Wednesday, 10 May 2000
A preliminary evaluation of seasonal climate outlooks using GIS
The ability to accurately forecast future climate variations from normal is becoming increasingly important to a wide range of potential users and decision makers. The ultimate purpose of the Climate Prediction Center's (CPC) long-lead seasonal outlooks is to provide a basis for decision making. Because many decision making processes are influenced by climate variation, long-lead outlooks of seasonal climate may aid decision makers. Skill levels of climate outlooks, both temporally and spatially, need to be assessed to provide decision makers and researchers the degree of confidence to place in the climate outlook products. With confidence, decision makers may tailor their management plans to take advantage of or mitigate the effects of climate variability. In areas where there is no-confidence regarding the climate outlooks, researchers can focus attention on these deficiencies and attempt to find new ways to make the outlooks more reliable. With reliable outlooks and appropriate plans of action, costs of climate variability in terms of economical and societal losses can be significantly reduced. The objectives of this study are to: (1) evaluate the spatial and temporal accuracy of the long-lead seasonal climate outlooks for the High Plains region and (2) suggest areas where the greatest and least confidence can be placed in the outlooks. This study uses a contingency analysis with a geographic information system (GIS) application for the High Plains Climate Region.