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  / 
          the   MEI
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) …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.

 

 

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.

http://wxrisk.com/Seasonalforcst/WINTER05-06/1stCALLWinter.htm

 

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.

DEPARTURE     from  NORMAL
TEMPS  12/1/04 - 2/28/05
DEPARTURE     from  NORMAL
HDD   12/1/04 - 2/28/05
DEPARTURE     from  NORMAL
PRECIP  12/1/04 - 2/28/05
%   of   NORMAL
PRECIP  12/1/04 - 2/28/05
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WINTER   2004-05
TEMPERATURES  
WINTER   2004-05 
PRECIPITATION
     by CLIMATE 
Divisons
by    STATE  RANKING      by CLIMATE 
Divisions
by    STATE  RANKING
djftt.gif (38885 bytes) wintert.gif (426672 bytes) djfpp.gif (37106 bytes) winterp.gif (422991 bytes)
DECEMBER   2004
     by CLIMATE 
Divisions
by    STATE  RANKING      by CLIMATE 
Divisions
by    STATE  RANKING
Dec04TDeptUS.png (16904 bytes)   dect.gif (426672 bytes) Dec04PNormUS.png (20996 bytes) dec04p.gif (422991 bytes)
JANUARY  2005
     by CLIMATE 
Divisions
by    STATE  RANKING      by CLIMATE 
Divisions
by    STATE  RANKING
Jan05TDeptUS.png (15737 bytes) jant.gif (426672 bytes) Jan05PNormUS.png (19821 bytes) jan05p.gif (422991 bytes)
FEBRUARY    2005
     by CLIMATE 
Divisions
by    STATE  RANKING      by CLIMATE 
Divisions
by    STATE  RANKING
Feb05TDeptUS.png (15502 bytes) febt.gif (426672 bytes) Feb05PNormUS.png (20224 bytes) feb05p.gif (422991 bytes)

 

 

  THE  BOTTOM  LINE 

WINTER 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
in a synchronous fashion  to place  added importance on all winter forecasts  for   2005-06.

 

BACKGROUND

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 / media’s 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

 

dec.jpg (76798 bytes) decp.jpg (70788 bytes)
   
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febt.jpg (75571 bytes) febp.jpg (66223 bytes)

 

 

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.

 

   THE     RECORD    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.

http://weather.unisys.com/hurricane/atlantic/1969/index.html

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.gif

This 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 .

 


figure 1

 

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 world 2005110200.glbl_00_sstanomaly.gif (217583 bytes)   which 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.

 

TABLE     1

CMB'S  ENSO    FORECAST

ECMWF   ENSO  3.4     Forecast IRI   CLIMATE   MODEL   FORECAST
19    FORECAST MODELS

REGION 1.2

REGION 3.4

OCT    16 

EARLY    SEPT EARLY   OCT
nino12SSTMon.gif (55740 bytes) nino34SSTMon.gif (51236 bytes) 3464.gif (17442 bytes) SST_table1.gif (18561 bytes) SST_table.gif (18278 bytes)
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.

  

WEB SITES

 

 

CURRENT  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 PERU coast)
JAN 2003  through OCT  2003
ENSO 3+4 (EQ.PACIFIC)
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
+0.59     0.27   0.40   0.36   0.44   0.56
+0.39    +0.17  -0.01   +0.20
SUMMARY;   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.

