What are the prospects for seasonal prediction of the marine environment of the North-west European Shelf?

Jonathan Tinker, Justin Krijnen, Richard Wood, Rosa Barciela, Stephen R. Dye

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)
13 Downloads (Pure)


Sustainable management and utilisation of the North-west European Shelf (NWS) seas could benefit from reliable forecasts of the marine environment on monthly to seasonal timescales. Recent advances in global seasonal forecast systems and regional marine reanalyses for the NWS allow us to investigate the potential for seasonal forecasts of the state of the NWS.

We identify three possible approaches to address this issue: (A) basing NWS seasonal forecasts directly on output from the Met Office's GloSea5 global seasonal forecast system; (B) developing empirical downscaling relationships between large-scale climate drivers predicted by GloSea5 and the state of the NWS; and (C) dynamically downscaling GloSea5 using a regional model. We show that the GloSea5 system can be inadequate for simulating the NWS directly (approach A). We explore empirical relationships between the winter North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) and NWS variables estimated using a regional reanalysis (approach B). We find some statistically significant relationships and present a skillful prototype seasonal forecast for English Channel sea surface temperature.

We find large-scale relationships between inter-annual variability in the boundary conditions and inter-annual variability modelled on the shelf, suggesting that dynamic downscaling may be possible (approach C). We also show that for some variables there are opposing mechanisms correlated with the NAO, for which dynamic downscaling may improve on the skill possible with empirical forecasts. We conclude that there is potential for the development of reliable seasonal forecasts for the NWS and consider the research priorities for their development.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)887-909
JournalOcean Science
Publication statusPublished - 27 Aug 2018

Cite this