WINTER  FORECAST   -- 15  NOV  2004  

2004-05  WINTER FORECAST MAPS

2ND  HALF     WINTER  FORECAST...  click   HERE

TECHNICAL  STUFF

1.  REVIEW  OF WINTER 2002-03 2.  USE of  ANALOGS
3.  Is there an El Nino Coming? 4.   Current  ENSO   conditions
5.   WXRISK ANALOGS 6.   SOI
7.   MEI 8.   QBO
9. CLIMATE MODELS 10. AUTUMN SNOW COVER



review of 2003-2004   Winter   Forecast:   VERY    SUCCESSFUL...



Within the confines  of  the   seasonal   weekly  and    sometimes even daily   weather     forecasting...  the standard  for   succcess or   failure   is  set  by  "consensus forecast" ( hereafter   referred to as CF).   The  CF   is term that I use   to describe  the general view or summary of what most PWSIP  (private weather  service  Information Services)      and / or   NWS forecasters are saying.      From  the week 2 forecast   Range   to   the  seasonal   foroecasts  the  CF    is set  by  CPC    ( Climate  Prediction Center).     Thus the CF is very important in determining how the seasonal trade in Energy and Agriculture markets will view  he   overall season  as well the  How the operational Meteorologist will    view the   season.   For example… State DOTs will often significantly lower their Salt and Sand purchases if the CF is for a Mild winter in their area.      The CF often consists of  a) the CPC    foecast   (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  that are  not part of a   PWSIP.  

The  Wxrisk.com  2003-04 Winter forecast   was  a   major success and was  again    clearly  superior  to the    the  general or Consensus Forecasts.   In  October  and November of   2003   there seemed to have been an early consensus that a repeat of the impressive winter of 2002 -- 2003 would occur across  much of the central and eastern U.S.   However by the time November 2003 rolled around most of the skilled private weather services information providers (PWSIPs)  that do not have to engage in hype to get media play had committed to their clients a forecast that did not feature a repeat of the previous historic Eastern US winter. To see  forecast maps  for  Winter   2003-04 Click Here.    

Although   the    monthly   forecast maps  were   only Mariginally   successful   I  did  predict  several   key  features

Click HERE    for a  Brief  REVIEW  OF LAST WINTER  FORECASTS   FROM   OTHER   PWSIPs

CPC    WINTER  FORECASTS   FROM  LAST WINTER...   2003-04

precipitationoutlook-101603b.jpg (60583 bytes)     temperatureoutlook-101603b.jpg (64409 bytes)

 


REVIEW   of WINTER  2003-2004

On a  nationwide level   the    Winter of  2003-04  was   nearly  prefect   ordinary winter..   but  as with all generalizations     once  they become so general   the  are generally useless.    For  example hidden in the  fact  the   Winter of  2003-04 placed  68th   with regard to temps..   is the   2 periods of bitter cold for  New England   that occurred.   In addition   DEC 2003  was  WARM over the entire western US   but  fairly  wet.  And  FEB 2004    -- as the data clearly  shows-- the  storm   track was indeed  supressed  to the south  much like we  saw  with the   winter of  1979 -80...   with  temps    from   CALIF to    VA   running Below   Normal     and  precip  well Above  Normal.

 

CLIMATE  DIVISONS
TEMPS
CLIMATE  DIVISIONS
PRECIP
REGIONS   TEMPS STATE  
TEMPS
STATES  
PRECIP
500 MB
PATTERNS
% OF SNOW
TO  NORMAL
DEC   2003 12_12_2003_DvTempRank_pg.gif (77793 bytes) 12_12_2003_DvPrcpRank_pg.gif (76520 bytes) 12Regionaltrank_pg.gif (48159 bytes) 12Statewidetrank_pg.gif (68473 bytes) 12Statewideprank_pg.gif (68037 bytes) hgtanomaly-usa-dec-pg.gif (64514 bytes) snfldepnorm_mtd12_2003.gif (71876 bytes)
JAN    2004 01_01_2004_DvTempRank_pg.gif (76035 bytes) 01_01_2004_DvPrcpRank_pg.gif (78451 bytes) 01Regionaltrank_pg.gif (46777 bytes) 01Statewidetrank_pg.gif (64461 bytes) 01Statewideprank_pg.gif (65094 bytes) hgtanomaly-usa-jan-pg.gif (62606 bytes) snfldepnorm_mtd01_2004.gif (72409 bytes)
FEB   2004 02_02_2004_DvTempRank_pg.gif (75343 bytes) 02_02_2004_DvPrcpRank_pg.gif (79254 bytes) 02Regionaltrank_pg.gif (47298 bytes) 02Statewidetrank_pg.gif (65100 bytes) 02Statewideprank_pg.gif (66660 bytes) hgtanomaly-usa-feb-pg.gif (77683 bytes) snfldepnorm_mtd02_2004.gif (74680 bytes)
  ACTUAL  SNOWFALL
  FOR THE  SEASON
%  SNOWFALL   COMPARED TO
NORMAL 
NEW  ENGLAND   COLD NC    HEAVY SNOW
snfl_std2003_2004.gif (90584 bytes) snfldepnorm_std2003_2004.gif (77441 bytes) northeastcold-pg.gif (46615 bytes) carolinasnow.gif (33238 bytes)

       

 

 Once again in this winter forecast that there will be a midwinter review which occurs sometime after the New Year. The science of seasonal weather forecasting  is half science and half art. The mistake that many forecasters make    (in my opinion)   regarding seasonal forecast is NOT  so much attempting to make the accurate seasonal forecast and then having it bust.   The problem is in not following up on their forecast... seeing how the pattern is or is not developing and failing to issues any changes to  the forecast.

A classic case of this was  my Summer forecast for 2003.   My original Summer forecast ( issued Mid May ) was for a hot dry Summer across the Plains and the Midwest and  cool wet one for the East coast.  This idea was   based on a moderate La Nina developing  in the El Nino regions... and since there is a strong correlation between moderate La Nina and hot dry summers in the Plains and Midwest.... that forecast was fairly reasonable.   Moreover going into the month of MAY 2003 the data clearly showed a moderate La Nina event was building as the sea surface temperatures cooled significantly off of South America.

However the cold sea surface temperatures reversed itself and rapidly warmed during the month of June -- which of course is a month after I issued my summer forecast. The collapse of the developing La Nina effect is due the the - PDO which is a long-term weather phenomenon in the Pacific ocean that  enhances or inhibited the development of El Nino and La Nina events.  Thus on the basis of the   collapse  in the La Nina  in JUNE... I  updated   the Summer forecast right before the July 4th weekend--- which can be seen on the Web site.    In my opinion it is really quite pointless  to issue   the seasonal forecast  MONTHS before the season  under consideration actually begins    and  then issue NO updates.

       

THE USE OF ANALOGS


Many  (but not all)  forecasters use "Analogs"  to help make a seasonal or monthly forecast. In weather forecasting the use of analog is an attempt to understand   the  seasonal forecast period  based ( in part)   upon similarities between a particular set of parameters.   The idea is by searching   for 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 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  and   weather hobbyists   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   does have   some merit   and  basing a  seasonal  forecast on ONE   parameter is   very risky  and has a high degrees of failure.     The problem for  seasonal forecasters    is that  we  have  SOME   data on SOME    useful  seasonal  Paramaters... but not enough  to be used with confidence.  

