Climate Outlook Winter/Spring 2008
(Updated December 4, 2007)
To obtain forecasts for particular locations within northeast Kansas and northern Missouri, please visit the 3 Month Local Temperature Outlook page produced by the National Weather Service. Here, you will find 3 month probabilities of above, below, or near average temperatures for specific locations, such as the Kansas City International Airport (as presented below).
December-January-February 2007-8 Probabilities for MCI
March-April-May 2008 Probabilities for MCI
The ENSO (El Nino Southern Oscillation) forecast and current observations of sea surface temperatures in the equatorial Pacific indicate moderate to strong La Nina conditions (cooler than average sea surface temperatures across the central equatorial Pacific) continuing this winter and spring. However, the ENSO phase has only minor predictable influence over Kansas and Missouri during the winter months (with the stronger the La Nina, the more influence on temperatures over Kansas and Missouri), and the basis for this long term outlook is a combination of the forecast moderate to strong La Nina and the recent temperature and precipitation trends as compared with long term averages.
El Nino Southern Oscillation (ENSO) Outlook
Following the winter 2006/7 season characterized by weak El Nino (warmer than normal sea surface temperatures across the central equatorial Pacific), the spring and summer 2007 have experienced neutral ENSO conditions. However, over the past several months, water temperatures off the South America coast have cooled substantially, with the tongue of cooler than average sea surface temperatures continuing to spread west along the equator. During the past 2 months, much cooler than average sea surface temperatures have spread as far west as the dateline; indicating La Nina conditions taking a firm hold of the Pacific waters.
Not only have the waters at the surface cooled during the past several months, but water temperatures below the surface have continued to cool, reinforcing the weak La Nina phase (an extended period now becoming evident through the central Pacific Ocean where sea surface temperatures average at least 0.5°C below normal).
The Climate Prediction Center is forecasting moderate to strong La Nina conditions to become firmly entrenched across the Pacific through the winter season. The majority of dynamical models utilized by forecasters show a continued decrease in sea surface temperatures through the winter, leading to strong La Nina conditions, while the majority of statistical models show somewhat less cooling, and the La Nina phase remaining moderate to strong.
Typical winter La Nina impacts across the United States include general wetter than average conditions across the Pacific NW and Ohio River valley, with warmer and drier than average conditions covering the southern tier of states. La Nina impacts for Kansas and Missouri have historically shown little skill as a seasonal weather predictor.