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Winter 2012-2013


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#1
ORH_wxman

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After the disastrous winter of 2011-2012, most of the snow lovers on here are obviously looking forward to winter of 2012-2013....so what is in store for us? Well obviously nobody hasn't a clue for sure. But we can at least try to speculate on the pattern based on the most influencial long term factor that governs our weather (ENSO)...there are many shorter term factors that we cannot predict nearly as well such as the NAO/AO, which is also the most important and overrides ENSO if it is strong enough in either direction.

But that doesn't mean we cannot speculate.

We are coming off two years of La Nina in which the first year was quite kind to us as most remember (the 2010-2011 "snow pack" winter) but the 2nd year was just as evil to snow lovers as the first year was kind. Boston made a run at their least snowiest winter on record but fell a few tenths short.

So enough with history, you are all asking "what the hell is 2012-2013 going to bring us? I couldn't care less about yesteryear"....so this is where we begin.

At this stage in the game as we close in on June 1st, the most predictable aspect of next winter is going to be ENSO....the AO/NAO are just really out of our reach at this point....they are hard enough 2-3 months out, nevermind 8 months out. So we will focus on ENSO and then issue the caveats as needed.

Current ENSO is in a decaying La Nina state from the last two winters. The current La Nina has actually decayed into a neutral state as I make this post and most dynamic and statistical models support the formation of an El Nino by the fall of 2012....however, its a bit tedious. This does not currently look like the strong El Nino of 2009-2010. This is weaker in nature and some of the models actually try and form another weak La Nina...but those are the outliers at this point. The most likely ENSO state for this upcoming winter is a weak El Nino or maybe a low-end moderate. But this can change quite a bit from this far out. The most skilled ENSO model is the Euro SIPS system and the current forecast is as follows:

Posted Image




Now at first glance you might think we should prepare for a big El Nino....but not so fast...the Euro SIPS is good, but it often overdoes things and can be very warm biased. For example last winter at this time, it was going for a neutral, but we ended up La Nina and during the 2009-2010 El Nino it was going like +2.4 so it can go a bit over the top....but generally if this model says it going to be an El Nino, then it probably will be, but just tone down the profanity a bit. That's not to say it cannot nail it here, but history says to tone it down a bit.

If we assume a weak El Nino, then Ray will start doing naked cartwheels at the next several GTGs as they have been mostly blockbusters in SNE and the jackpot has often been specifically in metro-northwest BOS suburbs....but we aren't quite there yet so no need to get the blind folds out yet. We still have several other options on the table such as a moderate El Nino and a warm neutral. I am leaning toward an El Nino of some kind.

There are legit atmospheric reasons why weak El Ninos are good for southern New England and legit reasons why neutral or moderate/strong El Ninos might be a little more precarious. For one, a weak El Nino supplies STJ moisture without the STJ becoming too dominant and the northern stream dominates the pattern but it gets extra gulf and southern moisture from the semi-weak STJ...so what you essentially get are more Miller B storms and many of them are on steroids with the extra moisture. This is why winters like 2004-2005, 1977-1978, 1976-1977, 1968-1969, etc were so prolific, particularly for the eastern MA region of SNE where Miller Bs do the most damage. They had some STJ involvement but not enough to distort the northern stream from being the main player.

With a stronger El Nino, the STJ can become a bigger factor and also the Aleutian low can become larger and a risk of being displaced in a position that doesn't support cold and snow for us. When the Aleutian low stays far enough SW, we are fine in a mod/strong Nino such as 2002-2003, 1987-1988, 1986-1987, 1965-1966, 1957-1958.....but it can backfire on us too like 2006-2007, 1994-1995, 1997-1998, 1982-1983, 1972-1973, etc. So there is more of a coinflip there....the 2009-2010 El Nino had a great Pacific for us, but we still got screwed...but that was mostly bad luck and not a symptom of a long wave cancerous pattern for snow. We just got screwed and it happens. The stars aligned for us to get shafted while snow meccas like Philadelphia got 80" of snow. That was one of the rare times in history we got the shaft when they cleaned up....the NAO block became so strong, and also some unlucky pertubations in the vorticity field contributed.

