SUMMER  PREVIEW   -- 25 MAY  2006  


1.  REVIEW  OF WINTER 2005-06 6.   SSTA
3.   How  this    FORECAST    was  put  together 8   HURRICANE  SEASON  2006


Text  that is  in    BOLD  highlights important ideas or statements.   RED   BOLD  has been   so designated   because   it contains   CRITICAL ideas.


Throughout this  forecast      you will see   the  acronym    "CF" used.   The two   letters   "CF"     stands  for    "Consensus Forecast"    which is  term that I use   to describe  the general view or a summary of what most  PWSIP  (private weather  service  Information Services)      and / or    NWS forecasters are saying.  The CF is very important in determining how the seasonal trade in Energy and Agriculture markets will unfold as well the operational side of the weather biz.       For example… State DOTs will often significantly lower their Salt and Sand purchases if the CF is for a Mild winter in their areas.       The CF often consists of  

a) the CPC (Climate Prediction Center) …whose forecast carry a lot of weight...  
b) large well known Private Weather Service Information Provider (PWSIPs) and      
c) some well known Energy/ Ag forecasters.



The Summer of 2006 is going to pose a significant THREAT or RISK for rather hostile conditions with regard to the grain growing areas in the Upper Plains and the WCB... while over the ECB conditions should be close to ideal. The eastern third of the US... especially over the Northeast... should see temperatures running either normal or below normal for most of the Summer. On the West Coast temperatures for the most part should be again even normal or below normal. However Just inland....over the interior portions of the Pacific Northwest as well as most of the central Rockies and the Southwest states will see temperatures running above and much above normal and much of this Heat will reach into the Lower Plains.


Contrary to what some of you may have seen or read the hurricane season of 2006 does not pose any  significant threat to the East Coast unless of course one decides to count the overdone hysteria that has been presented by some private forecasters services as a threat to one's sanity.


REVIEW   of WINTER  2005-2006
This link will bring you to the winter forecast of 2005 --06.   The actual forecast can be seen

Unlike many winter forecast from last autumn the winter 2005-06 forecast from was almost perfect with regard to the overall tone and general pattern from last Winter.

In that forecast I specifically called for a very stormy West Coast which would end the prolonged drought of the last several years over the western US... and generally warmer than Normal pattern over much of the central and eastern US. My forecast was heavily based on a classic La Nina event weather pattern that was dominated by a exceptionally strong



The seasonal forecasts for the SPRING  2006 featured a heavy emphasis on the weak La Nina conditions left over from the Winter months... and the building severe drought over the Plains states. The primary issue was the determination of whether the La Nina event would break down or continuing to the Summer months.... which would greatly enhance the prospect of saying that conditions is spreading into the Midwest... and whether or not be hurricane season of 2006 would be as active as the last several hurricane seasons.

Although there were some private weather service forecasts that commended strongly to a drought threat for the Midwest in their summer forecast... WXRISK was not get convinced that the weak La Nina event was going to last into the heart of the Summer months and therefore just talked about the potential for the drought in the Plains states to expand into the WCB  
click  HERE      the  SPRING   2006  FORECAST







It is the nature of the business in issuing seasonal forecasts for agricultural and NG interests to get the forecast   "out there'   early  with the  intent to have the biggest impact in terms  for  Traders reaction and Media recognition. But it has been my experience that forecasts which are issued too early often have a much higher probability of running into significant trouble with regard to the accuracy... than those seasonal forecasts issued later.

The classic case of this was the early issuance of Winter 2005-06 forecasts in the Autumn of 2005. In September 2005 AccuWeather had issued several forecasts which received quite a bit of media attention about the upcoming Winter 2005-06 and the relationship between very active Gulf of Mexico hurricane seasons (such as what we experience in 2005) and increased risk on a colder than normal and snowy there normal winter all the eastern third of US.

That argument... as I showed in MY Winter forecasts from NOV 2005 was not just wrong but even if one were to accept the premise as stated... such a forecast as presented by AccuWeather and Weather 2000 had absolutely no premise for issuing a forecast a colder than normal temperatures over the eastern half of the US.

