Want to know the next month’s weather for Macclesfield? You might be better off taking a look at Malaysia.
Scientists at the University of Reading and the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) have uncovered a new link between conditions in the tropics and the weather in Europe, allowing scientists to improve the accuracy of early UK winter forecasts.
The scientists found that combining observations of El Niño – a periodic warming of waters in the Pacific – with other natural weather cycles around the equator gives more accurate indications of the type of weather Europe will experience, up to a month in advance.
Weather patterns in the tropics have been used to predict those in Europe for several years, but the new study shows for the first time how warmer or cooler phases in the East Pacific strengthen or weaken the connection between the two regions.
Improved advanced weather forecasts would help UK and European authorities get ready for upcoming weather, helping to keep roads open in icy conditions, or prepare for floods or drought, for example. There would also be benefits for businesses like energy companies and farmers in planning crop production.
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