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Winter 2015/16 Forecast Review

One has to play a very careful game when reviewing long range forecasts, because I'm only too aware that any triumphalism associated with the past seasons forecast can backfire spectacularly when the next one comes around!

If you didn't see it, the Winter Forecast 2015/16 video can be watched free of charge here http://premium.weatherweb.net/2016/02/24/winter-201516-seasonal-outlook/

The graphics below show where were were with the forecast for winter 2015/16 back in late November (this forecast was released 26th November 2015). Obviusly there's still a few days of winter to go (until 29th February), but I think we can be fairly pleased with the headline graphic below. Certainly things were front loaded with milder, wetter weather, and February has certainly turned colder and drier.

 

winter201516251115.001           winter201516251115.002

 

Where did we get it right?
This is where were were with the forecast for winter 2015/16 back in late November (this forecast was released 26th November 2015). Obviusly there's still a few days of winter to go (until 29th February), but I think we can be fairly pleased with the headline graphic below. Certainly things were front loaded with milder, wetter weather, and February has certainly turned colder and drier.

The ideas of a strong jet stream through December and January were good, although I'd never have predicted as much rainfall as actually fell during these months.

There were always signs that as El Nino peaked and the jet weakened later in the winter, that February could see quite a change and perhaps the coldest weather of the winter. This turned out to be a good call. certainly the chilly is set to continue into early March and so the late spring ideas were good too.

Snow days were pretty good. With the idea of more snow than last year, but not a snowy one by any measure. The thoughts of limited snow on 5 to 8 days in the south was a good call too.

Sticking with near to above average temperatures was about right, although it has been milder than average for all.


Where did we get it wrong?
The shear amount of rainfall which fell during December and January caught me out, despite my forecast of wet weather. Note above that for the winter as a whole I'd got the northern half of the UK at 100-120% of average rainfall for the winter as a whole, and the southern UK at 150-180%. I should really have gone with the whole UK at 150-180% and looking back I see in my notes I actually pondered doing this!

I thought that pressure would be higher in early to mid February and could allow some much colder, foggy and frosty conditions. Well, it was sort of there with high pressure starting to build to the west and frostier days. But the detail wasn't quite there.


Lessons to learn?
Don't under estimate the power of the jet stream when the global climate is so warm. Moisture can bring even heavier rainfall, and go with gut instincts on this. The physics back up the thought of more warmth=heavier rain.
Overall?
Being aware of the caveat given in the first sentence, I call this a successful forecast. The story was good, the them was good and the overall pattern was there too. For a long range forecast I think it's worth an 8 out of 10.

Not bad, but I'm not gloating by any means, because now it's on with the forecast for spring and summer, and boy that could be a whole different ball game!

 

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