Tornado outbreaks are notoriously hard to predict and right now, scientists can only offer outbreak warnings a few hours in advance. While the authors of this paper are not suggesting that this technique can be used to predict specific storms, it could highlight what conditions are more- or less-favorable for tornado formation--given that today's models do a reasonably good job of predicting Gulf of Mexico temperature anomalies up to 3 months in advance.
“Severe storms threaten lives throughout the United States every year,” wrote the authors. “…any predictive capability is of large societal benefit.”
This research was funded in part by the Modeling, Analysis, Predictions, and Projections (MAPP) program, part of NOAA's Climate Program Office within the Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research.
Eunsil, J. and B. Kirtman, 2016. Can we predict seasonal changes in high impact weather in the United States? Environ. Res. Lett., 11 (7), 074018. doi: 10.1088/1748-9326/11/7/074018