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Forecast Forum - September 2000

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 ocean/atmosphere model (Ji et al. 1998, Mon. Wea. Rev, 126, 1022-1034) are presented in Figs. F3 and F4. Predictions from the latest version of the LDEO model (Chen, D., M. A. Cane, S. E. Zebiak, Rafael Canizares and A. Kaplan, 2000, Geophys. Res. Let., accepted) are shown in Figs. F5 and F6. Predictions using linear inverse modeling (Penland and Magorian 1993, J. Climate, 6, 1067-1076) are shown in Figs. F7 and F8. Predictions from the Scripps / Max Planck Institute (MPI) hybrid coupled model (Barnett et al. 1993, J. Climate, 6, 1545-1566) are shown in Fig. F9.

The CPC and the contributors to the Forecast Forum caution potential users of this predictive information that they can expect only modest skill.

Outlook

Near-normal conditions are expected in the tropical Pacific through the spring of 2001.

Discussion

ENSO-neutral atmospheric and oceanic conditions prevailed in the tropical Pacific during September, with only isolated areas of small negative SST anomalies evident across the central and eastern tropical Pacific (Figs. T18, T9). The oceanic thermocline remained deeper-than-normal in the west-central and western equatorial Pacific (Fig. T15), with temperatures averaging up to 3C above normal at thermocline depth (Fig. T17). The negative temperature anomalies that have characterized the subsurface thermal structure in the eastern Pacific since late 1998 continued to weaken during September (Figs. T15, T17). This evolution is consistent with a return toward normal of the subsurface ocean structure across the equatorial Pacific in recent months. During September the pattern of tropical convection [as inferred from anomalous outgoing longwave radiation (OLR)] was dominated by intraseasonal activity over the eastern Indian Ocean, Indonesia and western Pacific (Fig. T11), but also remained generally consistent with weak cold episode conditions (Fig. T25). Consistent with the decrease in magnitude of the negative SST anomalies across the central equatorial Pacific in recent months, the low-level easterly wind anomalies across the central and western tropical Pacific are very weak (Figs. T7, T20).

The most recent NCEP statistical and coupled model forecasts (Figs. F1, F2, F3, F4), as well as other available forecasts (Figs. F5, F6, F7, F8, F9), indicate near-normal conditions through the spring of 2001.

Weekly updates of SST, 850-hPa wind and OLR are available on the Climate Prediction Center homepage at: http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov (Weekly Update).


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