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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 EST THURSDAY NOV 20 2014

SUMMARY OF THE OUTLOOK FOR NON-TECHNICAL USERS

CURRENT ATMOSPHERIC AND OCEANIC OBSERVATIONS SHOW MIXED SIGNALS REGARDING THE
ENSO STATE. SOME OBSERVATIONS, SUCH AS THE SEA SURFACE TEMPERATURES ALONG THE
EQUATOR IN THE CENTRAL PACIFIC OCEAN ARE SUGGESTIVE OF EL NINO CONDITIONS,
WHILE MANY OF THE ATMOSPHERIC CONDITIONS ASSOCIATED WITH EL NINO ARE ABSENT.
TAKEN IN COMBINATION, THE OBSERVATIONS CONTINUE TO SUGGEST ENSO-NEUTRAL
CONDITIONS. BOTH STATISTICAL AND DYNAMICAL MODELS CONSISTENTLY FAVOR THE
DEVELOPMENT OF EL NINO CONDITIONS, BUT THE CONTINUED WEAK ATMOSPHERIC RESPONSE
SO LATE IN THE SEASON SUGGESTS THAT A WEAK EL NINO EVENT IS MOST PROBABLE. THE
CHANCE OF EL NINO DEVELOPMENT IS ONLY ABOUT 60%, WITH A 40% CHANCE FOR A
CONTINUATION OF ENSO-NEUTRAL CONDITIONS THROUGH THE WINTER.

THE TEMPERATURE OUTLOOK FOR DECEMBER-JANUARY-FEBRUARY (DJF) 2014-15 INDICATES
ELEVATED CHANCES OF ABOVE-NORMAL MEAN TEMPERATURES FOR ALASKA, THE WESTERN
CONUS, AND IN PARTS OF NEW ENGLAND. THE CHANCES OF BELOW-NORMAL MEAN
TEMPERATURES ARE ELEVATED ALONG THE SOUTHERN PART OF THE COUNTRY FROM EASTERN
NEW MEXICO TO THE SOUTHEASTERN ATLANTIC COAST AND FLORIDA.

THE DJF 2014-15 PRECIPITATION OUTLOOK INDICATES ENHANCED CHANCES OF
BELOW-MEDIAN PRECIPITATION FOR PARTS OF THE PACIFIC NORTHWEST, NORTHERN
ROCKIES, GREAT LAKES AND OHIO VALLEY. INCREASED PROBABILITIES FOR ABOVE-MEDIAN
PRECIPITATION AMOUNTS ARE FORECAST FROM SOUTHERN AND CENTRAL CALIFORNIA
EASTWARD ACROSS THE SOUTHWEST, SOUTHERN PLAINS, AND ALONG THE GULF AND SOUTHERN
ATLANTIC COASTS NORTHWARD TO INCLUDE THE EASTERN SEABOARD TO SOUTHERN NEW
ENGLAND. THE PROBABILITIES FOR ABOVE-MEDIAN PRECIPITATION ARE ALSO ENHANCED
OVER PARTS OF COASTAL SOUTHERN ALASKA, WHILE PARTS OF INTERIOR ALASKA HAVE
ENHANCED CHANCES OF BELOW-MEDIAN PRECIPITATION AMOUNTS.

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

ATMOSPHERIC AND OCEANIC CONDITIONS IN THE TROPICAL PACIFIC REMAIN MOST
CONSISTENT WITH AN ENSO-NEUTRAL STATE. SST ANOMALIES HAVE INCREASED IN RECENT
WEEKS AND ARE NOW ABOVE +0.5 IN ALL THE ENSO CRITICAL REGIONS OF THE PACIFIC,
WITH ANOMALIES OF +0.7C, +0.6C, +0.9C AND +0.6C IN THE NINO 4, 3.4, 3, AND 1+2
REGIONS RESPECTIVELY. SSTS ALONG THE EQUATOR ARE ABOVE +0.5 C EVERYWHERE FROM
ABOUT 160 E TO JUST SHY OF THE SOUTH AMERICAN COAST, WITH SOME REGIONAL
ANOMALIES IN EXCESS OF +1.0 C. OCEAN SUBSURFACE TEMPERATURE ANOMALIES REMAINED
FAIRLY STEADY IN THE PAST MONTH, AND RANGE FROM +1.0 TO +4.0 C AT BETWEEN 100
AND 200 METERS DEPTH, EXCEPT NEAR SOUTH AMERICA WHERE ABOVE NORMAL OCEAN
TEMPERATURES ARE CONFINED TO THE UPPER 50 METERS OR SO.

