Skillful prediction of UK seasonal energy consumption based on surface climate information

Samuel Li, Ryan Sriver, Douglas E. Miller

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Climate conditions affect winter heating demand in areas that experience harsh winters. Skillful energy demand prediction provides useful information that may be a helpful component in ensuring a reliable energy supply, protecting vulnerable populations from cold weather, and reducing excess energy waste. Here, we develop a statistical model that predicts winter seasonal energy consumption over the United Kingdom using a multiple linear regression technique based on multiple sources of climate information from the previous fall season. We take the autumn conditions of Arctic sea-ice concentration, stratospheric circulation, and sea-surface temperature as predictors, which all influence North Atlantic oscillation (NAO) variability as reported in a previous study. The model predicts winter seasonal gas and electricity consumption two months in advance with a statistically significant correlation between the predicted and observed time series. To extend the analysis beyond the relatively short time scale of gas and electricity data availability, we also analyze predictability of an energy demand proxy, heating degree days (HDDs), for which the model also demonstrates skill. The predictability of energy consumption can be attributed to the predictability of the NAO and the significant correlation of energy consumption with surface air temperature, dew point depression, and wind speed. We further found skillful prediction of these surface climate variables and HDDs over many areas where the NAO is influential, implying the predictability of energy demand in these regions. The simple statistical model demonstrates the usefulness of fall climate observations for predicting winter season energy demand prediction with a wide range of potential applications across energy-related sectors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number064007
JournalEnvironmental Research Letters
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1 2023


  • climate prediction
  • energy demand prediction
  • statistical modeling

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • General Environmental Science
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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