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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

APRIL 2012


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:  Final La Niña Advisory




La Niña has transitioned to ENSO-neutral conditions, which are expected to continue through northern summer 2012.




La Niña dissipated during April 2012, as below-average SSTs weakened across most of the equatorial Pacific Ocean and above-average SSTs persisted in the east (Fig. T18). The Niño 4 and Niño 3.4 indices were warmer than -0.5oC for the month, and the Niño 3 and Niño 1+2 indices remained positive (Table T2). The oceanic heat content (average temperature in the upper 300m of the ocean) anomalies also became positive in April, as below-average sub-surface temperatures largely disappeared and above-average sub-surface temperatures expanded in both the central and eastern Pacific (Fig. T17). Consistent with the demise of La Niña, enhanced trade winds and reduced convection over the central equatorial Pacific were much weakened during April (Fig. T20), and the area of enhanced convection that had previously dominated the western Pacific and Indonesia became disorganized (Fig. T25). Collectively, these oceanic and atmospheric patterns indicate a transition from La Niña to ENSO-neutral conditions.

The current and evolving conditions, combined with model forecasts (Figs. F1-F13), suggest that La Niña is unlikely to re-develop later this year. A majority of models predict ENSO-neutral conditions to continue from April-June (AMJ) through the June-August (JJA) season. However, at least half of the dynamical models predict development of El Niño conditions by JJA. Still, from JJA onward there is considerable forecast uncertainty as to whether ENSO-neutral or El Niño conditions will prevail, due largely to the inability to predict whether the warmer SST will result in the ocean-atmosphere coupling required for a sustained El Niño event. The official forecast calls for ENSO-neutral conditions through JAS, followed by approximately equal chances of Neutral or El Niño conditions for the remainder of the year.

            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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