Climate Outlook for January-February-March 2017


The Qatar Meteorological Department is introducing monthly and seasonal (3-month) climate outlooks for Qatar and adjoining regions, beginning April 2014. Monthly and seasonal climate forecasts are generated world wide with an underlying assumption that sea surface temperatures in global oceans, snow-cover, soil-moisture of the land surface and other such slowly varying boundary conditions determine the ensuing global and regional climate anomalies. Leading climate centers around the world use fully coupled ocean-atmosphere general circulation models for generating seasonal climate forecasts wherein both sea surface temperatures and associated atmospheric circulation co-evolve. Climate forecasts are generally in the form of anomalies from a long-term climatology as simulated in the models. Individual climate centers produce monthly/seasonal forecasts based on a large suite of simulations (generally initiated every month and extending 6 months in to the future) with different initial conditions using their global climate model and then develop an ensemble forecast product employing advanced statistical techniques.  Show Details...

World Meteorological Organization (WMO) supports and coordinates seasonal forecasts through lead centers (LC) of long-range forecasts (LRF). Korea Meteorological Administration, Seoul, maintains one such lead center. This WMO Lead Center (WMOLC) uses all available forecasts from different climate centers around the world and generates multi-model ensemble (MME) monthly and seasonal climate forecasts for the globe. Several meteorological variables are predicted which include surface temperature (2m), precipitation etc. Apart from WMOLC, other climate centers like International Research Institute for Climate and Society (IRI, New York, USA), National Centers for Environmental Prediction (NCEP/NOAA, USA), APEC Climate Center (APCC, Korea), UK Meteorological Office (UKMO, UK), ECMWF (UK), Bureau of Meteorology (BoM, Australia) etc. also produce monthly/seasonal forecasts.

In preparation of this Climate Outlook for Qatar the monthly/seasonal products generated by the WMOLC have been used. This approach takes in to account a majority of the model forecasts from the Global Producing Centers (GPCs) and combines them using ensemble mean forecast system. However, we also take in to consideration of other forecast products while generating the outlook for the regional temperature and precipitation anomalies for the coming month and season.

The skill of WMOLC ensemble mean forecast products varies from month to month and from one meteorological variable to the other. Generally the skills of temperature forecasts are larger compared to the precipitation forecasts. This disparity in skills between temperature and precipitation forecasts is not unique to this region and is the case globally. The correlation skills estimated based on retrospective (hindcast) forecasts during the past 30 years of MME prediction system are in the range of 0.4-0.6 during different months in the year and for the surface temperatures over this region. These are considered reasonably high compared to the skills observed in other parts of the world.

The current Climate Outlook for Qatar is mainly for monthly/seasonal mean temperature forecast. The reason for the initial focus on temperatures is both due to higher skill and its prime relevance to climate sensitive activities in the national context. With further review of predictive skill and demand of user sectors, the scope of the seasonal climate outlooks can be expanded to cover more features of relevance to this region such as the probability of high wind events, exceedance of certain temperature thresholds etc.

Two types of forecast products are generated by climate centers. One is the probabilistic forecast where the seasonal climate anomalies are predicted to be in one of the three categories (below normal, normal and above normal) and the probability of predicted values falling in these categories is estimated. The other is the deterministic forecast where the magnitude of anomalies is estimated for the ensuing month and the season using different statistical techniques. This outlook uses the forecasts estimated based on simple ensemble mean after correcting the biases in each of the participating models.



The State of the Climate Summary Information is a synopsis of the collection of national and global summaries released each month. As per recently released 'Global Summary Information - November 2016' by the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the combined average temperature over global land and ocean surfaces for November 2016 was fifth highest in the 137-year period of record, at 0.73°C above the 20th century average of 12.9°C. This value is 0.23°C cooler than the record warmth of 2015 but 0.05°C higher than the average November value for the 21st century to-date (2001–2016). January–November temperature was the highest on record for this period, at 0.94°C above the 20th century average of 14.0°C. This value exceeded the previous record set in 2015 by 0.07°C (

The World Meteorological Organization Lead Center for Long-Range Forecast (WMOLC LRF) indicates that the positive temperature anomalies will prevail over southern parts of Asia for the season January-February-March 2017 (Fig.1). It indicates high probability of above normal temperature in the north Indian Ocean mainly over Arabian Sea and Bay of Bengal. It also shows higher probabilities for warmer than normal temperatures over western Pacific Ocean. Enhanced probability of above normal temperature is predicted over equatorial Atlantic, Mediterranean and northern parts of eastern Africa. Near normal temperature is highly probable over the central equatorial Pacific. Slightly enhanced probability for above normal precipitation is predicted for the maritime continent. Strongly enhanced probability for below normal precipitation is predicted for the central equatorial Pacific and parts of western Indian Ocean. Enhanced probability for near normal precipitation in the equatorial eastern Pacific is related to the near neutral ENSO or weak La Nina conditions that are persisting in the Pacific.


El Nino Southern Oscillation (ENSO) is an Ocean-Atmospheric Phenomenon in the Pacific Ocean that impacts the climate in different parts of the globe. The warm ENSO condition is known as El Nino and the cold ENSO condition is known as La Nina. As of mid December, weak La Nina (slightly below the threshold) conditions are present in the Pacific. Equatorial sea surface temperatures (SST) continue to be below average in the central and east-central Pacific Ocean. The collection of ENSO prediction models indicates SSTs near the threshold of La Nina persisting through mid-winter, then weakening to cool-neutral by later winter ( The latest ENSO update from CPC/NCEP states that ‘a transition to ENSO-neutral is favored during January-March 2017’ (


Probabilistic MME forecasts (based on 11 global models) from WMOLC shows that temperatures during January 2017 are likely to be slightly above normal across the GCC region with moderate probabilities (40-50%). However, forecasts indicate that relatively higher probability for seasonal (January-February-March) temperatures to be above normal (>60% probability) in most parts of GCC with higher probabilities over southern parts (Fig.2). Probabilistic MME seasonal (JFM) forecasts of temperatures from IRI are generally in agreement with the WMOLC combined forecasts (&

The deterministic MME forecasts (based on 12 models from WMOLC) indicate above normal temperatures in the range of +0.5°C to 1.0°C to occur across the GCC region in January 2017. Temperature forecasts for the entire season (JFM) are showing similar anomalies over the region. The temperature anomalies for the State of Qatar are expected to be in the same range of +0.5°C to 1.0°C for January 2017 and the JFM season as well (Fig.3). Forecasts from other climate centers are generally in agreement with WMOLC outlook for Qatar and the GCC.

Model forecasts from WMOLC indicate near normal to slightly below normal precipitation during the season (JFM) over the GCC region.

Climate for State of Qatar in December 2016

The monthly mean, minimum and maximum temperatures recorded in Doha in the month of December are 22.2, 19.0 and 26.2°C respectively. These deviate by +2.3, +2.9 and +1.8°C from their respective long-term Climatological values.

Fig 1. Probabilistic MME forecast from WMO LC LRF: 2m Temperature and precipitation

Fig 2. Probabilistic MME forecast from WMO LC LRF : 2m Temperature

Fig 3. Deterministic MME forecast from WMO LC LRF : 2m Temperature