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Record Winter Warmth Is Raising Pressure on Forecasters

Climate change is making forecasting models even more critical for utilities and financial markets.  

Deckchairs on Palace Pier in Brighton, England on Feb. 25.
Deckchairs on Palace Pier in Brighton, England on Feb. 25.Photographer: Mike Hewitt/Getty Images Europe

Record winter warmth around the globe has raised pressure on weather forecasters from utilities and financial markets that depend on models to work out the economic impact of climate change. 

Abnormally high temperatures led to billions of dollars of lost revenue for energy producers, which have curtailed fuel supplies because everyone from homeowners to heavy industry didn’t need as much heat as usual. Europe was particularly affected with temperatures some 3.4 degrees Celsius (6.1 degrees Fahrenheit) above normal. Those extreme variations are sharpening the focus on the systems meteorologists use to predict seasonal patterns weeks or even months in the future.