Climate Program Office News

CPO-sponsored research delivers a new seasonal prediction system for NWS operations

  • 28 April 2016
  • Number of views: 1807

The North American Multi-Model Ensemble (NMME), a seasonal prediction system that combines forecasts from the leading North American climate models, has completed transition to NWS operations. Since NOAA decided on the transition, following the 2014 system’s review, the NMME real-time predictions have been used as part of the NWS operational suite while formal transition was on-going. “The NMME system exemplifies the long-standing partnership between NCEP and CPO towards the mutual goal of transferring cutting-edge OAR-sponsored research into NWS operations”, said Dr. William Lapenta, Director of NWS National Centers for Environmental Prediction (NCEP), regarding the transition of NMME into operation.Sea surface temperature anomalies for El Niño 3.4 region (image adapted from Climate Prediction Center)

By producing more skillful and reliable seasonal predictions on average than other available prediction systems, the NMME bolsters NOAA’s mission of societal resilience, as decision makers in many different industries, including food, water security, public health, emergency management, and national security, stand to benefit from accurate forecasts of climate phenomena such as the current El Niño (the September 2015 NMME forecast for El Niño shown in the figures).

“The NMME is accelerating improvements in drought prediction in support of the National Integrated Drought Information System, can be applied to the prediction of other types of extreme events on seasonal timescales (such as heat and cold waves and tropical cyclones), and is a concrete step towards the development of a National Earth System Prediction Capability,” said Dr. Wayne Higgins, Director of OAR CPO.

September NMME forecast of sea surface temperature anomalies for Dec 2015-Feb 2016

This new NWS NCEP product represents the culmination of a four-year multi-agency and multi-institutional research effort led by the NOAA Climate Test Bed and OAR Climate Program Office (CPO) Modeling, Analysis, Predictions, and Projections program (MAPP), in partnership with DOE, NSF, NASA, Environment Canada, and the University of Miami. The NMME MAPP-CTB research project rigorously tested a multi-model seasonal prediction system based on leading North American models  - an unprecedented effort. The NOAA NMME team received a 2015 Silver Medal from the Secretary of Commerce in recognition of this work.

The NMME system is transitioned into operations as a system with the dual purpose of providing operational guidance for NOAA’s seasonal forecasts and enabling prediction research. In addition to supporting the core NMME system project, the CPO MAPP program has also provided support for 25 research projects to develop, evaluate and apply the NMME system in support of NOAA’s mission. The NMME database is the most comprehensive public seasonal prediction dataset available to address important seasonal prediction issues.


For more information about the NMME, visit:

Image: Adapted from the Climate Prediction Center NMME seasonal prediction page  (http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/products/NMME/seasanom.shtml)


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The Climate Program Office (CPO) manages competitive research programs in which NOAA funds high-priority climate science, assessments, decision support research, outreach, education, and capacity-building activities designed to advance our understanding of Earth’s climate system, and to foster the application of this knowledge in risk management and adaptation efforts.  CPO-supported research is conducted in regions across the United States, at national and international scales, and globally.  Learn more...

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