Luck or non-luck aside, a weak El Nino is good for New England with some legit meteorological support. That is what we will hope for. I won't post the snowfall stats yet, I will wait until later in the summer to do that, but they are telling. We don't know what to expect yet, but I think in my own opinion we can expect an El Nino of some kind, and my hope is that it is weak. We can deal with moderate or strong too....but the best by far (and its not even close) is weak. So we will hope that moving forward. Right now the PDO remains heavily negative which is a positive as stronger EL Ninos do not like that and they tend to progress a bit slower in that type of Pacific setting. The NAO can tip many of these uncertaint situations big time. A mod El Nino with a near neutral or negative NAO is a really good producer for us most of the time, but a big +NAO is a massive dead ratter. Part of the ongoing research (which won't be resolved for probably years or decades) is the tendency for a weak El Nino to always have a near neutral or -NAO...or weakly positive. That is probably for another thread but it indirectly relates to us here because we obviously do not want a hugely +NAO....we can get away with a +NAO more than other areas on the east coast, but that usually occurs in a La Nina and not an El Nino...big +NAO El Ninos tend to be a complete disaster for New England.


And BOO...I'm not a ghost.

#2
moneypitmike

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LOL--good to see you, Will and thanks for rekindling the winter dreams. With the solstice nearing, all attention is ready to shift to passing through the summer doldrums and back to the cool and cold seasons. Like you said, one can always speculate. For those like myself who really grapple with the tools/indices available, I'll call my speculations "dreams" and call for way above snowfall and way below temps. Having said that, I'll now refrain from spouting those and let you and others provide salient arguments to support your thoughts.

Hope you're summer's going well.

#3
weathafella

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Great post Will. I'm pretty optimistic that we're heading for a decent winter but you astutely pointed out all the "what can go wrongs". As the summer matures, it should become a bit easier to tease out. While I realize that statistics don't support the "law of averages" concept, I have to think this above normal streak month after month breaks and if we're lucky, that begins in November.

#4
Damage In Tolland

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Welcome home. Nice to see Megan let you come back.

Let's hope winter returns and we get 3 good , solid months Dec-Feb..instead of 1-2 weeks like we had this past winter before spring.

#5
CT Rain

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:weenie:

This is like a Wiz severe thread lol

#6
ski MRG

Nice to see you posting again Will. We need you as a counterbalance to Blizz's Tom foolery. My old salt neighbor, who has a perfect track record, is calling for a "tough Winter". I refused to believe his calls last year about a mild Winter. Glad he is on board for a snowy one.

#7
ski MRG

Welcome home. Nice to see Megan let you come back.

Let's hope winter returns and we get 3 good , solid months Dec-Feb..instead of 1-2 weeks like we had this past winter before spring.



So sad that you CT. people have such short Winters. Here March is a definite Winter month with some of the highest monthly snow totals occuring in March. You should move.

#8
Damage In Tolland

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So sad that you CT. people have such short Winters. Here March is a definite Winter month with some of the highest monthly snow totals occuring in March. You should move.

Not anymore and certainly not over the past 10 yrs. It's a new climate. Sorry

#9
CoastalWx

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Well Kevin is wrong once again.

We've talked about this occasionally. I too lean towards Nino...possibly weak, but I think the NAO is the wild card. The good news is that we do tend to get at least neutral to even weak -NAO when we have a week El Nino so that's a plus, like Will mentioned. There are physics behind that, but for now..lets hope.

The solar aspect is interesting as well. While not well understood, there are some correlations to solar bombardment of charged particles and +NAO. That may have been part of the reason we saw that raging +AO/NAO. I think that will have to be watched and it is possible an active sun will continue through next winter.


The QBO is another thing to watch. Right now we are very negative at 30mb and barely negative at 50mb. The 50mb QBO seems to be the big modulator and that may hang negative into the Fall before trying to rise in the winter? While it does have a periodic oscillation...it can vary by a couple of months. A -QBO can help favor a -NAO.

So lots to watch going forward. Fingers crossed it's at least decent.

#10
CoastalWx

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It just can't be as bad as last winter. I literally felt like I wasted 4 months of my life.

#11
Baroclinic Zone

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Some images to go with Will's thoughts.

ONI Index



Weak El-Nino





Moderate El-Nino





#12
CoastalWx

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QBO graphic. Notice the trend in winters like '04-'05 and '09-'10

Attached File  QBO.gif   59.62KB   1 downloads

#13
CoastalWx

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It's not perfect as winter '10-'11 was surging upward to positive, but there may have been a lag from having it deeply negative.

