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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:  Not Active




ENSO-neutral is favored through Northern Hemisphere spring 2013.




During January 2013, ENSO-neutral continued, although below-average sea surface temperatures (SST) prevailed across the eastern half of the equatorial Pacific (Fig. T18).  The Niño 3 and 3.4 indices were below-average for the month (Table T2).  The oceanic heat content (average temperature in the upper 300m of the ocean) was also below-average, largely reflecting negative subsurface temperature anomalies in the eastern Pacific.  At the same time, positive anomalies increased and expanded eastward to the central Pacific by late January (Fig. T17).  The variability in both the ocean and atmosphere was enhanced during January, at least partially due to a strong Madden-Julian Oscillation (MJO).  Consequently, the location of the MJO was reflected in the monthly averages of wind and convection.   Anomalous upper-level winds were westerly over the eastern half of the equatorial Pacific, while low-level winds were near average (Figs. T20 and T21).  Relative to December 2012, the region of enhanced convection shifted eastward and became more prominent over Indonesia and the western equatorial Pacific (Fig. T25).  Despite these transient features contributing to cool conditions, the collective atmospheric and oceanic system reflects ENSO-neutral.  

The vast majority of models predict near-average SST (between -0.5°C and +0.5°C) in the Niño-3.4 region through the late Northern Hemisphere summer (Figs. F1-F13).  However, because model skill is generally low during April-June, there is less confidence in the forecast beyond the spring.  Thus, ENSO-neutral is favored through Northern Hemisphere spring 2013.

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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