FAQ

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A cover crop is a crop planted primarily to manage soil fertility, carbon storage, soil quality, water, weeds, pests, diseases, biodiversity and wildlife. See the following links for more information:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cover_crop  

http://www.fwi.co.uk/arable/cover-crops-what-are-the-benefits.htm

 

A seasonal prediction aims to estimate the change in the likelihood of a climatic event happening in the coming months. It is a forecast of the possible conditions averaged over a large region (e.g. country-wide) and over a specified period of time (e.g. three months). Specifically, the seasonal prediction gives an indication of the possible conditions over the UK for the coming 3-month period.

It does not indicate that these average conditions will prevail continuously, as the period is likely to contain a range of different types of weather. Nor does it indicate that these average conditions will be the same over the whole region. The questions we can answer in seasonal forecasting are different to the questions we are trying to answer in weather forecasting. For example, in seasonal forecasting we try to address questions like:

  1. If the average temperature in Devon in winter is 5.2°C, what is the chance of having warmer or colder temperatures this year?
  2. If, on average, the first frost in South East England is on 3 November, what is the probability that this winter will have frosts earlier than this?

As you can see, in both these questions there is a comparison with an average value which is usually calculated from observations. So, in seasonal forecasting we are trying to estimate the difference between the chance of an event happening this year and the frequency with which it has happened in the past. Our initial forecasts are based on the UK Contingency Planners forecast: http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/publicsector/contingency-planners.

See the following links for more information: 

 

We are focusing on winter decision making because recent advances in long-range weather forecasting mean it is often possible to provide advance notice of a colder and drier, or warmer and wetter winter than average conditions.

The North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) is an important mode of climate variability in North European climate, and drives much of the signal in winter climate. Recent advances in seasonal forecasting have increased predictability in the winter NAO have led to significant improvements in seasonal climate predictions for Northern Europe during the winter, with advance warnings of cool/dry vs. wet/mild conditions possible several months ahead.

See the following links for more information:

http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/research/news/2014/long-range-forecast-journey

http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/2014GL059637/abstract

www.youtube.com/watch?v=QwDb6a7fE7Q

We are currently providing site-specific 14-day forecasts for temperature and precipitation across the UK, via our website.

 

The 14 day forecasts provided here are produced from a Met Office product called "BestData" The concept behind BestData is to create an optimal blend of all available observations and numerical weather prediction (NWP) sources and produce the most accurate forecast from now though to day 15. Whilst  'Most Likely' solution (rather than a range of predictions) is most often required in products and services, BestData is also designed to provide detail of the spread of forecasts. Currently, BestData is built for site-specific forecasts.

Data sources in BestData include the gridded Nowcast (incorporating surface, satellite cloud and radar rainfall observations), high resolution NWP (including the 1.5km resolition UKV model), global weather models (from both the Met Office and ECMWF) and ensembles (large sets) of weather models (from both the Met Office and ECMWF).

The 14 day forecasts are produced from a set, or ensemble of predictions (rather than just one outcome) which are slightly different model versions and produce different outcomes.  So, the predictions give a spread of results, not just one prediction.

You can find out more about how they are produced here.

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LMTool provides seasonal winter weather forecasts (1-3 months ahead) in support of decision making on cover crop planting, choice and management.