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Model Forecasts of the Tropical Pacific
This page contains archived content and is no longer being updated. At the time of publication, it represented the best available science. However, more recent observations and studies may have rendered some content obsolete.
What will climate conditions around the world be like for the rest of this year?
Some researchers are predicting an El Niño will arrive in the spring of 2002.
The false-color image above represents a one-day snapshot of what conditions
will be like on April 1, 2002, as predicted by a sophisticated NASA computer model.
Developed by NASAs Seasonal-to-Interannual Prediction Program (NSIPP),
this model actually links together three models in oneone each for
geophysical dynamics within the atmosphere, oceans, and lands. This
shows what the NSIPP models predicts global climate conditions will
be like every day for an entire year, starting on Feb. 1, 2002. Please note that these predictions are experimental and are produced for research purposes only. Use of these forecasts for purposes other than research is not
In the these images, the colors in the ocean represent changes from average
surface temperature. Yellow and red pixels show where the model predicts there
will be warmer-than-average temperatures. Light blue and dark blue shows
cooler-than-average temperatures. Grey indicates the temperatures will remain
average. The colors on land represent variation in soil moisture. Dark brown hues
show where the mode predicts the soil will be drier than normal and greens show
where it will be wetter than normal. Again, grey hues indicate an average soil
As can be seen in the animation, the NSIPP model predicts that while there will
likely be relatively small pockets of warm sea surface temperatures in the
tropical Pacific Ocean, the strong prevailing trade winds will continue pushing
these waters westward. The model predicts that the trade winds, coupled with
the strong upwelling of deep, very cold waters off the northwestern coast of
South America, will effectively prevent the onset of El Niño.
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. Scientists use these
models in a number of international climate research programs in an effort to
better understand how the Earths 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.