Northern Hemisphere Snow Cover, Indo-Pacific SSTs, and Recent Trend as Statistical Predictors of Seasonal North American Temperature

D. S. Wilks Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York

Search for other papers by D. S. Wilks in
Current site
Google Scholar
PubMed
Close
Restricted access

Abstract

Maximum covariance analysis (MCA) forecasts of gridded seasonal North American temperatures are computed for January–March 1991 through February–April 2014, using as predictors Indo-Pacific sea surface temperatures (SSTs), Eurasian and North American snow-cover extents, and a representation of recent climate nonstationarity, individually and in combination. The most consistent contributor to overall forecast skill is the representation of the ongoing climate warming, implemented by adding the average of the most recent 15 years’ predictand data to the climate anomalies computed by the MCA. For winter and spring forecasts at short (0–1 month) lead times, best forecasts were achieved using the snow-extent predictors together with this representation of the warming trend. The short available period of record for the snow data likely limits the skill that could be achieved using these predictors, as well as limiting the length of the SST training data that can be used simultaneously.

Corresponding author address: Daniel S. Wilks, Dept. of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, 1104A Bradfield Hall, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853. E-mail: dsw5@cornell.edu

Abstract

Maximum covariance analysis (MCA) forecasts of gridded seasonal North American temperatures are computed for January–March 1991 through February–April 2014, using as predictors Indo-Pacific sea surface temperatures (SSTs), Eurasian and North American snow-cover extents, and a representation of recent climate nonstationarity, individually and in combination. The most consistent contributor to overall forecast skill is the representation of the ongoing climate warming, implemented by adding the average of the most recent 15 years’ predictand data to the climate anomalies computed by the MCA. For winter and spring forecasts at short (0–1 month) lead times, best forecasts were achieved using the snow-extent predictors together with this representation of the warming trend. The short available period of record for the snow data likely limits the skill that could be achieved using these predictors, as well as limiting the length of the SST training data that can be used simultaneously.