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

Just   like   the  last several  seasonal    forecasts   I will use these   parameters and in this order of  importance

  1. ENSO

  2. SOI

  3. MEI  

  4. QBO  

  5. CLIMATE MODELS  

  6. SEASONAL  PATTERN    

  7. CANADIAN SNOW COVER

 

 

THE   STATUS   OF  THE   CURRENT  EL NINO THIS WINTER ?...

 

The first parameter that I will consider will be the Sea Surface Temperature Anomalies (SSTA) in the ENSO regions. (Warm ENSO are called El Nino... cold ENSO are called La Nina). For the purpose of clarification I have presented  the   Official map   from CPC   that is used  to show the   ENSO  regions  broken down into  4 areas.      Officially  an El Nino or La Nina event is "declared"   when the SSTA have reached a certain Temperature criteria   for a 3 month time period.  El Nino events   begin    and   are centered  in  the various   regions.   Usually  the   very strong El Nino  events     develop   in  ENSO  region 1+2  and spread   or  build  west  towards the  Dateline.    This was  the  case   in the supert intense   El Nino   events of  1982-83   1987-88 and   1997-98.

However  some   El Nino events     developed in  ENSO  region  4  ( the furthest West)   or   ENSO region 3...  and  spread    east towards Peru. In almost every case   these  El Nino events   have either been Moderate  weak  events.  We saw this in 2002-03... 1977-78... and in the   1960s as well.

 

 

Although there is little doubt that the El Nino events are somewhat is over hyped... the fact of the matter is that   El Nino and La Nina  events   are major players  and MUST be considered in  any attempt to make a seasonal forecast.   Until  fairly  recently    whenever their was a   El Nino event  declared the   CPC  (climate prediction center)   winter  forecast    was  ALWAYS the  same  regardless  of   how storng the  El Nino was  or  what  region  the   El Nino  was centered in:  "Cool and wet"   over  the Southern US  from  California   to  NC  and    "Warm and Dry"   from Montana to  Massachuseets.      Indeed  the    CPC winter  forecast from forecast  from   2002-03   depicted   exactly those    conditions   (  that a  moderate to strong El Nino would develop and flood  the central  & eastern US  with mild air).   Instead the El Nino of  2002-03 collapsed in early January 2003   and    the winter turned ot to be    exceptionally stormy and  fairly  cold for much of the Midwest and Northeast.      

Likewise in the Spring of 2003 the development of a La Nina led many forecasters (myself included)  to make  a    "Hotter than Normal and  Drier than Normal"   Summer forecast for the central Plains and portions of the Midwest.    Instead the La Nina collapsed in June and the wet cool pattern held.

It should therefore be obvious and self-evident that a seasonal forecast which is premised on the idea that the   current  El Nino  is   subject to change.   Over the last 8 weeks  the  SSTA  in ENSO  region 3.4    which   held steady   from early    JULY 2004  to    OCT 2004   (between   +0.7C  and  +0.9C)  have started to warm slowly over the last    few weeks to  +1.2 degrees C .  This  qualifies as a weak   El Nino event  BUT   does not  meet the criteria  for   a moderate   one.  

LINK FOR    RAW  DATA  IS HERE

CURRENT  ENSO   SEAS SURFACE
TEMPERATURE  ANOMALIES  (SSTA)

The  numbers  are SSTs Anomalies  in degrees  Celsius  from JAN 2004  to  NOV 2004  ;  
RED
=   BELOW  normal SSTA     BLUE = .  ABOVE   normal  SSTA    BLACK   near Neutral
ENSO 1+2 (off PERU coast)
JAN 2003  through OCT  2003
ENSO 3+4 (EQ.PACIFIC)
JAN  2003  through OCT  2003
0.09   -0.22 -0.54  -0.16  -1.28  -1.43
-1.11   -1.18    -0.42 
- 0.01
0.23   0.17  -0.05   0.17   0.29   0.27
+0.61    +0.82  +0.83   +0.79
SUMMARY;   In ENSO regions 1.2 Sea surface temperatures anomalies   were fairly cold  in the spring and summer 2004    then  warmed  to Neutral in   OCT...  and  have warm  to +0.5C  at Mid NOV.      In ENSO region 3.4   SSTA    which were   close to Neutral  in the  Spring warmed JULY to  OCT...  reaching   +1.2  Degrees  C   Above Normal  in the last  3 weeks  of  NOV

 

CMB'S  ENSO    REGION 3.4 FORECAST

ECMWF  
ENSO  3.4    
Forecast
 

NOV  10

     
14oct3.4.gif (9429 bytes)   figf5.gif (10852 bytes)  

All the data  shows  that  the  current     trend  in   the  weak  El Nino  in region   3.4   is  going to  continue through the winter.  It is still possible that     the  El Nino might reach  the   criteria for Moderate status   at some point but   this is    uncertain and if it were to happen.... the  Moderate  intensity    would not last   more  than a few weeks. . Thus I  come to our first critical assessment of this forecast. Based upon what I am seeing right now... my forecast is going to be heavily based upon the idea of a weak El Nino developing in the second half the Winter into the Spring and therefore the analogs which I am be considering have to be based on that.

 

There are several sources that one can use to figure out which historical period might be considered as they analog. Below I have reproduced the well known Table that shows El Nino / La Nina years from the Climate Prediction Center that gives a general overview of the last 50 years by 3 month intervals.  http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/products/analysis_monitoring/ensostuff/ensoyears.html    Warm    ENSO (or  El NINO)  regions 3.4  Quarters are in RED and
cold SSTA in  region  3.4 ( or  La Nina)    quarters are in  BLUE   based on a threshold of +/- 0.5oC for the Oceanic Niņo Index (ONI)
.

I have  highlighted these  events in  GRAY...   and  the   current  event   YELLOW.   Since   there is NO data  that shows   the current  El Nino   that is at   criteria    for  "Moderate"   or   :Strong"      AND   since    there is no data shows that  the    Current  El Nino is building to  Moderate or   Strong..    only    weak  El Nino  events  are   being considered.   For   example   the   Strong   El Nino event of  1965 -66  is  NOT  considered  becasue   the   SSTA    in  Region  3.4   was    far too strong   when compared to the   current   El Nino.     This  gives us  8  possible analogs  to consider...   1951-52   1957-58...  1963 -64...   1977-78...   1986-87... 1991-92...  1994-95...  and   2002 -03

 

