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Published September 20, 2011
Temperature Outlook(October 2011–March 2012)
Data Source(s): NOAA-Climate Prediction Center (CPC)
The seasonal temperature outlooks issued by the NOAA-Climate Prediction Center (CPC) in September call for increased chances for temperatures to be similar to those of the warmest 10 years of the 1981–2010 period through January. There is at least a 40 percent chance of above-average temperatures in eastern New Mexico and Arizona for the October–November period (Figure 9a). Forecasts for November–January also show greater than a 40 percent chance of warmer-than-average conditions in all of New Mexico, with slightly lower odds in Arizona (Figure 9b). Forecasts for the December–February and January–March periods show increased odds of warmer-than-average temperatures in New Mexico, but equal chances for above-, below-, or near-average conditions in Arizona (Figures 9c–d). Equal chances forecasts are given to those areas where the temperature is forecast to be similar to the 1981–2010 average.
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