Corresponding author address: Daniel S. Wilks, Dept. of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, 1104A Bradfield Hall, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853. E-mail: dsw5@cornell.edu
Save
  • Bao, Z., R. Kelly, and R. Wu, 2011: Variability of regional snow cover in spring over western Canada and its relationship to temperature and circulation anomalies. Int. J. Climatol., 31, 12801294, doi:10.1002/joc.2155.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Barnett, T. P., and R. W. Preisendorfer, 1987: Origins and levels of monthly and seasonal forecast skill for United States surface air temperatures determined by canonical correlation analysis. Mon. Wea. Rev., 115, 18251850, doi:10.1175/1520-0493(1987)115<1825:OALOMA>2.0.CO;2.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Barnston, A. G., 1994: Linear statistical short-term climate predictive skill in the Northern Hemisphere. J. Climate, 7, 15131564, doi:10.1175/1520-0442(1994)007<1513:LSSTCP>2.0.CO;2.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Barnston, A. G., and S. J. Mason, 2011: Evaluation of IRI’s seasonal climate forecasts for the extreme 15% tails. Wea. Forecasting, 26, 545554, doi:10.1175/WAF-D-10-05009.1.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Brands, S., 2013: Skillful seasonal predictions of boreal winter accumulated heating degree-days and relevance for the weather derivative market. J. Appl. Meteor. Climatol., 52, 12971302, doi:10.1175/JAMC-D-12-0303.1.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Bretherton, C. S., C. Smith, and J. M. Wallace, 1992: An intercomparison of methods for finding coupled patterns in climate data. J. Climate, 5, 541560, doi:10.1175/1520-0442(1992)005<0541:AIOMFF>2.0.CO;2.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Brown, R. D., 2000: Northern Hemisphere snow cover variability and change, 1915–97. J. Climate, 13, 23392355, doi:10.1175/1520-0442(2000)013<2339:NHSCVA>2.0.CO;2.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Brown, R. D., and D. A. Robinson, 2011: Northern Hemisphere spring snow cover variability and change over 1922–2010 including an assessment of uncertainty. Cryosphere, 5, 219229, doi:10.5194/tc-5-219-2011.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Clark, M. P., and M. C. Serreze, 2000: Effects of variations in East Asian snow cover on modulating atmospheric circulation over the North Pacific Ocean. J. Climate, 13, 37003710, doi:10.1175/1520-0442(2000)013<3700:EOVIEA>2.0.CO;2.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Cohen, J., and D. Entekhabi, 1999: Eurasian snow cover variability and Northern Hemisphere climate predictability. Geophys. Res. Lett., 26, 345348, doi:10.1029/1998GL900321.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Cohen, J., and C. Fletcher, 2007: Improved skill of Northern Hemisphere winter surface temperature predictions based on land–atmosphere fall anomalies. J. Climate, 20, 41184132, doi:10.1175/JCLI4241.1.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Cohen, J., and J. Jones, 2011: A new index for more accurate winter predictions. Geophys. Res. Lett., 38, L21701, doi:10.1029/2011GL049626.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Cohen, J., M. Barlow, P. J. Kushner, and K. Saito, 2007: Stratosphere–troposphere coupling and links with Eurasian land surface variability. J. Climate, 20, 53355343, doi:10.1175/2007JCLI1725.1.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Dewey, K. F., and R. Heim Jr., 1982: A digital archive of Northern Hemisphere snow cover, November 1966 through December 1980. Bull. Amer. Meteor. Soc., 63, 11321141, doi:10.1175/1520-0477(1982)063<1132:ADAONH>2.0.CO;2.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Epstein, E. S., 1969: A scoring system for probability forecasts of ranked categories. J. Appl. Meteor., 8, 985987, doi:10.1175/1520-0450(1969)008<0985:ASSFPF>2.0.CO;2.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Foster, J., M. Owe, and A. Rango, 1983: Snow cover and temperature relationships in North America and Eurasia. J. Climate Appl. Meteor., 22, 460469, doi:10.1175/1520-0450(1983)022<0460:SCATRI>2.0.CO;2.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Goddard, L., S. J. Mason, S. E. Zebiak, C. F. Ropelewski, R. Basher, and M. A. Cane, 2001: Current approaches to seasonal-to-interannual climate predictions. Int. J. Climatol., 21, 11111152, doi:10.1002/joc.636.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Gong, G., J. Cohen, D. Entekhabi, and Y. Ge, 2007: Hemispheric-scale climate response to northern Eurasia land surface characteristics and snow anomalies. Global Planet. Change, 56, 359370, doi:10.1016/j.gloplacha.2006.07.025.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Higgins, R. W., H.-K. Kim, and D. Unger, 2004: Long-lead seasonal temperature and precipitation prediction using tropical Pacific SST consolidation forecasts. J. Climate, 17, 33983414, doi:10.1175/1520-0442(2004)017<3398:LSTAPP>2.0.CO;2.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Johnson, R. A., and D. W. Wichern, 2002: Applied Multivariate Statistical Analysis. 5th ed. Prentice Hall, 767 pp.

