Winter’s finally over: How did the NOAA Climate Outlook do?

Winter’s finally over: How did the NOAA Climate Outlook do?

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Winter’s finally over: How did the NOAA Climate Outlook do?

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Winter’s finally over: How did the NOAA Climate Outlook do?

Author: Mike Halpert

“Last November, I wrote a post discussing the Climate Prediction Center’s (CPC) temperature and precipitation outlooks for winter (December 2014 – February 2015).  Since we’re now into March, it seems appropriate for me to look back and see how they did.  In that post, I discussed the probabilistic nature of the outlook, and what the favored categories (above-, near-, and below-average) for winter temperature and precipitation were judged to be.

As a reminder, and if you haven’t memorized that post, the outlooks favored above-average temperatures in Alaska, much of the West, and also in northern New England, and below-average temperatures in the south-central and southeastern parts of the nation.

For precipitation, we favored wetter-than-normal conditions across the southern tier of the nation, extending northward along the East Coast, as well as in southern Alaska, and drier-than-normal conditions in central Alaska, parts of the Pacific Northwest and around the Great Lakes and Ohio Valley.  So how did we do?”

(left) Temperature forecast for December-February 2014-15, made in mid-November. The colors show the forecast category with the highest probability. White areas are where all three outcomes (warm, cool, or average) were equally likely (each had a 33.3% chance of happening). (right) Observed temperature category for December-February 2014-15. Maps by Fiona Martin for Climate.gov, based on CPC data.

(left) Precipitation forecast for December-February 2014-15, made in mid-November. The colors show the forecast category with the highest probability. White areas are where all three outcomes (wet, dry, or average) were equally likely (each had a 33.3% chance of happening). (right) Observed precipitation category for December-February 2014-15. Maps by Fiona Martin for Climate.gov, based on CPC data.

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