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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
830AM EDT THURSDAY MAR 19 2015

SUMMARY OF THE OUTLOOK FOR NON-TECHNICAL USERS

THE CURRENT ATMOSPHERIC AND OCEANIC STATE IS CONSISTENT WITH POSITIVE,
CENTRAL-EQUATORIAL PACIFIC SEA SURFACE TEMPERATURE (SST) ANOMALIES AND WEAKLY
COUPLED, ATMOSPHERIC EL NINO CONDITIONS. THE OFFICIAL ENSO OUTLOOK STATES THAT
THERE IS APPROXIMATELY A 50% CHANCE THAT EL NINO CONDITIONS WILL CONTINUE
THROUGH BOREAL SUMMER 2015. IF EL NINO CONDITIONS PERSIST THROUGH BOREAL
SUMMER, IT IS HISTORICALLY LIKELY THAT CONDITIONS WILL PERSIST INTO THE
FOLLOWING WINTER. EL NINO IMPACTS ARE GENERALLY MOST SIGNIFICANT TO THE CLIMATE
VARIABILITY OF NORTH AMERICA DURING THE COLD SEASONS.

THE APRIL THROUGH JUNE (AMJ) 2015 TEMPERATURE OUTLOOK INDICATES ENHANCED
PROBABILITIES OF ABOVE-NORMAL TEMPERATURES FOR ALASKA, WEST OF THE ROCKY
MOUNTAINS, AND IN NORTHERN STATES EXTENDING ACROSS THE NORTHERN PLAINS TO THE
WESTERN GREAT LAKES. PROBABILITIES OF BELOW-NORMAL TEMPERATURES ARE ENHANCED
FOR EASTERN ARIZONA AND WESTERN TEXAS.

THE APRIL THROUGH JUNE (AMJ) 2015 PRECIPITATION OUTLOOK INDICATES ENHANCED
PROBABILITIES OF ABOVE-MEDIAN PRECIPITATION FOR THE INTERIOR OF ALASKA, THE
U.S. SOUTHWEST, AND THE SOUTHEAST EXCLUDING THE LOWER FLORIDA PENINSULA. THE
PROBABILITIES OF BELOW-MEDIAN PRECIPITATION ARE INCREASED FOR COASTAL REGIONS
OF THE PACIFIC NORTHWEST, AS WELL AS THE WESTERN GREAT LAKES REGION, INCLUDING
EASTERN PARTS OF THE DAKOTAS AND NORTHERN IOWA.

IN AREAS WHERE THE LIKELIHOODS OF SEASONAL MEAN TEMPERATURES AND SEASONAL
ACCUMULATED PRECIPITATION AMOUNTS ARE SIMILAR TO CLIMATOLOGICAL PROBABILITIES,
EQUAL CHANCES (EC) IS INDICATED.

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

IN THE LAST MONTH SST ANOMALIES HAVE BEEN POSITIVE IN THE CENTRAL EQUATORIAL
PACIFIC AND NEGATIVE IN THE EASTERN EQUATORIAL PACIFIC. THE MOST RECENT WEEKLY
AVERAGE SST ANOMALY IN THE NINO 3.4 REGION WAS +0.5 C, WITH A +1.0 C ANOMALY IN
THE NINO 4 REGION AND A -0.2 C ANOMALY IN THE NINO 3 REGION. FOR SEVERAL MONTHS
AN AREA OF POSITIVE SST ANOMALIES HAS EXTENDED IN A HORSESHOE PATTERN FROM THE
NORTH PACIFIC ALONG THE WEST COAST OF NORTH AMERICA AND SOUTHWESTWARD TO THE
CENTRAL EQUATORIAL PACIFIC. THIS ANOMALOUS SST PATTERN PROJECTS ONTO THE NORTH
PACIFIC MODE OF VARIABILITY AND THE SST PATTERN OF THE PACIFIC DECADAL
OSCILLATION (PDO). THE LATEST MONTHLY VALUE OF THE PDO INDEX FOR FEBRUARY 2015
IS +2.30 WITH HISTORICALLY HIGH POSITIVE VALUES RECORDED FOR DECEMBER, JANUARY
AND FEBRUARY, 2015.

LOW-LEVEL WESTERLY WIND ANOMALIES AT 850 HPA WERE OBSERVED RECENTLY OVER THE
CENTRAL, EQUATORIAL PACIFIC. IN THE PAST MONTH, CONVECTION WAS ENHANCED NEAR
THE DATE LINE AS INDICATED BY NEGATIVE ANOMALIES IN THE OUTGOING LONGWAVE
RADIATION (OLR). THESE ATMOSPHERIC CONDITIONS COUPLED WITH THE PERSISTENT
POSITIVE SST ANOMALY OVER THE CENTRAL EQUATORIAL PACIFIC FOR THE LAST SEVERAL
MONTHS HAS BEEN DETERMINED TO MEET THE CRITERIA TO BE CONSIDERED EL NINO
CONDITIONS.