  • Lin, H., and Z. Wu, 2011: Contribution of the autumn Tibetan Plateau snow cover to seasonal prediction of North American winter temperature. J. Climate, 24, 28012813, doi:10.1175/2010JCLI3889.1.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Livezey, R. E., and M. M. Timofeyeva, 2008: The first decade of long-lead U.S. seasonal forecasts: Insights from a skill analysis. Bull. Amer. Meteor. Soc., 89, 843854, doi:10.1175/2008BAMS2488.1.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Livezey, R. E., K. Y. Vinnkov, M. M. Timofeyeva, R. Tinker, and H. M. van den Dool, 2007: Estimation and extrapolation of climate normals and climatic trends. J. Appl. Meteor. Climatol., 46, 17591776, doi:10.1175/2007JAMC1666.1.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Matheson, J. E., and R. L. Winkler, 1976: Scoring rules for continuous probability distributions. Manage. Sci., 22, 10871096, doi:10.1287/mnsc.22.10.1087.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Mote, T. L., and E. R. Kutney, 2012: Regions of autumn Eurasian snow cover and associations with North American winter temperatures. Int. J. Climatol., 32, 11641177, doi:10.1002/joc.2341.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • North, G. R., T. L. Bell, R. F. Cahalan, and F. J. Moeng, 1982: Sampling errors in the estimation of empirical orthogonal functions. Mon. Wea. Rev., 110, 699706, doi:10.1175/1520-0493(1982)110<0699:SEITEO>2.0.CO;2.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Palmer, T. N., and D. L. T. Anderson, 1994: The prospects for seasonal forecasting—A review paper. Quart. J. Roy. Meteor. Soc., 120, 755793, doi:10.1002/qj.49712051802.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Peng, P., A. Kumar, and M. S. Halpert, 2012: An analysis of CPC’s operational 0.5-month lead seasonal outlooks. Wea. Forecasting, 27, 898917, doi:10.1175/WAF-D-11-00143.1.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Peterson, T. C., and R. S. Vose, 1997: An overview of the Global Historical Climatology Network temperature database. Bull. Amer. Meteor. Soc., 78, 28372849, doi:10.1175/1520-0477(1997)078<2837:AOOTGH>2.0.CO;2.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Robinson, D. A., and A. Frei, 2000: Seasonal variability of Northern Hemisphere snow extent using visible satellite data. Prof. Geogr., 52, 307315, doi:10.1111/0033-0124.00226.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Saito, K., and J. Cohen, 2003: The potential role of snow cover in forcing interannual variability of the major Northern Hemisphere mode. Geophys. Res. Lett., 30, 1302, doi:10.1029/2002GL016341.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Smith, K. L., P. J. Kushner, and J. Cohen, 2011: The role of linear interference in northern annular mode variability associated with Eurasian snow cover extent. J. Climate, 24, 61856202, doi:10.1175/JCLI-D-11-00055.1.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Smith, T. M., R. W. Reynolds, T. C. Peterson, and J. Lawrimore, 2008: Improvements to NOAA’s historical merged land–ocean surface temperature analysis (1880–2006). J. Climate, 21, 22832296, doi:10.1175/2007JCLI2100.1.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Walsh, J. E., D. R. Tucek, and M. R. Peterson, 1982: Seasonal snow cover and short-term climatic fluctuations over the United States. Mon. Wea. Rev., 110, 14741485, doi:10.1175/1520-0493(1982)110<1474:SSCAST>2.0.CO;2.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Wilks, D. S., 1996: Statistical significance of long-range “optimal climate normal” temperature and precipitation forecasts. J. Climate, 9, 827839, doi:10.1175/1520-0442(1996)009<0827:SSOLRC>2.0.CO;2.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Wilks, D. S., 2008: Improved statistical seasonal forecasts using extended training data. Int. J. Climatol., 28, 15891598, doi:10.1002/joc.1661.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Wilks, D. S., 2011: Statistical Methods in the Atmospheric Sciences. 3rd ed. Academic Press, 676 pp.

  • Wilks, D. S., 2013: Projecting “normals” in a nonstationary climate. J. Appl. Meteor. Climatol., 52, 289302, doi:10.1175/JAMC-D-11-0267.1.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Wilks, D. S., 2014a: Comparison of probabilistic statistical forecast and trend adjustment methods for North American seasonal temperatures. J. Appl. Meteor. Climatol., 53, 935949, doi:10.1175/JAMC-D-13-0294.1.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Wilks, D. S., 2014b: Probabilistic canonical correlation analysis forecasts, with application to tropical Pacific sea-surface temperatures. Int. J. Climatol., 34, 14051413, doi:10.1002/joc.3771.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Wilks, D. S., and C. M. Godfrey, 2002: Diagnostic verification of the IRI net assessment forecasts, 1997–2000. J. Climate, 15, 13691377, doi:10.1175/1520-0442(2002)015<1369:DVOTIN>2.0.CO;2.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Wilks, D. S., and R. E. Livezey, 2013: Performance of alternative “normals” for tracking climate changes, using homogenized and nonhomogenized seasonal U.S. surface temperatures. J. Appl. Meteor. Climatol., 52, 16771687, doi:10.1175/JAMC-D-13-026.1.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Wu, Q., H. Hu, and L. Zhang, 2011: Observed influences of autumn–early winter Eurasian snow cover anomalies on the hemispheric PNA-like variability in winter. J. Climate, 24, 20172023, doi:10.1175/2011JCLI4236.1.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 0 0 0
Full Text Views 231 69 2
PDF Downloads 99 15 1