WINTER 2005-06 PREVIEW -- 4 NOV 2005
|1. REVIEW OF WINTER 2004-05||6. The NAO uncertainty|
|2. BOTTOM LINE SUMMARY / MAPS||7. Current ENSO conditions
|3. How this FORECAST was put together||8. QBO and PDO|
|4. HURRICANE SEASON 2005 and what it means for the WINTER 05-06?||9. CLIMATE SEASONAL MODELS|
|5 OCT 2005 & Current atmospheric conditions||10 CRITICAL ASSUMPTIONS|
This forecast may surprise some of you. Oh well. The reasoning behind it is long. Get a Soda or Hot cup of Tea and some cake.
Text that is in RED BOLD has been so designated because it contains KEY 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)
carry a lot of weight...
b) large well known Private Weather Service Information Provider (PWSIPs) and
c) some well known Energy/ Ag forecasters.
REVIEW of WINTER 2004-2005
The WxRisk.com 2004 -05 Winter forecast was not nearly as cold as most other CF forecasts. Over the central & eastern US it quickly became evident that the Winter of 2004 --05 was locked into a pattern of periodic episodes that featured significant cold vs. significant warm patterns. The first 15 days of December featured much above normal temperatures over large portions of the central and eastern CONUS... which was quickly followed by colder than normal temperatures from December 16-31 2004. This pattern was repeated in January for the first two weeks... followed by another pattern for below normal temperatures in the second half of the month... and again in February the pattern repeated itself.
This is sort of episodic oscillations is a very hard thing to detect in seasonal forecasts... and I am not claiming that I saw such oscillations in my seasonal forecasts for the Winter of 2004 -05. However during the winter season the 30 day forecast issued on this web site for clients was the word outstanding. Most of the consensus forecasts did not detected the oscillating pattern until late January or February.
There were two critical features during the winter 2004-05 that were misread by some forecasters who had called for a colder and snowier than normal winter over the central and eastern US. While the snowfall forecasts for above normal amounts in the Northeast DID verify and the consensus was correct... the temperature consensus forecast were catastrophic bust. When the High latitude blocking developed over Greenland in March 2005 a sustained cold did develop but by that point the meteorological winter was over.
The first aspect was the development of warm water in central Pacific Ocean (a -PDO event) which was forecasted to move towards the West Coast of North America by the CF. The position of warm water pool along the West Coast of North America supports the classic cold pattern for eastern half of the US.... by favoring a sustained Ridge over Western North America and therefore a trough over eastern North America. However this pool of warm water did not move towards the West Coast of North America. In the Atlantic Ocean there was a significant pool of warm water which developed in the Northeast Atlantic... west of Azores and southwest of the UK .
DEC 5 SSTA from 2004 http://weather.unisys.com/archive/sst/sst_anom-041205.gif
Some forecasters had suggested that this pool warm water was in fact a positive sign for a sustained -NAO ( such as the Greenland Block in the Jet stream). However this pool of water never moved throughout the winter and in that location it actually supported a strongly positive NAO. If the pool warm water had it shifted to the west... which finally did happen in March 2005... then indeed pattern were supported a sustained -NAO.
For most of the nation the Winter 2004--05 was darn mild. The storm track ran from southern California and the southwest states -- due to the weak El Nino event... across the central Plains and into Northern Middle Atlantic and New England.
Interestingly even though we saw a weak El Niņo event the Pacific Northwest and Rockies did not see even normal or above normal precipitation. There are several reasons for this but primarily in my opinion the reason for the dryness of this area was the positive or westerly phase of the QBO.
TEMPS 12/1/04 - 2/28/05
HDD 12/1/04 - 2/28/05
PRECIP 12/1/04 - 2/28/05
PRECIP 12/1/04 - 2/28/05
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THE BOTTOM LINEWINTER FORECAST PREVIEW 2005-06 4 NOV 2005 MID WINTER UPDATE JAN 12
The winter forecast of 2005 -- 06 has become one of the most important winter forecasts in many years for the US and Lower Canada. Several factors have come into play; some of which are meteorological and some of which are sociological. These factors by themselves would not place make this coming forecast to be more important than any other winter forecast but at this particular time and at this particular place these "undercurrents" have come together
The most prominent of these "undercurrents" that are setting the framework for the Winter Forecast of 2005-06 --- be it Government or Private weather forecasts -- has to do with the exceptionally severe hurricane season of 2005 in the Gulf of Mexico. The early intense Hurricanes in the Gulf -- Danny & Emily did some damage but as has been widely reported it was the severe hurricanes Katrina and Rita which dated significant damage to the oil refining capacity of the US.
The impact of the severe hurricane season of 2005 and how it affects the Public / medias perception on the "fear" of inadequate heating Oil and Natural gas and Energy markets for the Winter 2005--06 cannot be overstated. In this age of instantaneous hypermedia coverage of impending dooms and the latest threat just coming around the corner to destroy all of us... the hurricane season of 2005 has significantly affected the consumer and trading psychology as well as the meteorological reasoning of several well-known energy trading and forecasting companies.
Not only is the public acutely aware of the amount of damage done by the 5 severe hurricanes in the Gulf of Mexico but the consumer also felt the impact at the gas pump as prices surged to $3.50 in many areas. As the Summer season came to an end and record hurricane activity continued... the concern is that the switch from gasoline production to heating Oil and natural gas production has fallen behind... which is going to result in significantly higher prices for businesses and consumers and increased volatility in the energy trades.
