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NOAA - March, April & May 2012 Temperature/Precipitation Outlook (Spring)

Posted Date: 
December 29, 2011
Jess Aber, DNRC Water Resources, Staff, Governor’s Drought Advisory Committee

The long range outlook for March-April-May 2012 prepared Dec 15 by NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center calls for elevated chances for cooler than average temperatures and higher than average precipitation for the state again this spring:

And for those who believe that the La Nina forecast did not come to fruition simply because it is not as snowy and cold as other La Nina winters here in Montana, the December 8 ENSO Outlook and discussion and MAPS clearly show the La Nina’s anomalously cool sea surface temperatures (Figure 1.) as well as the cooler than normal sea water at depth (Figure 4.) around 500-feet deep, as well as the various model forecasts released in November, all consistent with what CPC calls a weak to moderate La Nina: and

What is missing this fall for Montana seem to be the cold incursions digging down from the north, attributed last winter by NOAA to the Arctic Oscillation (AO), as well as the ”teleconnection” between the cool eastern equatorial Pacific and the North American Pacific Northwest which usually facilitates a cooler and to a lesser degree, wetter conditions, during La Nina.  and and

So, this is what the topography of the Pacific Ocean is now: (color scale of elevation at bottom)

If you look at the PNW coastal water (cooler) compared with the north-central Pacific (warmer) you will see the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO) in its latest cool phase that began in 07-08. PDO has influence on our climate as well.

El Nino / La Nina is a late fall-winter-early spring phenomenon and winter is only a week old so we have a ways to go.

Today’s mountain snowpack snow water content:

We are at about the 40% point in accumulation of the snowpack for the period of 1961-1985 according to NRCS records.

Jess Aber
DNRC Water Resources
Staff, Governor’s Drought Advisory Committee

Jess Aber | DNRC Water Resources |