Silje Eriksen Holmen, Quantitative Analyst & Hydrologist at Volue Insight, looks at weather development for the coming months.
Dec 6, 2022
Weather development in 2023 is of high interest and importance for two main reasons.
The first reason is that large parts of Europe still experience a soil moisture deficit due to the lack of rain. Drought and heat waves affected Europe earlier in 2022, but the long-awaited rainfall from September onwards has turned the situation around for some areas.
However, in Spain, southern Sweden, northern Italy, and parts of the Balkans, the situation is still tight. These areas are dependent on rainfall above average and, ideally, high snow accumulation to secure a high contribution of snowmelt to the hydro reservoirs, to prepare for autumn and winter 2023.
The second reason is that power consumption depends mainly on temperature. As supply chains for natural gas are strained and hydro reservoirs for some areas are still severely low, Europe would benefit from an electricity demand on the lower side.
Winter is the time of year with the highest power consumption, and a high demand would require higher power production from e.g. hydro and wind, which can cause the additional lowering of already low hydro reservoir levels.
The seasonal forecast for the first three months of 2023 looks overwhelmingly warm for the Nordics but also for Europe. Europe will most likely experience warmer than usual winter and spring. This is in contrast with the current month of December, which will be colder than normal in the Nordics as well as in Central Western and Eastern Europe.
The most probable outcome when it comes to precipitation is wetter conditions than normal in the Nordics and the Mediterranean, while the rest of Europe will face normal or drier-than-average conditions.
The seasonal snow forecast for the UK's Met Office gives the potential for a higher snow rate than usual for northern parts of the Nordics, while the ECMWF forecast indicates the opposite. Both models agree on lower-than-normal snowfall for the next three months for the rest of Europe, especially the Alps.