In addition the active hurricane season of 2005 has led some forecasting firms to assert what I consider to be specious assumptions regarding in the winter. As I will discuss shortly the argument that the extreme active hurricane season of 2005 supports the idea that the upcoming winter is going to be colder and snowy air over the Eastern US is an unproven and risky assumptions... and it is based on circular reasoning
The winter of 2005 --06 is going to feature a high level of storminess over the West Coast... along the far Upper Plains and southern Canada... and at times over the Northeast. The overall winter pattern is going to be dominated by a much stronger than normal Pacific Jet stream which will bring in a constant stream powerful storms into various portions of the West Coast of North America. As a general rule temperatures will be Below and Much Below Normal across most of the Pacific northwest... the Northern Rockies the Great Lakes... St. Lawrence Valley... and northern New England areas. South of this area temperatures for the 3 month period will average Above Normal and as you go further south much above normal.
KEY ASPECTS OF THE COMING WINTER
HOW THIS FORECAST WAS PREPARED
We have entered a new stage and weather forecasting over the last several years. While academically the interest has been in mesoscale features... the business concern as the climate continues to appear to become more unstable has been in 30-day and seasonal forecasting. There are several different techniques that meteorologists use in making a seasonal forecasts.
Among these various methods is the use all for "ANALOGS"... the SSTA-- sea surface temperature anomalies in the Pacific and Atlantic oceans... and seasonal indices and patterns (such as the PDO in the QBO and NAO features) new climate forecasting models.
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 past) 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 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 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.
SEVERE HURRICANE OF 2005 --
DOES IT MEAN ANYTHING FOR THE WINTER OF 2005-06?
One of my competitors and a integral part of the CF... has floated this idea that the record setting Hurricane season of 2005 is somehow a guide or Hint as to what the following winter of 2005-06 will bring. This idea was floated by a highly publicized new release which is still on their web site and the resultant publicity it has generated has seeped out into the various weather communities as well as the agricultural and energy markets. At this point I think a comment from me regarding a particular meteorological concept is due.
The 1933 1969 1995 and 2002 hurricane seasons were all very active. The 1933 and 1995 hurricane seasons were the two most active on record up until the 2005 season which is just completing. Hence the argument: that each one of these winters following these active hurricane seasons were cold and snowy especially over the eastern half of the US. Therefore it followed that the current very active record-breaking hurricane season of 2005 would see a following winter that was cold and stormy.
First let me show why this idea is crap and then why it was done.
The 2005 hurricane season is singular in its extreme activity in the Gulf of Mexico region. There were 5 category four and five hurricanes that made landfall in the Gulf of Mexico. In particular the first half of July 2005 saw two severe hurricanes -- Danny and Emily --in the central Gulf of Mexico only 7 days apart...which is exceptional Moreover despite the record numbers total number of tropical cyclones (tropical storms and hurricanes) there were no land following hurricanes on the East Coast. The only one which can close was the minimal hurricane Ophelia which technically never made landfall all along the South East Coast of North Carolina.
So what we are looking for IF one is to believe that the hurricane season can be a useful analog or hint regarding the following winter... would be to find a hurricane season which feature exceptional amount activity in the Gulf of Mexico and no landfall and hurricanes on the East Coast.
The 1933 hurricane season was very active but there was no category 4 or 5 hurricane in the Gulf of Mexico the entire season. The first category three hurricane did not move into the Gulf of Mexico until early September 1933. There was one category to hurricane in early July in the Gulf. And there was a landfall and East Coast hurricane in September... known as the Chesapeake Bay Norfolk VA hurricane.
http://weather.unisys.com/hurricane/atlantic/1933/index.html So this is not a very good analog to what we have seen in 2005.
The 1969 Hurricane season data have one category five hurricane that hit the central Gulf in Mexico which we now known as hurricane Camille. It made landfall almost exact same location as Katrina did this year and the exact same time frame in August. But again if you look at the rest of the 1969 hurricane season the analog quickly falls apart. Outside of hurricane Camille in mid-August there were no hurricanes in the Gulf of Mexico until a minimal category one hurricane in late October of 1969.
How exactly can anyone consider one 1 category 5 hurricane in the central Gulf in 1969 a close or similar match to this hurricane season where we saw FIVE category 4 or 5 hurricanes in the Gulf? Beats me.
The 1995 Hurricane season which was very active featured no landfall and hurricanes on the East Coast and that seems to be a fairly close match to what we have seen this year. However in the Gulf of Mexico there was only hurricane Opal which briefly for a six-hour period reached category five status... and was rapidly falling apart when it made landfall in the central Gulf. There was a weak minimal category one hurricane named ERIN in the central Gulf and 1995 and a weak Southern Gulf storm in October 1995. http://weather.unisys.com/hurricane/atlantic/1995/index.html
Again how exactly can anyone consider one 1 category 5 hurricane in the central Gulf in 1995 that made landfall as a weak category 3... a close or similar match to this hurricane season where we saw FIVE category 4 or 5 hurricanes in the Gulf? Beats me.