Year

DJF

JFM

FMA

MAM

AMJ

MJJ

JJA

JAS

ASO

SON

OND

NDJ

1950

-1.8

-1.5

-1.4

-1.4

-1.4

-1.2

-0.9

-0.8

-0.8

-0.8

-0.9

-1.0

1951

-1.0

-0.8

-0.6

-0.4

-0.2

0.1

0.4

0.5

0.6

0.7

0.7

0.6

1952

0.3

0.1

0.1

0.1

0.0

-0.2

-0.3

-0.3

-0.1

-0.2

-0.2

-0.1

1953

0.1

0.3

0.4

0.5

0.5

0.4

0.4

0.4

0.4

0.4

0.3

0.3

1954

0.3

0.2

-0.1

-0.5

-0.7

-0.7

-0.8

-1.0

-1.1

-1.1

-1.0

-1.0

1955

-1.0

-0.9

-0.9

-1.0

-1.1

-1.0

-1.0

-1.0

-1.5

-1.8

-2.1

-1.7

1956

-1.2

-0.8

-0.7

-0.6

-0.6

-0.6

-0.7

-0.8

-0.9

-0.9

-0.9

-0.8

1957

-0.5

-0.1

0.2

0.6

0.7

0.8

0.9

0.9

0.8

0.9

1.2

1.5

1958

1.6

1.5

1.1

0.7

0.5

0.5

0.4

0.1

0.0

0.0

0.1

0.3

1959

0.4

0.4

0.3

0.2

0.0

-0.3

-0.4

-0.5

-0.4

-0.4

-0.3

-0.3

1960

-0.3

-0.3

-0.3

-0.2

-0.1

-0.1

0.0

0.0

-0.1

-0.2

-0.3

-0.2

1961

-0.2

-0.2

-0.2

-0.1

0.1

0.1

0.0

-0.3

-0.6

-0.6

-0.5

-0.5

1962

-0.5

-0.5

-0.5

-0.5

-0.4

-0.3

-0.2

-0.3

-0.4

-0.6

-0.7

-0.7

1963

-0.6

-0.3

0.0

0.1

0.1

0.3

0.6

0.8

0.8

0.9

1.0

1.0

1964

0.8

0.4

-0.1

-0.5

-0.7

-0.7

-0.8

-0.9

-1.0

-1.1

-1.1

-1.0

1965

-0.8

-0.5

-0.3

0.0

0.2

0.6

1.0

1.2

1.4

1.5

1.6

1.5

1966

1.2

1.1

0.8

0.5

0.2

0.1

0.1

0.0

-0.2

-0.3

-0.3

-0.4

1967

-0.4

-0.5

-0.6

-0.5

-0.3

0.0

0.0

-0.2

-0.4

-0.5

-0.5

-0.6

1968

-0.7

-0.9

-0.8

-0.8

-0.4

0.0

0.3

0.3

0.2

0.4

0.6

0.9

1969

1.0

1.0

0.9

0.7

0.6

0.4

0.4

0.4

0.6

0.7

0.7

0.6

1970

0.5

0.3

0.2

0.1

-0.1

-0.4

-0.6

-0.8

-0.8

-0.8

-0.9

-1.2

1971

-1.4

-1.4

-1.2

-1.0

-0.8

-0.8

-0.8

-0.8

-0.9

-0.9

-1.0

-0.9

1972

-0.7

-0.3

0.0

0.3

0.5

0.8

1.1

1.3

1.5

1.8

2.0

2.1

1973

1.8

1.2

0.5

-0.1

-0.5

-0.8

-1.1

-1.3

-1.4

-1.7

-1.9

-2.0

1974

-1.8

-1.6

-1.2

-1.1

-0.9

-0.7

-0.5

-0.4

-0.5

-0.7

-0.8

-0.7

1975

-0.6

-0.6

-0.7

-0.8

-1.0

-1.1

-1.3

-1.4

-1.6

-1.6

-1.7

-1.8

1976

-1.6

-1.2

-0.9

-0.7

-0.5

-0.2

0.1

0.3

0.5

0.7

0.8

0.8

1977

0.6

0.5

0.2

0.1

0.2

0.3

0.3

0.4

0.5

0.7

0.8

0.8

1978

0.7

0.4

0.0

-0.3

-0.4

-0.3

-0.4

-0.5

-0.5

-0.4

-0.2

-0.1

1979

-0.1

0.0

0.1

0.2

0.1

0.0

0.0

0.2

0.3

0.4

0.5

0.5

1980

0.5

0.3

0.2

0.2

0.3

0.3

0.2

0.0

-0.1

0.0

0.0

-0.1

1981

-0.3

-0.4

-0.4

-0.3

-0.3

-0.3

-0.4

-0.3

-0.2

-0.1

-0.1

-0.1

1982

0.0

0.1

0.2

0.4

0.6

0.7

0.8

1.0

1.5

1.9

2.2

2.3

1983

2.3

2.0

1.6

1.2

1.0

0.6

0.2

-0.2

-0.5

-0.8

-0.9

-0.8

1984

-0.5

-0.3

-0.2

-0.4

-0.5

-0.5

-0.3

-0.2

-0.3

-0.6

-1.0

-1.1

1985

-1.0

-0.8

-0.8

-0.8

-0.7

-0.5

-0.4

-0.4

-0.4

-0.3

-0.2

-0.3

1986

-0.4

-0.4

-0.3

-0.2

-0.1

0.0

0.2

0.5

0.7

0.9

1.1

1.2

1987

1.3

1.2

1.1

1.0

1.0

1.2

1.5

1.6

1.6

1.5

1.3

1.1

1988

0.8

0.5

0.1

-0.3

-0.8

-1.2

-1.2

-1.1

-1.3

-1.6

-1.9

-1.9

1989

-1.7

-1.5

-1.1

-0.9

-0.6

-0.4

-0.3

-0.3

-0.3

-0.3

-0.2

-0.1

1990

0.1

0.2

0.3

0.3

0.3

0.3

0.3

0.4

0.3

0.3

0.3

0.4

1991

0.5

0.4

0.4

0.4

0.6

0.8

0.9

0.9

0.8

1.0

1.4

1.7

1992

1.8

1.7

1.6

1.4

1.1

0.8

0.4

0.2

-0.1

-0.1

0.0

0.1

1993

0.3

0.4

0.6

0.8

0.8

0.7

0.5

0.4

0.4

0.3

0.2

0.2

1994

0.2

0.3

0.4

0.5

0.6

0.6

0.6

0.6

0.7

0.9

1.2

1.3

1995

1.2

0.9

0.7

0.4

0.2

0.1

0.0

-0.3

-0.5

-0.6

-0.7

-0.8

1996

-0.8

-0.7

-0.5

-0.3

-0.2

-0.2

-0.1

-0.2

-0.2

-0.2

-0.3

-0.4

1997

-0.4

-0.3

0.0

0.4

0.9

1.4

1.7

2.0

2.3

2.4

2.5

2.5

1998

2.4

2.0

1.4

1.1

0.4

-0.1

-0.8

-1.0

-1.1

-1.1

-1.3

-1.5

1999

-1.6

-1.2

-0.9

-0.7

-0.8

-0.8

-0.9

-0.9

-1.0

-1.2

-1.4

-1.6

2000

-1.6

-1.5

-1.1

-0.9

-0.7

-0.6

-0.4

-0.3

-0.4

-0.5

-0.7

-0.7

2001

-0.7

-0.5

-0.4

-0.2

-0.1

0.1

0.2

0.1

0.0

-0.1

-0.2

-0.2

2002

-0.1

0.1

0.3

0.4

0.7

0.8

0.9

0.9

1.1

1.3

1.5

1.3

2003

1.1

0.8

0.6

0.1

-0.1

0.0

0.3

0.4

0.5

0.5

0.6

0.5

2004

0.4

0.2

0.2

0.2

0.3

0.4

0.7

0.8

0.9

   0.8   EST 1.1  

However  a  much  comprehensive  listing of MONTHLY  data    back to JAN  1950  of  all the  ENSO  regions --  both   SSTs   and  SSTAs --
can be accessed  at this  site
ftp://ftpprd.ncep.noaa.gov/pub/cpc/wd52dg/data/indices/sstoi.indices

 

POSSIBLE  ANALOG    YEARS   -  WHICH ONES ARE SIMILAR TO  THE CURRENT SITUATION IN THE
ENSO  REGIONS ?  

