Winter Precipitation Forecast in the European and Mediterranean Regions Using Cluster Analysis

Sonja Totz, Eli Tziperman, Dim Coumou, Karl Pfeiffer, Judah Cohen*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


The European climate is changing under global warming, and especially the Mediterranean region has been identified as a hot spot for climate change with climate models projecting a reduction in winter rainfall and a very pronounced increase in summertime heat waves. These trends are already detectable over the historic period. Hence, it is beneficial to forecast seasonal droughts well in advance so that water managers and stakeholders can prepare to mitigate deleterious impacts. We developed a new cluster-based empirical forecast method to predict precipitation anomalies in winter. This algorithm considers not only the strength but also the pattern of the precursors. We compare our algorithm with dynamic forecast models and a canonical correlation analysis-based prediction method demonstrating that our prediction method performs better in terms of time and pattern correlation in the Mediterranean and European regions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)418-426
Number of pages12
JournalGeophysical Research Letters
Issue number24
Publication statusPublished - 2017



  • Cluster analysis
  • Precipitation anomaly
  • Seasonal forecast

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