecast for SW England aims to test whether such a forecast of temperature and rainfall variation from average can be made using numerical model data available on the internet. The forecast should not be used for any other purpose. A brief verification summary for the UK and Eire is routinely published at or Click here for the Teignmouth and Dawlish summary

4. References.

SST anomaly NOAA Remote Sens. 2014, 6(11), 11579-11606; doi:10.3390/rs61111579

IRI statistics: Mason, S.J. and L. Goddard, 2001: Probabilistic precipitation anomalies associated with ENSO. Bull. Amer. Meteor. Soc., 82, 619-638.

UK climate details see:

NMME information:

CFS2  info

GLOFAS Acknowledgement: Data were provided by the Global Flood Awareness System – GloFAS ( of the European Commission Joint Research Centre and the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts.
Reference: Alfieri, L., Burek, P., Dutra, E., Krzeminski, B., Muraro, D., Thielen, J., and Pappenberger, F.: GloFAS – global ensemble streamflow forecasting and flood early warning, Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci., 17, 1161-1175, doi:10.5194/hess-17-1161-2013, 2013.

‘Copernicus Products’  as listed in the C3S or CAMS Service Product Specification or any other items available through an ECMWF Copernicus

International seasonal monthly data from WMO

Stratospheric Diagnostics from Japan Met Agency and Free University Berlin

Climate data from The Met Office UK and NCEP USA