Keep in mind  the pattern   similar to   2004 ...that we looking ;     .. ENSO  region 1.2   that was below  Below -1.00  June to  August    then
to Neutral   by  OCT   while  ENSO 3.4   slowly   warms  all Summer to  near 1.2 degrees C.

TIME PERIOD

ENSO 1+2     (of .Americas)
JANUARY  to   OCTOBER

ENSO 3+4   EQ.PACIFIC
JANUARY    to  OCTOBER
THIS  REGION IS  MUCH MORE  IMPORTANT FOR WINTER 2003-04
COMMENTS
1 1951-52 0.65   - 0.60 - 0.58  -0.18    0.54
1.54   2.19   1.61  1.05  1.29   1.22 
-1.04    -0.07   0.70   -0.05  - 0.22
0.04  
0.41    0.74   0.38   0.80  0.80
ENSO 1.2   POOR match   as  JUN  to  NOV   1952   was    STRONGLY   + ; ENSO 3.4    Fairly  close
2 1957-58 -1.24   0.28  0.99   1.40  1.95
1.89   1.97   1.57  1.42   0.85  0.72
-0.35   0.19    0.23   0.48   0.37   0.41
0.75    1.27     0.36  0.79   1.42
  ENSO 1.2:  VERY POOR match  as  APRIL  to Oct  1957 was   STRONGLY  +        ENSO 3.4    Fairly  close
3 1963-64 -0.38 -0.68  -0.60  -0.92  -0.17   -0.42 0.16   0.64    0.69   0.09   0.24 -0.64  -0.50   0.00   0.14   -0.21
0.11   0.93     0.92  0.78   0.94   0.94
   SO-SO   Match    ENSO 1.2  was  Negative  summer  1963 but   not   nearly  enough...  ENSO 3.4    was very close   to   summer  2004  ENSO  3.4
4 1977-78 0.82 -0.07 - 0.13  -0.21   -0.39 -0.20 
 
- 0.10 - 0.54  - 0.61   0.07   0.03
0.87  0.33  0.40  - 0.11   0.27   0.36
0.30   0.14   0.32   0.71   0.77 
SO-SO  Match     ENSO 1.2  was  Negative  summer  1977  but   not   nearly  enough...  ENSO 3.4    was very close   to   summer  2004  ENSO 3.4
5 1986-87 0.19   0.09  -0.46  - 0.76 - 0.86  -0.98
-0.68  0.18   0.00   0.18   0.38
-0.72   -0.75    -0.49   -0.25   -0.26
0.19  0.29   0.45  0.69    0.97    1.22
GOOD  overall   analog  -- Closest match  of  ANY in ENSO  1.2      ENSO 3.4 :    very close as well
6 1991-92 -0.57  0.00   0.15  -0.34  0.13
0.10   +0.25  0.29   +0.31  0.24  0.54
-0.50   0.24   0.10  0.30   0.59
0.87   0.85    0.73  0.43  1.03  1.34
POOR match  ENSO 1+2     which was Neutral  Summer 1991    ENSO 3.4     fairly  close 
7 1994-95 -0.10   -0.18   -0.93  -1.02  -0.52
-0.59  -1.09   -0.52  -0.28 
0.64   0.77
0.08    -0.10  -0.13  0.22  0.28
0.49   0.28    0.65   0.36    0.80  1.36
  GOOD but not   great match to   ENSO  1.2 of  2004.  ENSO 3.4 :  close match
8 2002-03 -0.87  0.03   1.05   1.05   0.47  -0.36
-0.81  -0.86 - 0.60
  0.25  0.60  
-0.02  -0.25  0.17  0.26  0.39  0.94
0.90   1.08    1.19    1.49    1.75
a Lot of    other Mets like   2002-03   as a ANALOG  -- I do NOT.    It is 2nd  worse  of any possible WEAK EL NINO analogs  --  ENSO  1.2   was  over   + 1.00 C  ALL  summer of  2003...  so that is a  completey wrong  match.   With ENSO 3.4   2002  was TOO strong   from JUNE   to NOV    reaching over   1.5   by OCT so   that does  NOT match Summer 2004  

  
SUMMARYTHE  BEST   3 MATCHES  ARE   1986-87    1977 -78     and 1958-59   

 

SOI  INDEX


HOWEVER a key indicator that helps forecasters understand the coming El Nino or La Nina and its intensity is called the SOI Index. This Link has a brief and basic review of the SOI and for ease of understanding please refer to this Link
http://www.bom.gov.au/climate/glossary/soi.shtml



The Southern Oscillation Index (SOI) is calculated from the monthly or seasonal fluctuations in the air pressure difference between Tahiti and Darwin. Sustained negative values of the SOI often indicate El Niņo episodes. These negative values are usually accompanied by sustained warming of the central and eastern tropical Pacific Ocean, a decrease in the strength of the Pacific Trade Winds, and a reduction in rainfall over eastern and northern Australia. The most recent strong El Niņo was in 1997/98.     Positive values of the SOI are associated with stronger Pacific trade winds and warmer sea temperatures to the north of Australia, popularly known as a La Niņa episode. Waters in the central and eastern tropical Pacific Ocean become cooler during this time. Together these give an increased probability that eastern and northern Australia will be wetter than normal. The most recent strong La Niņa was in 1988/89; a moderate La Niņa event occurred in 1998/99, which weakened back to neutral conditions before reforming for a shorter period in 1999/2000. This last event finished in Autumn 2000.


For  our purposes   we  shall  use  this LINK   as the   primary source to see  what  time  periods  IF ANY   closely  resemble  the  last 10 months of  2004.   Generally since  Janauary 2004  the  SOI    showed   Wide swings  or  variability   thru May 2004 -- note how  Jan   2004  went from  -11.6  to  +8.6 in FEB..  and       from  a -15.4    value in APRIL 2004   to  +13.1 in MAY 2004....   Since   JUNE 2004    the  SOI    has been  light to moderate   negative Values . is  -4.51   and  it may end up    close to  -5.00. 

