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

Published 16 October  2019.

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1. Influences.

Changes in sea temperature.


North Atlantic and North Pacific sea temperature anomalies continue to show above average values although the area between Newfoundland and Ireland shows some well mixed areas. The tropical north Atlantic is forecast to remain warmer than average through to at least Spring 2020 (See Met Office graphic below).


In the Pacific neutral or weak El-Nino conditions continue and forecasts suggest conditions are likely to remain similar through to Spring 2020 – 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 negative phase but is forecast to turn slightly positive within a week or two. A positive phase, if maintained, implies a milder wetter winter 2019/2020.


NAO background information see the Met Office NAO information.

Recent Climatology

October to date has been wetter than average with only on or two days with no measurable rain and in some places rain every day. Temperature though continue above average.

Temperature and rainfall anomalies for July to September are shown below. Please note you can view the Teignmouth and Dawlish summary here.


Europe anomalies over the last 12 months (September 2018-2019 Copernicus data).

map_12month_anomaly_Europe_ea_hydro_201909_v01 (1)

Global temperature anomaly over the last 12 months (2018-2019 Copernicus data).



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 Septem 2019 Hydrological summary PDF 


The reservoir levels in the SW of England (13th October) show 66% storage which was above normal levels for the time of year.


Looking ahead (October to January) 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. This seems at odds with the seasonal forecast output (shown later) which suggests increased rainfall.


Atmosphere: Predictions.

A:  1: Stratosphere

North Polar vortex forming in the Stratosphere which is moving into winter mode as shown by the ECMWF 50hPa chart for 1200UTC 15th October 2019.


A: 2: Upper Troposphere

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


B: Lower Troposphere:

A selection of November 2019 to January 2020 solutions in low resolution from WMO using October 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 UKMO, DWD, CMC, BoM, Seoul, Washington, ECMWF, Toulouse, Brazil.


WMO super ensemble




BoM one of the few colder solutions



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

Graphics For the winter period December 2019 to February 2020


NMME 8th October WINTER


NASA Winter


ECMWF winter


CFS2 (E3 data) 8th October. Winter.

For SW England there is a strong consensus for above normal temperatures and for above normal precipitation.

C: Recent results for (July to September 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 the overall trend  to wetter types was suggested although the month to month detail was poor.

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

2. Forecast. SW England.

Remainder of Autumn 2019  (November)

November is likely to see above normal temperatures and normal or above normak rainfall.

November climate: 1981 to 2010 average mean temperature 8 or 9C°C.  Average 1981 to 2010 rain 60 to 100mm East of the moors, 100-200mm west of the moors but over 250mm over the moors. 

Winter  (2019 December 2020 January February) 

The indication for a milder than average winter remains the main signal although hints at December being nearer normal with the largest anomalies compared to the average being later in the winter.  Precipitation is likely to be above average with no clear indication for any specifically drier month. Below average snowfall is more likely than above average. Possibly increased number of gales.

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) limited data

Above average temperature for the season but May could be a less mild month. Precipitation uncertain  but probably near or above average though some hints that March 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.

Summer 2020  (June July August)  very limted data

A warmer and possibly drier than average summer is possible.

Summer climate: 1981 to 2010 average daily mean temperature 14 or 15°C in many areas to 16 or 17°C in main urban areas also locally east of the moors and more widely in Somerset. Maximum temperatures average 19 to over 21°C in similar areas. July often warmer than August. Average 1981 to 2010 rain 300mm over the moors, typically 200 to 250mm in many coastal and eastern areas. June often drier than July and July drier than August.

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