The 2002 hurricane season was also a very busy one but there is certainly was no early-season hurricane activity in the Gulf Mexico whatsoever... and the first hurricane in the Gulf did not occur until LILLI at the end of the season!!! http://weather.unisys.com/hurricane/atlantic/2002/index.html
Again how exactly can anyone consider a season like 2002 as a close or similar match to o this hurricane season where we saw FIVE category 4 or 5 hurricanes in the Gulf? Beats me.
Sometimes there is nothing more deceptive than obvious fact to quote the great Sherlock Holmes.
As you can see this idea issued from one of these consensus forecast companies that this winter was going to be cold and snowy over the eastern half of the nation was probably a marketing idea and not one that was based in any real science. Once the media was focusing on the crippled Oil refinery capacity it took some marketing major to put two and two together and come up with 147.5. Once this market idea was developed it was simply a matter of finding a reason to come up with such a forecast.
As you may or may not know marketing and advertising is not the same thing as science
AUTUMN PATTERN 2006 SO FAR...
Studies done over the some of the major metropolitan cities in the Midwest and the Northeast show a very high correlation or probability between each temperature patterns in October and November and what to expect in the following winters. It is very difficult and rather unlikely in terms of the statistical probability that when October and November are both a bald or much above normal temperatures that the pattern is likely to switch so that the entire winter would be below normal. In NYC for example there have been 22 cases where October AND November have BOTH been 1 degree or more above the median temps. In the following winters 17 of the 22 winters also had above Normal Median temps. One of the reasons for this is that... 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 in the Autumn of 2002 w the eastern US experienced a very active and cold October and November with several systems moving up the 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 during the autumn and that pattern continued to the winter. Over the Pacific there are two important features. First the development of a persistent deep surface and upper Low over Alaska and second a strong Ridge of High pressure in the central and northern Pacific that is associated with the anomalously warm SSTA. These two features are acting in concert to keep a Pacific jet extremely strong and hammering across the northern Pacific into the West Coast of Canada and the Pacific Northwest.
Not only does this prohibit the development of any sort of strong Ridging over western Canada but it also is causing a large area of upwelling to occur over the Gulf of Alaska and he coast the waters off of Canada and the US. As these cold waters increase... the chances I'll be very warm water in eastern Pacific Ocean moving eastward in time without getting depleted by passing through this cold water is fast becoming lees and less likely.
Eventually however as we go later into the cold season this is strong Pacific jet is going to continue to drop southward and begin to bring significant storminess into the central and Southern California coast. When this happens the entire storm track will shifted to the south which in itself will allow more cold air to move into the northern third of the US east of the Rockies in some manner. This powerful Pacific jet energy will carve out a large trough over the western US which will see large areas of below Normal temperatures and Above normal precipitation.
The critical question is what happens over the eastern US and that is determined by the occurrence and duration of any high latitude blocking patterns... such as the -NAO OVER eastern Canada and Greenland. Without any high latitude blocking over eastern Canada or Greenland the persistent trough over the western US will end up resulting in a strong Ridge over the Southeast and the means storm track will be shifted far to the north running across the Upper Plains the Great Lakes and northern New England. South of that track temperatures will be warm and pattern will be dry again assuming there is no sustained high latitude blocking. However if we do see intervals of high latitude blocking not only would the pattern over the eastern half of the CONUS be much colder... but the entire eastern half the US could be hit hard during these intervals with a series a fast-moving and wet storms.
THE NAO FACTOR
So far the only significant blocking pattern which has occurred over eastern Canada or Greenland (which has a major impact on the weather patterns over the eastern US and Southeast Canada)... occurred in Mid October and helped develop the northeaster that hit New England and Southeast Canada. However since that time there has been almost no high latitude blocking anywhere in that area and in fact since mid-July there has only been one episode of a sustained -NAO that was Lower than -0.50.
One of the critical aspects to a making an accurate Winter
forecast is trying to determine when and how much High latitude blocking there is going
to be over eastern Canada / Greenland. Many of the early winter forecasts seem to be heavily biased towards forecasting a prolonged interval of a deeply Negative NAO blocking pattern. Part of this has to do with recent research which shows that the NAO and other large-scale climate patterns run in cycles that TEND to favor one phase more than another. This is one of reasons why the winters in the 1950s 1960s were so severe on a consistent basis over the central & eastern US... the -NAO was consistently in the negative phase which always produces colder and stormy or patterns.
Additional research has shown that the NAO phase seems to be link to the sea surface temperature anomalies in the northern Atlantic. However in this particular autumn season we have seen none of the familiar pools of warm SSTA in and around Greenland and Iceland. And it is the areas of warm SSTA which can support me Greenland block developing and holding in place for sustained interval of time.
For example last winter which was an exceptional mild winter for much of the central and eastern US there was a sustained a large pool someone or located in the Northeast Atlantic Ocean. It was consistently speculated within the meteorological community that the pool of warm water in the Northeast Atlantic Ocean (southwest of the UK) would somehow shift back to the west and hence we would see a sustained -NAO developed. When this finally did occur was not until March of 2005.DEC 5 SSTA from 2005 http://weather.unisys.com/archive/sst/sst_anom-041205.gif
JAN 9 SSTA from 2005 http://weather.unisys.com/archive/sst/sst_anom-050109.gif
FEB 5 SSTA from 2005 http://weather.unisys.com/archive/sst/sst_anom-050206.gifThis year the persistent storminess and deep trough over Iceland and the UK continues to develop upwelling which does not allow for any of the warm waters in western Atlantic to flow northward as a typically might in the Gulf stream current.
