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Official 90-day Outlooks are issued once each month near mid-month at 8:30am Eastern Time. Please consult the schedule of 30 & 90-day outlooks for exact release dates.

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HOME> Outlook Maps>Seasonal Forecast Discussion
 
PROGNOSTIC DISCUSSION FOR LONG-LEAD SEASONAL OUTLOOKS 
NWS CLIMATE PREDICTION CENTER COLLEGE PARK MD
830 AM EDT THU APR 21 2016

SUMMARY OF THE OUTLOOK FOR NON-TECHNICAL USERS

BOTH OCEAN AND ATMOSPHERIC CONDITIONS ACROSS THE EQUATORIAL PACIFIC OCEAN
INDICATE A CONTINUED WEAKENING EL NINO STATE OVER THE PAST MONTH, WITH A
TRANSITION TO ENSO-NEUTRAL FAVORED DURING THE LATE SPRING OR EARLY SUMMER 2016.
THE LIKELIHOOD OF LA NINA DEVELOPING THEREAFTER INCREASES QUITE RAPIDLY WITH
THE CHANCES EXCEEDING 50 PERCENT BY LATE SUMMER 2016, EARLIER THAN THE PREVIOUS
OFFICIAL ASSESSMENT.

THE MAY-JUNE-JULY (MJJ) 2016 TEMPERATURE OUTLOOK INDICATES INCREASED
PROBABILITIES OF ABOVE-NORMAL TEMPERATURES ACROSS MUCH OF THE CONTINENTAL U.S.
AND ALL OF ALASKA, WITH THE ONLY EXCEPTION BEING AN AREA ACROSS THE CENTRAL AND
SOUTHERN PLAINS. THE CHANCES OF ABOVE-NORMAL TEMPERATURES ARE HIGHEST FOR
SOUTHERN ALASKA, THE FAR WEST AND THE NORTHEAST WHERE ODDS EXCEED 50 PERCENT.

THE MJJ 2016 PRECIPITATION OUTLOOK FAVORS ABOVE-MEDIAN PRECIPITATION FOR PARTS
OF WESTERN AND NORTHERN ALASKA AND A REGION IN THE CONTIGUOUS U.S. THAT
STRETCHES FROM NORTHERN CALIFORNIA ACROSS THE INTERIOR WEST SOUTHWARD AND THEN
EASTWARD TO INCLUDE THE SOUTHERN PLAINS, GULF COAST AND PARTS OF THE SOUTHEAST.
THE GREATEST ODDS FOR ABOVE-MEDIAN SEASONAL PRECIPITATION AMOUNTS ARE FOR
NORTHERN ALASKA AND PARTS OF THE CENTRAL ROCKIES, ALTHOUGH ELEVATED CHANCES ARE
VERY MODEST. BELOW-MEDIAN PRECIPITATION IS FAVORED FOR PARTS OF THE UPPER GREAT
LAKES REGION.

EQUAL CHANCES (EC) ARE FORECAST IN AREAS WHERE THE LIKELIHOOD OF SEASONAL MEAN
TEMPERATURES OR SEASONAL ACCUMULATED PRECIPITATION AMOUNTS ARE EXPECTED TO BE
SIMILAR TO CLIMATOLOGICAL PROBABILITIES.

BASIS AND SUMMARY OF THE CURRENT LONG-LEAD OUTLOOKS
NOTE: FOR GRAPHICAL DISPLAYS OF THE FORECAST TOOLS DISCUSSED BELOW SEE:
HTTP://WWW.CPC.NCEP.NOAA.GOV/PRODUCTS/PREDICTIONS/90DAY/TOOLS/BRIEFING

CURRENT ATMOSPHERIC AND OCEANIC CONDITIONS

EQUATORIAL PACIFIC SSTS REMAIN ABOVE CLIMATOLOGICAL MEANS WITH THE LAST FOUR
WEEK AVERAGE DEPICTING DEPARTURES FROM NORMAL OF +1.0C OVER THE ENTIRE
EQUATORIAL PACIFIC BASIN WITH A FEW AREAS NEAR +1.5C. THE NINO3.4 REGION
THREE-MONTH MEAN SST ANOMALY PEAKED AT +2.3C DURING NDJ 2015-2016, BUT HAS
DECREASED TO +2.0C FOR THE MOST RECENT THREE MONTH SEASON OF JFM 2016. THE
LATEST WEEKLY NINO3.4 REGION ANOMALY IS NOW +1.3C.

