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Seasonal Forecasts of the Exceptional Northern Hemisphere Winter of 2020
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  • Simon Haydn Lee,
  • Zachary Duane Lawrence,
  • Amy Hawes Butler,
  • Alexey Yurievich Karpechko
Simon Haydn Lee
University of Reading, University of Reading

Corresponding Author:s.h.lee@pgr.reading.ac.uk

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Zachary Duane Lawrence
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Amy Hawes Butler
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Alexey Yurievich Karpechko
Finnish Meteorological Institute, Finnish Meteorological Institute
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The winter of 2019-20 was dominated by an extremely strong and persistent stratospheric polar vortex and positive tropospheric Arctic Oscillation (AO). Here, we analyze forecasts from 6 different models contributing to the C3S seasonal forecast database. Most models performed very strongly, with consistently high skill for January–March 2020 from forecasts launched through October–December 2019. Although the magnitude of the anomalies was underestimated, the performance of most prediction systems was extremely high for a positive AO winter relative to the common hindcast climate. Ensemble members which better predicted the extremely strong stratospheric vortex better predicted the extreme tropospheric state. We find a significant relationship between forecasts of the anomalous mid-latitude tropospheric wave pattern in early winter, which destructively interfered with the climatological stationary waves, and the strength of the stratospheric vortex later in the winter. Our results support the role of accurate Arctic stratospheric vortex predictions for improving seasonal weather forecasts.
16 Nov 2020Published in Geophysical Research Letters volume 47 issue 21. 10.1029/2020GL090328