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Published October 24, 2011
Temperature Outlook((November 2011–January 2012))
Data Source(s): NOAA-Climate Prediction Center (CPC)
The seasonal temperature outlooks issued by the NOAA-Climate Prediction Center (CPC) in October call for increased chances for temperatures to be similar to those of the warmest 10 years of the 1981–2010 for the November–January and December–February periods in Arizona (Figures 8a–b). Odds for warmer-than-average conditions are only slightly higher than equal chances; the CPC assigns an equal chance that conditions will be above, below, or near average for Arizona for the January–March and February–April periods (Figures 8c–d). In New Mexico, the odds are slightly higher for conditions to be similar to the warmest 10 years in the climatological period for each of the four seasons indicated (Figures 8a). The highest odds are for the next three months, and forecasts suggest a 40–50 percent chance of warmer-than-average temperatures. While odds diminish to slightly above equal chances for most of the state through the winter and early spring, they persist in southeast New Mexico.
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
- 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 Dubois, 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