ACTUAL  SOI    VALUES  LAST 11 MONTHS

2004 -11.6 8.6 0.2 -15.4 13.1 -14.4 -6.9 -7.6 -2.8 -3.7 -4.5  ESTIMATED

Looking  through the  data of  SOI values back to 1900.... several    time periods  appear to  have  the  SIMILAR   VALUES  and    SOI  PATTERNs  that    we have seen in the  current SOI    over the last  11 Months  ( JAN 2004 to   NOV 2004).   The   periods  that  match  up  closest   to the current  SOI  values of the last 11 months  are   ..in order of perference

 

1986 8.0 -10.7 0.8 1.2 -6.6 10.7 2.2 -7.6 -5.2 6.1 -13.9 -13.6 best match
1969 -13.5 -6.9 1.8 -8.8 -6.6 -0.6 -6.9 -4.4 -10.6 -11.7 -0.1 3.7 very good match
1919 -14.9 -11.2 -12.8 -3.0 -7.4 -10.4 -8.9 -6.9 -5.8 -10.5 -11.3 -9.1 good  match
1963 9.4 3.0 7.3 6.1 2.8 -9.6 -1.0 -2.4 -5.2 -12.9 -9.3 -11.6 good  match  from   JUNE  to   NOV
1951 16.5 9.6 -1.4 -1.3 -6.6 5.0 -8.2 -0.5 -7.0 -8.0 -3.4 -3.0 good  match  from   JUNE  to   NOV
1957 5.6 -2.2 -0.9 1.2 -12.2 -2.3 0.9 -9.5 -10.6 -1.3 -11.9 -3.5 Overall   fair match

 



WHAT IS  THE   MEI?      ==========>>  LINK

Dr. Klaus  Wolter of  the  CDC  (Climate   Diagnostic Center)  has developed  a   index  called   the   MEI  or  Multivariate ENSO Index.  The MEI paramter is   well known within the   Meteorological  Community.  The   problem with  using  just     the SSTA  in  ENSO   regions  1.2 and 3.4   OR  just the  SOI  is that   those values do not consider the   El Nino / La Nina as a  whole complex system.   The MEI  measures  six main observed variables over the tropical Pacific. (sea-level pressure,  zonal and meridional  components of the surface wind, sea surface temperature,  surface air temperature   and total cloudiness fraction of the sky ) .

Dr  Wolter  argues that  the  MEI  is   better for monitoring ENSO than the SOI or various SST indices because  the MEI integrates more information than  the  standard   SSTA   or  SOI     and it reflects the nature of the coupled ocean-atmosphere system better than either component...  and it is less vulnerable to occasional data glitches in the monthly update cycles. 

In the context of recent positive MEI values Dr Wolter compares the current El Niņo event with all of  Enso  events ince 1950. The most recent MEI value has stalled at 0.54 which places it at of 37th out of possible 55. Thus Dr Wolter argues that a comparison between the current El Nino and the Historical "BIG" El Nino events is invalid.

But by switching to more modest events with similar SSTs that developed first in ENSO 3.4 region  (central Pacific basin) .... the El Nino events 1963, 1969, 1977, 1986 and 2002. SIGNIFICANTLY all four of those events peaked between September/October and December/January, between about 0.9 and 1.3 -- which might be close to what the current El Nino will peak at . Also note that all of thise years featured colder and snowier than Normal winters

http://www.cdc.noaa.gov/~kew/MEI/table.html

 

ACTUAL  MEI    VALUES  LAST 10 MONTHS

2004 JAN FEB MAR APR MAY JUNE JULY AUG SEP OCT
0.312 0.365   - .076   0.281   0.428   0.286 0.454 0.602  0.577 0.538

Again   carefully   going  through the   table at the LINK  provided  above   -- and I urge  YOU   to  use  the  Links I  have given  above   to   go through  the data and make sure that I        A) have NOT  Overlooked  anything      B)  that I  am accurate in my assessment --  and  I can  find  5 years  that   match  the  CURRENT  MEI  over the last 10 months.   Shaded     cells  are closet  match  to 2004

JAN FEB MARCH APRIL MAY JUNE JULY AUG SEPT OCT
1963 - 0.750 - 0.908 - 0.686 - 0.790 - 0.418 - 0.075 0.377 0.658 0.750 0.868
1969 0.660 0.797 0.390 0.587 0.727 0.796 0.419 0.270 0.217 0.506
1977 0.492 0.288 0.195 0.562 0.376 0.488 0.583 0.697 0.778 0.989
1979 0.619 0.393 0.040 0.322 0.430 0.471 0.366 0.626 0.809 0.706
2002 - 0.009 - 0.142 0.072 0.429 0.866 0.849 0.555 0.850 0.793 0.909

SUMMARY:   closest   matches  1977  and  1979.


 

    QBO   INDEX

http://www.atmos.ucla.edu/~cwhung/qbo.html
http://strat-www.met.fu-berlin.de/products/cdrom/html/section5.html
http://ugamp.nerc.ac.uk/hot/ajh/qbo.htm

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 oscillations in atmosphere.     The has been a lot of reseach done  over the last  10 years that shows the  QBO  has significant impact of overall climate patterns  as well as Hurricane  season and   winter weather pattern.    The period of the  QBO oscillation is APPROX   18   to 22 months.    The   QBO  has two  "phases"   with  occur within the   Oscillation  cycle-- the  Easterly  or  NEGATIVE  phase   and the   WESTERLY or Positive  phase.   Within the forecast literature    several prominent  private  forecasters   have often  cited  the  QBO as a key ingredient  to forecasting   what  the winter  pattern across  North  America.       But  alot of the  discussion   about How and why  the   QBO is  important   is  rather  speculative  and    fails  to hold up to scrutiny.  For  example  it has been asserted that Winter the Eastern  half of the  US is often  cold and   snowier than  Normal  when  the  QBO is in   Westerly   or Positive phase  while  others have asserted  that the   Easterly or Negative Phase  is better  for  colder and snowier   Eastern  US  winters.

This  LINK   has the   QBO  data  going back to  1948. Going though the data   it is easy to make  specious assumptions.  For example if one was to look at the  QBO  phases  for  colder  and snowier than Normal  eastern  US  winters...  one  might  Notice   that    in the severe  winter of  1977 - 78    the   QBO was  Positive or in the Westerly  Phase...   as was   the  Winter of 1978-78.  But   the   active and snowy  winter of  1962-63  had a  strongly   Negative / east QBO   values. 

Trying to figure out what the QBO is going to be a very risky proposition -- about as risky as trying to figure out what the phase of the NAO will dominate during the winter months. 

CURRENT   QBO  STATUS

JAN FEB MARCH APRIL MAY JUNE JULY AUG SEPT OCT NOV DEC
-4.84 2.61 5.45  10.46 12.97 11.75  9.96  8.82 7.22 7.84   ???   ???

It is  clear that the current     WEST    or  POSITIVE phase of the QBO  is   SLOWLY    decreasing   towards  zero.    As  always the    critical question remains what the QBO   will do during the winter months?.    The   QBO  does  NOT  move   in straight linear fashion. The   historical data   shows the   QBO values  often   stalling at a certain level... or  suddenly     reversing direction sharply for a month.  

There  are   TWO   Possibilities   regarding the   2004  QBO  values / trend.    A)    the  QBO   drops   to  zero  by January   and  either   stays  close to  zero or goes slightly   Negative  in February 2005.    This   sort of   scenario  is  generally    conducive  to a Milder   winter over the   central and  eastern  US   or    B)  The  QBO   stays   weakly  Positive    into February  and  March  2005 which is  generally   more favorable for   colder winters  over the  central and   eastern   US.