WITH THE EXCEPTION OF THE SOI, THE USUAL ATMOSPHERIC RESPONSE TO EL NINO ARE
NOTABLY ABSENT FROM RECENT OBSERVATIONS. RECENT OLR ANOMALIES SUGGEST THAT
CONVECTION IS NEAR TO BELOW NORMAL OVER THE CENTRAL EQUATORIAL PACIFIC IN AREAS
THAT USUALLY SEE ABOVE-NORMAL CONVECTION DURING EL NINOS. BOTH LOWER AND UPPER
LEVEL WIND ANOMALIES DURING THIS PERIOD REMAIN NEAR NORMAL. WITHOUT LARGE SCALE
ATMOSPHERIC ANOMALIES NORMALLY ASSOCIATED WITH EL NINO PRESENT, ENSO-NEUTRAL
STILL BEST DESCRIBES THE CURRENT CONDITIONS IN THE PACIFIC.

SIGNIFICANT EXTRA-TROPICAL ANOMALIES THAT MAY HAVE AN IMPACT ON THE CLIMATE
OVER NORTH AMERICA INCLUDE A LARGE AREA OF POSITIVE SST ANOMALIES IN THE
WESTERN NORTH PACIFIC BASIN THAT PROJECTS ONTO A POSITIVE PDO, ALTHOUGH
ANOMALIES HAVE WEAKENED CONSIDERABLY IN THE LAST MONTH. SST ANOMALIES ALONG THE
ATLANTIC SEABOARD HAVE DECREASED CONSIDERABLY IN THE PAST MONTH, AND ARE NOW
BELOW NORMAL FROM VIRGINIA SOUTHWARD, WITH POSITIVE SST ANOMALIES HOLDING ON IN
THE NORTH. IMPRESSIVELY POSITIVE ANOMALIES IN THE AREAL EXTENT OF SNOW COVER
WERE OBSERVED DURING THE MONTH OF OCTOBER IN BOTH NORTHERN EURASIA AND CANADA.
THE AREAL EXTENT OF SNOW COVER IN LATE OCTOBER IS THE THIRD HIGHEST SINCE THE
LATE 1960'S, ONLY EXCEEDED BY OCTOBER VALUES IN 1976 AND 2002.

PROGNOSTIC DISCUSSION OF SST FORECASTS

THERE IS FAIRLY GOOD CONSENSUS AMONG BOTH STATISTICAL AND DYNAMICAL MODELS FOR
ABOVE-NORMAL SSTS TO PERSIST IN THE NINO 3.4 REGION THROUGH THE BOREAL WINTER.
MOST OF THE TROPICAL ATMOSPHERIC RESPONSE TO EL NINO IS USUALLY WELL
ESTABLISHED BY THIS LATE IN THE YEAR, SO IN SPITE OF THE CONSENSUS OF
PREDICTIONS, THE EL NINO IS EXPECTED TO BE WEAK, IF IT DEVELOPS AT ALL.  THE
CURRENT CONSENSUS OF OPINION AMONG FORECASTERS AT CPC AND IRI IS FOR A 60%
CHANCE OF EL NINO DEVELOPMENT.  THE MULTI-MODEL AVERAGE OF NINO 3.4 SSTS IS FOR
ANOMALIES OF CLOSE TO +1.0 C BY EARLY 2015. A CALIBRATED CONSENSUS OF BOTH
STATISTICAL MODELS AND THE CFSV2 PREDICTIONS SUGGESTS AN EARLIER PEAK TO NINO
3.4 SSTS OF JUST OVER +0.7 C, IN NDJ 2014-15, DECREASING SLOWLY AFTERWARD AND
REACHING +0.5 C BY MAM 2015.

