What will climate conditions around the world be like on Christmas Day (2001)? The image above represents a recent prediction made by a sophisticated new computer model. Developed by NASA's Seasonal-to-Interannual Prediction Program (NSIPP), this model actually links together three models in one: one each for geophysical dynamics within the atmosphere, oceans, and lands.
The colors in the ocean represent a departure from average surface temperature. Red pixels show where the model predicts there will be warmer-than-average temperatures, light blue shows cooler-than-average temperatures, and dark blue is average. The colors on land represent variation in soil moisture. Orange and brown hues show where the model predicts the soil will be dry; greens show where it will be wet. The grey hues overlying the world map represent regions of rainfall. Dark greys show where little rain is predicted to fall and light grey to white pixels show where there will be heavy rains.
The model predicts that conditions will be wetter than average in both the northwestern and northeastern United States.
Understanding and predicting seasonal-to-interannual climate variations is essential in the overall NASA strategy for climate research. The NSIPP program uses satellite remote sensing data together with measurements from field experiments to develop and refine its computer models. These models are used by scientists in a number of international climate research programs in their ongoing efforts to better understand how the Earth's climate system works. In particular, NSIPP seeks to better understand and predict those climate variations that have social and economic impacts on the United States.