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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:  La Niña Advisory




La Niña is expected to continue into the Northern spring 2012.




During December 2011, below-average sea surface temperatures (SST) associated with La Niña continued across the eastern and central equatorial Pacific Ocean (Fig. T18).  The SST index in the Niño-3.4 region remained near –1.0°C (Table T2), indicating a weak to moderate La Niña.  The oceanic heat content (average temperature in the upper 300m of the ocean) anomalies strengthened across the eastern Pacific, reflecting a large area of below-average temperatures in the subsurface (Fig. T17).  In the atmosphere, anomalous low-level easterly and upper-level westerly winds strengthened over the central and west-central Pacific (Figs. T20, T21). Convection remained suppressed in the western and central Pacific and enhanced over northern Australia and parts of Indonesia and the Philippine Islands (Fig. T25). Consistent with these conditions, the Southern Oscillation Index (SOI) also strengthened. This evolution is consistent with past events, in which the atmospheric components of La Niña become strongest and most well-defined during the Northern Hemisphere winter. Collectively, the ongoing oceanic and atmospheric patterns reflect the continuation of a weak to moderate La Niña.

A majority of models predict a weak or moderate strength La Niña to peak during the December – February season, and then to continue into early Northern Hemisphere spring season before dissipating during the March to May period (Figs. F1-F13).  A slight majority of models predict La Niña to remain weak (3-month average SST anomaly in the Niño-3.4 region between -0.5 and -0.9°C) this winter, while several others predict a moderate-strength episode (anomaly in the Niño-3.4 region between -1.0 and -1.4°C).  The latest observations, combined with model forecasts, suggest that La Niña will be of weak-to-moderate strength this winter, and will continue thereafter as a weak event until it likely dissipates sometime between March and May.

            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: January 2012
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