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Discussion papers | Copyright
https://doi.org/10.5194/os-2018-1
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Research article 22 Jan 2018

Research article | 22 Jan 2018

Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. A revision of this manuscript was accepted for the journal Ocean Science (OS) and is expected to appear here in due course.

What are the prospects for seasonal prediction of the marine environment of the Northwest European shelf?

Jonathan Tinker1, Justin Krijnen1, Richard Wood1, Rosa Barciela1, and Stephen R. Dye2,3 Jonathan Tinker et al.
  • 1Met Office Hadley Centre, Exeter, EX1 3PB, UK
  • 2Cefas, Lowestoft, NR33 0HT, UK
  • 3School of Environmental Sciences, University of East Anglia, Norwich, NR4 7TJ, UK

Abstract. Sustainable management and utilisation of the Northwest European Shelf Seas (NWS) 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 reject A) after showing that the GloSea5 system is inadequate for simulating the NWS directly. Turning to B), we explore empirical relationships between the winter North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO), and NWS variables estimated using a regional reanalysis. We find some statistically significant relationships, and present a skilful prototype seasonal forecast for English Channel sea surface temperature.

We then consider the potential of C). 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. We also show that for some variables there are opposing mechanisms correlated to 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.

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Jonathan Tinker et al.
Jonathan Tinker et al.
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Short summary
Recent advances in global seasonal forecast systems and shelf seas modelling mean that seasonal forecasting for the Northwest European Shelf Seas(NWS) may soon be possible. This is scientifically difficult, but would have much societal benefit. We consider the prerequisite relationships between the variability on the shelf, and that of the large-scale climate, open-ocean and atmosphere. We then consider the prospects for seasonal forecasts of the NWS, the research pathway needed to develop them.
Recent advances in global seasonal forecast systems and shelf seas modelling mean that seasonal...
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