IMPORTANT AND RAPID CHANGES CONTINUE TO BE INDICATED IN SUBSURFACE OCEAN
TEMPERATURES. ALTHOUGH OCEAN SURFACE TEMPERATURES REMAIN ABOVE AVERAGE ACROSS
THE EQUATORIAL PACIFIC AS NOTED ABOVE, THIS LAYER IS SHALLOW AND ONLY EXTENDS
DOWNWARD A FEW TENS OF METERS IN DEPTH, ESPECIALLY ACROSS THE EASTERN PORTION
OF THE BASIN. BELOW AVERAGE OCEAN TEMPERATURES (MAGNITUDE OF GREATER THAN 2
DEGREES C) ENCOMPASS A LARGE VOLUME OF WATER FROM 130E TO 90W WITH A THICKNESS
RANGING FROM 150 METERS IN THE WESTERN PACIFIC TO 50 METERS IN THE EAST-CENTRAL
PACIFIC. ANOMALOUS INTEGRATED (0-300 METERS DEPTH) EQUATORIAL PACIFIC OCEAN
HEAT CONTENT BECAME NEGATIVE IN MARCH AND CONTINUES TO DECREASE THROUGH APRIL.
THIS EXPANSE OF NEGATIVE HEAT CONTENT ANOMALIES AT DEPTH MAY BE AN INDICATOR OF
A POTENTIAL RAPID TRANSITION TO LA NINA CONDITIONS DURING 2016.

WITH RESPECT TO THE TROPICAL PACIFIC ATMOSPHERE, ENHANCED CONVECTION CONTINUED
ACROSS THE CENTRAL PACIFIC BUT WEAKENED EAST OF THE DATE LINE, AND LOW-LEVEL
WIND ANOMALIES WERE CLOSE TO AVERAGE OVER THE PAST MONTH. ALTHOUGH THE
UPPER-LEVEL ANOMALOUS CIRCULATION REMAINS CONSISTENT WITH EL NINO IT ALSO HAS
WEAKENED AS COMPARED TO FEBRUARY AND MARCH 2016.

THE EXTRA-TROPICAL PACIFIC OCEAN REMAINS CONSISTENT WITH THE POSITIVE PHASE OF
THE PACIFIC DECADAL OSCILLATION WITH ABOVE AVERAGE SSTS SOUTH OF ALASKA AND
ALONG THE WEST COAST. POSITIVE SST ANOMALIES IN THE WESTERN ATLANTIC NEAR THE
EAST COAST CONTINUE TO PERSIST AS WELL ESPECIALLY OFF THE NEW ENGLAND COAST.

PROGNOSTIC DISCUSSION OF SST FORECASTS

AS THE CURRENT EL NINO EVENT WEAKENS, SOME CHALLENGES MOVING FORWARD INCLUDE
HOW QUICKLY ANY RELATED EL NINO IMPACTS DISSIPATE AS WE MOVE TOWARD
ENSO-NEUTRAL CONDITIONS AND WHEN A POTENTIAL TRANSITION TO A LA NINA EVENT MAY
OCCUR.