POSITIVE SUBSURFACE TEMPERATURE ANOMALIES EXPANDED ACROSS THE CENTRAL AND
EAST-CENTRAL EQUATORIAL PACIFIC DURING THE LAST TWO MONTHS ASSOCIATED WITH THE
DOWNWELLING PHASE OF AN EQUATORIAL KELVIN WAVE, WHILE NEGATIVE ANOMALIES ONLY
REMAIN IN A SMALL REGION NEARER TO THE SURFACE IN THE EASTERN PACIFIC.
ANOMALOUS HEAT CONTENT OF THE EQUATORIAL PACIFIC FROM THE SURFACE TO A DEPTH OF
300 METERS HAS NOW ATTAINED THE GREATEST POSITIVE VALUE SINCE SPRING 2014. THE
CURRENT POSITIVE SUBSURFACE HEAT ANOMALY PROVIDES A SOURCE OF
WARMER-THAN-AVERAGE OCEAN WATER FOR CONTINUATION OF POSITIVE SURFACE
TEMPERATURE ANOMALIES FOR THE NEXT SEVERAL SEASONS.

PROGNOSTIC DISCUSSION OF SST FORECASTS

THE MAJORITY OF DYNAMICAL AND STATISTICAL MODELS FORECAST THE SEASONAL AVERAGE
NINO 3.4 SST ANOMALY THROUGH NEXT AUTUMN TO REMAIN NEAR OR ABOVE THE +0.5 C
THRESHOLD USED TO DETERMINE EL NINO EVENTS. MOST DYNAMICAL MODELS PREDICT AN
INCREASE IN THE NINO 3.4 INDEX WITH TIME TO ABOVE +1.0 C, WHILE MOST
STATISTICAL MODELS INDICATE A CONTINUATION OF WEAK EL NINO SST CONDITIONS
BETWEEN +0.5 C AND +1.0 C OR A REDUCTION OF ANOMALIES TO BELOW +0.5 C.

THE CPC NINO 3.4 INDEX CONSOLIDATION PREDICTS A GREATER THAN 50% PROBABILITY
THAT SEASONAL MEAN ANOMALIES WILL REMAIN ABOVE +0.5 C INTO NEXT WINTER, WITH
PROBABILITIES NEARER TO 60% IN THE SPRING.

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

THE SEASONAL TEMPERATURE AND PRECIPITATION OUTLOOKS FOR THE THREE-MONTH APRIL,
MAY AND JUNE (AMJ) SPRING SEASON THROUGH THE AUGUST, SEPTEMBER AND OCTOBER
(ASO) SEASON ARE BASED PRIMARILY ON COUPLED OCEAN-ATMOSPHERE DYNAMICAL MODEL
FORECASTS FROM THE NORTH AMERICAN MULTI-MODEL ENSEMBLE (NMME), INCLUDING THE
NCEP CLIMATE FORECAST SYSTEM (CFS), AND THE INTERNATIONAL MULTI-MODEL ENSEMBLE
(IMME), WHICH COMBINES THE CFS WITH THE EUROPEAN CENTER AND METEO-FRANCE
CLIMATE MODELS. OUTLOOKS AT LONGER LEAD TIMES, BEGINNING WITH THE SEPTEMBER,
OCTOBER AND NOVEMBER (SON) 2015 SEASON THROUGH AMJ 2016 RELIED SOMEWHAT ON THE
CPC CONSOLIDATION TEMPERATURE AND PRECIPITATION FORECASTS. CONSISTENCY OF THE
OUTLOOKS WITH CORRELATIONS BETWEEN SEASONAL MEAN TEMPERATURE OR PRECIPITATION
AND SEASONAL NINO 4, NINO 3.4 OR PDO INDICES WERE ALSO CONSIDERED, ESPECIALLY
FOR LATE AUTUMN 2015 AND NEXT WINTER. POTENTIAL IMPACTS OF INTERANNUAL MODES OF
CLIMATE VARIABILITY WERE NO LONGER USED TO ADJUST THE OUTLOOKS FOR SEASONS
FOLLOWING JANUARY, FEBRUARY AND MARCH (JFM) 2015, WHICH FOLLOW THE CPC
CONSOLIDATION FORECAST CLOSELY. OUTLOOKS FOLLOWING JFM 2015 DERIVE CLIMATE
SIGNALS PRIMARILY FROM DECADAL CLIMATE TRENDS.