While many see the SSTA set up for the Atlantic Ocean a rather good one for sustained intervals of the negative phase of the NAO I do not. In my opinion the SSTA in the northern Atlantic are Marginal at best and the powerful Pacific Jet .... often has a tendency to blast a -NAO to hell and back. the Idea that one could see sustained -NAO phase with a QBO that is now stronger than any other QBO ever charted before and a Increasingly -PDO is too far a leap for me.
THE EL NINO / LA NINA STATUS FOR THIS WINTER ...
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. The technical name for the El Nino and La Nina event is ENSO. The warm water events ....popularly called El Nino can also be referred to as warm ENSO.... while the cold water events .... La Nina .... is referred to as cold ENSO events.
This map (fig 1)refers to the area of the world where ENSO events ( El Nino / la Nina) occur. There are two agencies within the US that have the official responsibility to monitor the ENSO region -- CDC ( climate Diagnostic Center) and CPC (climate Prediction center). The ENSO region consists of several sectors .... ENSO 1+2 ( 1.2) ENSO 3 ENSO 4 and ENSO 3.4. Officially an El Nino or La Nina event is declared when the SSTA (sea surface temperature anomalies) have reached a certain level for a 5 month time period over the ENSO region known as 3.4 .
This is going to be one of the cases in this report where some KEY data over the last 60 days has changed significantly. Many of private weather services... as well as CPC... and some weather hobbyists that issued their winter forecast back in early September and early OCT were heavily premised on the idea that there was NOT going to be a COLD ENSO (La Nina ) or warm ENSO ( El Nino) event. up
At the time this seemed to be a reasonable premise... but this is one of the problem to have an issuing early Winter or Summer forecasts... and as a rule I generally try to stay away from doing that especially when there are Critical weather features changing. To be sure sometimes there may be an overpowering event such is a major El Niņo which makes things like these critical assumptions easy and a high probability of occurring . But this is NOT one of these times.
This image is the current sea surface temperature map for the entire worldwhich is available to the public from the U.S. Navy weather web site. As you can see there is a large area of rather cold water which is developed along the equator Pacific near the coast the Peru which is the ENSO 1.2 region. Later on I will go back to this map and talk about the other important features.
Table 1 gives you a breakdown of the various forecasts for the ENSO regions 1.2 and 3.4 ( graphs 1 and 2 respectively). As you can see from Graph 1 a various lines which show computer models forecasting the sea surface temperature anomalies in this region for next several months have already busted. The models on graph one in two or run during the period from October 11 to October 30... and they forecasts the end so region 1.2 to start a dramatic and major rise by November. This of course is nonsense and in fact the sea surface temperatures in ENSO 1.2 continue to fall in the first week of November. Similarly in ENSO 3.4 the model shows a steady lowering of temperatures as a heading to winter with this region showing cold water anomalies by midwinter.
CMB'S ENSO FORECAST
|ECMWF ENSO 3.4 Forecast||IRI CLIMATE
19 FORECAST MODELS
|EARLY SEPT||EARLY OCT|
|GRAPH 1||GRAPH 2||GRAPH 3||GRAPH 4||GRAPH 5|
As a general rule it has always been easier for the CPC (Climate Prediction Center) to detect El Nino events then the La Nina. The reason for this year is that the CPC has set criteria which is heavily followed throughout meteorological community of what constitutes a El Niņo or La Nina event. The criteria can be seen at this web site... and slide #16. http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/products/analysis_monitoring/lanina/enso_evolution-status-fcsts-web.ppt
As you can see the criteria is the sea surface temperature anomalies in the ENSO region 3.4 The problem is that for La Nina the CPC criteria is useless and flat out wrong since almost all La Nina events develop in ENSO region 1.2 FIRST ...which is near the Peru Coast and spreads westward towards ENSO regions 3.4 and ENSO 4. Thus by the time the Climate Prediction Center gets around to declaring a La Nina event... it has already been underway for several weeks.
For example the SOI index which is another
way of looking at ENSO events has
never been this Positive for this Long a period in time
without a La Nina event being declared
It may be that through the winter... that because of the flawed criteria of the CPC... they never get around to officially declaring a La Nina event. Rest assured however that with the temperatures dropping in the ENSO 3.4 region and the much more rapid drop under way in region 1.2 the atmosphere will "read " this as de facto La Nina. Waiting for the CPC to eventually come around and declaring a La Nina event... or not... is really quite irrelevant. The fact it is that the SEPT and OCT forecast models used to forecast SSTA are busting with regard to the developing cold water in these areas. The result-- a premise that many forecasts were based upon in September and October are in serious trouble.
Besides the problem of the climate models and their inability to forecast the sea surface temperature anomalies correctly and the flawed assumptions that some may have made as we head towards the winter regarding the possible La Nina event ... we can use the current SSTA (sea surface temperature anomalies) in both ENSO areas of 1.2 and 3.4 to find matches to other years.