#14
forkyfork

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last winter's thread: http://www.americanw...nter-2011-2012/

#15
CoastalWx

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Jerry's fears came true. I want to cry when I think about this past winter.

#16
powderfreak

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My call is for at least 2 upslope events of 18" or greater ;)

What synoptic snowfall we get is a complete crapshoot but a couple NW flow events are usually pretty much locked.

Great to see Will back though...one of the best posters on here. Hope you had a good break dude.

#17
powderfreak

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Nice to see you posting again Will. We need you as a counterbalance to Blizz's Tom foolery. My old salt neighbor, who has a perfect track record, is calling for a "tough Winter". I refused to believe his calls last year about a mild Winter. Glad he is on board for a snowy one.


Your neighbors love to call the weather, though I am positive you had at least one "old" neighbor last year calling for a snowy, snowy winter and that didnt work out too well. ;)

This new salt guy is bound to be right though.

#18
powderfreak

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As long as we don't have a dry winter with long stretches of nothing. I hate dry winters like last winter. I think most of us will take our chances with some mixed events or rain-->snow or snow-->rain instead of just two weeks at a time with not even a clipper to track like last year.

As long as we can get some precip or an active pattern rolling with disturbances every few days, something fun has to happen. I hope we are never again staring down 14-16 day stretches on the GFS with cumulative 0.1-0.25" QPF like we were last winter.

#19
Ginxy

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Your neighbors love to call the weather, though I am positive you had at least one "old" neighbor last year calling for a snowy, snowy winter and that didnt work out too well. ;)

This new salt guy is bound to be right though.

no his dude said in May we would have a ****ty winter, I remember it well and we talked about it on our ski trip.

#20
tamarack

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As long as we don't have a dry winter with long stretches of nothing. I hate dry winters like last winter. I think most of us will take our chances with some mixed events or rain-->snow or snow-->rain instead of just two weeks at a time with not even a clipper to track like last year.

As long as we can get some precip or an active pattern rolling with disturbances every few days, something fun has to happen. I hope we are never again staring down 14-16 day stretches on the GFS with cumulative 0.1-0.25" QPF like we were last winter.


The past 4 winters have each featured an extended boredom period, centered in Feb. For MBY, it lasted 21 days in 2009 including a torch-deluge in early Feb(then obliterated by 33.5" in 5 days, 2 storms), 2010 had 28 straight w/o measureable precip following the 1/28 WINDEX event, 2011 had 18 days within an otherwise fine Feb, and this year went zero-for-Feb until the last 4-5 days. We can't expect another 07-08, with its storms every Wed and Sun, but having 2.5 to 4 weeks blown out of the heart of each winter is getting old.

#21
CoastalWx

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We really are overdue for a good March. There hasn't been any evidence other than multiple La Ninas to say that somehow March is going to be Spring. We very well may have a crappy December..or at least a little below normal and weenies will be crying. I'll smile when that happens because at the same time..March could be 20"+.

#22
ski MRG

Your neighbors love to call the weather, though I am positive you had at least one "old" neighbor last year calling for a snowy, snowy winter and that didnt work out too well. ;)

This new salt guy is bound to be right though.

No, only one neighbor I quote to the best of my ability. Last year I scoffed at his call for a mild Winter. He was right, I was wrong.

#23
OKpowdah

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+QBO by the winter ...

Not only is less favorable for blocking, but is related to east-based El Nino development ...

It's not perfect as winter '10-'11 was surging upward to positive, but there may have been a lag from having it deeply negative.


HM made a great post about this. In La Nina regimes, the QBO strongly influences the latitude of the North Pacific ridge. A +QBO supports ridging further north over the Aleutians, with troughing and colder air forced southeast from western Canada into the northern tier of the CONUS ... a la 2010-11. Last year, with a -QBO, the ridging was suppressed south, with lower heights and cold air locked over Alaska and the Yukon.

#24
OKpowdah

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We really are overdue for a good March. There hasn't been any evidence other than multiple La Ninas to say that somehow March is going to be Spring. We very well may have a crappy December..or at least a little below normal and weenies will be crying. I'll smile when that happens because at the same time..March could be 20"+.


I'm actually not entirely convinced that March has not become a spring month. It's been 5 years now since our last snowy March in CNE.

#25
CoastalWx

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+QBO by the winter ...