PROGNOSTIC DISCUSSION OF OUTLOOKS - AMJ 2015 TO AMJ 2016

TEMPERATURE

BEGINNING WITH THE AMJ 2015 SEASONAL TEMPERATURE OUTLOOK AND CONTINUING THROUGH
THE REMAINDER OF 2015, THE PROBABILITIES OF ABOVE-NORMAL TEMPERATURES ARE
ENHANCED OVER MUCH OF THE U.S. WEST AND ALASKA. ENHANCED PROBABILITIES OF
ABOVE-NORMAL TEMPERATURES EXTEND ACROSS THE NORTHERN PLAINS INTO THE WESTERN
GREAT LAKES IN SPRING 2015. BELOW-NORMAL TEMPERATURES ARE MOST LIKELY FOR
PORTIONS OF EASTERN ARIZONA AND WESTERN TEXAS. THESE FORECASTS ARE SUPPORTED BY
CLIMATE MODEL GUIDANCE FROM THE NMME AND IMME, AS WELL AS CONSISTENT WITH
CORRELATIONS WITH EL NINO AND PDO INDICES.

FROM MJJ 2015 THROUGH ASO 2015, PROBABILITIES OF ABOVE-NORMAL TEMPERATURES ARE
INCREASED FOR THE ENTIRE GREAT LAKES REGION INTO THE NORTHEAST, AS INDICATED BY
A CONSENSUS OF NMME AND IMME GLOBAL CLIMATE MODEL FORECASTS. ABOVE-NORMAL
TEMPERATURES CONTINUE TO BE MOST LIKELY IN NEW ENGLAND THROUGH NEXT SPRING 2016
AND FOR LARGER PORTIONS OF THE NORTHEAST FROM JFM 2016 ONWARD, FOLLOWING
OBSERVED DECADAL TEMPERATURE TRENDS. GREATER CHANCES OF ABOVE-NORMAL
TEMPERATURES EXTEND DOWN THE EASTERN SEABOARD FROM JJA THROUGH ASO 2015 AND
ALONG PARTS OF THE GULF COAST FROM JAS THROUGH OND 2015, CONSISTENT WITH THE
LONGER-LEAD SEASONAL FORECASTS OF DYNAMICAL MODELS. PROBABILITIES OF
ABOVE-NORMAL TEMPERATURES CONTINUE TO BE ENHANCED FOR ALL OF ALASKA THROUGH OND
2015, AND FOR THE SOUTHERN COAST OF ALASKA INTO DJF 2015/2016. INCREASED
PROBABILITIES OF ABOVE-NORMAL TEMPERATURES CONTINUE FOR THE NORTH SLOPE OF
ALASKA THROUGHOUT THE NEXT YEAR, DUE TO DECADAL CLIMATE TRENDS.

PRECIPITATION

THE AMJ 2015 PRECIPITATION OUTLOOK INDICATES ENHANCED PROBABILITIES OF
ABOVE-MEDIAN PRECIPITATION FOR THE SOUTHWEST AND ACROSS MOST OF THE SOUTHEAST,
AS WELL AS FOR INTERIOR ALASKA, AS PREDICTED BY THE CONSENSUS OF NMME AND IMME
MODEL FORECASTS AND CONSISTENT WITH REGRESSIONS TO EL NINO AND PDO INDICES.
DURING THE AMJ 2015 SEASON, BELOW-MEDIAN PRECIPITATION IS MOST LIKELY FOR
COASTAL REGIONS OF THE PACIFIC NORTHWEST AND FOR EASTERN PARTS OF THE NORTHERN
PLAINS AND THE WESTERN PORTIONS OF THE GREAT LAKES REGION. THE OUTLOOK FOR MJJ
2015 IS VERY SIMILAR TO AMJ 2015. ENHANCED PROBABILITIES FOR ABOVE-MEDIAN
PRECIPITATION CONTINUE FOR PARTS OF THE SOUTHWEST INTO JAS 2015, AND ENHANCED
PROBABILITIES FOR BELOW-MEDIAN PRECIPITATION CONTINUE FOR PARTS OF THE PACIFIC
NORTHWEST THROUGH ASO 2015, EXPANDING NORTHWARD INTO THE ALASKA PANHANDLE FROM
MJJ THROUGH ASO 2015. THESE OUTLOOKS ARE STRONGLY SUPPORTED BY CLIMATE MODEL
FORECASTS FROM THE NMME AND IMME, AS WELL AS CONSISTENT WITH POSITIVE EL NINO
AND PDO INDICES.

FROM SON 2015 ONWARD, ALL SEASONAL PRECIPITATION OUTLOOKS INDICATE EQUAL
CHANCES (EC) OVER THE ENTIRE FORECAST DOMAIN, AS CLIMATE SIGNALS ARE WEAK OR
INCONSISTENT. A DECADAL PRECIPITATION TREND INDICATING A TENDENCY FOR
BELOW-MEDIAN PRECIPITATION OVER PARTS OF THE SOUTHEAST IN WINTER IS OPPOSED BY
THE INCREASED LIKELIHOOD OF EL NINO IMPACTS, WHICH FAVOR ABOVE-MEDIAN
PRECIPITATION AMOUNTS OVER THE SOUTHEAST IN WINTER.

FORECASTER: DAN COLLINS

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 APR 16 2015


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

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