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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Usefulness of Recent Noaa/cpc Seasonal Temperature Forecasts

Authors
item Schneider, Jeanne
item Garbrecht, Jurgen

Submitted to: American Meteorological Society Proceedings
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: November 1, 2003
Publication Date: January 11, 2004
Citation: SCHNEIDER, J.M., GARBRECHT, J.D. USEFULNESS OF RECENT NOAA/CPC SEASONAL TEMPERATURE FORECASTS. CD-ROM. BOSTON, MA: AMERICAN METEOROLOGICAL SOCIETY. 2004.

Interpretive Summary: Operational climate forecasts for 3-month average temperature are issued monthly by the NOAA Climate Prediction Center, for lead times from 0.5 to 12.5 months. The forecasts are expected to support a wide range of applications in agriculture, and possibly water resource management. However, the adoption and use of the forecasts has been limited, partly due to a lack of user-oriented measures of forecast utility on a regional basis. As an initial assessment of forecast performance, the frequency and magnitude of forecast departures from normal conditions were summarized across the contiguous United States for the years 1997-2002. This measure is termed 'usefulness' in the sense that forecasts for strong or persistent departures from normal conditions are more likely to be perceived as useful by managers, while weak or non-forecasts may be ignored. A similar analysis on seasonal precipitation forecasts showed large variations in usefulness with region, El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO) state, and season. The results of this analysis for the temperature forecasts show similar variations, but with different dependence on region and ENSO state. The potential utility of the temperature forecasts is highest during the fall, winter, and spring in the northern Great Plains, and moderate across the western Great Lakes, Rocky Mountains, and Gulf Coast.

Technical Abstract: Operational climate forecasts for 3-month average temperature are issued monthly by the NOAA Climate Prediction Center, for lead times from 0.5 to 12.5 months. Among these forecasts, the Probability of Exceedance forecasts present information on expected shifts in the probability distribution of average temperature relative to climatological distributions. The forecasts are expected to support a wide range of applications in agriculture, and possibly water resource management. However, the adoption and use of the forecasts has been limited, partly due to a lack of user-oriented measures of forecast utility on a regional basis. As a step in this direction, the frequency and magnitude of forecast departures from climatological conditions are summarized across all forecast divisions for the years 1997-2002. This measure is termed 'usefulness' in the sense that forecasts for strong or persistent departures from climatological conditions are more likely to be perceived as useful by managers, while weak or non-forecasts may be ignored. A similar analysis on seasonal precipitation forecasts showed large variations with usefulness with region, El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO) state, and season. The results of this usefulness analysis for the temperature forecasts show similar variations, but with different dependence on region and ENSO state. The potential utility of the temperature forecasts is highest during the fall, winter, and spring in the northern Great Plains, and moderate across the western Great Lakes, Rocky Mountains, and Gulf Coast.

Last Modified: 4/17/2014
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