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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 into the Northern Hemisphere summer 2013.




During February 2013, ENSO-neutral continued although SSTs remained below average across the eastern half of the equatorial Pacific Ocean (Fig. T18). The monthly Niño 3 and 3.4 indices remained near -0.5°C (Table T2).  The oceanic heat content (average temperature in the upper 300m of the ocean) increased during the month, largely due to the eastward push of above-average temperatures at depth (Fig. T17).  The Madden-Julian Oscillation (MJO) again contributed to increased atmospheric variability over the tropical Pacific during February. Anomalous low-level winds were primarily easterly over the west-central equatorial Pacific, while upper-level winds remained near average (Figs. T20 and T21), but with some intra-monthly variability.  Over Indonesia, anomalous convection remained enhanced north of the equator and suppressed south of the equator (Fig. T25).  Due to the lack of persistent atmosphere-ocean coupling, the tropical Pacific continues to reflect ENSO-neutral.  

Most models forecast Niño-3.4 SSTs to remain between 0°C and -0.5°C through Northern Hemisphere spring and to remain ENSO-neutral (between -0.5°C and +0.5°C) into the fall (Figs. F1-F13).  However, there is increasing model spread and overall less confidence in the forecast during the last half of the year, partly because of the so-called “spring barrier,” which historically leads to lower model skill beginning in late spring.  Thus, ENSO-neutral is favored into the Northern Hemisphere summer 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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Page Last Modified: March 2013
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