MOST MODELS RUN AS PART OF THE NMME AND IMME PERSIST ABOVE-NORMAL SSTS ALONG
THE WEST COAST OF NORTH AMERICA THROUGH AT LEAST LATE SPRING 2015. THE AREAL
EXTENT AND MAGNITUDE OF THESE PREDICTED ANOMALIES PROJECT ONTO A POSITIVE PDO
PATTERN AND ARE LARGE ENOUGH TO POTENTIALLY HAVE AN IMPACT ON CLIMATIC
CONDITIONS OVER NORTH AMERICA IN THE NEXT SEVERAL SEASONS.

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

THE TEMPERATURE AND PRECIPITATION OUTLOOKS FROM DJF 2014-15 THROUGH MAM 2015
ARE INFLUENCED BY THE POTENTIAL IMPACTS OF A WEAK EL NINO. THE LIKELY MARGINAL
STRENGTH OF EL NINO RESULTS IN ONLY SLIGHTLY ENHANCED CHANCES OF CLIMATIC
ANOMALIES IN THE REGIONS USUALLY INFLUENCED BY ENSO, AND IS WELL SHORT OF THE
CONFIDENCE ASSOCIATED WITH A STRONGER EVENT. LARGE-SCALE INDICATORS, SUCH AS
THE POSITIVE PDO AND NEGATIVE SOI CURRENTLY ARE CONSISTENT WITH EL NINO
CONDITIONS AND MAY INDICATE THE EVENTUAL ESTABLISHMENT OF THE USUAL
TELECONNECTION PATTERNS ASSOCIATED WITH EL NINO IN SPITE OF THE CURRENTLY
DISORGANIZED EQUATORIAL ATMOSPHERIC STATE.

THE CONSTRUCTED ANALOG FORECAST FOR TEMPERATURE AND PRECIPITATION BASED ON
GLOBAL SST PATTERNS (CA-SST) WAS ALSO UTILIZED IN THE OUTLOOKS AS WAS
INFORMATION FROM A LARGE VARIETY OF DYNAMICAL MODEL GUIDANCE, INCLUDING THE
CFS, THE NMME AND IMME.  THE PREDICTIVE SIGNALS FROM THESE MODELS ARE IN
GENERAL AGREEMENT WITH EL NINO COMPOSITES.

FOR OUTLOOKS FROM AMJ THROUGH DJF 2015-16, DECADAL TRENDS DUE TO CHANGES IN THE
CLIMATE BASE STATE AND THE CON (HEAVILY INFLUENCED BY TRENDS) ARE THE PRIMARY
SOURCE OF TEMPERATURE AND PRECIPITATION SIGNALS.

PROGNOSTIC DISCUSSION OF OUTLOOKS - DJF 2014 TO DJF 2015

TEMPERATURE

THE OUTLOOK FOR DJF 2014-15 INDICATES ELEVATED CHANCES FOR ABOVE-NORMAL
TEMPERATURES IN ALASKA, MOST OF THE WESTERN CONUS, AND FOR PARTS OF NEW
ENGLAND. THERE IS NOTABLY HIGH SPREAD AMONG TOOLS FOR TEMPERATURES IN THE
CENTRAL AND EASTERN CONUS, WITH SOME TOOLS AND DYNAMIC MODELS FAVORING BELOW
NORMAL TEMPERATURES, WHILE OTHERS FAVOR ABOVE. THIS MAY, IN PART BE RELATED TO
THE DIFFERING STRENGTHS OF THE EL NINO PREDICTIONS FROM THE MODELS. STRONGER EL
NINO EVENTS TEND TO BE ASSOCIATED WITH ABOVE-NORMAL TEMPERATURES IN THE UPPER
MID-WEST AND GREAT LAKES, WHILE WEAK EVENTS SHOW COOLER AND MORE VARIABLE
TEMPERATURE CONDITIONS. GIVEN THE EXPECTED WEAK NATURE OF THIS EL NINO, THE
WARMER SOLUTIONS AMONG THE TOOLS WERE LARGELY DISCOUNTED. SNOW COVER THROUGHOUT
THE NORTHERN HEMISPHERE WAS WELL ABOVE THE LONG-TERM NORMALS IN OCTOBER, AND
SOME RECENT RESEARCH SUGGESTS THAT THIS MAY INCREASE LIKELIHOOD OF BELOW-NORMAL
TEMPERATURES IN EASTERN NORTH AMERICA. THE CA-SST TOOL SUGGESTS A NEGATIVE
AO/NAO WHICH IS ALSO ASSOCIATED WITH BELOW-NORMAL TEMPERATURES IN THE EASTERN
CONUS. CONSIDERING THESE FACTORS, THE REGION FAVORING BELOW-NORMAL TEMPERATURES
WAS EXPANDED SOMEWHAT FROM WHAT WAS INDICATED ON LAST MONTH'S OUTLOOK, AND THE
CHANCES FOR ABOVE-NORMAL TEMPERATURES IN THE NORTHERN GREAT PLAINS HAVE
DIMINISHED TO NO HIGHER THAN LONG TERM CLIMATOLOGY. BELOW-NORMAL TEMPERATURES
ARE NOW FAVORED THROUGHOUT MUCH OF THE SOUTHERN HALF OF THE CONUS FROM THE
SOUTHERN ROCKIES EASTWARD, WHERE WEAK EL NINO COMPOSITES ALSO LEND SUPPORT.

