The new National Centers for Environmental Prediction (NCEP) numerical seasonal forecast system is described in detail. The new system is aimed at a next-generation numerical seasonal prediction in which focus is placed on land processes, initial conditions, and ensemble methods, in addition to the tropical SST forcing. The atmospheric model physics is taken from the NCEP–National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) reanalysis model, which has more comprehensive land hydrology and improved physical processes. The model was further upgraded by introducing three new parameterization schemes: 1) the relaxed Arakawa–Schubert (RAS) convective parameterization, which improved middle latitude response to tropical heating; 2) Chou's shortwave radiation, which corrected surface radiation fluxes; and 3) Chou's longwave radiation scheme together with smoothed mean orography that reduced model warm bias. Atmospheric initial conditions were taken from the operational NCEP Global Data Assimilation System, allowing the seasonal forecast to start from realistic initial conditions and to seamlessly connect with the short- and medium-range forecasts. The Pacific basin ocean model is the same as that in the old NCEP seasonal system and is coupled to the new atmospheric model with a two-tier approach. The operational atmospheric forecast is performed once a month with a 20-member ensemble. Prior to the forecast, 10-member ensemble hindcasts of the same month from 1979 to the present are performed to define model climatology and model forecast skill. The system has been running routinely since April 2000, and the products are available online at NWS's ftp site.

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Climate Research Division, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, California

NOAA/NCEP/Climate Prediction Center, Camp Springs, Maryland

NOAA/NCEP/Environmental Modeling Center, Camp Springs, Maryland

Department of Atmospheric Sciences, Yonsei University, Seoul, Korea

NOAA/Office of Global Programs, Silver Spring, Maryland