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ENSO Forecast Discussion

ENSO and SST Model Forecasts

Canonical Correlation Model
Nino 3.4 Region: Historical  F1
Nino 3.4 Region: 0-4 Season  F2

NCEP Coupled Model
Eq. Pac. SST & Anomalies  F3
Nino 3 & Nino 3.4 Region  F4

NCEP Markov Model
Eq. Pac. SST & Anomalies  F5
Nino 3.4 Region  F6

LDEO Model
Eq. Pac. SST & Wind Stress Anoms  F7
Nino 3 Region  F8

Linear Inverse Modeling
Global Tropical SST Anomalies  F9
Nino 3.4 Region: Historical  F10

Scripps/MPI Hybrid Coupled Model
Eq. Pac. SST & Anomalies  F11

All Nino Regions & SOI  F12

IRI Compilation of Forecasts
Nino3.4 Region  F13

Forecast Forum



Forecast Forum

The canonical correlation analysis (CCA) forecast of SST in the central Pacific (Barnett et al. 1988, Science, 241, 192‑196; Barnston and Ropelewski 1992, J. Climate, 5, 1316‑1345), is shown in Figs. F1 and F2. This forecast is produced routinely by the Prediction Branch of the Climate Prediction Center. The predictions from the National Centers for Environmental Prediction (NCEP) Coupled Forecast System Model (CFS03) are presented in Figs. F3 and F4a, F4b.  Predictions from the Markov model (Xue, et al. 2000: J. Climate, 13, 849‑871) are shown in Figs. F5 and F6.   Predictions from the latest version of the LDEO model (Chen et al. 2000: Geophys. Res. Let., 27, 2585‑2587) are shown in Figs. F7 and F8.  Predictions using linear inverse modeling (Penland and Magorian 1993: J. Climate, 6, 1067‑1076) are shown in Figs. F9 and F10. Predictions from the Scripps / Max Planck Institute (MPI) hybrid coupled model (Barnett et al. 1993: J. Climate, 6, 1545‑1566) are shown in Fig. F11.  Predictions from the ENSO‑CLIPER statistical model (Knaff and Landsea 1997, Wea. Forecasting, 12, 633‑652) are shown in Fig. F12.  Niño 3.4 predictions are summarized in Fig. F13, provided by the Forecasting and Prediction Research Group of the IRI.

The CPC and the contributors to the Forecast Forum caution potential users of this predictive information that they can expect only modest skill.


ENSO Alert System Status:  La Niña Advisory




La Niña is likely to transition to ENSO-neutral conditions during March-May 2012.




A mature La Niña continued during January 2012, as below-average sea surface temperatures (SST) persisted across the equatorial Pacific Ocean (Fig. T18).  The monthly SST indices remained near –1.0°C in the Niño-3.4 and Niño-4 regions (Table T2).  However, the negative SST anomalies weakened in the far eastern Pacific, indicated by warming in the Niño-1+2 and Niño-3 regions.  The oceanic heat content (average temperature in the upper 300m of the ocean) anomalies also weakened slightly, but continued to reflect an extensive area of below-average subsurface temperatures east of the Date Line (Fig. T17).  Also, anomalous low-level easterly and upper-level westerly winds persisted over the central and west-central Pacific (Figs. T20, T21). Convection remained suppressed in the western and central Pacific, and enhanced over Indonesia (Fig. T25). Collectively, the oceanic and atmospheric patterns reflect a weak-to-moderate strength La Niña.

A majority of models predict La Niña to weaken through the rest of the Northern Hemisphere winter 2011-12, and then to dissipate during the spring 2012 (Figs. F1-F13).  Also, there is evidence of a downwelling phase of an eastward-propagating oceanic Kelvin wave, which may increase temperatures across the Pacific in the next couple of months.  The combination of a weakening subsurface temperature anomaly, the historical seasonal evolution, and forecaster preference for the average dynamical model prediction favors a return to ENSO-neutral conditions during the Northern Hemisphere spring, which are likely to continue into the summer.  Therefore La Niña is likely to transition to ENSO-neutral conditions during March-May 2012.

            Weekly updates of oceanic and atmospheric conditions are available on the Climate Prediction Center homepage (El Niño/La Niña Current Conditions and Expert Discussions).

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