THE PATTERN OF FORECAST TEMPERATURE PROBABILITIES FAVORED IN DJF EXTENDS TO THE
LATE WINTER MONTHS AND THEN GRADUALLY DIMINISHES INTO SPRING, 2015.  BEFORE
LARGELY VANISHING BY AMJ 2015.  PREDICTED ANOMALIES FOR MJJ AND BEYOND ARE
LARGELY DETERMINED BY RECENT TRENDS, ALTHOUGH SOME REVISIONS WERE MADE TO THE
FORECAST IN THE WESTERN CONUS. THE REGION OF ENHANCED CHANCES FOR ABOVE-NORMAL
TEMPERATURES WAS EXPANDED IN THE LATE SPRING TO REFLECT NORTH PACIFIC SSTS
PREDICTED BY THE MOST DYNAMIC MODELS AS WELL AS THE CA-SST WHICH FAVOR WARM
CONDITIONS. THE PREDICTED SSTS PROJECTS ON TO THE POSITIVE PDO INDEX, AND
CORRELATES WEAKLY WITH ABOVE-NORMAL TEMPERATURES IN THE WESTERN CONUS, SO THE
REGION OF ENHANCED CHANCES OF ABOVE-NORMAL TEMPERATURES WAS EXPANDED IN PARTS
OF THE WEST RELATIVE TO PREVIOUS OUTLOOKS IN AMJ AND MJJ 2015. SIGNALS FROM
TRENDS PREDOMINATE DURING THE SUMMER MONTHS, RESULTING IN ELEVATED CHANCES FOR
ABOVE-NORMAL TEMPERATURES FOR MUCH OF ALASKA, AND AS WELL AS MUCH OF THE CONUS
EXCEPT FOR INTERIOR PORTIONS.

TREND-RELATED SIGNALS GRADUALLY DIMINISH INTO THE FALL AND WINTER SEASONS,
UNTIL BY DJF 2015-16 ELEVATED CHANCES FOR ABOVE-NORMAL TEMPERATURES ARE
RESTRICTED ONLY TO REGIONS IN THE SOUTHWEST, SOUTHERN ROCKIES, AND TEXAS AS
WELL AS NEAR NEW ENGLAND, AND IN NORTHERN ALASKA. SUBSTANTIALLY ENHANCED
PROBABILITIES OF ABOVE-NORMAL TEMPERATURES ARE FORECAST FOR NORTHERN ALASKA
FROM ASO 2015 THROUGH OND 2015 DUE TO THE LIKELY ANOMALOUS DELAY IN ARCTIC
OCEAN AND BERING SEA SEA-ICE COVER FOR OCTOBER AND NOVEMBER IN THE LAST DECADE
RELATIVE TO 1981-2010.

PRECIPITATION

THE ELEVATED CHANCES FOR A WEAK EL NINO EVENT INFLUENCES THE PRECIPITATION
OUTLOOK MAPS THROUGH FMA 2015. DYNAMICAL MODEL FORECAST GUIDANCE FROM THE NMME
AND IMME AND THEIR PARTICIPANT MODELS GENERALLY SUPPORT WARM EVENT COMPOSITES.
PRECIPITATION FORECASTS FROM THE GLOBAL SST BASED CONSTRUCTED ANALOG TOOL WAS
ALSO CONSIDERED.