Yet this sort of thinking was "out there" in the media and a lot of private forecasters who normally would not follow a risk he confounded premise as presented such as this one.,.. followed it. Not surprisingly... given the damage done to the natural gas platforms in the Gulf Mexico the highly publicized forecasts for a colder than normal winter all the eastern third the US to quite a bit media attention and prices rose sharply as they Winter approach.

Then of course the Winter actually hit and outside of December most of the lower 48 states saw an exceptionally mild winter.

Ironically we are faced with the same sort of forecast dilemma  we enter the Summer of 2006. Several well-known private forecasting services have already committed to a Drought forecast over a significant portion of the WCB. Not surprisingly as we approach the Summer grain prices are generally on the rise as a concern continues to increase that the very dry conditions over the central lower planes will expand east into Mississippi Valley... into the Delta... MO IA and MN.

In both instances -- the CF (or consensus forecasts) for the Winter 2005 --06 as well as many of the forecasts for this Summer of 2006 appeared to have been issued far too early and have not taking into account the significant changes which are going on in several different important areas. As these early Summer forecasts are running the same sort of risk with regard to "busting" that we sought in the autumn of 2005 with the early Winter forecasts.


A  brief  look at the    current  DROUGHT  MONITOR  MAP...  we have moderate to  extreme drought conditions covering most of the central and lower Plains but as of this writing the Drought conditions had not yet spread into the Delta or into the WCB regions. As I talked about in the Spring 2006 forecasts the two critical issues for this coming Summer would be the continuation of the weak La Nino event and the expansion of the Drought conditions into the Delta and the Western corn Belt regions.

However based upon some important changes that have occurred over the last 30 to 45 days I cannot forecast any sort expansion of the drought conditions into either the Upper Plains or the WCB.

The data is very clear that over the last 30-45  days  the weak La Nina has completely collapsed and we are now moving towards a neutral state regarding the La Nina / El Nino signal from the Equatorial Pacific regions.   There are some indications that in fact we may be experiencing a weak El Nino or warm SSTA in the Equatorial Pacific regions by the time these Summer comes to close .

The breakdown of the La Nina over the  past 30-45 days has major implications for the Hurricane season of 2006. The data is very clear that during the La Nina event the hurricane activity tends to run Above to Much Above normal in the Atlantic Basin. On the other hand the data is also very clear that during El Nino events hurricane activity tends to one run Below Normal in the Atlantic Basin.

As result many of the hurricane forecasts for the 2006 season were premised on the idea that the weak El Niņo conditions we still sought in April would continue into the heart of hurricane season. Clearly this is not going to be the case and if we move into a weak El Niņo event during the late Summer/ early autumn -- which is also the heart of the hurricane season -- and all these dire forecasts and warnings about more exceptional hurricane activity for this season are going to end up in serious trouble.













We have entered a new stage and weather forecasting over the last several years. While academically the  much of the  focus  in Meteorology has been in mesoscale features  the changing climate   as well as the  demand  for  accurate forecasts  for the  30 day period   as well as Seasonal  forecasting  has brought  on a huge increase in this    relatively new   area in the   field  of  Meteorology.

With the  explosion in computing power over the last 10 years.... there are  several    Long range or  SEASONAL  weather models  that forecast we can use.  However these  weather models   are NOT very good  although  a  few of them   show some promise.

Another  Method   Forecasters  can use  involves  looking at   recent    overall  Jet stream patterns  and      current   Sea Surface Temps  Anomalies   (SSTA)  with the goal  being to   forecast  (  guess)   how the    jet stream pattern will evolves over the next few months

The   3rd   method  that forecasts   use  -- know  as the  Analog  method  -  is where the forecaster  looks at   several   key    indicies and parameters  such    El Nino or La Nina   or   the SSTA-  of  the   NAO  with   the idea   that  finding  similarities  with  other  years or seasons    it gives a forecaster some clues as  to how the   monthly or seasonal forecast  may  develop. .

For example one may consider the fact that most  US winters   during   strong  El Nino years bring warm and dry conditions to the Upper Plains   and Midwest   and  rather wet and cool conditions to the Deep South and changeable conditions in the Northeast.   Or a forecaster may look at say the past 6 months... 12 months... or 18 months worth of temperature  and  precipitation data over a certain section of the country and use those similarities to the current situation to assist them in making the monthly or seasonal forecast.