THE CPC SST CONSOLIDATION CONTINUES TO FORECAST A RETURN TO ENSO-NEUTRAL
CONDITIONS BY MJJ AND WEAK LA NINA CONDITIONS BY OND, ALTHOUGH THIS IS
INFLUENCED STRONGLY BY ONE STATISTICAL FORECAST WHICH MAINTAINS ENSO-NEUTRAL
CONDITIONS THROUGHOUT THIS PERIOD INTO THE WINTER MONTHS. IT SHOULD BE NOTED
THAT THE CFS AND CA PREDICTIONS INDICATE A TRANSITION TO LA NINA BY ASO 2016.
PREDICTIONS FROM THE NORTH AMERICAN MULTI-MODEL ENSEMBLE (NMME) MEMBERS ARE IN
BETTER AGREEMENT THIS MONTH AS COMPARED TO LAST MONTH AND EXHIBIT GENERALLY
TIGHT CLUSTERING WITH THE ENSEMBLE MEAN ENTERING LA NINA TERRITORY (NINO3.4
ANOMALY AT OR LESS THAN -0.5) BY JULY 2016 AND ALL INDIVIDUAL MODELS BY AUGUST.

THE CPC/IRI CONSENSUS FORECAST INDICATES THAT THE TRANSITION TO ENSO-NEUTRAL IS
MOST LIKELY BY EARLY SUMMER, AND THE PROBABILITY OF LA NINA DEVELOPING FIRST
EXCEEDS 50% IN JAS 2016, TWO OVERLAPPING SEASONS EARLIER THAN FORECAST IN THE
OFFICIAL OUTLOOK LAST MONTH.

PROGNOSTIC TOOLS USED FOR U.S. TEMPERATURE AND PRECIPITATION OUTLOOKS

ALTHOUGH EL NINO CONDITIONS CONTINUE TO WEAKEN, IMPACTS ASSOCIATED WITH EL NINO
WERE CONSIDERED EARLY IN THE OUTLOOK PERIOD WITH DECREASED INFLUENCE AS
COMPARED TO EARLIER IN THE SPRING. SOIL MOISTURE CONDITIONS WERE ALSO
CONSIDERED IN EARLY OUTLOOKS WHERE SOME REGIONS CURRENTLY HAVE SUBSTANTIAL
DEPARTURES FROM NORMAL. PROSPECTS FOR A TRANSITION TO LA NINA CONDITIONS WERE
CONSIDERED PRIMARILY BEGINNING IN ASO 2016 AND THROUGHOUT THE AUTUMN AND WINTER
MONTHS AT THE CURRENT TIME. IN ADDITION TO THE ABOVE FACTORS, DYNAMICAL MODEL
GUIDANCE FROM THE NMME, AND THE INTERNATIONAL MULTI-MODEL ENSEMBLE (IMME) AND
THEIR INDIVIDUAL MODEL COMPONENTS CONTRIBUTE TO THE SEASONAL OUTLOOKS THROUGH
SON 2016. THE OUTLOOKS ALSO UTILIZED QUITE HEAVILY THE SST BASED CONSTRUCTED
ANALOGUE TEMPERATURE/PRECIPITATION FORECAST TOOL FOR MUCH OF THE OUTLOOK
PERIOD.

PROGNOSTIC DISCUSSION OF OUTLOOKS - MJJ 2016 TO MJJ 2017

TEMPERATURE

THE SUITE OF TEMPERATURE OUTLOOKS THIS MONTH ARE SIMILAR TO THOSE RELEASED LAST
MONTH AS THE GENERAL THINKING OVER THE OUTLOOK PERIOD REMAINS GENERALLY
UNCHANGED, ALTHOUGH POTENTIAL LA NINA IMPACTS WERE CONSIDERED EARLIER THAN IN
PREVIOUS SETS OF OUTLOOKS.