ENSO SEAS SURFACE
TEMPERATURE ANOMALIES (SSTA)
The numbers are SSTs Anomalies in degrees Celsius from JAN 2005 to OCT 2005 ;
RED = Negative Values BLUE = . POSITIVE values BLACK near Neutral
|ENSO 1+2 (off
JAN 2003 through OCT 2003
JAN 2003 through OCT 2003
|-0.04 -0.54 -0.88 -0.67 +0.07 -0.56
-0.64 -0.19 -0.77 -1.21
0.27 0.40 0.36 0.44 0.56
+0.39 +0.17 -0.01 +0.20
In ENSO regions 1.2 Sea surface
temperatures anomalies were fairly cold in the Spring and summer
between -0.25 and 0.75... and have dropped
sharply in OCT 2005. In ENSO region 3.4
the SSTA were SLIGHTLY warm --never
0ver +0.50 thru the Spring and Summer and
seem to be weakening again in SEPT & OCT .
This is the pattern that we have to look for to see what IF any period in time matches the last 10 months.
YEARS - WHICH ONES ARE SIMILAR TO THE CURRENT SITUATION IN THE
ENSO REGIONS ?
Jan thru Oct
-0.07 + 0.33
|SO -SO match||SO - SO||SO -SO||GOOD MATCH||worse of the Set|
|How do these Analogs compare to 2005 ?||Note that ENSO 1.2 in 1959 was much warmer then 2005 while ENSO 3.4 was colder||In 1960 ENSO 1.2 was a close match BUT ENSO 3.4 was MUCH colder||In 1977 ENSO 1.2 1977 was NOT as cold as 2005 and ENSO 3.4 was a little too warm when compared to 2005||In 1990 ENSO 1.2 seems fairly close to ENSO 1.2 in 2005 as does ENSO 3.4||In 1995 ENSO 1.2 is good match BUT ENSO 3.4 in 1995 was MUCH COLDER|
KEY POINT THE BEST 3 MATCHES to ENSO 1.2 and 3.4 THIS year 1990 1977 and 1959 ... WHICH EQUATES TO THE WINTERS OF 1990-91 1977 -78 and 1959-60
The folks over at CDC - Climate Diagnostic Center have developed a More complete way of measuring ENSO events .... be it a El Nino or La Nina event. The MEI or Multivariate ENSO Index (MEI) measure all El Nino and La Nina events on six main observed variables over the tropical Pacific. ( sea-level pressure... zonal surface winds... meridian surface winds.... sea surface temperature... surface air temperature... and total cloudiness as a fraction of the sky
2005 MEI VALUES FROM JAN TO OCT
Note the MEI values were close to 1.00 in the SPRING of 2005 but never reached that level... and since the Summer of 2005 have been dropping and have Now dropped BELOW ZERO into Negative Values as of OCT 2005
Lets see what other Years match the MEI of 2005 .... http://www.cdc.noaa.gov/people/klaus.wolter/MEI/
|+0.805||+0.394||+0.592||+0.722||+0.793||+0.424||+0.276||+0.217||+0.506||So-So... MEI in Spring 1969 was a little low but fairly close otherwise|
|1977||+0.493||+0.285||+0.199||+0.561||+0.370||+0.494||+0.855||+0.701||+0.778||+0.989||VERY poor !! MEI in Spring 1977 was much lower than SPRING 2005 and Summer Autumn MEI in 1997 was Rising|
|1980||+0.651||+0.528||+0.677||+0.876||+0.906||+0.883||+0.785||+0.372||+0.266||+0.205||close.match ! MEI in Spring 1980 is as close as MEI in SPRING 2005 and Summer Autumn MEI in 1980 was falling Just like it is now !|
|1990||+0.225||+0.563||+0.881||+0.423||+0.566||+0.448||+0.100||+0.106||+0.433||+0.322||Good match MEI in Spring 1990 is as close as MEI in SPRING 2005 and Summer Autumn MEI in 1990 was steady|
|1995||+1.174||+0.868||0.782||+0.329||+0.446||+0.480||+0.282||+0.062||-0.334||-0417||A Fair match; MEI in
winter 1995 was much
higher than Jan 2005... the rest is good Match
|2004||+0.316||+0.373||-0.064||+0.290||+0.289||+0.458||+0.458||+0.604||+0.580||+0.538||Poor match MEI in Spring 2004 was much Lower ....March 2004 was below Zero But MAR 2005 it was +0.935 ... and Autumn MEI in 2004 is too warm when compared to now|
KEY POINT THE BEST 3 MATCHES to MEI OF 2005 .... year 1980 1990 and 1995 ... which equates to the WINTERS OF 1980-81 1990 -91 and 1995-96
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. 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" is about (a little over) two years. 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 as a key ingredient to figuring out what the Winter pattern across North America might be... while other forecasters dont think its all that relevant.
In my opinion However much of the discussion is mis-directed towards How and why the QBO is important For example it has been asserted that during the Winter season....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. It is my position that the QBO index is NOT a indices that directly relates to the overall pattern per se ...be it Winter... Spring...Summer or Autumn. The reason why I think the QBO is important is that it tell us what the Pacific Jet is going to be doing over the central and eastern Pacific. Good weather forecasters should be willing to tell you that if you get the West coast of North America wrong ... you get EVERYTHING else-- the Rockies to the Plains to the Midwest to the Deep South and East coast wrong as well. Perhaps this explains why there are often so many snow and cold forecasts for the eastern US out there that are so often wrong or over hyped.
