What will next season be like?
One of the major questions today in the ocean/atmosphere and climate fields concerns the production of reliable seasonal climate predictions. Altimetry is helping seasonal forecast by providing information on the ocean dynamics.
Even if it will probably be impossible to predict the weather on a given day more than (at the utmost) two weeks in advance, the ocean's influence on the atmosphere should enable the trends of the approaching seasons to be forecasted. This is already providing interesting results in tropical areas. Temperate areas are more difficult, but several projects are underway, which are aiming to predict what the weather will be like next summer - drier or wetter, hotter or colder than the average.
Altimetry is helping seasonal forecast by providing information on the ocean dynamics. Other data, like those of the Argo array are also assimilated in seasonal forecasting models, and bring their own kind of information.
- Image of the Month, December 2000: Climate prediction systems cut their teeth on El Niño