The UK seasonal forecast headline is for winter 2023-24 is to be slightly milder and slightly wetter than average over the three month period.
The coldest periods are forecast to be in December and February. As always, there is a lot of uncertainty in the longer term and the potential for cold periods may be higher than in recent winters for a number of reasons. In particular, very cold air has become established to the north and east of the UK and there is a chance of it filtering into the UK at times.
The forecast was produced by looking at a number of factors, including:
The Weather Analogue Index (WAI) which was tracked through the autumn months.
Forecast confidence for winter 2023-24 is low. Seasonal models and recent climatology suggest a milder than average season. Since the start of 2022, only one month has been colder than the 1961-90 Central England Temperature (CET); that was December 2022. Therefore, the chance of two out of three months being colder than the norm is low.
Background signals are mixed, but the strong El Nino correlates with an increased chance of cold snaps during the second half of the winter. Also, the easterly QBO is linked to weaker westerly winds. However, the IOD suggests an increased chance of southwesterly winds.
The WAI has offered a mixed picture recently, but when viewed over the second half of the autumn a number of years with cold or very cold winters were ranking highly.
In conclusion, although a slightly milder than average winter is forecast, other outcomes are very possible.
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