Decadal forecast 2014-2018

January 2014 - The latest decadal forecast covering the period from 2014 to 2018 has been released by the Met Office Hadley Centre. These experimental decadal forecasts are specifically designed to forecast fluctuations in the climate system over the next few years through knowledge of the current climate state and multi-year variability of the oceans. This item looks at the latest decadal forecast and provides more detail about the decadal forecasting process, and what this latest forecast can tell us.

Decadal forecasts are specifically designed to forecast fluctuations in the climate system over the next few years through knowledge of the current climate state and multi-year variability of the oceans.

Decadal forecasting is immensely valuable, scientifically, because it represents a stringent test of how well the model simulates natural variability and also how well it captures the longer-term anthropogenic warming trend. It also has a broad range of potential applications in terms of policy making and investment decisions.

This five-year forecast is produced from a 10-member ensemble prediction system using the latest version of the Met Office Hadley Centre's climate model, HadGEM3, initialised with the current state of the climate system (atmosphere and ocean) in November 2013. Both the resolution of the model and the number of ensemble members are limited by the current availability of supercomputing power. For these reasons the following results should not be over-interpreted.

The latest decadal forecast, issued in January 2014, shows that global temperatures are expected to maintain the record warmth that has been observed over the last decade, and furthermore that it is possible that new record global temperatures may be reached in the next five years. Averaged over the five-year period 2014-2018, global average temperature is expected to remain high and is likely to be between 0.17 °C and 0.43 °C above the long-term (1981-2010) average. This compares with an anomaly of +0.26 °C observed in 2010, the warmest year on record.

Decadal forecast 2014 – 2018 Download report providing more information on the science of decadal predictions and the latest decadal forecast (PDF, 374 kB)

Last updated: 21 February 2014

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