It is My contention that a East or Negative Phase of the QBO as we go into the Winter months correlates to a more active and stronger Pacific Jet stream... which means more rains and storminess for the Pacific NW and West coast and BIG problems for Meteorologists that are trying to figure the Medium range forecast . A QBO value that is near zero as we go into the Winter months --- say from +5.0 to -5.0 implies a Pacific Jet that is favor for large scale pattern shifts and changes -- called pattern amplification and de-amplification. A QBO value that is strongly positive as we go into the Winter months ...say above +6.0 or higher almost always implies a lack of cold air build up in Canada and a Milder winter for the CONUS .
Here are the current QBO values for 2005.
2005 QBO VALUES FROM JAN TO OCT
It is now impossible for the QBO to rise fast enough so that the values reaches zero by JAN or FEB 2006. t This map shows what the Temperature anomalies where like in the WINTERS where the QBO was -18 or lower. As you can the WARM bias is clearly shown over the Eastern US.
We are searching for a Year believe that was slightly negative in Jan and Feb.... the dropped like Rock and has stayed amazingly low thru the AUTUMN.... The SEPT QBO value was there lowest ever for any SEPT recorded and 3rd lowest ever ! The OCT QBO value is the Lowest QBO value EVER!!!I Thus finding a QBO season that showed MODERATE negative values -- say -12 or -15 through the Late Summer and Autumn seasons is NOT good enough to be considered as a Analog
|+4.10||+4.27||+1.98||-4.71||-10.60||-13.91||-15.59||-15.59||-16.39||So-So... Not as NEG in JAN-FEB-MAR 1958 as it was in JAN FEB MARCH 2005. Reached Max NEG value in JAN 1959|
|1965||-1.03||-.2.26||-1.98||-3.44||-7.10||-12.01||-16.00||-18.19||-20.03||-20.13||GOOD close match BUT not as Autumn of 1965 was NOT severely NEG as Autumn in 2005 ... reached Max Neg value in JAN 1966|
|1972||+8.20||+7.95||+7.35||+6..22||-2.59||-10.70||-15.45||-19.28||-20.40||-21.17||So So... JAN FEB MAR APR in 1965 was well in the Positive values which does NOT match at all early 2005... But QBO did reach its peak in OCT 1965... much like this season's QBO may have peak in OCT 2005.|
|1974||-0.91||-1.31||-1.08||-1.92||-7.58||-13.86||-19.58||-23.14||-23.52||-23.12||BEST match... QBO stabilized around -22 to -23 from AUG to DEC 1974|
|1979||+1.86||4.12||0.89||-3.57||-12.90||-19.90||-21.27||-22.24||-22.70||-23.32||2nd closest Match. QBO reached its peak in SEPT 1979 then steady in SEPT & OCT... and started rising in DEC 1979 and JAN 1980|
|1998||-0.85||-2.96||-4.92||-7.82||-14.08||-18.57||-22.97||-24.70||-22.12||-18.77||Poor match QBO rose fast from OCT to DEC 1998 to JAN 1999.|
|2003||-1.39||-1.44||-3.30||-8.57||-13.54||-18.01||-22.99||-24.64||-22.51||-20.34||A Fair match; QBO was rising OCT and fast Rise NOV DEC 2003|
KEY POINT THE BEST 3 MATCHES to QBO OF 2005 .... year 1974 1979 and 1965 ... which equates to the WINTERS OF 1974-75 1979 -80 and 1965-66
Over the last 10 years there has been a significant amount of research done on a climate pattern that is called the PDO in the weather biz. The PDO or "Pacific Decadal Oscillation" a long-lived climate pattern that exists over the northern Pacific Ocean. It can some have similar impacts to El Nino / La Nina events. While the PDO and ENSO events have similar climate "fingerprints"... they have very different behaviors in time. First a phase of the PDO can persist for 20-to-30 years while typical ENSO events persisted for 6 to 18 months. Within that 20-30 year PDO cycle once phase is more favored than the other. For example when the PDO is in the "Negative Phase" most of the time the PDO will run in the Negative pattern with just a few instances of PDO developing a Positive Phase... and vice versa. Second the PDO directly affects North America with secondary impacts over the tropics - the opposite is true for ENSO. Within the long cycle of a PDO which can run .
The PDO involves the location and intensity of large pools of warm and /or cold Seas Surface Temperature anomalies (SSTAs) in the central and eastern areas of the Northern Pacific. Why is this important? Again research has shown that large areas of warm and cold water pools called SSTA couplets STRONGLY affect the Jet stream pattern and the positions of Ridges and troughs within the Jet Stream.
This is diagram shows you
the Two phases of the PDO... the
BLUE color represents very
cold SSTA... the Green cool SSTA....
RED color very warm SSTA and the Yellow warm SSTA.
This map explains HOW and why the PDO affects the pattern across North America. Click on the Maps to see the Full size. As you can see when the PDO is in the Positive or WARM phase... the warm sea surface temperature anomalies along the West Coast North America strongly supports a ridge developing over the western portions of the continent and locking this Ridge in place. Of course if you have a Ridge over the West Coast then downstream you have to have a trough.... (for every action there is the equal opposite reaction)... which in this case is over the eastern third of the US. This pattern is known as the +PNA and it is the classic signature for a cold weather pattern. The arctic air masses from the Arctic regions and northern Canada follow the Jet stream down into this trough which results in sustained intervals of below row temperatures cold water. On the West Coast the Ridge of High-pressure means clear skies very little storminess and Above normal temperatures.
