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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

All Nino Regions & SOI  F11

IRI Compilation of Forecasts
Nino3.4 Region  F12

Forecast Forum

MARCH 2017


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 conditions are favored to continue through at least the Northern Hemisphere spring 2017, with increasing chances for El Niño development by late summer and fall.



ENSO-neutral conditions continued during March, with near-average sea surface temperatures (SSTs) across the central equatorial Pacific and above-average SSTs in the eastern Pacific (Fig. T18). The latest monthly Niño index values were near zero in the Niño-4 and Niño-3.4 regions, and +0.5 and +2.0°C farther east in the Niño-3 and Niño-1+2 regions, respectively (Table T2).  The upper-ocean heat content anomaly, averaged across the central and eastern Pacific, decreased to near zero during March, a reflection of above-average temperatures at depth in the east offset by below-average temperatures in the central Pacific (Fig. T17). Atmospheric convection remained suppressed over the central tropical Pacific and enhanced over the Maritime Continent (Fig. T25). The low-level easterly winds were enhanced over the central and western tropical Pacific, and weaker than average over the eastern Pacific. Also, upper-level westerly winds were anomalously easterly over the western and far eastern Pacific (Fig. T20 & Fig. T21), while the Southern Oscillation Index was near average. Overall, the ocean and atmosphere system is consistent with ENSO-neutral conditions.

Most models predict the continuation of ENSO-neutral (3-month average Niño-3.4 index between -0.5°C and 0.5°C) through the late Northern Hemisphere spring (April-June; Figs. F1-F12). However, at least one-half of the dynamical model forecasts, including the NCEP CFSv2, anticipate an onset of El Niño as soon as the April-June season. Because of typically lower skill in forecasts made at this time of the year, and the lingering La Niña-like tropical convection and wind patterns over the western half of the Pacific basin, the forecaster consensus favors ENSO-neutral during April-June with a 60-65% chance. Thereafter, there are increasing odds for El Niño toward the second half of 2017 (~50% chance from approximately August-December). In summary, ENSO-neutral conditions are favored to continue through at least the late Northern Hemisphere spring 2017, with increasing chances for El Niño development by late summer and fall

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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