Review and Experimental Long Range Forecast for SW England. February 2021.

Published 19 February 2021.

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1. Influences.

Changes in sea temperature

Atlantic sea temperatures are mostly warmer than climatology apart from slightly cooler than average values around the UK. Norwegian Sea and Baltic Sea temperatures also remain above climatology despite the recent cold spell. The tropical North Atlantic is forecast to remain slightly warmer than average through Summer 2021 (See Met Office graphic below).

Colder sea temperatures in the East Pacific, just south of the equator, show a well established La Nina although some noticeable warming has occurred in the East. Forecasts continue to suggest that Pacific Sea Surface temperatures may remain in a La Nina state through to 2021 although may be near neutral for the Spring.

The North Atlantic Oscillation index (500hPa index shown below) turned turned slightly negative early in December 2020 and has recently turned slightly positive and is forecast to remain slightly positive through the remainder of February.

The positive NAO phase represents a stronger than usual difference in pressure allowing winds from the west to predominate. The position of the jet stream enables stronger and more frequent storms to travel across the Atlantic bringing more frequent milder and wetter weather types for NW Europe

For Met Office information about the NAO see

Recent Climatology –  SW England

The recent cold and largely dry spell between the 5th and 14th has resulted in temperature averages being slightly below normal although this made be offset by milder SW which look like continuing until nearer the end of February when High pressure and a change in wind direction is likely. Rainfall to the 19th has been near or slightly above average and sunshine somewhat below average.

CPC graphic 7th to 13th February showing temperature anomalies and total rainfall in this period.

Looking back at the last three months, despite the colder January, temperatures have been near or a little above average across SW England and rainfall above average despite the drier November.

River flows and ground water levels in January 2021 were well above normal across SW England. Details can be found in the January 2021 Hydrological summary PDF 

The forecast changes in the next month and three months can be viewed at Hydro UK

The reservoir levels in the SW of England were above the normal level as of February 7tht 2021.

Global Flood Awareness (updated) System. February forecast for the period February to May indicates slightly above normal flood risk for SW England.

Glofas February forecast for Feb to May 2021. Blue above normal flood risk.

UK based data is available in The Hydrological Outlook which provides an insight into future hydrological conditions across the UK.  Detail can be found at

River flow from climate forecast

Further graphics from the February outlook are available

Atmosphere: Predictions.

A:  1: Stratosphere

Major warming in the stratosphere (see N Pole temperatures below) in January 2021 caused a reversal of the westerly flow across North America and a significant re-location of the polar stratospheric vortex towards Norther Russia.

JMA North pole observed temperature changes at 10hPa and 30hPa

Since then the polar stratospheric vortex has re-formed and strengthened into a normal winter mode. Below the ECMWF 10hPa and 50hPa show only limited stratospheric warming although a further weakening of the flow is evident across western Europe at 50hPa in the forecast for 28th Feb.

A: 2: Upper Troposphere

CFsv2 200hPa contours (top row) and anomaly (lower row) for March to May 2021 hint at a less mobile patterns across the Atlantic for April and May.

B: Lower Troposphere:

A selection of  March to May solutions using February 2021 data are shown below, top row temperature anomaly and lower row precipitation anomaly. 

NMME Spring 2021
CFSv2 Spring 2021
ECMWF Spring 2021
NASA Spring 2021

A selection of  WMO sourced March to May solutions using February 2021 data are shown below, top row temperature anomaly and lower row precipitation anomaly. 

WMO super ensemble 11 models combined
Beijing Spring 2021
BoM Australia Spring 2021
Brazil Spring 2021
DWD Germany Spring 2021
ECMWF Spring 2021
Canada Spring 2021
Korea Spring 2021
Japan Spring 2021
France Spring 2021
UKMO Spring 2021
USA CFS2 Spring 2021

A selection of  June to August solutions using February 2021 data can be seen at

C: Comparing the output of seasonal models for 2020 November December and 2021 January based on October  2020 data for the UK and Ireland.

For graphics and details see Verification review 2020 Oct Nov Dec

Review of details looked for in seasonal forecast.
Temperature. Three month season slightly above normal except Norther Ireland slightly below. Nov and DEC above normal but January as much below normal as November was above. Look for colder January following milder Nov and Dec in most areas.

Rainfall. Scotland marginally below elsewhere above normal for the season. Look for November drier and then wetter.

Pressure. Overall below normal (WSW) but above normal in November, well below in December and slightly below in January except in NW Scotland were slightly above.

Comment: DWD and Tokyo had the correct temperature sequence milder start colder end. Washington, UKMO, DWD and Canada had the rainfall trend OK but were not “wet” enough with near normal suggested rather than above normal.

TABLE below is for 3 month data only. Scoring will state good, fair, poor or no signal for the three month season.
1. Russia: Temp no signal. PPN fair.
2. USA – CFS2 : Temp good . PPN good .
3. UKMO Contingency: Temp good . PPN poor .
4. UKMO : Temp fair. PPN fair . PMSL poor
5. USA – IRI : Temp no signal . PPN poor .
6. KMA APCC : Temp good . PPN no signal .
7. JMA : Temp good . PPN poor . PMSL poor
8. NMME : Temp good . PPN poor .
9. WMO : Temp good . PPN poor .
10. BCC : Temp good . PPN poor .
11. NASA – Temp fair . PPN poor .
12. Brazil: Temp good . PPN poor .
13. CanSips : Temp good . PPN fair .
14. IMME : Temp good. PPN fair .
15. Copernicus Temp fair . PPN poor. PMSL poor
16. CMCC Temp fair . PPN poor. . PMSL poor
17: DWD Temp fair . PPN poor. . PMSL poor
18. EC Temp fair . PPN poor. . PMSL poor
19 UKMO Temp fair . PPN poor. PMSL poor
20. MF Temp poor . PPN poor . PMSL poor
21 NCEP Temp fair. PPN poor . PMSL poor
22 JMA: Temp fair. PPN poor . PMSL poor
23 ECMWF (monthly) Temp: poor. PPN poor .

2: Forecast.

Spring  (2021 March April May)

The overall indication for the Spring Season is for above average temperatures. March could well see some colder spells and could turn out to be near average. The strongest indication for above average values is in April although May is also likely to be warmer than average.

Rainfall uncertain, probably near average for the season but with some longer dry periods quite likely. There is a risk that March could be wetter than average with even a little snow over the moors but this could be followed by a drier April and near normal May.

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 2021  (June July August)  

Temperature above average for the season with June possibly seeing the warmest anomalies and August the lowest, with values closer to the average.

Rainfall for the season uncertain but probably above average rain totals. Higher rain rates are typical of a warming atmosphere but may not imply an increase in the number of days with rain. June possibly drier than average but with a risk of above normal rainfall in July and/or August.

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.

Autumn 2021  (September October November)  limited data.

Milder than average but with near average rainfall.

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 which is colder than September. 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. September often drier than October or November.

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

Contains public sector information licensed under the Open Government Licence v3.0.

By Master0Garfield – Created using WikiProject Tropical cyclones/Tracks. The background image is from NASA [1]. The tracking data is from the National Hurricane Center’s Atlantic hurricane database, Public Domain,

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