Climate Model Summary

Climate Model Summary Archive: 2 May 2012

Models predict that El Niño conditions will persist through summer 2009/10


As detailed in our ENSO Wrap-up, there has been little change in the equatorial Pacific Ocean over the past month. Conditions remain indicative of a mature El Niño event.

Most climate model simulations are predicting further warming of sea surface temperatures in El Niño regions over the austral summer. Further warming would see the warmest equatorial Pacific sea surface temperatures since the 1998 El Niño event.

POAMA, ECMWF, UKMO, NCEP CFS and JMA CGCM02 models are predicting sea surface temperatures to peak in mid summer at around 2°C above threshold levels. Most model runs are predicting a return to neutral conditions by next austral autumn.

Typically, autumn is a transitional period for the El Niño/SOuthern Oscillation. Hence model predictions of El Niño beyond autumn are less reliable than at other times of the year.

Model Outlooks

The following table summarizes the opinion of National Climate Centre climatologists regarding the outputs from various forecast models. The model set contains seven reputable ocean or coupled ocean/atmosphere climate models that take into account complex physical ocean processes. NCC's interpretation may not necessarily be the same as the organisations producing the model output. You are therefore encouraged to follow the hyperlinks to the various institutions listed in the table.

See About ENSO outlooks for details on the models and a summary of the terms used.

Forecast Start Date 1-4 MONTHS
(Dec 09 to Mar 10)
(Mar 10 to Jun 10)
(run at Bureau of Met)
31 Oct - 29 Nov Warm Warm
System 3
01 November Warm Warm/Neutral
GloSea *
UK Met Office
01 November Warm Warm/Neutral
19 - 28 November Warm Warm/Neutral
November Warm Neutral
24 - 31 October Neutral Neutral
Japan Met. Agency
October Warm Warm/Neutral #

# Model forecast is run only until the end of May
* Note that this page requires a password, freely available from UK Met Office
Note that some links above may be updated to more recent forecasts than listed here.

POAMA Forecasts

The POAMA model, run at the Bureau of Meteorology, generates a new forecast every day for the following eight months starting with the latest observations. The average of the most recent 30 model runs predicts the recent warming will be sustained across the Pacific throughout the remainder of the southern year.

While predictability is much lower than for the Pacific Ocean, POAMA continues to predict a neutral Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD) to persist through the outlook period, as is the NASA GMAO model, the other model surveyed here for which IOD forecasts are published.

February 2010

For the 30 runs of POAMA between 31 Oct and 29 Nov 2009, the average NINO3.4 temperature anomaly for FEBRUARY is +1.92°C and the frequency distribution is as follows:
below −0.8°C: 0% (Cool)
−0.8°C to +0.8°C: 0% (Neutral)
above +0.8°C: 100% (Warm)

May 2010

And similarly for MAY 2010 the average NINO3.4 index is +1.13°C and the frequency distribution is:
below −0.8°C: 0% (Cool)
−0.8°C to +0.8°C: 10% (Neutral)
above +0.8°C: 90% (Warm)

Similar data for other months can be accessed by following the "POAMA" link in the table above.

Users should exercise caution when interpreting these forecasts and are encouraged to view the actual model outputs by following the web links. Frequent updates of the latest observational data with relevant commentary are available on the Bureau's ENSO Wrap-Up page.

This survey last updated 01 December 2009.
Next update expected late December 2009.

See also the ENSO Wrap-up archive here.

Past climate model summaries