THE CHANCES FOR ABOVE-MEDIAN PRECIPITATION AMOUNTS ARE ELEVATED FOR CENTRAL
CALIFORNIA, ACROSS THE SOUTHWEST, PARTS OF THE SOUTHERN GREAT BASIN, THE
SOUTHERN PLAINS AND THE SOUTHEAST CONUS FROM DJF 2014-15 THROUGH FMA 2015. THE
NMME SUGGESTS WETTER CONDITIONS FOR CENTRAL CALIFORNIA ON THE MOST RECENT RUNS
THAN RUNS FOR THE SAME SEASON ISSUED LAST MONTH. THE PRECIPITATION FORECAST FOR
CENTRAL CALIFORNIA WAS REVISED TO REFLECT THIS INFORMATION. EL NINO COMPOSITES
ALSO WEAKLY SUPPORT AN INCREASE IN THE ODDS FOR ABOVE AVERAGE PRECIPITATION
NORTHWARD ALONG THE EASTERN SEABOARD TO SOUTHERN NEW ENGLAND WITH LIMITED
SUPPORT FROM THE NMME AND IMME MODEL GUIDANCE.

ENHANCED PROBABILITIES FOR BELOW-MEDIAN PRECIPITATION ARE INDICATED FOR THE
PACIFIC NORTHWEST THROUGH MAM 2015, AND FROM THE CENTRAL MISSISSIPPI VALLEY
INTO THE GREAT LAKES REGION FROM DJF 2014-15 THROUGH MAM 2015. THE AREA AND
CONFIDENCE IN THE FORECAST FAVORING BELOW-MEDIAN PRECIPITATION IS REDUCED
SOMEWHAT IN RELATION TO THE OUTLOOKS ISSUED A MONTH AGO IN THE PACIFIC
NORTHWEST DUE TO WEAK SUPPORT FROM THIS MONTHS NMME AND IMME. PROBABILITIES OF
ABOVE-MEDIAN PRECIPITATION ARE ENHANCED FOR PARTS OF SOUTHERN ALASKA THROUGH
FMA 2015, ALTHOUGH THIS AREA IS SOMEWHAT SMALLER THAN IN PREVIOUS OUTLOOKS FOR
THE SAME SEASON DUE TO THE LACK OF SUPPORT FROM RECENT MODEL RUNS.  SOME RECENT
EXAMINATION OF PRECIPITATION IN PAST INSTANCES OF WEAK EL NINO CONDITIONS
SUPPORT ENHANCED CHANCES OF BELOW-MEDIAN PRECIPITATION AMOUNTS IN PARTS OF
CENTRAL ALASKA IN DJF AND JFM.

RECENT DYNAMIC FORECASTS FROM THE NMME SUGGEST ABOVE-MEDIAN PRECIPITAITON FOR
THE SOUTHERN ROCKY MOUNTAINS AND PARTS OF THE SOUTHERN GREAT PLAINS IN THE LATE
SPRING, CONTRADICTING THE FORECAST ISSUED LAST MONTH, WHICH WERE PRIMARILY
BASED ON TREND AND BEYOND THE LAST LEAD OF THE DYNAMIC MODELS INITIALIZED LAST
MONTH. IN VIEW OF THIS NEW INFORMATION, THE FORECAST FOR AMJ AND MJJ 2015 WAS
REVISED TO EQUAL CHANCES FOR PRECIPITATION TERCILES FOR THE SOUTHERN HIGH
PLAINS. DECADAL TRENDS POINT TO ELEVATED CHANCES FOR BELOW-MEDIAN PRECIPITATION
IN THE PACIFIC NORTHWEST DURING THE JAS AND ASO 2015 SEASONS. TRENDS IN PARTS
OF THE SOUTHEAST CONUS INDICATE ELEVATED CHANCES FOR BELOW-MEDIAN PRECIPITATION
AMOUNTS IN DJF 2015-16.

FORECASTER: DAVID UNGER

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 DEC 18 2014


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

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