A New Index for More Accurate Winter Predictions

Author: Judah Cohen and Justin E. Jones
October 9, 2011
Journal Article
Geophysical Research Letters

Cohen, J. and J. Jones (2011), A New Index for More Accurate Winter Predictions, Geophys. Res. Lett., doi:10.1029/2011GL049626, in press.

Seasonal climate prediction remains a challenge. During Northern Hemisphere (NH) winter the large-scale teleconnection pattern the Arctic Oscillation (AO) explains the largest fraction of temperature variance of any other known climate mode. However the Arctic Oscillation is considered to be a result of intrinsic atmospheric dynamics or chaotic behavior and therefore is unpredictable. Here we develop a snow advance index (SAI) derived from antecedent observed snow cover that explains a large fraction of the variance of the winter AO. The high correlation between the SAI and the winter AO demonstrates that the AO is most likely predictable and that this index can be exploited for skillful seasonal climate predictions.