First signs of a boiling summer

Will the summer of 2019 be hot and dry, like the one of 2018? Or is it going to be cloudy again with rain or showers at times and only the odd period of sunshine and warmth, that we’re so familiar with in our Northwest European summers? In spring, the interest and anticipation start to build, not only in the public, but also among meteorologists. The big questions at stake are: What will the upcoming summer look like, weather wise? And is it possible to know already at this moment?

Meteorologists always tend to look further ahead than they technically can. It’s something that is simply in their veins. Why would you do such a thing? Predicting the weather is difficult enough already, so why stretch your limits and be vulnerable for uncertain forecasts? The answer is simple: if you want your science to proceed, you need to be a kind of a 'daredevil'. You need to gain experience with the unknown, to find the necessary connections and build trust in them.

MeteoGroup has a long history of being such a daredevil. Besides criticism of those who don’t see the aim of experimenting, this has brought us a lot of expertise and knowledge, surprising results and satisfaction; also, among our clients. Walking the extra mile makes sense in meteorology.

In the field of seasonal and sub-seasonal forecasting, MeteoGroup is part of a long-lasting partnership with the experts of US-based World Climate Service. Meteorologists of both companies work closely together in producing these very challenging long-term forecasts. There have been ups and downs in forecast success, but with a clear tendency for an increasing frequency of correct seasonal forecasts and increased skill, over the years. Almost 10 years ago we successfully foresaw the cold and snowy winter of 2009-2010, during the autumn of 2009. Last year’s hot and dry summer in Europe was on our desk already during the month of March. And, this latest relatively dry winter in a major part of the Alpine region had been forecasted during last autumn, by our experts.

To be able to look far ahead, you need a blend of computer models doing their job in the months beforehand, the creation of skilful and insightful historical analogues (based on examples of previous years, when weather patterns were most similar to the one we see now) and a detailed knowledge of teleconnections (when weather patterns occurring over global regions, large distances apart, appear to be connected with each other). World Climate Service runs a historical database that is being used for creating the analogues we need and assessing the influence of the teleconnection patterns that we currently know and that will occur at times in future. More and more clients get acquainted with this way of working and enjoy the benefits of it in their daily operations. Although still being a part of a widely unexplored area of science, the signs of progress are evident and encouraging.

So, what about the summer of 2019? Our provisional thoughts are that, the rest of spring will see quite lengthy dry spells of weather over Northwest and Central Europe and it will often be warmer than average. France, Germany and the Western Alps have seen very dry conditions over the past 12 months and more dry weather here this spring will put further stress on river levels and soil moisture. With high pressure areas also likely to be the main features on our weather maps over the heart of Europe this summer, heatwaves are looking a threat. Heat and drought could hit the headlines in these regions! Sustained periods of cool and wet weather seem much less likely than normal, although the northern third of Europe could well turn more unsettled as we head through the second half of summer. Watch this space!

As more information and guidance becomes available in the coming weeks, we will refine and update our view on summer 2019 as necessary and keep our customers well informed.


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