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HOME> Outlook Maps>Seasonal Forecast Discussion
 
PROGNOSTIC DISCUSSION FOR MONTHLY OUTLOOK 
NWS CLIMATE PREDICTION CENTER COLLEGE PARK MD
300PM EST SATURDAY JAN 31 2015

30-DAY OUTLOOK DISCUSSION FOR FEBRUARY 2015

THE FEBRUARY 2015 MONTHLY OUTLOOK INCORPORATES GUIDANCE FROM THE NCEP CLIMATE
FORECAST SYSTEM (CFS), THE NCEP GLOBAL ENSEMBLE FORECAST SYSTEM (GEFS)
CALIBRATED USING RETROSPECTIVE FORECASTS FOR 1985-2010 GENERATED BY THE NOAA
EARTH SYSTEM RESEARCH LABORATORY (ESRL), AND THE NORTH AMERICAN ENSEMBLE
FORECAST SYSTEM (NAEFS, A MULTI-MODEL ENSEMBLE THAT COMBINES BIAS-CORRECTED
OUTPUT FROM THE NCEP GEFS AND THE ENVIRONMENT CANADA ENSEMBLE PREDICTION
SYSTEM). THE FEBRUARY OUTLOOK ALSO CONSIDERS GFS AND ECMWF TEMPERATURE AND
PRECIPITATION FORECASTS FOR VARIOUS TIME SCALES OUT TO ONE MONTH IN ADVANCE.

THE UPDATED OUTLOOK FOR FEBRUARY 2015 IS SIGNIFICANTLY DIFFERENT FROM THE
PREVIOUS 0.5-MONTH LEAD OUTLOOK ISSUED ON JANUARY 15. THIS IS DUE TO LARGE
DIFFERENCES BETWEEN THE VARIOUS DYNAMICAL MODEL INPUTS, AND THE CONTINUING
UNCERTAINTY REGARDING POSSIBLE ENSO IMPACTS.

THE TEMPERATURE OUTLOOK FOR FEBRUARY 2015 PREDICTS ENHANCED CHANCES OF
ABOVE-NORMAL MEAN TEMPERATURES FOR THE NORTHERN HALF OF THE GREAT PLAINS, AND
ALL AREAS WEST OF THE CONTINENTAL DIVIDE, WITH PROBABILITIES FOR RELATIVE
WARMTH EXCEEDING 50-PERCENT IN THE GREAT BASIN. ABOVE-NORMAL MEAN TEMPERATURES
ARE ALSO FAVORED ALONG THE ALASKA COAST FROM PRINCE WILLIAM SOUND IN
SOUTH-CENTRAL ALASKA TO KETCHIKAN IN THE FAR SOUTHERN PANHANDLE. MOST OF THE
MODELS AND TOOLS SUPPORT THESE AREAS. WITH THE MOST RECENT MODEL GUIDANCE FOR
THE REMAINDER OF ALASKA CONFLICTING WITH THE AVAILABLE GUIDANCE FROM TWO WEEKS
AGO, IT WAS NECESSARY TO CHANGE THE ALASKA TEMPERATURE OUTLOOK SIGNIFICANTLY,
FROM ENHANCED ODDS OF ABOVE-NORMAL TEMPERATURES TO EQUAL CHANCES (EC). THERE
ARE ENHANCED ODDS OF BELOW-NORMAL TEMPERATURES FOR MUCH OF THE EASTERN THIRD OF
THE CONUS. THIS PREDICTION IS ALSO WELL SUPPORTED BY MOST TOOLS, AND IS
CONSISTENT WITH THE IDEA OF A PERSISTENT, LARGE-SCALE TROUGH DOMINATING THE
MID-TROPOSPHERIC CIRCULATION IN THE EAST. THE PREVIOUSLY ISSUED AREAS OF
FAVORED BELOW-NORMAL TEMPERATURES (SOUTHERN PLAINS) AND ABOVE-NORMAL
TEMPERATURES (FLORIDA) HAVE BEEN REMOVED IN FAVOR OF EC, DUE TO WEAK AND/OR
CONFLICTING SIGNALS AMONG THE MODELS.