Done the correct way the Analog method has validity to it.    For example to simply assumed that all El Nino  events  produce   ONLY  one set of conditions in the Winter months  is of course folly.    Some of the most severe winters in the last 100 years have been El Nino winters and likewise.... some of the most Mild winters in the last 100 years have also been El Nino winters.  Some forecasters    hold  the view   that analogs  are   not very helpful since  weather  records are incomplete or not sufficient enough to be considered as an indicator of what the upcoming seasons might hold.      For most locations temperature and precipitation data only extends back 100 or 130 years  and accurate Upper Air maps   only go back 70 years at best . That argument is   Valid  and ANY  seasonal forecast  using analogs  that is based on ONE   parameter is   very risky  and has a high degrees of failure  built within the forecast.

One way of getting around this is to use several factors parameters and cross matching the analogs to look for common ground.




These   three  images -- click on the   maps for  the  BIG   version --  show the   SSTA    for APRIL   MAY    and the   END of MAY 2006.  We can see  several   important features   on these maps....  First   the  large pool of  COLD  ocean waters in the    eastern Pacific    that    is  expanding  as  we head  into JUINE 2006.   The    28 MAY 2006   Map   shows   most impressive   cold water pool  at  140 W Longitude.   This large Pool of    very cold water     has been  persistent and    growing and  has MAJOR implications   for the  Summer forecast.    For one   the mean trough position is  going to be located in the Eastern Pacific ...just off  the  West coast of North America.  Second  having the trough  at  THAT location  teleconnects to  a RIDGE  over the    Eastern Rockies and   Plains.... and a   trough over the  East Coast.

The term  "teleconnects"  is a  fancy  weather term that  operates on the proven idea  that  for  every Trough    there is a  Ridge  and  for every Ridge there is a Trough.....  Thus a  trough / ridge    at a  certain place    means   that  a  corresponding  Trough/  Ridge is likely to show up at a  certain  distance...

 The  second   major   feature   we can see on these  SSTA   maps is  the large pool of  cold water   over the  SW   Atlantic  (off the  SE   coast and the Bahamas) .   This   Pool of  cold water is  also a    feature that    tends to favor a  trough ON   the  East coast. .

The  third major  feature  is the  much cooler   SSTA  we  see in the tropical   Atlantic  ocean  in May 2006    when compared to May 2005.  The  warm SSTAs   in the  Summer  2006    were    exceptional  and  the  warm  SSTs   extended   very  deep into the sub surface   layers... as much as  50 Meters or more.   This time around   we  see  No such warming   and the  sub surface   SSTs  are actually  cooler than Normal.     Thus the   SSTA    going into   Summer  2006     are   dramatically  different from    what we saw   in the  historic   Hurricane  season of  2005.





The  third major  feature  is the  much cooler   SSTA  we  see in the tropical   Atlantic  ocean  in May 2006    when compared to May 2005.  The  warm SSTAs   in the  Summer  2006    were    exceptional  and  the  warm  SSTs   extended   very  deep into the sub surface   layers... as much as  50 Meters or more.   This time around   we  see  No such warming   and the  sub surface   SSTs  are actually  cooler than Normal.     Thus the   SSTA    going into   Summer  2006     are   dramatically  different from    what we saw   in the  historic   Hurricane  season of  2005.


Because   the  SPRING  MONTHS OF  2006   have   brought  more than adequate  Rains  to the Midwest and   ESPECIALLY   the  ECB  where  if  anything  the  rains  have  been   excessive   we are faced with   drought  pattern   that   support the   Mean  ridge position   over the   Plains  and  a  mean trough  over the    Great  Lakes/  New  England.   The effect of the developing   major drought  over the  Lower  and central Plains   can  be seem    by the    thick BLUE  line  I    have   superimposed   over the MAY  30  20006   Drought Map

As you can see the    Major  drought   will   strongly  support   the  MEAN  Ridge position in the Jet stream. In addition t  wetter than Normal Winter  of 2005-06 and  SPRING of  2006 over the   Pacific NW will  TEND  to support a   trough over  that portion of  North America. Given these two   factors  it is  reasonable to assume that with a   Strong Ridge  centered  over the   Plains  -- about 100 W Longitude-- this Summer... that a Mean trough   will be situated  DOWNSTREAM  of that Ridge.... which in this case means over the   Northeast /  East coast.


