Review and Experimental Long Range Forecast for SW England. October 2020.

Published 19 October 2020.

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1. Influences.

Changes in sea temperature

Atlantic equatorial sea temperatures remain warmer than climatology as is the area area around the UK, Norwegian Sea and Baltic.

Colder sea temperatures in the East Pacific just south of the equator show the La Nina has strengthened.

The tropical north Atlantic is forecast to remain slightly warmer than average through to at least March 2021 (See Met Office graphic below).

Wikipedia states that “The 2020 Atlantic hurricane season is an ongoing tropical cyclone season which has featured tropical cyclone formation at a record-breaking rate. So far, there have been a total of 27 tropical or subtropical cyclones, 26 named storms, 9 hurricanes, and 3 major hurricanes.[nb 1] With 26 named storms, it is the second most active Atlantic hurricane season on record, behind only the 2005 Atlantic hurricane season. It is also only the second tropical cyclone season to feature the Greek letter storm naming system, with the other season also being 2005.

Wikipedia track map so far in 2020

The most recent storm (October 5th to 12th) Hurricane Delta was the record-tying fourth named storm of 2020 to strike Louisiana, as well as the record-breaking tenth named storm to strike the United States. “

A new storm shown “Epsilon” is likely to track near to Bermuda on the 23rd/24th of October 2020.

In the Pacific, sea temperatures continue to trend towards cooler / La Nina conditions which may now last until early Summer Spring 2021 before returning to neutral conditions.

The North Atlantic Oscillation index (shown by a 500hPa index in the image below) turned negative in near the end of September but is forecast to below positive before the end of October.

The positive NAO phase represents a stronger than usual difference in pressure between the two regions. Winds from the west dominate, bringing with them warm air, while the position of the jet stream enables stronger and more frequent storms to travel across the Atlantic. These support mild, stormy and wet winter conditions in northern Europe and eastern US. Conversely, northern Canada, Greenland and southern Europe are prone to cold and dry winter conditions.

For Met Office information about the NAO see

Recent Climatology –  SW England

October to the 18th: Temperatures have been averaging around 11 Celsius or between 0.5 and 1 Celsius BELOW the 30 year average. Rainfall shows between 50 and 80% of the average, thanks mostly to the four wet days at the start of the month and mainly the 2nd and 3rd. Sunshine has so far been and near or slightly below average.

This follows drier than average September and a wetter summer with generally near normal temperatures.

River flows in September 2020 were near or slightly below normal across the SW and groundwater levels were also near normal in the eastern parts of SW England. Details can be found in the September 2020 Hydrological summary PDF 

The reservoir levels in the SW of England (16th August) were above average as of the 11th of October.

Global Flood Awareness System. October forecast for Oct to Jan has above normal flood risk for much of the UK and Ireland. (Orange below normal Blue above).

Details of soon to be implemented improvements to the system can be found the the following URL

Atmosphere: Predictions.

A:  1: Stratosphere

Stratosphere polar vortex is forecast to strengthen towards winter mode as shown by the ECMWF 30hPa height and temperatures for October 18th 1200UTC and forecast chart for 28th October 2020.

A: 2: Upper Troposphere

October 6th data for CFSv2 200hPa contours for November 2020 to January 2021  shown in top row along with the anomalies from CFS (middle row) and the NMME anomalies (lower row). Forecast is for above normal heights but with an increase in jet flow during January.

B: Lower Troposphere:

A selection of  November solutions using October 2020 data are shown below.

Top row temperature anomaly and lower row precipitation anomaly. 

CFS2 NASA ECMWF NMME for November 2020
WMO ensemble data for November 2020 : WMO BoM CMC and DWD
WMO ensemble data: Beijing Moscow Exeter and Toulouse 

A selection of  December to February (winter) solutions using October 2020 data are shown below.

Individual months, top row temperature anomaly and lower row precipitation anomaly. 

CFS2 E3 data DJF
WMO super ensemble DJF
BoM Melbourne
DWD Germany
Montreal Canada
Toulouse MF
Korea KMA

C: Comparing the output of seasonal models for July August September 2020, based on June  2020 data.

For graphics and details see Verification review 2020 Jul Aug Sep

Temperature forecast for the three months had the correct idea even the suggestion of the colder and warmer areas

Rainfall: The idea that the south could see one wetter month was correct and there were hints to wetter than average in places but overall not an especially helpful forecast

Models monthly:
Temperature: ECMWF BOM CMC TOKYO and Washington(WMO) had some idea of the cold July and warmer August.
Rainfall: NMME UKMO and CMC had hints at parts of the correct sequence

Scoring for three month season (from text if available) will attempt to state good, fair, poor or no signal.

Despite some models scoring good few had the monthly sequence anything light right.

1. Russia: Temp good. PPN no signal.
2. USA – CFS2 : Temp fair. PPN fair .
3. UKMO Contingency: Temp good. PPN good .
4. UKMO : Temp good. PPN mostly no signal . PMSL poor
5. USA – IRI : Temp no signal. PPN .
6. KMA APCC : Temp good. PPN no signal.
7. JMA : Temp good. PPN good. PMSL good.
8. NMME : Temp good. PPN poor.
9. WMO : Temp good. PPN poor .
10. BCC : Temp good. PPN fair .
11. NASA: Temp good. PPN poor .
12. Brazil:
13. CanSips : Temp fair. PPN fair .
14. IMME: Temp good. PPN fair .
15. Copernicus Temp good. PPN poor . PMSL fair
16. EC Temp good. PPN poor . PMSL poor
17. MF Temp good. PPN poor . PMSL poor
19: ECMWF (monthly) Temp: fair. PPN poor
20: CMCC Temp good. PPN poor . PMSL good
21: DWD Temp poor. PPN poor . PMSL fair

2. Forecast. SW England.

Remainder of  Autumn 2020 (November) 

Temperatures are likely to be near or slightly above the 30 year average (1981-2010)

Rainfall more likely to be slightly below normal than above across SW England (confidence low)

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 (2020 December 2021 January February).

A milder than average Winter in indicated as well as each month being near normal or milder than average in most of the data. There is, however, a chance that December could be very close to average and a smaller risk that February could be a little colder than average.

Mixed rainfall indications with some of the wetter model solutions being cancelled out buy the drier ones in the WMO super ensemble. Overall though it seems more likely that total Winter rainfall may end up above average. There is a signal for the first half of Winter to be drier than average but the latter part could be much wetter than average and this may lift the overall winter total to be above average although the number of rain days could be below average. Below average snowfall seems likely – snow most likely confined to higher moors.

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  (2021 March April May) limited data.

Milder than average temperatures seem likely for the season although March and April could see values closer to normal and May could be significantly milder than average.

Rainfall near or a little below average for the season although March could be wetter than average.

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. 20146(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 ECMWF via  Free University Berlin

Climate data from The Met Office UK and NCEP USA

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