THE PRECIPITATION OUTLOOK FOR FEBRUARY 2015 FAVORS ABOVE-MEDIAN PRECIPITATION
ALONG THE ALASKA COAST FROM ABOUT PRINCE WILLIAM SOUND TO KETCHIKAN, AND ALONG
THE PACIFIC NORTHWEST COAST AS FAR SOUTH AS NORTHWESTERN CALIFORNIA.
ABOVE-MEDIAN PRECIPITATION IS ALSO FAVORED ACROSS A PORTION OF THE SOUTHEASTERN
CONUS. THERE IS NEARLY UNANIMOUS AGREEMENT AMONG THE VARIOUS CLIMATE MODELS FOR
THE FIRST AREA MENTIONED. WHILE THE SECOND AREA (SOUTHEASTERN CONUS) DOES HAVE
SOME OBJECTIVE SUPPORT, IT ALSO COINCIDES WITH THE PREDICTED SOUTHERN PORTION
OF THE EASTERN CONUS TROUGH, ON AVERAGE, AND IS THE MOST LIKELY LOCATION TO
RECEIVE PRECIPITATION. THE AREA OF FAVORED ABOVE-MEDIAN PRECIPITATION FROM
SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA EASTWARD TO THE SOUTHERN GREAT PLAINS WITH THE PREVIOUS
OUTLOOK WAS REMOVED DUE TO WEAK AND/OR CONFLICTING INDICATIONS AMONG THE LATEST
MODEL GUIDANCE. THE SAME IS TRUE FOR THE AREA OF FAVORED BELOW-MEDIAN
PRECIPITATION OVER THE INTERIOR NORTHWEST AND NORTHERN ROCKIES.

IN AREAS WHERE CLIMATE SIGNALS ARE WEAK OR CONFLICTING, SUCH THAT THE
LIKELIHOODS OF MONTHLY MEAN TEMPERATURES OR MONTHLY ACCUMULATED PRECIPITATION
AMOUNTS ARE SIMILAR TO CLIMATOLOGICAL PROBABILITIES, EQUAL CHANCES (EC) IS
INDICATED.

------- THE PREVIOUS DISCUSSION, ISSUED JANUARY 15, FOLLOWS BELOW --------

THE FEBRUARY 2015 OUTLOOK REFLECTS A FAIRLY HIGH AMOUNT OF UNCERTAINTY, GIVEN
SIGNIFICANT DIFFERENCES AMONG VARIOUS CLIMATE MODELS, AND THE CONTINUED LACK OF
A ROBUST ATMOSPHERIC RESPONSE TO THE NEAR- TO ABOVE-AVERAGE EQUATORIAL PACIFIC
SSTS.

DURING THE PAST 4 WEEKS, EQUATORIAL SEA-SURFACE TEMPERATURES (SST) WERE
ABOVE-AVERAGE ACROSS MOST OF THE PACIFIC, THOUGH THE ANOMALIES HAVE RECENTLY
WEAKENED. THE LATEST WEEKLY NINO 3.4 INDEX IS +0.4 C. POSITIVE SUBSURFACE
TEMPERATURE ANOMALIES HAVE PERSISTED ACROSS MOST OF THE CENTRAL AND EASTERN
EQUATORIAL PACIFIC SINCE MID-NOVEMBER, TO A DEPTH OF 50-100 METERS. WHILE
OCEANIC INDICATORS FAVOR AN EL NINO, ATMOSPHERIC INDICATORS CONTINUE TO FAVOR
ENSO-NEUTRAL CONDITIONS. DURING THE PAST 30-DAYS, ENHANCED CONVECTION AND
PRECIPITATION HAS BEEN OBSERVED OVER INDONESIA, THE PHILIPPINES, NORTHERN
AUSTRALIA, AND THE WESTERN PACIFIC. SUPPRESSED CONVECTION AND PRECIPITATION WAS
OBSERVED NEAR THE DATE LINE. LOW-LEVEL (850-HPA) WINDS WERE NEAR-AVERAGE ACROSS
MOST OF THE EQUATORIAL PACIFIC. THE CONVECTION AND LOW-LEVEL WIND PATTERNS ARE
NOT CONSISTENT WITH AN EL NINO. COLLECTIVELY, THE OCEANIC AND ATMOSPHERIC
INDICATORS SUPPORT THE CONTINUATION OF ENSO-NEUTRAL CONDITIONS. THIS CONTINUED
LACK OF COUPLING BETWEEN THE OCEAN AND ATMOSPHERE SUGGESTS THAT THE WINDOW OF
OPPORTUNITY FOR A WEAK WARM EVENT IS RAPIDLY NARROWING. THERE IS AN
APPROXIMATELY 50-60 PERCENT CHANCE OF EL NINO CONDITIONS DURING THE NEXT TWO
MONTHS, AFTER WHICH ENSO-NEUTRAL IS FAVORED.

