, Volume 41, Issue 5-6, pp 1671-1683
Date: 30 Jul 2013

The seasonal footprinting mechanism in CFSv2: simulation and impact on ENSO prediction

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The seasonal footprinting mechanism (SFM) is thought to be a pre-cursor to the El Nino Southern Oscillation (ENSO). Fluctuations in the North Pacific Oscillation (NPO) impact the ocean via surface heat fluxes during winter, leaving a sea-surface temperature (SST) “footprint” in the subtropics. This footprint persists through the spring, impacting the tropical Pacific atmosphere–ocean circulation throughout the following year. The simulation of the SFM in the National Centers for Environmental Prediction (NCEP)/Climate Forecast System, version 2 (CFSv2) is likely to have an impact on operational predictions of ENSO and potentially seasonal predictions in the United States associated with ENSO teleconnection patterns. The ability of the CFSv2 to simulate the SFM and the relationship between the SFM and ENSO prediction skill in the NCEP/CFSv2 are investigated. Results indicate that the CFSv2 is able to simulate the basic characteristics of the SFM and its relationship with ENSO, including extratropical sea level pressure anomalies associated with the NPO in the winter, corresponding wind and SST anomalies that impact the tropics, and the development of ENSO-related SST anomalies the following winter. Although the model is able to predict the correct sign of ENSO associated with the SFM in a composite sense, probabilistic predictions of ENSO following a positive or negative NPO event are generally less reliable than when the NPO is not active.

This paper is a contribution to the Topical Collection on Climate Forecast System Version 2 (CFSv2). CFSv2 is a coupled global climate model and was implemented by National Centers for Environmental Prediction (NCEP) in seasonal forecasting operations in March 2011. This Topical Collection is coordinated by Jin Huang, Arun Kumar, Jim Kinter and Annarita Mariotti.