Met Éireann has just started providing a monthly forecast on its website. While this may seem like a dream come true for hay and silage makers, not to talk of holiday makers, it comes with an expected warning that it is likely to have low dependency the further out it gets.

That said, Met Éireann indicates that “monthly forecasts can, at times, provide an insight into weather patterns in the month ahead. However, they should not be used for specific planning purposes, as they have generally low skill compared with the 10-day forecast. This is because forecasts beyond one week become increasingly uncertain due to the chaotic nature of the atmosphere”.

The skill level referred to relates to accurate forecasting ability. Met Éireann explain that monthly or sub-seasonal forecasts from the European Centre for Medium Range Weather Forecasts tend to have reasonable skill at both week one and week two and they can highlight trends towards certain weather patterns.

However, there is only marginal ability at weeks three and four but the forecast can, at times, indicate trends towards certain types of weather patterns. And the further out element of the forecast is more general than specific in its content.

The forecast for March suggests that the fine weather is not expected to last beyond this week.

However, weather for the month may still be reasonable for farming, with ground conditions expected to improve further. Despite that, showers are likely to continue through march, with temperatures increasing to normal, or above, for the time of year.