Better long-term forecasts can help the transition to renewable energy

Photo by Iselin Rønningsbakk / CICERO Center for International Climate Research.

The transition to renewable energy makes it more important for power producers to get accurate information about the weather that is to come. Climate scientists are currently investing considerable effort and resources to help them get better long-term forecasts.


“Sub-seasonal and seasonal forecasting – meaning forecasts for the next few weeks and months – is still at an early stage, and it is very challenging to provide accurate predictions,” says Jana Sillmann, research director at CICERO Center for International Climate Research.

Our changing energy system: what happens at times of high electricity demand?

 probability of demand being in the upper tercile (top 30%) while each of the patterns has occurred (again using our reanalysis-based power system data to get a longer record for analysis).

With an increasing number of wind turbines, electricity demand spikes during cold and still winter weather could prove even more challenging for electricity producers. As part of the S2S4E project, we are working to improve week- to month-ahead forecasts of such events, writes Hannah Bloomfield from the University of Reading.

In winter, many Central and Northern European countries, including the UK, have a significantly higher electricity demand than they do in summer, due to an increased need for heating and lighting. 

Southern Scandinavia to see temperatures above the seasonal norm until April

Temperature March

S2S4E forecasts show that central and northern Europe may face above normal temperatures during February, March and April. The period may begin windy in Northern Europe, combined with reduced precipitation in Sweden. Solar radiation is likely to be below normal in March in central Europe.      

Above normal temperatures to persist in southern Scandinavia



The unusual warm temperatures this winter and forecasts indicating milder winter conditions for January, February and March in Europe are partly due to an atmospheric circulation pattern called the North Atlantic Oscillation, or NAO. This atmospheric circulation pattern explains well the weather we get in Europe, especially in winter.