YEAR   JAN FEB MARCH APRIL MAY JUNE JULY AUG SEPT  OCT NOV DEC
1955 -5.82 -1.71 1.37 4.40 6.58 6.73 5.99 7.20 8.16 9.02 7.63 3.82
1961 -5.47 -0.62 0.54 2.82 6.88 7.96 6.89 5.60 6.02 7.59 8.74 6.25
1969 -8.58 -4.43 -1.50 3.98 8.18 9.35 9.08 9.78 9.74 9.75 7.34 5.00
1973 -4.40 0.08 3.40 6.28 8.12 8.63 6.94 5.86 5.51 5.20 4.92 2.31
1978 3.84 6.54 9.92 12.20 11.79 8.30 5.83 6.04 6.11 6.35 4.83 1.54
1999 3.09 5.84 8.59 13.51 15.56 15.23 14.11 11.91 11.18 10.62 6.01 6.43
2002 4.64 8.00 9.32 14.03 14.16 13.26 10.05 10.60 8.90 7.66 4.46 -0.50

 

It is   possible that    QBO   value  for  NOV  2004  may  increase  again   much  like it  did in OCT 2004.    IF  so... the ony one of  the  possible  matches  listed above  that features a   slight  Increase  in  QBO positive  values  was    1961  which  rose  in  Both  OCT and  NOV of   that year.

Thus my second critical assumption  for my forecast  WINTER   2004-05  is that the QBO is NOT going to change phase in JANUARY 2005 or  FEBRUARY  2005...  and stay in a weak   POSITIVE   or  West  phase.

If  however the   QBO    does change   Phase in  December  or  January    then  this winter  forecast  would be  significantly    affected. 

 

CLIMATE  MODELS

The climate models going into the winter 2003-04 are not looking nearly as promising as last years Climate Models. Last autumn the atmospheric general climate models or AGCM accurately forecasted a large area of below normal temperatures across much of the Midwest and the Northeast United States. That model picked up on the cold pattern in July 2002 and as we move closer to the winter the cold increased so that the last run of the AGCM before the winter-- November 2002 -- showed a very cold winter setting up for the eastern half of the US and Canada. For portions of the Upper Plains and the Midwest the AGCM Busted as the model depicted too much cold air too far to the west ... but in terms of the overall pattern and the intensity of the cold air in the eastern United States the autumn2002 AGCM get a very good job.

If we look at the last  few runs  of the AGCM for  2003   we see the exact opposite trend. The July and August AGCM showed large areas of cold temperatures across the Midwest and Northeast and Southeastern Canada but as we have move closer to the event the AGCM continues to show last last cold air. We can see this by comparing the September AGCM to the October AGCM.
SEPT  2003  AGCM....xstemp_us_current.gif (15115 bytes)xprecip_us_current.gif (15005 bytes)  OCTOBER  AGCM... xprecip_us_currentOCT.gif (15472 bytes)  xstemp_us_current.gif (15129 bytes)

Thus if one were to make a Winter forecast based simply on the AGCM -- which would be really a stupid idea--- than the winter forecast would feature Much less cold and one would have to forecast a rather normal winter across most of the continental United States.

My experience shows however that the new long-range GSM has been doing a much better job with climate forecasting than the AGCM. The last several runs  of the GSM shows a very cold pattern indeed for the central eastern US as well as eastern Canada during the winter months and a fairly strong ridge along West coast. At first glance it appears that this is a classic +PNA pattern... however the last few runs of the GSM continue to place the center of the cold air further and further south and deep in the trough over the eastern US to the point that it now poses a mean pattern which might take potential with the storms OFF the East coast of US and out to sea.

 

SEPT   GSM OCT  GSM  OND
GZ5.200309.ano_PNA.gif (56004 bytes) GZ5.200310.ano_PNA.gif (53977 bytes) GZ5.200310A.gif (522294 bytes)

   

AUTUMN  PATTERN   2003 SO FAR...

 

Recent research within the journal of climate has shown that the patterns which set up in October and November can often but not always the precursors to what the general winter pattern will be like in North America. Certainly this was true for the last few winters. For example last winter we saw a very active and cold October and November with several systems moving up East coast and that pattern continued right into the Winter of 2002-03. Likewise in the record warm winter of 2001 -- 02... there was a consistent zonal flow with no pattern amplification no cold outbreaks and very dry conditions throughout the month of October and November in the CONUS with no significant low-pressure areas developing anywhere in the Midwest or on East coast. Once again we saw that pattern continued into the winter months and we ended up with the record warm and dry winter. Another example of this idea generally working out he is the winter of 1995 1996 when again there were several systems that moved up East coast of United States during the autumn and that pattern continued to the winter.

 

In this regard is sometimes useful to look at the overall hurricane season and see what if any clues might be given by the pattern of the hurricane activity as well as what we are seeing so far halfway through autumn 2003. But one must be careful with this and NOT read too much into it.

http://weather.unisys.com/hurricane/atlantic/2003/track.gif

The hurricane season of 2003 featured numerous Cape Verde systems - tropical ways and tropical depressions -- that failed to develop into significant Tropical Cyclones for the most part. There were two notable exceptions -- Hurricane Fabian and Hurricane Isabel. As the map shows most of the hurricane activity occurred in the Tropical and subtropical Atlantic  which  is why  the  Track of   Isabel is  such a standout.   We can clearly see that MOST of the TC activity recurved to   the East of the 65 degrees Longitude line.

In considering our analog years we can see that the season of 1960 and 1979 shows almost no similarity to the hurricane season that is now coming to a close. In the 1958 hurricane season we can see more of the recurvature that is similar to the 2003 hurricane season but by far away the Best match appears to be the hurricane season of 1969.

So far this season we have seen several attempts by the medium-range models to develop a large and powerful ridge on the West Coast and subsequently a rather deep and cold trough over the Eastern Half of the US. This has brought about comment from several meteorological sources as well as weather hobbyists that this AUTUMN (2003) is "just like last autumn" when of course that is utter nonsense.     Only in the Northeast US are temperatures resembling anything close to what we saw in October 2002.   The Plains states which in 2002 experience one of its coldest Octobers in the last 50 years has seen day after day of Much above temperatures in the 85 to 90 degree range. The snow cover is DRAMATICALLY LESS than OCT 2002..

In addition we have seen a very strong Pacific Jet stream develop that has bought in heavy rains and much-publicized flooding into far northwest Washington state as well as large portions of British Columbia. The development of the Pacific jet is going to be a problem for the first half the winter . Over the last 45 days we have seen system after system initially forecasted by the medium-range models to move to certain position or location.... Only to see that later model runs shift to the trough/ low or ridge further to east with subsequent model runs on a steady progression. For example in the last week of OCT 2003... there will be a major trough and surface Low developing over the Deep South and Midwest . Originally this is system was depicted by the medium-range models on the October 20-21 to form a closed off Low in the Upper levels of the atmosphere in MO or lower ILL. Instead we have seen a consistent shift with this major trough and surface Low so that it now looks like the system is going to form well to the East of the Mississippi River. In my opinion it is this shift towards the East which is going to be a problem with the Medium-range weather models all winter and is a common byproduct of having a active and strong Pacific jet stream.