However the opposite is true what we had a negative or cold phase of the PDO. In this case the warm water is located out in the Central Pacific Ocean and cold water develops along the West Coast North America. This results in the jet stream developing a trough along the West coast... and of course downstream a Ridge develops over the eastern half the US. This sort of pattern results in a very cold and stormy West Coast with areas such as a Seattle and Portland saying snowstorms in the very strong cases out of the negative phase PDO... and the central and eastern US saying below normal precipitation and above mobile temperatures.
The correlation between the temperature patterns across North America and PDO phase is very strong and it's very hard to ignore.
Lets take a look at a few winters.... Here are the SSTA maps from the winter of 1995-96 which was a cold winter but also the snowiest winter ever for most of the eastern US ... and the SSTA maps of OCT and NOV 2002... which lead to the stormy and cold winter of 2002-03. In both cases Note how the WARM SSTAs are located up against the West coast of Canada and /or Gulf of Alaska ... and the cold water is out in the central Pacific Ocean.
These two maps are the SSTA from OCT 7 and 26th respectively. As you can clearly see the warm SSTAs are NOT anywhere near the West coast... but out in the central North Pacific and the along the west coast of N America has turned MUCH colder by OCT 26. This the PDO is in the NEGATIVE phase.... and NOT in anyway a Positive PDO. Thus if the early winter forecast of the CF is based on a forecast on a warm or Positive Phase PDO.... (ridge on the West coast trough over the East coast of the US) that forecast is in deep trouble.
OCT 7 OCT 27
As you can see from this table when many of the early winter forecast for issued the PDO was either slightly positive or had just gone into the weakly negative value and there was some speculation that the PDO was going to move back into the positive side as we moved towards Winter. Since the positive phase of the PDO supports a deep awful the eastern US many these early winter forecast call for Below Normal temperatures and potential storminess is for the eastern half the US.
However as you can see from the table the October PDO has taken a dramatic turn into the negative values. Remember a weather forecast is a sequence of events that you expect to happen which is going to lead to a certain result. Given how much so many of the parameters have changed in the last two months is now really quite obvious that many of the consensus winter forecasts issued earlier in the autumn are now in DEEP trouble.
2005 PDO VALUES FROM JAN TO OCT
|This map shows what the Mean temps were in the winter months where the PDO in OCT was between MINUS 1.00 and MINUS 1.62.||This map shows what the Mean temps were in the winter months where the PDO in OCT was between MINUS 1.00 and MINUS 1.62 and there was NO La Nina / El Nino or very weak one.|
To be sure it is barely within the realm of possibility that the PDO could suddenly turn around and move into the positive phase once again during the winter. But research shows that there have been 16 October and Novembers where the PDO was Negative in BOTH months. Only in 5 of those cases did the PDO move back into POS values for 1 of the 3 winter months.
23 times since 1900 the PDO has had a OCT value of -1.00 or lower. In 18 of those 23 cases... the PDO stayed negative all winter through. The 5 exceptions were the negative PDO events of 1928 1933 1939 2000 2001.
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.
This first forecast map from the CFS was run in the second half of
September 2004 and was a precipitation forecast covering the PERIOD of November December
2004 January 2005... in other words the first half of the Winter 2004-05.
As you can see from the model.... it forecasted large areas of much below normal precipitation over southeastern Canada the lower Mississippi Valley and the Pacific Northwest as well as the Great Basin. The second map shows you what actually happened in the period of November December 2004 / January 2005. As you can see the precipitation forecast was unbelievably bad in every conceivable possible way. Whereas the model forecasted a very dry area over the Great Basin in fact it was exceptionally wet and there were large areas of much above normal precipitation across the lower Plains ... the heart of the Mississippi Valley and into the Midwest. Perhaps the only aspect of this forecast that turn out to be reasonably correct was the dryness over southeastern Canada.
This second map shows the temperature forecast began for the same period of November December 2004/ January 2005. As you can see the CFS model in late September 2004 was showing a very cold first half of the winter over the entire eastern two thirds of the US... from the Plains to the East coast and over southeast Canada... and from the second map we can see that the forecast was a catastrophically bad one in every sense of the word. Only over eastern Canada where temperatures below normal... and all of the Rockies planes made last Deep South and middle Atlantic region saw temperatures that were Above and Much Above normal. Frankly you would of done better by throwing darts at a board.
Given the atrociously bad performance of the CFS model you would think that forecasters especially within the private sector would avoid using the CFS under all conditions but in fact that is not the case.
Indeed many of the private energy forecasts that make up the Consensus Forecast seem to have a t cold forecast for the eastern US that is strikingly similar to the CFS forecasts from August and September of 2005.
Even so the latest run of the CFS shown HERE and it shows a significantly warmer pattern that what the model was showing in September and October. Note how the CFS is now showing November 2005 as a Mild month... with Much Above Normal over much of the CONUS... and December which the model was depicting as a very cold month... is now shown to be also did rather mild as is January 2006.
