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Spring 2020

Warmer and drier than average?


28/01/2020

The meteorological spring

The meteorological spring runs from March 1st to May 31st. At the start of the season cold weather is a risk and March often brings more snow than December. By May genuine warmth is possible.

Winter 2019/20 has been very mild so far. The provisional UK mean temperature for December was 5.1C, which is 1.3C above the 1981-2010 long-term average. The Central England Temperature (CET) for February is at 6.5C to the 27th which is a massive 2.7C above the average. 

At the moment there are indications of February bringing more mixed weather. On balance a milder than average month is favoured by computer models but there is much uncertainty. Very cold air has been bottled up in the Arctic for most of the winter and eventually some of it could make its way down to mid-latitude locations such as the UK.

Spring view

Drier and warmer than average spring?

The seasonal computer models generally suggest that March, April and May taken as a whole will be warmer than the average.

The C3S multi system which takes inputs from the ECMWF, UK Met Office, Meteo France, CMCC, DWD and NCEP seasonal models indicates a warmer than average season. There isn't a strong precipitation signal in much of the country but in the north west below average is shown.

The Beijing Climate Center suggests a warmer and drier than average spring.

The Canadian CanSIPS model suggests a warmer than average spring with no significant precipitation anomaly.  

The International Research Institute (IRI) model also shows no temperature anomalies. Precipitation is mixed with below average more likely in the north and above average more likely in the south.

The Japanese Jamstec model is forecasting a colder than average spring. Precipitation amounts are expected to be above average in the north.

The UK Met Office seasonal model favours above average temperatures. No significant precipitation anomaly is shown.

At this stage aggregated temperatures for March, April and May are considered more likely to be above average than below. However, there could be some early cold snaps as the very cold air which has been trapped in the Arctic starts to seep out. The precipitation signal is mixed.

Summary

Tentative suggestions for the coming spring are:

1) Over the 3 month period temperatures are more likely to be above average than below

2) A slightly drier than average season is weakly favoured

3) Early in the season there is an increased risk of cold spells

The TWO seasonal forecast will be updated to cover the spring months on February 29th.

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