 

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

 

CURRENT  SSTA
Jan   thru Oct
  1959    1960 1977 1990 1995
ENSO 1.2   ENSO
3.4
ENSO 1.2   ENSO
3.4
ENSO
1.2  
ENSO
3.4
ENSO
1.2  
ENSO
3.4
ENSO
1.2  
ENSO
3.4
ENSO
1.2  
ENSO
3.4
-0.04                +0.59
-0.54                 +0.27
-0.88               
+0.40
-0.67                
+0.36
+0.07                +0.44
-0.56                
+0.56
-0.64                
+0.39
-0.19               
+0.17
-0.77                
-0.01
-1.21               
+0.20
-0.40                +0.55
-0.37                +0.61
+0.59                +0.70
+0.42               +0.28

-0.07                +0.16
-0.39                 -0.13
-0.40                -0.46
-0.48                -0.38

-0.06                -0.60
0.00                  -0.07
+0.08                  -0.03
-0.33                   -0.35
-0.33    
             +0.02
-0.74                  +0.15
-0.58                   -0.12
-0.87                   -0.14
-0.84                    0.00
-0.45                   +0.19
0.07                     -0.01
-0.69                   -0.32
+0.82                + 0.87
-0.07                 + 0.33
-0.13                  +0.40
-0.21                   -0.11
-0.39                 +0.27
-0.20                  +0.36
-0.10                  +0.30
-0.54                  +0.14
-0.61                 +0.32
+0.07                 +0.71
-0.41                +0.04
-0.09               +0.26
-0.20                +0.32
-0.11               +0.33
-0.19                +0.33
-0.27                +0.09
-0.80                +0.18
-0.54                 +0.35
-0.31                +0.11
-0.61                +0.38
+0.91                +1.04
+0.46                 +0.76

-0.25                  +0.48
-0.87                  +0.25
-1.14                  -0.04
-0.50                  +0.09
-0.57                  -0.07
-0.77                  -0.38
-0.27                  -0.68
-0.74                  -0.93
     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  

 

MEI   INDEX


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   

+0.298 +0.742 +0.935 +0.564 +0.711 +0.478 +0.419 +0.43 +0.217 -0.246

 

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/

 

1969

+0.662

+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  


 

    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 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   

-0.450 -0.880 +0.06 -0.664 -15.09 -20.59 -24.20 -25.87 -27.80 -28.76

 

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.

verynegpdowinters.gif (41953 bytes)

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

1958

+5.25

+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  

 

PDO   INDEX

 

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....   the  
RED color  very  warm SSTA and the  Yellow   warm SSTA.

 

pdo_warm_cool.jpeg (194655 bytes)

    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.

SCHEposPDO.jpg (132518 bytes) SCHEnegPDO.jpg (142521 bytes)

 

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.

  NOV  & DEC 1995    OCT  & NOV   2002
nov95.gif (11233 bytes) dec95.gif (11546 bytes) oct02.gif (12072 bytes) nov02.gif (11954 bytes)

 

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   oct7navySSTA.gif (218115 bytes)         OCT  27   OCT26ssta.gif (216038 bytes)

 

 

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   

+0.44 +0.81 +1.36 +1.03 +1.86 +1.17 +0.66 +0.25 -0.46 -1.32

      

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.  
post-3797-1131494728.gif (41823 bytes) post-3797-1131494947.gif (41923 bytes)

             

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.

 

 

CLIMATE  MODELS

 

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.
200412usPrec.gif (55046 bytes)     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. 200412usT2m.gif (45607 bytes) 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 ust2mmon.gif (106984 bytes)  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.

 

SEPT   GSM OCT  GSM  NOV   GSM
GZ5.200509.ano_PNA.gif (40772 bytes) GZ5.200510.ano_PNA.gif (43331 bytes) GZ5.200511.ano_PNA.gif (43986 bytes)

 

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!


geroct1.jpg (145374 bytes)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.
gernov.jpg (142380 bytes)            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.

gerfeb.jpg (149385 bytes)    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 the CONUS.
gerjan.jpg (139576 bytes)

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.
gerdec.jpg (130704 bytes)

 

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.

                      oct11a.gif (21230 bytes)  oct11.gif (20079 bytes)  oct11c.gif (19098 bytes) oct11d.gif (21754 bytes)

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

MAR  http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/soilmst/img/cas_pt_mon.lead4.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 ASSUMPTIONSWINTER 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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