THE MONTHLY PACIFIC DECADAL OSCILLATION (PDO) INDEX FOR DECEMBER 2014 IS +2.51,
WHICH IS THE HIGHEST DECEMBER VALUE OF RECORD (SINCE 1900). REGRESSIONS OF
FEBRUARY TEMPERATURE ON DECEMBER PDO VALUES SUPPORT A RELATIVELY COLD PATTERN
FOR MUCH OF THE CONUS EAST OF THE ROCKIES. THE MADDEN JULIAN OSCILLATION IS
CURRENTLY ACTIVE, WITH THE ENHANCED CONVECTIVE PHASE CENTERED OVER THE WESTERN
PACIFIC, AND SUPPRESSED CONVECTIVE PHASES OVER THE INDIAN OCEAN AND IN THE
WEST-CENTRAL PACIFIC NEAR THE DATE LINE. DURING THE NEXT TWO WEEKS, THE
ENHANCED PHASE OF THE MJO IS PREDICTED TO SHIFT EASTWARD INTO THE WESTERN
HEMISPHERE, AND DECREASE IN AMPLITUDE. LAGGED COMPOSITES ON THE MJO FAVOR A
COOLING DOWN FOR MUCH OF THE CONUS DURING WEEK 2. IT IS DIFFICULT TO SAY HOW
MUCH OF A ROLE THE MJO MAY PLAY IN INFLUENCING U.S. CLIMATE IN FEBRUARY.

CFS AND ECMWF DYNAMICAL MODEL GUIDANCE FOR THE WEEK 3 AND WEEK 4 PERIODS DEPICT
A MODERATING TREND IN SURFACE TEMPERATURES ACROSS THE CENTRAL AND EASTERN
CONUS. THESE MODELS ARE ALSO VERY PERSISTENT IN PREDICTING ABOVE-AVERAGE MEAN
TEMPERATURES ACROSS THE WESTERN CONUS AND ALASKA. AN ASSORTMENT OF CLIMATE
MODELS FOR FEBRUARY 2015 PREDICT A FAIRLY WIDE RANGE OF POSSIBLE OUTCOMES. THE
NATIONAL MULTI-MODEL ENSEMBLE (NMME) AND THE INTERNATIONAL MULTI-MODEL ENSEMBLE
(IMME) FORECAST ENHANCED CHANCES OF ABOVE-AVERAGE MEAN TEMPERATURES IN ALASKA,
THE WESTERN CONUS, AND TO A MODEST DEGREE, PARTS OF THE SOUTHEAST. THEY ALSO
ANTICIPATE ENHANCED CHANCES OF BELOW-AVERAGE MEAN TEMPERATURES IN PARTS OF
TEXAS. THE INDIVIDUAL MODEL INPUTS TO THE NMME ALL AGREE ON THE PREDICTED
RELATIVE WARMTH IN ALASKA, AND WITH ONE EXCEPTION, THEY ALSO AGREE ON THE
WARMTH OVER THE WESTERN CONUS. HOWEVER, FOR REMAINING AREAS OF THE CONUS,
TEMPERATURE SIGNALS AMONG THE VARIOUS MODELS ARE EITHER WEAK OR CONFLICTING,
SUGGESTING LITTLE PREDICTIVE SIGNAL FOR TEMPERATURE ANOMALIES. THE OFFICIAL
FEBRUARY 2015 TEMPERATURE OUTLOOK THEREFORE FAVORS ABOVE-AVERAGE TEMPERATURES
IN ALASKA, THE WESTERN CONUS, AND FLORIDA, AND BELOW-AVERAGE TEMPERATURES IN
TEXAS.

FOR PRECIPITATION, THE NMME, IMME, AND CFS PREDICT ENHANCED ODDS OF
ABOVE-MEDIAN PRECIPITATION FROM SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA EASTWARD ACROSS THE
SOUTHWEST, SOUTHERN ROCKIES, AND SOUTHERN GREAT PLAINS, WITH THE HIGHER
PROBABILITIES IN NEW MEXICO AND TEXAS. THESE SAME MODELS ALSO ANTICIPATE
ELEVATED ODDS OF BELOW-MEDIAN PRECIPITATION ACROSS PARTS OF THE PACIFIC
NORTHWEST AND NORTHERN ROCKIES. THESE PREDICTED CLIMATE ANOMALIES HAVE
REASONABLE SUPPORT FROM A MAJORITY OF THE CLIMATE MODELS WHICH CONSTITUTE THE
NMME. SOME MODELS ALSO FORECAST A TILT IN THE ODDS TOWARD DRYNESS NEAR THE
GREAT LAKES/OHIO VALLEY REGION, AND WETNESS ALONG THE SOUTH-CENTRAL AND
SOUTHEASTERN ALASKA COAST, BUT THEY APPEAR TO BE EITHER TOO WEAK OR DISAGREE
SUBSTANTIALLY IN PREDICTED LOCATION TO BE USED RELIABLY. THE OFFICIAL FEBRUARY
2015 PRECIPITATION OUTLOOK THEREFORE FAVORS ABOVE-MEDIAN PRECIPITATION FROM
SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA EASTWARD TO TEXAS, AND BELOW-MEDIAN PRECIPITATION IN THE
PACIFIC NORTHWEST AND NORTHERN ROCKIES.