The implications   of  this overall  Jet stream pattern are significant  --assuming my reasoning  is correct.  With the mean Ridge position located over the Plains states I am certain that the drought over the central and Lower Plains will continue for most of the Summer and temperatures will average Above Normal (AN) to Much Above Normal (MAN). More significantly for the East Coast.... the mean proposition insurer is a high probability that this hurricane season will not be one to threaten the East Coast of CONUS. Assuming that the meteorological reasoning is correct I had very high confidence that some of the speculation and borderline hysteria about the threat coming this summer for the East Coast is going to be a complete flop and when the big hype scares of the last few seasons.

Again on the emphasized that WHILE there may be a hurricane threat to the East Coast this season and/ or perhaps even a landfall the overall pattern as I see it does not support any sort of significant hurricane threats to the East Coast. If anything but pattern is quite hostile to landfalling hurricane scenarios this season for the East Coast.



 This may be the most important portion of the Summer forecast of 2006. And of course the part of the hurricane season continues into THE early portion of the autumn. That has very already the spring is becoming well hard to believe and much of it is based upon several critical and false assumptions. It's almost as if the signs of meteorology is being ignored and many of these private and government forecasters are simply engaging in some sort of bidding war as to which one can guard of the most horrific damaging the hurricane scenario and therefore garner the Most media hype and attention. Between Dr. Gray.. AccuWeather ...  Weather 2000 and CPC forecasts any sort of Dissenting voice / opinion is going to be very hard to  hear this Summer.

The number one problem for having is that many of these hurricane forecasts are starting from a very faulty assumption or premise: that the 2005 hurricane season was a fluke  and is not likely happen again   (which IS correct)    but since we are now in the mist of a long term super active hurricane cycle... it is reasonable to assume that the 2006 hurricane season will be somewhere below the 2005 record year and the climatological Normal of 10 named storms / 6 hurricane/  2 intense Hurricanes.

The reasoning is  invalid because  the idea that  the  2006  Hurricane  season  is going to be  somewhere   in between  Above the Climo Norm but not as historic as 2005 means that you get a number around 18 or 20 named tropical cyclones.

The second critical assumption that a lot of these early hurricane forecasts had been operating on... is the continuation of the La Nina from the early Spring of 2006. The bottom line is that La Nina events in the Summer and Autumn strongly support or enhance activity in the tropical Atlantic while El Nino events strongly support or weaken activity in the tropical Atlantic. But as I have already noted the La Nina is Dying and some of the data shows a weak El Nino developing this Autumn.


    The QBO   index   and  THE HURRICANE SEASON   2006


The quasi-biennial oscillation (QBO) is  a Band of    High level  zonal winds  found   over the Equatorial  at very high  altitudes ( even above the  Jet Stream).  It is  a very well known   periodic oscillation in atmosphere.   For a  Full  read of  the  QBO phemonona  click  here

The has been a lot of research done  over the last  10 years that shows the  QBO  has significant impact of overall climate patterns ...  as well as Winter  Weather patterns  as well as the    Hurricane  season.     The period of the  QBO  "oscillation"   takes  anywhere from 18 to 24 months  to complete  one  cycle.    The   QBO  has two  "phases"   with  occur within the    1 Oscillation  cycle-- the  Easterly  or  NEGATIVE  phase   and the   WESTERLY or Positive  phase.      Within the  meteorological    community   the  QBO  is    used   heavily by some forecasters   as a key ingredient  to figuring   out  what  the   upcoming Hurricane   might be  like since  its  periodic  oscillations  are  fairly  east to    figure out  several months  out.

All   one  has  to  do is  do a GOOGLE  search   "QBO  HURRICANE ACTIVITY"  and  you will   scores of links  regarding  the  QBO and which phase   favors   more  active   hurricane  seasons.  The  overwhelming   consensus  is that  WEST  phase/  Positive  Phase of  the  QBO   favors  active   Hurricane  seasons.    Moreover   Chris  Landsea  has  asserted    for some  reason that   EAST  or  negative phases of  the  QBO    weaken   hurricane  activity-- both in overall   activity and  in the  probability  of  seeing  IH --Intense  Hurricane  -- activity in a  given Hurricane   season.