Not only is less favorable for blocking, but is related to east-based El Nino development ...



HM made a great post about this. In La Nina regimes, the QBO strongly influences the latitude of the North Pacific ridge. A +QBO supports ridging further north over the Aleutians, with troughing and colder air forced southeast from western Canada into the northern tier of the CONUS ... a la 2010-11. Last year, with a -QBO, the ridging was suppressed south, with lower heights and cold air locked over Alaska and the Yukon.


I'm not so sure it will be positive by winter, but it will probably be on the rise. Hopefully there is a bit of a lag. I remember HMs post about that. Last year those was a +QBO becoming negative though.

Edit: it depends on the level. I suppose 30mb may be.

#26
CoastalWx

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I'm actually not entirely convinced that March has not become a spring month. It's been 5 years now since our last snowy March in CNE.


With 4 of them La Ninas and one a record -NAO. I'm pretty sure March is not a Spring month.

#27
Damage In Tolland

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I'm actually not entirely convinced that March has not become a spring month. It's been 5 years now since our last snowy March in CNE.

Exactly. The climate has changed and some folks are still fighting it. I did for a long time,but realize now March is no longer winter. Doesn't mean it can't/won't snow. It just means its not the March we used to know growing up. My kids will never understand how we used to enjoy March as winter and that's sad.

#28
Typhoon Tip

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"....Boston made a run at their least snowiest winter on record but fell a few tenths short... "

Ah hahahahahhahahahahahaha

#29
CoastalWx

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Exactly. The climate has changed and some folks are still fighting it. I did for a long time,but realize now March is no longer winter. Doesn't mean it can't/won't snow. It just means its not the March we used to know growing up. My kids will never understand how we used to enjoy March as winter and that's sad.


:weenie:

I can't wait to see you freak out of December sucks.

#30
Damage In Tolland

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:weenie:

I can't wait to see you freak out of December sucks.

Look at the last 20 March temp patterns averaged out, let us know your findings. You'll be surprised

#31
powderfreak

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no his dude said in May we would have a ****ty winter, I remember it well and we talked about it on our ski trip.


Ahh my bad...good memory. I could've sworn he said a neighbor was calling for another big big winter. I looked through the last years thread and didn't see it though.

We gotta ski together this winter.

#32
powderfreak

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I'm actually not entirely convinced that March has not become a spring month. It's been 5 years now since our last snowy March in CNE.


Did you get in on the event in March 2011? The one that dropped like 15-30" on portions of NNE? That was like an inch of rain, then a half inch of IP/ZR followed by 27" in Stowe. Like a 4" QPF event. BTV had over 18" too.

That was our last big March event.

#33
Typhoon Tip

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Good insights as usual, Will.

Personal note:
The better "snow" winters and "cold" winters are in part mutually exclusive. They don't always come hand in hand. Sometimes a warmer than normal winter for this latitude can mean above normal snowfall. Contrasting, an over-abundance of cold often arrives with suppressed storm tracks, where larger synoptic-scaled transporting of differential air masses is rarefied. Worse yet, a warmer than normal winter can also mean no snow just the same, just as 2011-2012. The best of all scenarios are the bitter cold huge snow winters of the 1700s.

A well-reknowned local on-air Meteorologist and I have discussed in the past that ENSO quasi-neutral, when looking at all the winters over the past 200 years, own the majority of the > 100% of normal snow fall winters. And, by quasi-neutral, we mean > -1 and < then +1 SD.

#34
Ginxy

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Looks great, just get an AO boost and we rock. Safe to say last year is in the mirror.

#35
ORH_wxman

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Look at the last 20 March temp patterns averaged out, let us know your findings. You'll be surprised



Last 20 Marches for snowfall in ORH:

1993...44.7"
1994...27.1"
1995...T
1996...20.8"
1997...20.3"
1998...5.1"
1999...14.9"
2000....4.0"
2001....43.5"
2002....10.2"
2003....8.3"
2004....7.6"
2005....24.6"
2006....T
2007....21.4"
2008....7.4"
2009....13.1"
2010....1.8"
2011....3.4"
2012....5.1"

Average....14.2"
Climo.........14.1"



We were due for a regression...if we didn't have the last few cruddy Marches, we would still be running way above climo for March. The last few have merely brought us down to climo. As we always say...climo is a b*tch. You can't run from it.



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