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Published May 23, 2012
Temperature Outlook(June–November 2012)
Data Source(s): NOAA–Climate Prediction Center (CPC)
The seasonal temperature outlooks issued by the NOAA-Climate Prediction Center (CPC) in May call for increased odds that temperatures for the three-month seasons spanning June to Novmber will be similar to the warmest 10 years in the 1981–2010 period (Figures 10a–d). For the June–August period, there is a 50 percent chance that temperatures will be 0.6–1.5 degrees F above average in most of Arizona and western New Mexico. The highest temperature anomalies likely will be in northern Arizona. The above-average temperatures for this period strongly reflect recent warming trends. Low soil moisture inherited from the dry winter and spring also influences this outlook. In addition, there is more than a 50 percent chance of above-average temperatures in the summer months and into the early winter (Figures 10b–d), which also reflects recent warming trends. The uncertainty in the evolution of the El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO), which may transition from currently neutral conditions to El Niño in the summer, is causing a slight shift toward cooler conditions in the Southwest at lead times starting in October. The impact of ENSO will become more certain in coming months.
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.
For more information on CPC forecasts, visit:
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
- Dan Ferguson, CLIMAS Program Director
- Gregg Garfin, Founding Editor, Institute of the Environment
- Zack Guido, CLIMAS Associate Staff Scientist
- Gigi Owen, CLIMAS Assistant Staff Scientist
- Nancy J. Selover, Arizona State Climatologist
- Jessica Swetish, CLIMAS Publications Assistant
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