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griteater

Winter 17-18 Speculation

121 posts in this topic

Well, let's get it started...

ENSO SSTs are threatening to go into a weak El Nino, but the tropical Pacific forcing, convection, and trade wind patterns are still lagging in La Nina-like modes as a carryover from last winter.  The forecasting of winter patterns based on ENSO is best achieved when the ocean and atmosphere are coupled, else we are left with neutral conditions where the winter pattern is more susceptible to being highly variable.  In prior cases like this where we are coming off of La Nina, if we were to see an El Nino-like ocean-atmosphere coupling take place, we would typically start to see that happen now in the months of July and August.  The good news climo-wise for winter interests is that we should at least be able to avoid our typically warmest phases which are moderate and strong La Ninas, and super strong El Ninos.

As Clint Eastwood (NC_hailstorm) mentioned in the other thread, it looks like this winter we will be entering the low portion of the solar cycle - both for sunspots and solar flux. 

jJwoq6l.png

The Solar Ap index has also dropped into lowered numbers over the past few months (with July continuing that trend thus far).

And the QBO is in the process of switching over to the negative phase through the lower stratosphere (faster than maybe previously expected).

The best Solar/QBO combination for increased odds of polar blocking is low solar flux / geomag (Ap), combined with the front end of the -QBO phase...as it stands now, we have a solid chance at seeing that combo this winter.  Having an El Nino circulation would increase the odds of polar blocking even more.

 

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Nice write up, thanks for the info. It's getting to the point where I am just hoping for things like a Christmas day not in the 60s or 70s, not having one of three months setting an all-time high record, and not having more days above 65 than below 50 (see last year). I'm setting my expectations low so maybe I'll be surprised!

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On 7/12/2017 at 7:27 PM, griteater said:

Well, let's get it started...

ENSO SSTs are threatening to go into a weak El Nino, but the tropical Pacific forcing, convection, and trade wind patterns are still lagging in La Nina-like modes as a carryover from last winter.  The forecasting of winter patterns based on ENSO is best achieved when the ocean and atmosphere are coupled, else we are left with neutral conditions where the winter pattern is more susceptible to being highly variable.  In prior cases like this where we are coming off of La Nina, if we were to see an El Nino-like ocean-atmosphere coupling take place, we would typically start to see that happen now in the months of July and August.  The good news climo-wise for winter interests is that we should at least be able to avoid our typically warmest phases which are moderate and strong La Ninas, and super strong El Ninos.

As Clint Eastwood (NC_hailstorm) mentioned in the other thread, it looks like this winter we will be entering the low portion of the solar cycle - both for sunspots and solar flux. 

jJwoq6l.png

The Solar Ap index has also dropped into lowered numbers over the past few months (with July continuing that trend thus far).

And the QBO is in the process of switching over to the negative phase through the lower stratosphere (faster than maybe previously expected).

The best Solar/QBO combination for increased odds of polar blocking is low solar flux / geomag (Ap), combined with the front end of the -QBO phase...as it stands now, we have a solid chance at seeing that combo this winter.  Having an El Nino circulation would increase the odds of polar blocking even more.

 

The CPC just released their ENSO disc. and they're going with a 50-55% chance of an ENSO neutral with a 35-45% of an El Nino for this winter. This looks like the biggest possibility in regards to ENSO this winter is warm-neutral, which is fine given that it allows other teleconnectors to be more dominant in determining our winter conditions.

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17 hours ago, SimeonNC said:

The CPC just released their ENSO disc. and they're going with a 50-55% chance of an ENSO neutral with a 35-45% of an El Nino for this winter. This looks like the biggest possibility in regards to ENSO this winter is warm-neutral, which is fine given that it allows other teleconnectors to be more dominant in determining our winter conditions.

But will we like what those other 'teleconnectors' bring us??  I'm a big fan of El Ninos, just not the super strong ones.

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15 hours ago, mackerel_sky said:

Great stuff Grit! 

