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Long range weather forecast

This long range forecast for the UK is updated once a month with this latest update the preliminary view on the upcoming winter, ahead of the full winter forecast which will be issued during November.

Winter Forecast Issued

Click here to view the full winter forecast.

Early Thoughts For Winter 2014/15 - issued early November 2014 - now superceded by the full winter forecast (see above)
By Ed O'Toole & Tony Wells For Netweather

These thoughts are preliminary and subject to change prior to the release of the official Netweather Winter Forecast that will be released by the end of November 2014.

The main forecast will be based on certain solar, atmospheric and sea state conditions that are likely to be in place prior to the start of the winter. Some of these are already in place - such as the direction of the tropical stratospheric wind (QBO), background solar activity and likely ENSO state, whilst others are being determined currently, such as the Eurasion snow cover extent and positioning, and finally we await other conditions to be set, such as the strength and temperature of the polar vortex in the stratosphere during November.

The key considerations mentioned briefly here, but that will be discussed in more depth in the main winter forecast will be:

  • Solar Output - Currently experiencing a reduced solar maximum compared to previous cycles but solar flux levels leading into winter uncertain
  • Stratospheric Conditions - descending QBO which should lead to a more responsive polar vortex especially when linked to :-
  • ENSO conditions - a weak to moderate El Nino likely.
  • Eurasion Snow Cover Extent and Gain relative to 60°N during October - this is well above average leading to an increased likelihood of increased wave activity flux propagating into the stratosphere
  • Autumn Arctic Sea Ice levels - slightly below average leading to slightly increased possibility of a negative AO.
  • Pacific and Atlantic Sea Surface Temperature Anomalies (SST's) - no clear indication yet.
  • GLAAM state - the atmosphere has shown El Nino tendencies that are likely to increase throughout the winter.
  • Other factors that are currently being studied such as the experimental October Pressure Index (OPI) - likely to be negative which has a high correlation with a negative AO, the Taymyr Peninsular Circulation Anomaly (TCA) during October and the sea level pressure anomalies over the Pacific during October.

These considerations lead to key provisional conclusions. These have been determined by looking at composite analogs of previous years when the atmospheric conditions were similar. These analogues will be demonstrated in the full winter forecast.

The suggestions are that this winter will have the following characteristics:

  • A cold heart to the winter with January likely to be colder than average due to an increased likelihood of an SSW (Sudden stratospheric warming) occurring.
  • December and February are likely to be around average temperature wise.
  • AO around -1, with January the lowest AO month.
  • Precipitation close to or slightly above average overall.
  • Tendency for storm tracks taking a more southerly route across the UK -therefore potential for a significant wind event affecting the bulk of the UK.
  • Above average hill snow for Scotland.
  • A winter with something for everyone with no pattern dominating for long.

An SSW event in February 2009 bought widespread snowfall to the UK. An SSW event bought widespread snow to the UK in February 2009
Photograph taken in Feb 2009 by 'Pennine Ten Foot Drifts' - view the rest of his photos here.

Full Winter Forecast Issued During November

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The long range weather forecast displayed on this page is based on data from the Climate Forecast System from the NCEP (USA), run out to 9 months in advance and are updated once a month. The raw data is sent daily to Netweather, our systems then average and further process that data to produce the forecast you see below. The average figures you see on the forecast are not the standard 1971 to 2000 figures you may often see, instead they are rolling averages, currently from the period 1980-2008.

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