IN AREAS WHERE CLIMATE SIGNALS ARE WEAK OR CONFLICTING, SUCH THAT THE
LIKELIHOODS OF MONTHLY MEAN TEMPERATURES OR MONTHLY ACCUMULATED PRECIPITATION
AMOUNTS ARE SIMILAR TO CLIMATOLOGICAL PROBABILITIES, EQUAL CHANCES (EC) IS
INDICATED.

THE MAIN FACTORS THAT USUALLY INFLUENCE THE MONTHLY CLIMATE OUTLOOK INCLUDE:
1) EL NINO AND LA NINA - WHICH COMPRISE ENSO. IMPACTS OF THESE EVENTS ARE
SUMMARIZED BY SEPARATING 3-MONTH OBSERVATIONS FROM THREE OR MORE DECADES INTO
EL NINO, NEUTRAL AND LA NINA SETS, AVERAGING EACH SEPARATELY, AND THEN
COMPUTING ANOMALIES. THESE ARE CALLED "COMPOSITES" AND USED AT TIMES TO
SUBJECTIVELY MODIFY THE FORECAST.
2) TRENDS - APPROXIMATED BY THE OCN TOOL AS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE MOST
RECENT 10-YEAR MEAN OF TEMPERATURE OR 15-YEAR MEAN OF PRECIPITATION FOR A GIVEN
LOCATION AND TIME OF YEAR AND THE 30-YEAR CLIMATOLOGY PERIOD (CURRENTLY
1981-2010).
3) THE TROPICAL 30-60 DAY OSCILLATION - CALLED THE MADDEN JULIAN OSCILLATION
(MJO) - AFFECTS CLIMATE VARIABILITY WITHIN SEASONS.
4) THE ARCTIC OSCILLATION (AO), THE SIMILAR NORTH ATLANTIC OSCILLATION (NAO),
AND THE PACIFIC NORTH AMERICAN (PNA) PATTERNS - WHICH AFFECT THE TEMPERATURE
ANOMALY PATTERN ESPECIALLY DURING BOREAL WINTER AND ARE GENERALLY CONSIDERED TO
HAVE LOW PREDICTABILITY.
5) THE PACIFIC DECADAL OSCILLATION (PDO) - AN ENSO-LIKE PATTERN OF CLIMATE
VARIABILITY AFFECTING THE TROPICS AND THE NORTH PACIFIC AND NORTH AMERICAN
REGIONS, BUT WHICH VARIES ON A MUCH LONGER TIME-SCALE THAN ENSO.
6) PERSISTENTLY DRY OR WET SOILS IN THE SPRING AND SUMMER AND SNOW AND ICE
COVER ANOMALIES IN THE WINTER. THESE FACTORS TEND TO PERSIST FOR LONG PERIODS
AND ACT AS A KIND OF MEMORY IN THE CLIMATE SYSTEM.
7) STATISTICAL FORECAST MODELS - CANONICAL CORRELATION ANALYSIS (CCA),
SCREENING MULTIPLE LINEAR REGRESSION (SMLR), CONSTRUCTED ANALOG (CA), AND
ENSEMBLE CCA (ECCA).
8) DYNAMICAL FORECAST MODELS - INCLUDING THE NCEP CLIMATE FORECAST SYSTEM
VERSION 2 (CFS) AND FOR THE ZERO-LEAD UPDATE FORECASTS THE NCEP GLOBAL ENSEMBLE
FORECAST SYSTEM (GEFS).  AN EXPERIMENTAL FORECAST SYSTEM, THE NATIONAL
MULTI-MODEL ENSEMBLE (NMME), COMPRISED OF SEVERAL DYNAMICAL MODELS IS ALSO USED.


FORECASTER: ANTHONY ARTUSA


THE CLIMATIC NORMALS ARE BASED ON CONDITIONS BETWEEN 1981 AND 2010, FOLLOWING
THE WORLD METEOROLOGICAL ORGANIZATION CONVENTION OF USING THE MOST RECENT 3
COMPLETE DECADES AS THE CLIMATE 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.



THE NEXT MONTHLY OUTLOOK...FOR MAR ... WILL BE ISSUED ON THU FEB 19 2015


THESE OUTLOOKS ARE BASED ON DEPARTURES FROM THE 1981-2010 BASE PERIOD.

$$

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