From a review of the UK 2018-19 winter season, in comparison with the long range forecasts, EuroTempest concludes that both seasonal forecast models and climate signals were able to provide some useful insights into the expected conditions over the winter months, with climate indicators occasionally providing more useful information in the shorter term.
In the context of the preceding 10 years, monthly storm occurrence and precipitation volumes for the UK 2018-19 winter season were around average, while daily temperatures were typically above average. However there were also periods of relatively unusual weather. For example, January experienced more settled conditions than the previous 10 years would suggest, with fewer windy days than average and just over half the average monthly precipitation. In contrast, the weather in March was unsettled, with substantially more windy days than the 10-year average and greater than 150% of the average monthly precipitation.
Of the eight seasonal forecast models considered in the EuroTempest Seasonal Forecast Assessments, the majority indicated around or above average precipitation and temperature across the winter period. Due to the relationship between UK winter precipitation and temperature and the passage of Atlantic storms across the UK, the seasonal models were also interpreted as indicating around or above average storminess. While these models were somewhat representative of the actual conditions for storminess and temperature, they were less successful at capturing the precipitation trend. In contrast, due to the ability of some climate signals to provide a stronger indication of weather patterns in the shorter term, below average precipitation during January and February was successfully indicated by these signals in the JFM assessment.
EuroTempest will continue to monitor long range forecasts and climate signals for the European winter season in order to evaluate how useful they could be for insurers in longer term planning for weather impacts.
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