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

Published 17 November  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 North Atlantic roughly between 50 and 60 degrees north shows some well mixed areas due to Atlantic storms.


The tropical north Atlantic is forecast to remain very slightly warmer than average through to at least Spring 2020 (See Met Office graphic above).

In the Pacific neutral or weak El-Nino conditions continue and forecasts suggest conditions are likely to remain similar over winter and and probably 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 turned positive which if maintained implies a milder, wetter, winter 2019/2020. However it is  far from clear that this will be the case and the majority of the enesmeble forecast show a dip to a negative phase over the next week or two.


NAO background information see the Met Office NAO information.

Recent Climatology

The first half of November has been wetter than average with only on or two days with no measurable rain. Rain totals range from over 100mm in some western and hilly areas to 50mm in the east, that’s over 90% of the typical November rain in western areas.  Temperature means have been around 7 or 8 Celsius which is above half a degree or so below the 1981 to 2010 average and it has been cold enough for sleet over some higher hills and snow over the moors giving a covering. Sunshine has typically been below average.

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


Europe anomalies over the last 12 months November 2018 to October (Copernicus data), shown below, show the UK and Scandinavia with below average temperature in an otherwise above average region. Southern UK has also been wetter than average.


Meanwhile October global temperatures show a warming trend compared to 1981 to 2010 average.


River flows and groundwater in October reflect the wetter conditions but groundwater in eastern England has still not recovered to normal. Details can be found in the October 2019 Hydrological summary PDF 


The reservoir levels in the SW of England (10th November) show 76% storage, above normal levels for the time of year.


Global Flood Awareness System has been upgraded but data starting in November is not yet available.

Atmosphere: Predictions.

A:  1: Stratosphere

North Polar vortex forming in the Stratosphere is in winter mode as shown by the ECMWF 50hPa chart for 1200UTC 15th November 2019. There are signs of warming causing the vortex to split relocate eastwards and this might result in a less mobile Atlantic pattern which may develop in mid December. This is not born out by long range forecast at present. Plot of 10hPa GFS model zonal wind shown below the 50hPa plots.



GFS forecast for 10hPa showing marked weakening of zonal wind associated with weakening or movement of the stratospheric vortex. Thanks to @HannahAttard.

A: 2: Upper Troposphere

NMME (top) and combined NCAR and CFSv2 200hPa averaged monthly mean anomalies (middle) compared to CFS2 forecast height contours (lower row) for the period December 2019 to February 2020, based on November data, Indication of above normal heights throughout but with hints at stronger than average Atlantic jet.


For Spring 2020, again above normal heights with less  signal for enhanced jet flow.


B: Lower Troposphere:

A selection of December 2019 to February 2020 solutions in low resolution from WMO using November 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 (BoM, CMC, Moscow, DWD, CPTEC, UKMO, Seoul, Washington, Tokyo, Toulouse, ECMWF) Beijing and Pretoria missing but Beijing data is available on their web site.


WMO super ensemble


UKMO seasonal


BoM seasonal – along with Moscow represents the two colder solutions.


ECMWF seasonal DJF 


Washington seasonal 

The complete set of graphics including NASA and NMME graphics is available at the weather-info site.

Fewer models for Spring 2020


NASA seasonal March April May 2020 (Nov 2019 data)


CFS2 E3 data seasonal forecast Spring 2020 data November 2019.


NMME data November 2020 forecast for Spring 2020.

For SW England there remains is a strong consensus for above normal temperatures and for above normal precipitation at least through winter.

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

Temperature forecast for above normal for the season were OK although some output may be a little warm and the less warm September was not well forecast. Many precipitation forecasts were poor but the overall trend  to wetter types was suggested especially for SW England although the month to month detail was poor.

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

More recently models were slow to pick up a colder first half of November but may recover the average in the second half of the month.

2. Forecast. SW England.

Winter  (2019 December 2020 January February) 

Increased uncertainty due to changes in stratosphere.

The indication for a milder than average winter remains the main signal. Only two models suggest a colder season and one or two indicate less mild months, notably February.  Precipitation is likely to be above average with some hints that February could be less wet but no consistent indication for any specifically drier month. Below average snowfall is more likely than above average. The signal for windier than usual conditions continues but with pressure near normal or even above normal close to the south of the UK this may be a feature of the weather further north.

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 in some models May is indicated at being  a less mild month (relative to its average). Precipitation uncertain but probably near or a little above average early in the season but less strong indications for later in the season.

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)  limited data

Slightly above average temperatures but possibly near normal for August. Rainfall uncertain but some indications for a drier August with overall rainfall near or perhaps slightly above average.

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


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