JB is continuously saying "Midoki" Nino. That's good for us , right? I think I've heard that before. If we want cold and snow!?

3 flavors:

1. East Based / East Pacific El Nino - warmest SST anomalies centered in the eastern tropical Pacific.  Tropical Pacific convection / forcing farther east in comparison

2. West Based / Central Pacific El Nino - warmest SST anomalies centered in the central tropical Pacific.  Tropical convection / forcing farther west in comparison.

3. Modoki El Nino - same as #2, but with an added distinction of cool SST anomalies in the eastern tropical Pacific. 

#2 and #3 tend to be used interchangeably unless the added distinction is made.  Also, it's sometimes difficult to bin the El Nino (could be a basin wide event or one that morphs between the different flavors)...and the strength of the Nino is just as important as the base location.

Anyway, yes, options #2 and #3 offer better odds at below normal temperatures in the eastern U.S. than option #1.

Of course, it all becomes moot if there is no El Nino :)

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Great point in the original post. Regardless of SSTs the ATMO wants to stay in Nina-ish mode. Perhaps they cancel out or at least allow other influences. QBO looks like it wants to keep dropping. Solar Cycle is in the 07-09 type range vs the really cold 09-11 winters. The 07-09 winters were variable normal, plenty better than the last two years. Oceans are not sinking heat particularly well attm which would be a warmer influence. Overall I look for a significant improvement over the last two years, but probably not particularly cold.

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2 hours ago, griteater said:

But will we like what those other 'teleconnectors' bring us??  I'm a big fan of El Ninos, just not the super strong ones.

Same here but El Ninos aren't the requirement for a good winter. 2013-2014 was a great winter and it was a neutral year. Without El Nino or La Nina, events such as PDO, EPO, PNA have greater influence on our conditions, that's what I meant by teleconnectors lol

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On ‎7‎/‎14‎/‎2017 at 4:27 PM, SimeonNC said:

Same here but El Ninos aren't the requirement for a good winter. 2013-2014 was a great winter and it was a neutral year. Without El Nino or La Nina, events such as PDO, EPO, PNA have greater influence on our conditions, that's what I meant by teleconnectors lol

I agree. Blocking is everything for us in the SE. Because of that it's almost impossible to predict what this winter will bring. I'll always be interested in everybody's winter forecast but I know it's really --> get to December and start looking at the extended models. Not even sure how much the low solar cycle, Siberian snow cover, PDO, and esno(...winter weather wise) really help the SE.

**definitely a -EPO, +PNA, -NAO, and -AO are what we need but again that's short range. Need better correlation for the other variables and (of course) a better understanding on how they react working together. We're just not knowledgeable enough yet.      

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On 7/14/2017 at 2:02 PM, griteater said:

3 flavors:

1. East Based / East Pacific El Nino - warmest SST anomalies centered in the eastern tropical Pacific.  Tropical Pacific convection / forcing farther east in comparison

2. West Based / Central Pacific El Nino - warmest SST anomalies centered in the central tropical Pacific.  Tropical convection / forcing farther west in comparison.

3. Modoki El Nino - same as #2, but with an added distinction of cool SST anomalies in the eastern tropical Pacific. 

#2 and #3 tend to be used interchangeably unless the added distinction is made.  Also, it's sometimes difficult to bin the El Nino (could be a basin wide event or one that morphs between the different flavors)...and the strength of the Nino is just as important as the base location.

Anyway, yes, options #2 and #3 offer better odds at below normal temperatures in the eastern U.S. than option #1.

Of course, it all becomes moot if there is no El Nino :)

#2 offers the best :wub:   Throw in a little blocking and history is made :D   

 

 

Who am I kidding......we live in the south...anytime it snows history is made :lol:  

 

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For anyone curious about Modoki status in their favorite El Nino / La Nina winters, the JAMSTEC has monthly data on Modoki status back to 1870. You can find definitions for the boxes used too.

http://www.jamstec.go.jp/frcgc/research/d1/iod/DATA/emi.monthly.txt

For those of you in the mountains, I know out here, a blend of sunspots, ONI DJF, and ONI DJF in the prior winter produce surprisingly accurate Tmax winter forecasts for the higher elevations. If you look at the El Nino winters that follow negative ONI winters (say 2014-15), they tend to be much colder than the El Ninos that following positive ONI winters (2015-16) throughout large areas of the South & the West.

