Freeze Forcasting

The Center for Ocean-Atmospheric Prediction Studies (COAPS) has been a leader in the research of climate variability in North America, particularly as related to the El Niño - Southern Oscillation (ENSO). Through involvement with the Southeast Climate Consortium, studies have concentrated on ENSO - related variability and forecast tools applicable to agricultural interests in the Southeast United States. Research and product development has not only focused on shifts in the traditional climate variables (monthly averaged temperature and precipitation), but also on extreme events such as droughts, severe weather, hurricanes, and damaging freezes.

An examination of historical freeze events in central and south Florida revealed a strong connection between ENSO and the occurrence of damaging freezes. Specifically, the severe or damaging freezes tend to occur during the neutral ENSO phase and are much less likely during El Niño or La Niña. Based on the analysis of more than 50 years of historical weather observations, COAPS has developed a probabilistic freeze forecast for the winter season which is released every fall and based on the state of the tropical Pacific Ocean. The forecast is available on and is featured in agricultural extension newsletters and publications such as the Florida Grower and also presented at winter weather workshops around the state.

Related Resources

Related Research

Contact David Zierden for more information.