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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

MARCH 2014


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:  El Niño Watch




While ENSO-neutral is favored for Northern Hemisphere spring, the chances of El Niño increase during the remainder of the year, exceeding 50% by summer.




ENSO-neutral continued during March 2014, but with above-average sea surface temperatures (SST) developing over much of the eastern tropical Pacific as well as near the International Date Line (Fig. T18).  The SSTs were below average in the Niño1+2 region, near average but rising in Niño3 and Niño3.4 regions, and above average in the Niño4 region (Table T2).  A significant downwelling oceanic Kelvin wave that was initiated in January greatly increased the oceanic heat content to the largest March value in the historical record back to 1979, and produced large positive subsurface temperature anomalies across the central and eastern Pacific (Fig. T17).  Also during March, low-level westerly wind anomalies were observed over the central equatorial Pacific.  Convection was suppressed over western Indonesia, and enhanced over the central equatorial Pacific (Fig. T25).  Although these atmospheric and oceanic conditions collectively reflect ENSO-neutral, they also reflect a clear evolution toward an El Niño state.

The model predictions of ENSO for this summer and beyond are indicating an increased likelihood of El Niño this year compared with last month.  Most of the models indicate that ENSO-neutral (Niño-3.4 index between -0.5°C and 0.5°C) will persist through much of the remainder of the Northern Hemisphere spring 2014 (Figs. F1-F13), with many models predicting the development of El Niño sometime during the summer or fall. Despite this greater model consensus, there remains considerable uncertainty as to when El Niño will develop and how strong it may become. This uncertainty is amplified by the inherently lower forecast skill of the models for forecasts made in the spring. While ENSO-neutral is favored for Northern Hemisphere spring, the chances of El Niño increase during the remainder of the year, and exceed 50% by the summer.

            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: April 2014
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