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Spring outlook

Milder than average


29/02/2020

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 with very little snow in much of the UK. December, January and February were all milder than average. 

According to the Met Office the provisional UK mean temperature for January was 5.6C, which is 2.0C above the 1981-2010 long-term average, making it the 6th warmest January in a series from 1884. The provisional December UK mean temperature was 5.1C, which is 1.3C above the 1981-2010 long-term average. The data for February is not yet available but the provisional Central England Temperature (CET) to the 28th is 6.5C which is 2.7C above the 1961-90 average.

When the final data is available it is expected that winter 2019/20 will be one of the 10 mildest on record in the UK.     

Spring view

Spring prospects

The spring forecast headline is for a milder than average season. Rainfall amounts are expected to be close to the average. Through the winter months very cold air has been locked up in the Arctic due to a very strong polar vortex. As it breakdowns in the spring cold blocks of air will be displaced to mid-latitude locations such as the UK. Therefore, there is a chance of cold periods occurring during the first half of the spring.

Despite that the TWO view is that any cold periods will be more than offset by a) warmer than average ones later in the season and b) the generally high levels of background warmth currently present in the northern hemisphere. This is supported by output from seasonal computer models. The precipitation signal is much weaker, therefore forecast confidence in  rainfall amounts is low. 

Summary

The meteorological winter which ran from December 1st to February 29th was notably mild. Cold Arctic air will be displaced to mid-latitude locations during the spring and that could lead to some cold periods in the UK. Despite that a milder than average spring is expected.  

TWO seasonal forecast

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