March 2014 and Spring Climate Outlook

What is already shaping up to be a Top 10 cold winter may linger into the spring as well. The Climate Prediction Center (CPC) issued the preliminary March 2014 Outlook as well as the March - May 2014 outlooks on Thursday February 20th. Essentially there is an enhanced risk for below normal temperatures to persist through the month of March as well as the spring months of April and May. Precipitation is always harder to forecast, as it is usually much more variable in nature. So the Official Outlook indicates Equal Chances for Above Median, Median and Below Median precipitation in March and this spring.

Below are the official graphics from the CPC for March and March - May 2014. A technical description of the Outlooks may be found here.


 Above is the CPC Temperature Outlook for March (left) and Precipitation Outlook for March (right)

 Above is the CPC Temperature Outlook for March - May (left) and Precipitation Outlook for March - May (right)

While not official outlooks, the images below represent the average "weather" during the March - May period when historic atmospheric and ocean signals were similar to this winter. Basically, it agrees that the temperatures will likely be cooler than median, with a hint that precipitation, while within the normal range, may be at the upper end of normal.

These are "analog composites", which are not outlooks but are a "representative history" of previous March - May periods with similar winter atmosphere conditions. This makes the broad assumption that what happened in the past will be approximately repeated in the future. While certainly not perfect, the analog / composite technique is a tool used by the CPC as part of the outlook process.

For more information visit the CPC or contact the Grand Forks NWS.

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