OVERALL FOR TEMPERATURE, CHANGES WERE PRIMARILY MINOR ADJUSTMENTS FOR THE FIRST
SEVERAL LEADS WHERE PROBABILITIES ARE MODIFIED SOMEWHAT IN SOME AREAS BASED ON
THE LATEST CALIBRATED DYNAMICAL MODEL GUIDANCE AND CURRENT SOIL MOISTURE
CONDITIONS. FOR MJJ 2016, CALIBRATED MODEL GUIDANCE AND IN SOME AREAS POSITIVE
DEPARTURES IN SOIL MOISTURE SUPPORT A SLIGHTLY ADJUSTED REGION OF EQUAL CHANCES
(EC) AND A SLIGHT DECREASE IN PROBABILITIES FOR ABOVE NORMAL TEMPERATURES FOR
SOME LOCATIONS IN THE NORTHERN PLAINS, UPPER MISSISSIPPI VALLEY AND GREAT
LAKES. PROBABILITIES FOR ABOVE NORMAL TEMPERATURES WERE INCREASED FOR PARTS OF
THE FAR WEST AND SOUTHWEST CONUS BASED ON DYNAMICAL MODEL GUIDANCE, LONG TERM
TRENDS AND BELOW AVERAGE WINTER AND EARLY SPRING PRECIPITATION.

FOR JJA AND JAS 2016, SIMILAR ADJUSTMENTS WERE MADE, AND PROBABILITIES WERE
SLIGHTLY INCREASED ACROSS THE INTERIOR OF THE CONUS DURING ASO 2016 DUE TO
POTENTIAL LA NINA CONSIDERATIONS. IN ADDITION TO CALIBRATED DYNAMICAL MODEL
GUIDANCE, STATISTICAL GUIDANCE FROM THE SST BASED CONSTRUCTED ANALOGUE TOOL
FURTHER SUPPORTS FAVORED ABOVE NORMAL TEMPERATURES FOR MOST OF THE FORECAST
DOMAIN FROM JJA 2016 THROUGH SON 2016.

INCREASED CHANCES FOR ABOVE-NORMAL TEMPERATURES FORECAST ACROSS PARTS OF THE
SOUTHERN CONTIGUOUS U.S. AND A SLIGHT INCREASE IN THE PROBABILITY FOR
BELOW-NORMAL TEMPERATURES ACROSS THE NORTHERN U.S. FROM NDJ 2016-17 THROUGH AMJ
2017 ARE BASED LARGELY ON THE IMPACTS FROM POTENTIAL LA NINA CONDITIONS.

AN INCREASED PROBABILITY OF ABOVE-NORMAL TEMPERATURES FOR THE NORTH SLOPE OF
ALASKA DURING THE AUTUMN AND AGAIN IN THE SPRING IS DUE TO THE LIKELIHOOD OF
ANOMALOUSLY OPEN SEA ICE AND THE FEEDBACK BETWEEN SEA ICE COVERAGE AND CHANGES
IN THE CLIMATE STATE.

PRECIPITATION

THE MJJ 2016 PRECIPITATION OUTLOOK FAVORS ABOVE-MEDIAN PRECIPITATION FOR A
REGION STRETCHING FROM NORTHERN CALIFORNIA EASTWARD TO INCLUDE MUCH OF THE
INTERIOR WEST, PARTS OF THE SOUTHWEST, SOUTHERN PLAINS AND SOUTHEAST. RESIDUAL
EL NINO IMPACTS SUPPORT THE HIGHLIGHTED AREA ACROSS MUCH OF THE WEST AND
SOUTHERN PLAINS WHILE DYNAMICAL AND STATISTICAL MODEL GUIDANCE FAVOR AREAS IN
THE SOUTHEAST. IT IS IMPORTANT TO NOTE THAT THESE PROBABILITIES ARE QUITE
MODEST AND REPRESENT ONLY A SLIGHT TILT TO THE ABOVE-MEDIAN CATEGORY,
ESPECIALLY ACROSS THE SOUTHEAST CONUS. BELOW-MEDIAN PRECIPITATION IS MOST
LIKELY FOR NORTHERN REGIONS OF THE PACIFIC NORTHWEST AND THE WESTERN GREAT
LAKES CONSISTENT WITH ANY REMAINING EL NINO INFLUENCE AND DYNAMICAL MODEL
GUIDANCE. AN INCREASED CHANCE OF ABOVE-MEDIAN PRECIPITATION IS ALSO FORECAST
FOR WESTERN AND NORTHERN ALASKA THROUGH JJA 2016 BY DYNAMICAL MODELS, RESULTING
FROM ANOMALOUSLY OPEN SEA ICE AND WARM OPEN OCEAN TEMPERATURES.

