Relationship between Florida freeze incidence and sea surface temperature in the tropical Pacific

J. David Martsolf

Abstract


A climate prediction section has been added to weather information provided by the Florida Automated Weather Net work (FAWN), which can be accessed via the Internet at http:// fawn.ifas.ufl.edu/. A cold protection module is under develop ment for the Decision Information System for Citrus (DISC) that may utilize these new features. It is likely to contain a tool that relates sea surface temperatures in the El Nino/Southern Oscillation (ENSO) region of the Tropical Pacific (120E to 70W, 25N to 25S) to the possibility of damaging freezes in Florida. FAWN is expected to provide predictions of sea surface temperatures as much as 1 year into the future. Since 1980 there have been six major freezes in Florida. A rule suggested by this work is that if the winter is expected to be near neutral (ENSO sea surface temperatures between -0.7 and +0.5°C of their 20-year mean), the likelihood of a major freeze in Florida is 50%. In the past two decades 60% of the winters have been near neutral ENSO winters. When the winter is predicted to be a strong El Nino or a strong La Nina, the odds of a major freeze in Florida are low. Availability of, and confidence in, predictions of the future phase of the ENSO are increasing. Utility of rules relating freeze incidence to ENSO phases depends on effective delivery of ENSO phase predictions to management decision makers. Both FAWN and DISC are expected to play collaborative roles in this communication.

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Proc. Fla. State Hort. Soc.     ISSN 0886-7283