In my opinion   However   much of  the  discussion   is mis-directed   towards    How and why  the   QBO is  important. 

I present  for   your  consideration the   ACTUAL   QBO  data  for 2005   which as I am sure  you all know   featured  severe and  historic   Hurricane  activity  in the   Atlantic  Basin.   Keep in  mind that   NEGATIVE  phase  QBO  is  suppose to  RESTRICT   hurricane and  IH     activity levels.

The  RED    BOXES  show not only   the  MOST    negative/ East phase of the  QBO in  those  months  EVER  recorded   but  the  months  of  OCT  - NOV-DEC  were the   lowest most  Negative   Phase of  the   QBO  of all time  (since 1950).

Yet    the 2005  Hurricane  season   featured  FIVE  category  4-5   Land falling   Gulf of  Mexico   Hurricanes. A  season  that featured  RECORD   Tropical  Cyclone  activity in  DEC 2005.

 Memo  to  Dr Gray / Dr Landsea.  Your   view of the  QBO  phases and what it means is  wrong.  I mean   seriously wrong.  As in Not  even close.   If the  most   sustained negative  QBO  ever  recorded leads to the  most   violent   active and  worst   hurricane  season of all ... which is  exactly  what a    negative  QBO  should  NOT do...  your    got  something  SERIOUSLY  wrong.

2005       QBO    VALUES  FROM   1/05  to   12/05  
JAN 05 FEB 05 MAR 05 APR 05 MAY 05 JUNE 05 JUL 05 AUG 05 SEPT 05 OCT 05 NOV 05 DEC 05
-0.450 -0.880 +0.06 -0.664 -15.09 -20.59 -24.20 -25.87 -27.80 -28.76 -29.55 -25.04


Well perhaps   last  was a  FLUKE. Ok  lets  see...  This  LINK   has the   QBO  data  going back to  1948.     let see   what   previous  WEST/ positive phases  of the  QBO   have  done... which  according to the  CONVENTIONAL  or  accepted  research   means  INCREASED  in  both overall Hurricane  activity and  IH  (Intense  Hurricanes...category  3-4-5) activity.

1999  featured  STRONGLY  positive  (+10 or higher)    QBO  values in  late  Summer/ early  Autumn.  There were  12  named   TC all seasons...    which is    near  Normal....with  5    IH. 

1997 featured  STRONGLY  positive  (+10 or higher)    QBO  values in  late  Summer/ early  Autumn.  But there were ONLY  8  named   TC all seasons...    of course  it  was an El Nino  year. 

1990  featured  STRONGLY  positive  (+10 or higher)    QBO  values in  late  Summer/ early  Autumn. There  were 14  named   TC all seasons...  slightly  above  Normal   but  only 1  IH. 

1985  featured  STRONGLY  positive  (+10 or higher)    QBO  values in  late  Summer/ early  Autumn.  But there were ONLY  11  named   TC all seasons...    which is   normal... with   3   IH. 

1975  featured  STRONGLY  positive  (+10 or higher)    QBO  values in  late  Summer/ early  Autumn.  But there were ONLY  9  named   TC all seasons...     below  normal ...with  3    IH. 

1959  featured  STRONGLY  positive  (+10 or higher)    QBO  values in  late  Summer/ early  Autumn.  But there were ONLY  11  named   TC all seasons...   which  is  Normal with  2    IH. 

 On the   other  hand   there have  been  SEVERAL    Hurricane   seasons  where the  QBO   has been  STRONGLY Negative  (-20.00 or lower  AUG- SEPT -OCT)  and there has been  increased  Hurricane  activity...  2003  and 1996    as well as 1984  all featured  a  strongly  Negative  QBO.


Here  are the   current    QBO  values   for   2006.  It is    very likely that  the   QBO  will  reach above  +10 or  higher   in the   late  Summer- early  Autumn  period.  More  importantly  If    during the  Hurricane  season 2006   we had  record  activity  in an  East  /  Negative Phase  QBO...   would  Not a  Positive/ West    Phase  QBO bring   about   the  OPPOSITE  Result?