 

AUTUMN  SNOW COVER    IN N. AMERICA
ftp://ftp.ncep.noaa.gov/pub/cpc/wd52dg/snow/snw_cvr_area/NH_AREA/

 

Finally  there  is the Canadian snow cover   "factor".   Sometimes the point about the Canadian snow cover gets overlooked  or  is  misunderstood. 

To be sure there have been winters  when  the snow cover in  the Month of OCTOBER  has been below normal... yet   the winter   still turn out to be colder  and snowier than normal   fro the central and eastern  US.  Likewise there had been months where the snow cover the month of October and Canada was Above Normal and   yet   the   winter  turned  out to be a Mild  Winter.       Case in point is the OCT  2001 when the October snow cover was 17.9 which is very close to the Mean of 17.5 billion square KM.  Yet that   winter   2001-02   was  one of the  warmest and   driest ever.     Or 1998 -99 when October snow cover was well above the mean at 18.9  and  that winter  was a Mild  dry one as well.  

That being said the general rule is that   when  OCT and NOV   snow cover  area  in Canada  is  running Above Normal... that the winter cold air  masses  TEND to   generally   run colder   than Normal... which results is   Arctic  and Poalr air masses    having  more   "ummphhf"     with them.   This  can allow  low level cold air     to  drive  further south   and  results in more  snow and /or ice events   south of  40 N   across   the Midwest and Northeast.     Similarly   my   experience has been that when Canadian snow cover is  NEAR  NORMAL    then snow cover in  Canada is not really a   factor one way or the other. 

For  the NOV  2004    snowfall    coverage nNumbers   I will have  to  wait   and   include them in the   Late  DEC  early  JAN UPDATE.    However the  October  2004   snowfall    Number is   VERY HIGH   at  20 5 million square   KM.   This is the 3rd highest    of any number  since    1973  .. and ONLY   OCT  2002 and  OCT 1976      exceed  that  number. 

 

NORTHERN HEMISPHERE SNOW AREA (Millions of Square KM)
12 MON
            JAN  FEB  MAR   APR   MAY  JUN   JUL AUG  SEP OCT  NOV  DEC   MEAN
1973     45.0  45.8   39.2   30.9    19.9   11.4    5.2   4.0     6.2    17.3   36.5   43.3    25.4
1974     44.9  43.8   39.8   31.5    23.3   11.9    5.2   4.1     4.7    19.4   31.3   38.8    24.9
1975     43.9  43.7   40.2   31.5    20.4   10.6    5.1   3.6     5.2    17.0   31.4   41.3    24.5
1976     44.5  44.3   40.9   30.8    22.5   14.3    6.6   4.4     6.3    27.3   33.8    41.3   26.4
1977     48.1  43.3  38.6   29.8   19.7     11.5    5.8   4.1    7.8     19.4    30.5  43.4   25.2
1978     48.5  50.2  42.4   29.2   22.7     15.0    7.7   5.6    7.4     18.5   32.4   43.5   26.9
1979     48.8  46.7  42.9   34.5   22.3     11.1    6.5   4.6    5.7     14.2   27.9   36.9   25.2
1980     44.5  46.5  41.1   33.6   20.3     10.2    5.3   4.7    5.4     14.1   31.9   36.2   24.5
1981     41.3  42.9  42.2   33.2   21.6     13.3     6.1  4.8    4.5     16.2   33.9   43.0   25.3
1982     47.5  45.2  40.1   31.1   18.3       9.3    3.6   3.2     6.2    19.6   34.0   42.6    25.1
1983     46.0  46.1  40.1   30.2   21.3     10.8     4.6  3.8    5.5     17.9   31.7   43.5   25.1
1984     44.9  43.8  40.1   29.6   17.3      7.3     3.6   2.7     4.1    16.4   32.8   41.5    23.7
1985     48.1  46.5  42.4   31.8   21.8     12.4     4.9  3.2    4.5     18.0   39.1   44.6   26.4
1986     44.7  46.1  38.2   30.4   20.0     10.4     4.4  3.2    6.1     17.1   34.0   40.2   24.6
1987     46.3  44.8  42.7   29.7   17.8     12.2     5.5  3.1    4.8     13.5   32.5   41.7   24.6
1988     46.8  44.2  38.7   27.4   18.8       7.8     3.6  2.5     4.3    13.1   30.6   40.2    23.2
1989     44.8  43.2  37.8   28.8   18.1       9.2     4.2  2.6     6.2    16.5   33.0   43.9    24.0
1990     44.6  43.0  36.5   27.3   16.3       6.4     3.3   2.6    3.9    14.7   29.7   43.9   22.7
1991     45.1  44.6  38.1   28.4   18.7       9.9     4.1  3.4     4.5    16.7   34.6   41.7    24.1
1992     44.9  42.2  37.7   28.1   17.7     10.0     3.9  2.8    5.3     16.2   34.3   44.6   24.0
1993     45.6  44.2  39.3   27.7   18.0       8.2     3.7  2.8     6.0    18.8   37.7   42.7    24.6
1994     44.1  44.7  38.1   28.2   18.5       9.3     4.0  3.1     4.9    14.5   32.2   42.1    23.6
1995     45.2  41.8  37.4   32.2   19.3       9.5     4.1  4.0     6.5    17.2   33.3   43.5    24.5
1996     46.0  43.9  40.5   32.8   20.3      10.5    4.4  3.0    6.7     19.7   35.5   40.6   25.3
1997     45.3  44.1  37.8   31.1   19.7       9.5     4.8  3.9     6.7    17.4   34.9   43.1    24.9
1998     44.7  43.5  40.7   30.0   17.8       9.4     4.3  3.5     5.1    18.9   34.1   42.3    24.5
1999     43.3  42.6  38.9   29.1   18.3       8.2     3.1  2.3     5.1    18.0   33.2   42.1    23.7
2000     46.4  43.8  38.0   27.7   18.6       9.1     3.0  2.5     7.0    17.8   34.7   43.1    24.3
2001     45.3  43.8  39.0   28.3   16.4       7.4     3.0  2.3     5.7    17.9   31.1   44.0    23.7
2002     44.9  40.9  35.5  29.4    18.2       8.1     2.9  2.5     5.4    23.0   35.5    44.5   24.2
2003     46.3  46.5  39.7   30.7   19.4       9.3     2.8  2.2     4.7    18.4   34.9   41.9    24.7
2004     46.1  43.5  37.4   28.4   18.8       9.4     3.1  2.1     5.5   20.5     .0 .      0 .      0


MEANS   45.5  44.4  39.4  30.1  19.4    10.1    4.5    3.4   5.6  17.7   33.3     42.1
STD DEV 1.5      1.8    1.8    1.9     1.8     1.9    1.2     0.9   1.0    2.7     2.3       2.0

 




WINTER 2004 - 05



CRITICAL ASSUMPTIONS:  

For the WINTER of 2004 2005 there are  some key features that forecasters  are going to have to follow very closely. Among these... and this is no particular order...

This may be a winter which features alot of activity followed by a weak or ten days of not much... which is been followed by another interval high activity. At this point I cannot determine whether we are looking at several major systems that dominate the winter or numerous moderate systems which feature a significant overrunning but not well-organized or deep Low pressure areas. If I had to pick one idea right now it would be the latter,... not the former.

