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Published January 23, 2013
Temperature Outlook(February–July 2013)
Data Source(s): NOAA-Climate Prediction Center (CPC)
The seasonal temperature outlooks issued by the NOAA-Climate Prediction Center (NOAA-CPC) in January call for increased chances that temperatures will be similar to the warmest 10 years in the 1981–2010 period for the three-month seasons spanning February through July (Figures 9a–d). If temperatures are above average for the February–April period, the magnitude of the anomaly is expected to be between 0.2 and 0.6 degrees F for most of the Southwest. Reasons for above-average forecasts include El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) conditions, historical trends, and land-surface feedback. The NOAA-CPC indicates that neutral ENSO conditions will continue to persist through the spring. In the past, ENSO-neutral conditions coupled with a currently negative Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO) can bring drier conditions to the Southwest. Recent late winter and spring warming trends have also been figured into these forecasts. In addition, soil moisture conditions may influence temperature in coming months. If dry conditions persist, soils will continue to be dry, which will in turn maximize the probability for above-normal temperatures in the spring.
These outlooks predict the likelihood (chance) of above-average, average, and below-average temperature, but not the magnitude of such variation. The numbers on the maps do not refer to degrees of temperature.
The NOAA-CPC outlooks are a 3-category forecast. As a starting point, the 1981–2010 climate record is divided into 3 categories, each with a 33.3 percent chance of occurring (i.e., equal chances, EC). The forecast indicates the likelihood of one of the extremes—above-average (A) or below-average (B)—with a corresponding adjustment to the other extreme category; the “average” category is preserved at 33.3 likelihood, unless the forecast is very strong.
Thus, using the NOAA-CPC temperature outlook, areas with light brown shading display a 33.3–39.9 percent chance of above-average, a 33.3 percent chance of average, and a 26.7–33.3 percent chance of below-average temperature. A shade darker brown indicates a 40.0–50.0 percent chance of above-average, a 33.3 percent chance of average, and a 16.7–26.6 percent chance of below-average temperature, and so on.
Equal Chances (EC) indicates areas where no forecast skill has been demonstrated or there is no clear climate signal; areas labeled EC suggest an equal likelihood of above-average, average, and below-average conditions, as a “default option” when forecast skill is poor.
These outlooks predict the likelihood (chance) of above-average, average, and below-average temperature, but not the magnitude of such variation. The numbers on the maps do not refer to degrees of temperature. The NOAA-CPC outlooks are a 3-category forec:
For seasonal temperature forecast downscaled to the local scale, visit:
For IRI forecasts, visit:
Southwest Climate Outlook Staff
- Michael Crimmins, UA Extension Specialist
- Stephanie Doster, Institute of the Environment Editor
- Gregg Garfin, Founding Editor, Institute of the Environment
- Zack Guido, Managing Editor, CLIMAS Associate Staff Scientist
- Nancy J. Selover, Arizona State Climatologist
- Jessica Dollin, CLIMAS Publications Assistant
- Dave Dubious, New Mexico State Climatologist
Please direct your Southwest Climate Outlook comments and suggestions to Zack Guido.
The CLIMAS Web site contains official and non-official forecasts, as well as other information. While we make every effort to verify this information, please understand that we do not warrant the accuracy of any of these materials.... Read full disclaimer