The next group of climate models we can look at is the GSM -- which stands for Global Spectral Model. This model is issued monthly usually within the first week of the month and the GSM usually runs out to 6 months in time. I have present the GSM outlook for the winter from the SEPT OCT and NOV 2005 runs. As you can see the September run of the GSM for the winter did not show a lot of cold temperatures in US . Only towards the second half of the winter does the model show East Coast areas see temperatures running below normal. This forecast was continued in October run of the GSM... with the only cold air showing up late in the winter over the Northeast. The NOV GSM shows a much stronger Ridge over Western and central Canada which results in the only cold air over the East coast. The NOV GSM seems to suggest a suppressed storm track... one that would bring more significant winter precipitation into the Tennessee Valley and a southeastern states as opposed to New England.
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. I have highlighted the November run for the next 4 months by superimposing on the mean Jet stream pattern as well as the mean areas of HIGH pressure and LOW pressure that the German climate models is depicting for November December January and February.
First let's talk about the October forecast from the German climate model. For those which are not familiar with what was going on in Europe in the past month... the pattern featured a series of strong Ridges over Scandinavia Central Europe and Western Russia and several large deep Low pressure areas over Iceland that frequently slammed into the UK Ireland and energy was undercutting the Ridge passing across Spain into the Central Mediterranean and Italy. In addition we had a strong trough over the Pacific Northwest... and many locations such as Vancouver and Seattle recorded their rainless October ever. And finally get was a deep vortex or large low pressure area centered over eastern Siberia for most of the month.
As you can see the German climate model forecast for October 2005 was simply outstanding!
The model currently depicted the large Vortex over eastern Siberia... currently depicted a moderate trough over the Pacific Northwest and the model was correct in its depiction of the intense Low pressure area and blocking pattern over much of Europe.
In the November 2005 forecast the German climate model appears to be
developing a strong ridge in the Northeast Atlantic which could be the beginning of a -
NAO (aka the Greenland Block)... and shows a large very deep trough extending across
northwest Russia Scandinavia and into the UK. There also appears to be a slight trough
over the Pacific Northwest and a moderate Ridge the central Pacific.
The December forecast of the German climate model shows a very large deep low pressure area in the North Central Atlantic South of Greenland while the high pressure area that was over Iceland in November as moved eastward into the UK Scandinavia... This could be a major -NAO / Greenland Block feature but I am not certain at this time. Over the West Coast of North America the model shows a strong rage of high pressure which would seem to suggest a + PNA pattern.
The January climate model is much more unfavorable for cold weather in the
North American continent as the German climate model shows a extremely intense and deep
Low over Iceland and Greenland-- a VERY positive NAO along with a huge Low over Alaska...
also note the two strong Ridges ...one just off the East Coast and another one over the
Southwest states. Such a pattern would set up for a pretty mild January 2006 over most of
Finally the February 2006 German climate model forecast shows a
strong Ridge in the Northeast Atlantic which clearly is NOT a Greenland block feature
although it probably would be interpreted by some meteorologists as such... and a Ridge of
High pressure in far northwestern Canada. Again this sort pattern would not be a
particularly cold set up for the CONUS in February 2006.
Interestingly one of the other unknown and often overlooked better performing climate models is the CAS... which stands for Constructed Analog Soil moisture. There has been some research which shows that this model is arguably the best performing climate and forecast model out there and it certainly is from my experience at least as good as the German climate model. Moreover this is model is updated every day out to 4 months.
Here is the October 11 run of the CAS climate model and I have presented links for the latest versions of the CAS. This first map shows the forecast of temperatures and precipitations based upon Soil Moisture for November 2005. Even though much of November has been fairly mild the first week the model shows a slightly cooler than normal temps over the Deep South... and the lower middle Atlantic region and portions of the Midwest... and a pretty warm area over the West Coast and Rockies. The precipitation very dry over Southern California and Vegas and very wet across the Southeast into the middle Atlantic region.
CAS model early NOV runs
DEC http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/soilmst/img/cas_pt_mon.lead1.gif JAN http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/soilmst/img/cas_pt_mon.lead2.gif
FEB looks how warm it is in the east http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/soilmst/img/cas_pt_mon.lead3.gif
The October 11 forecast for December is very similar to what the current CAS forecast is depicting for December 2005. Note how the cooling is very strong on the OCT 11 (and latest CAS run as well) over the Deep South the Ohio Valley and Tennessee Valley while it is fairly mild over the far Upper Plains and West Coast. The precipitation forecast shows the Upper Plains to be very dry and New England to be very dry as well.
The January CAS forecast shows increased precipitation over the Delta and lower Plains ... some drying is over the Pacific Northwest and the only cold temperatures is along the immediate Southeast coast .
The FEB CAS forecast is showing some serious and warmth for almost all the nation east of the Rockies... and much above normal precipitation across the upper Plains and the Great Lakes with a second area across the Deep South.
CRITICAL ASSUMPTIONS: WINTER 2005 - 06
1. Mainly Negative or cold phase of PDO strong
2. Sustained Pacific Jet will dominate all Winter
3. Sustained Ridge over western North America ( and possible +PNA pattern) is UNLIKELY.
4. short intervals of the negative phase of the NAO that will always be forecasted to last longer than it actually does
5. Medium Range Model performance ( 72 hour to 7 days) will be exceptionally poor for most of the winter.
6. De facto La Nina .... IMO it is NOT important whether CPC declares it to be one
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