The potential exists for a significant portion of the Central eastern U.S. to see a very snowy winter.

The key as to whether this is going to be a severely cold winter for the U.S. east of the Rockies will be of course be the amount of High latitude blocking. Some of the long-range weekly ensembles which are still somewhat experimental clearly show a very cold December coming up for the eastern half the U.S..... But then the pattern breaks down by the second week of January. This seems fairly reasonable to me... and this sort of idea would fit in nicely with the climatological oddity known as the January thaw.

 

   
THE MAPS 
This forecast will be  update  JAN 4

dec2004a.jpg (212059 bytes)


jan2004.jpg (108043 bytes)


 

feb2004.jpg (129259 bytes)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It appears that the timing of when the QBO changes from West   / Positive Phase  to East / Neg phase  and  the Intensity of the QBO can have significant impact on the winters across the Midwest and eastern US.    In this table  we can see that there are several prominent winters which occurred when the QBO phase was weakly (4.00 to 8.50) in the WEST / positive phase OR weakly in the EAST /Negative phase. The winters of the early 1950s saw a consistent easterly phase of the QBO which I think is suspect given the data that is available for researchers to look at  . Those winters were not especially cold or snowy but were generally moderate across the Midwest and eastern US.    However if we notice from the late 1950s (when the data became much more reliable)    into the middle of the '60s    there are several winters listed which had moderate QBO  in  the  Positive  /   Westerly phase and those Winters are generally viewed as  colder than normal and significantly snowier than normal  for the Midwest and Eastern US.     

Furthermore notice the gap between the winters    from  1963-64 and 1977 78 -- there were NO winters where that saw    weak  East or West QBO phases  that held through the winter.   NONE.   Except for the winter of 1969 1970 where the QBO phased changed in Mid winter ... all the winters from 1964-65  until 1976-77... had strong (9.00 or higher) East/Neg. QBO phases or strong West /Pos. QBO Phases.  In that period of time    MOST of those  winter were  MILD  in the Midwest  and eastern  US.

As any good climotologist or weather hobbyist can tell you during the period from the late 1960s into the middle 1970s there are a series of very mild winters with a much below normal snowfall across large portions of the Midwest and eastern United States. In fact it was during this time when the snowless winter of 1972-73 occurred.... In fact that winter had a very strong easterly QB0 phase in December which rapidly turned around into the neutral status by February.

In the second column notice that there were several seasons where the positive phase of the QBO switched into the negative phase during the middle and second half of the winter --- 1955 -56 1964- 65 and 1969 1970. Those winters were considered to be moderate winters which featured some areas or periods that experienced SOME temperatures below normal but cannot qualify as particularly severe winters in either in the Midwest or the Northeast US. The two standouts are 1997-98 which was the year of the massive El Nino and 1960-61 which was one of the historically great winters in the eastern US.

              

 

1954 east QBO took 7 months to reach positive values from its  max Negative value in AUG  -14.53
1955-56 east QBO took 6 months  to reach Positive values   from its   max Negative value  in NOV  -16.96
1959 east QBO took 6 months to reach Positive values   from its  max Negative value  in June -20.06
1960-61 took 5 months to reach Positive values   from its  max Negative value  in SEPT  -16.01
1963 took 3 months  to reach Positive values   from its  max Negative value  in MAY  -24.18
1966 took 4 months to reach Positive values   from its  max Negative value   in  -21.90 JAN
1968-69 took 7 months to reach Positive values   from its  max Negative value  in -21.82 NOV
1970-71 took 4 months  to reach Positive values   from its  max Negative value  in-22.48 NOV
1972-3 took 5 months  to reach Positive values   from its  max Negative value  in-21.17 OCT
1974-75 took 6 months  to reach Positive values   from its  max Negative value  in -23.32 OCT
1977-78 took 6 months   to reach Positive values   from its  max Negative value  in-21.67 JUNE
1979-80 took 6 months  to reach Positive values   from its  max Negative value  in    -23.32 OCT
1982 took 6 months  to reach Positive values   from its  max Negative value  in  -16.67 MARCH
1984-85 took 6 months   to reach Positive values   from its  max Negative value  in -27.90 JULY
1987 took 3 months  to reach Positive values   from its  max Negative value  in-21.57  JUNE
1989-90 took 4 months to reach Positive values   from its  max Negative value  in  -21.30 MARCH
1992 took 5 months  to reach Positive values   from its  max Negative value  in-17.79 APRIL
1994 5 months  to reach Positive values   from its  max Negative value   in   -28.65 JULY
1996-97 took 5 months  to reach Positive values   from its  max Negative value  in  -26.02 AUG
1998-99 took 4 months  to reach Positive values   from its  max Negative value  in  -24.70 AUG
1999-00 took 5 months   to reach Positive values   from its  max Negative value  in -24.45 JULY

Thus with the current East QBO having reached its maximum value in August it seems that   IF  we assume an average  time of five or six months... than the phase shift would occur in January... NOT December .  Of course there have been SOME instances where 3 or 4 month time period has shifted the QBO into the West phase so there is SOME Support for a faster turnaround. But as of this particular time the situation remains unclear and I can only use the climatology of the QBO to estimate when the changes going to

 

WINTER WERE QBO WAS  NEUTRAL    or WEAKLY  WEST / EAST (  +/- 4 to   8.00)  WINTERS WERE   QBO   SWITCHED FROM  NEG  TO POSITIVE    VALUES  IN  DJF
YEAR D J F YEAR D J F
1950-51 -3.31 -6.01 -5.32 1955-56 3.82 -1.01 -3.23
1951-52 -3.98 -6.80 -7.71 1964-65 0.04 -1.03 -2.26
1952-53 -1.65 -2.94 -2.68 1969-70 5.00 0.30 -1.41
1953-54 -2.18 -2.94 -2.68 1973-74 2.31 -0.91 -1.31
1957-58 7.35 5.25 4.10 1984-85 -8.16 -0.37 4.21
1961-62 6.25 2.84 3.68 1997-98 -9.86 -3.57 1.94
1963-64 5.48 3.94 5.26 1998-99 -3.96 3.09 5.84
1977-78 1.41 3.84 6.54 1960-61 -11.35 -5.40 0.62
1988-89 -2.42 -2.87 -3.56 1972-73 -16.78 -4.40 0.08
1993-94 -6.00 -7.34 -9.94
1995-96 -4.57 -5.79 -6.90
1999-00 6.43 4.86 4.20
2001-02 1.48 4.64 9.00
2002-03 -0.50 -1.39 -1.44

 

Thus it is my assertion that when the QBO  stays in the Weak Westerly   OR  Easterly phase for the ENTIRE winter... the winters in the eastern United States are often colder and snowier than normal.  (2002-03   weakly negative  1995-96  weakly Neg.    1977-78   weakly    positive... 1957-58   weakly positive) 

Indeed looking at the data from the link posted above almost all winters which featured a QBO that was STRONGLY East or West were either not eventful winters for the Midwest and Northeast US    OR   had a suppressed pattern which favored storm tracks over the central Plains and Tennessee Valley and the lower mid-Atlantic or Southeast states.