2006       QBO    VALUES  FROM   1/05  to   12/05  
JAN 06 FEB 06 MAR 06 APR 06 MAY 05 JUNE 05 JUL 05 AUG 05 SEPT 05 OCT 05 NOV 05 DEC 05
-18.83 -11.24 -0.38 +5.00 est +9.00

 QBO  likely to  reach  +10  or  higher


So my   next step  is too  search for  a     Year  that  had a  SIMILAR    QBO  PATTERN.   By that I mean one  that  was NOT  just believe   matches  the  numerical   value  of  any  1 month   but   the  while  QBO cycle.  In this  case  ...for  2006... I am looking  for  a  QBO  event  which   was coming   out of a  strongly   negative     period  in the   WINTER... that     rose   rapidly to Neutral   in   MARCH   2006... and is   expected  to  reach a  value  of +10  or  higher  in  Aug -Sept- Oct..

Looking  at  the   Link    provided above   ONLY   the   QBO  events of  1959  and  1966  match closely  to   this   seasons   QBO... with  1966  being  the closest  match.  



-17.24 -14.02 -9.27 -5.91 -2.30 +3.15 +7.07 +10.06 +11.69
1966 -21.90 -.17.14 -11.07 -2.33 +2.16 +5.42 +7.47 +9.23 +11.00 +11.74


1966   featured  11 named  TC... only  2   IH   and the ONLY   East coast  threat/ event  was   early in the  season  with  ALMA in early  JULY.  After  ALMA  thehre  were  a lot of   Cape  Verde   Hurricanes   that re-curved out to  sea.  The 1959   hurricane season  also  featured   ONLY  11 named  TC  with  2 IH...  with  6   Gulf of Mexico  tropical  storms   (no  hurricanes)   and  GRACIE   a  category   4   Hurricane that   hit  SC.

  Therefore  based  on the  QBO  data  and the   analogs of  1959  and 1966

1)  I cannot  forecast active   East coast  Hurricane  year.
2) if anything    BELOW  Normal    Hurricane  activity on the   East coast    and 
3) overall   near  Normal  activity of 10  named  TC.   If one   were to  "adjust"   because  we are in a Long period/ cycle of  enhanced   Hurricane   activity in the    Atlantic basin ... I  come  up with   13 or   Maybe  14 named   TC.  Of course  on the other  hand   given the    colder  SSTAs  this  season in the     Tropical  Atlantic....  and the    ending of the   La Nina event... 13  may be pushing  it.




The use of climate models in making seasonal and long-range weather forecasting is a matter of considerable dispute within the meteorological community. The practice has been going on for several years and recently there was an upgrade in one of the better known climate models used. The old climate model --known as the AGCM --had a severe cold bias. The cold bias exists because the AGCM model is heavily based upon the GFS ... which it is the daily global model used by NCEP that is issued four times a day out to 16 days and can be accessed at many locations on the Internet. Recently the folks at EMC and CPC have started running a new climate model known as the CFS with the hopes that this would be a better climate model. That has proven to be exceptionally false in every sense. Despite the best efforts of some very skilled scientists and programmers the fact of the matter is that the CFS is useless with NO forecast skill whatsoever.

There are some climate models which are significantly superior to the more popular CFS and GSM.

Perhaps the best of the   "unknown"  a climate models    is the   one    from   German meteorological center is which comes out around the 4th or 5th of every month.   But this  model  is not  available   for  consideration  here in late MAY  2006.

Another   good  and unknown  Climate  Model  is  the   CAS  or     Soil Moisture  Model.  This  Model  uses  actual  soil  moisture   and    trends  to  base its  forecast on.  Moreover  this  model is  run  once  every  two  days which    allows forecasters to track   the    trend of the model as a  opposed to  looking  one model  output.


 Note how the  CAS Model  show MONTHLY mean temperatures   running Below Normal over   the Northeast  while  the    eastern Rockies and Plains    stays very dry. This telling e   that the model is     correctly  picking up on the  idea that the   current    drought over the   eastern Rockies and  Lower / central Plains western     will be an  Important aspect to the  Summer forecast   

 JUNE   2006  JULY  2006   AUG  2006   SEPT   2006


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