POTENTIAL LA NINA INFLUENCE AND STATISTICAL FORECAST GUIDANCE SUPPORT A SLIGHT
TILT IN THE ODDS TO ABOVE-MEDIAN SEASONAL TOTAL PRECIPITATION AMOUNTS FOR
COASTAL AREAS OF THE SOUTHEAST DURING JAS AND ASO 2016. POTENTIAL LA NINA
CONDITIONS ALSO SUPPORT FAVORED BELOW MEDIAN PRECIPITATION ACROSS PORTIONS OF
CENTRAL PLAINS WESTWARD TO THE CENTRAL ROCKIES DURING ASO 2016.

DURING AUTUMN OF 2016 AND WINTER OF 2016-17, THE POTENTIAL FOR ONGOING LA NINA
CONDITIONS IS THE PRIMARY FACTOR FOR INCREASED PROBABILITIES OF BELOW-MEDIAN
PRECIPITATION ACROSS THE SOUTHERN TIER OF THE CONTIGUOUS U.S. AND THE SOUTHERN
COAST OF ALASKA, AND INCREASED PROBABILITIES OF ABOVE-MEDIAN PRECIPITATION FOR
THE PACIFIC NORTHWEST AND OHIO VALLEY AND CENTRAL GREAT LAKES.

FORECASTER: JON GOTTSCHALCK

THE CLIMATIC NORMALS ARE BASED ON CONDITIONS BETWEEN 1981 AND 2010, FOLLOWING
THE WORLD METEROLOGICAL ORGANIZATION CONVENTION OF USING THE MOST RECENT 3
COMPLETE DECADES AS THE CLIMATIC REFERENCE PERIOD.  THE PROBABILITY ANOMALIES
FOR TEMPERATURE AND PRECIPITATION BASED ON THESE NEW NORMALS BETTER REPRESENT
SHORTER TERM CLIMATIC ANOMALIES THAN THE FORECASTS BASED ON OLDER NORMALS.

FOR A DESCRIPTION OF OF THE STANDARD FORECAST TOOLS - THEIR SKILL- AND THE
FORECAST FORMAT PLEASE SEE OUR WEB PAGE AT
HTTP:/WWW.CPC.NCEP.NOAA.GOV/PRODUCTS/PREDICTIONS/90DAY/DISC.HTML
(USE LOWER CASE LETTERS)
INFORMATION ON THE FORMATION OF SKILL OF THE CAS FORECASTS MAY BE FOUND AT:
HTTP://WWW.CPC.NCEP.NOAA.GOV/SOILMST/FORECASTS.HTML (USE LOWERCASE LETTERS)
NOTES - THESE CLIMATE OUTLOOKS ARE INTENDED FOR USE PRIOR TO THE START OF THEIR
VALID PERIOD.  WITHIN ANY GIVEN VALID PERIOD OBSERVATIONS AND SHORT AND MEDIUM
RANGE FORECASTS SHOULD BE CONSULTED.

THIS SET OF OUTLOOKS WILL BE SUPERSEDED BY THE ISSUANCE OF THE NEW SET NEXT
MONTH ON MAY 19 2016


1981-2010 BASE PERIOD MEANS WERE IMPLEMENTED EFFECTIVE WITH THE MAY 19, 2011
FORECAST RELEASE.
$$

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Page last modified: January 17, 2006
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