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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

All Nino Regions & SOI  F11

IRI Compilation of Forecasts
Nino3.4 Region  F12

Forecast Forum

APRIL 2017


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: Not Active




ENSO-neutral and El Niño are nearly equally favored during the Northern Hemisphere summer and fall 2017.




ENSO-neutral persisted during April, with near-average sea surface temperatures (SSTs) observed across the central equatorial Pacific and above-average SSTs in the eastern Pacific (Fig. T18). The monthly Niño index values were +0.6°C in Niño-3, +0.3°C in Niño-3.4, and +0.2 and +0.9°C in the Niño-4 and Niño-1+2 regions, respectively (Table T2). The upper-ocean heat content anomaly was slightly positive during April, reflecting the strengthening of above-average temperatures at depth around the Date Line (Fig. T17). Atmospheric convection anomalies were weak over the central tropical Pacific and Maritime Continent (Fig. T25), while the lower-level and upper-level winds were near average over most of the tropical Pacific (Figs T20 & T21).  Overall, the ocean and atmosphere system remains consistent with ENSO-neutral.

Most models predict the onset of El Niño (3-month average Niño-3.4 index at or greater than 0.5°C) during the Northern Hemisphere summer (Figs. F1-F12). However, the NCEP CFSv2 and most of the statistical models are more conservative and indicate that while the Niño-3.4 index may be near or greater than +0.5°C for several months, the warmth may not last long enough to qualify as an El Niño episode (5 consecutive overlapping seasons) and/or may not significantly impact the atmospheric circulation.  Relative to last month, the forecaster consensus reflects slightly lower chances of El Niño (~45%), in part due to the conflicting model guidance and lack of a clear shift toward El Niño in the observational data.   In summary, while chances are slightly lower than 50%, ENSO-neutral and El Niño are nearly equally favored during the Northern Hemisphere summer and fall 2017.

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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