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Forecast Forum - October 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 boreal spring of 2001.

Discussion

ENSO-neutral atmospheric and oceanic conditions prevailed in the tropical Pacific during October. Weak negative SST anomalies were evident across the central and eastern tropical Pacific during the month (Fig. T18), with little change over the past few months (Fig. T9). The oceanic thermocline remained somewhat deeper-than-normal in the equatorial west-central and western Pacific (Fig. T15), with temperatures averaging around 1C- 2C above normal at thermocline depth (Fig. T17). The dipole pattern of temperature anomalies that has characterized the subsurface thermal structure in the tropical Pacific since late 1998 continued to weaken during the month (Fig. T15). This evolution is consistent with a return towards normal of the subsurface ocean structure across the equatorial Pacific. In recent months the pattern of tropical convection [as inferred from anomalous outgoing longwave radiation (OLR)] has been dominated by tropical intraseasonal (Madden-Julian Oscillation) activity over the eastern Indian Ocean, Indonesia and the western Pacific (Fig. T11). This activity has also resulted in considerable month-to-month variability in the strength of the low-level easterly wind anomalies across the central and west-central tropical Pacific (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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