1976-77 & 2009-10 were weak Ninos, but had low solar and came after fairly big La Ninas. Very cold.

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CFS drops eastern and central SSTAs decently below normal without being in Nina territory through at least next spring. It's been fairly consistent in this and has recently been a bit more bullish on the below normal. That argues for neutral or west-based weak Nino.

CFS also has very warm temps for next winter, and they've been going up. I know the CFS forecasts at this range (let alone one month) are probably garbage, but not exactly exciting.

I'm also wondering how sea ice and snow pack will affect the upcoming winter. If the sea ice collapses, that could have a negative impact on us. It's looking right now like we'll escape a 2012-style cliff, but it ain't gonna be a top-performer either.

Someone above mentioned ocean temps, and I think this is the elephant in the room, and probably what contributed to last year's ridiculous temperatures. The tropical and subtropical oceans are just plain warm, everywhere. This chart is particular scary. Until that changes (*if* it changes), I think it's going to be hard to have even a normal winter, let alone a below-normal one here. I just hope we don't have another record-breaking winter month like we've had the last two years.

sst.month_anom.pacific_lat.thumb.gif.52d0bfb1f5eaea9cddeb30446462b0b0.gif

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1 hour ago, mackerel_sky said:

What about JBs warm oceans, cool continents theory!?

Well it's not working out, is it?

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Great write up Griteater! I'm with Jeff at the moment with not really looking very cold and probably not a lot of snow either.  I think we see improvements from last winter but we still need a lot of work. I am not just feeling it this next winter.

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On 7/12/2017 at 7:43 PM, Buckethead said:

Nice write up!  I'm feeling pretty good about this winter.  Eager to see what nwfs is all about.

Hopefully we can see a decent upslope event take place because the last several winters the NW flow snow has been significantly below normal.  We need several cold fronts coming in from the NW and we have lacked that a lot because we'll 70 degrees in the middle of the winter does not cut it. Also one decent size snowstorm for us does not cut it in the mountains either.  We will see. 

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21 hours ago, WidreMann said:

CFS drops eastern and central SSTAs decently below normal without being in Nina territory through at least next spring. It's been fairly consistent in this and has recently been a bit more bullish on the below normal. That argues for neutral or west-based weak Nino.

CFS also has very warm temps for next winter, and they've been going up. I know the CFS forecasts at this range (let alone one month) are probably garbage, but not exactly exciting.

I'm also wondering how sea ice and snow pack will affect the upcoming winter. If the sea ice collapses, that could have a negative impact on us. It's looking right now like we'll escape a 2012-style cliff, but it ain't gonna be a top-performer either.

Someone above mentioned ocean temps, and I think this is the elephant in the room, and probably what contributed to last year's ridiculous temperatures. The tropical and subtropical oceans are just plain warm, everywhere. This chart is particular scary. Until that changes (*if* it changes), I think it's going to be hard to have even a normal winter, let alone a below-normal one here. I just hope we don't have another record-breaking winter month like we've had the last two years.

 

I stopped reading after the bolded  :P 

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1 hour ago, stadiumwave said:

Nice write by Grit.

Some of the others are jumping the gun with some very premature dogmatic posts...lol.

The dogma is that winter will be normal to below normal. Every year we get posts along those lines. They fancy it up by saying "probably warm December then flip to cold" and some intricate discussion about this or that teleconnection. And yet most winters around here in the past 15-20 years have been above to well-above normal. So I don't think calling for another warm and weird winter is unreasonable or "dogmatic" at all.

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10 hours ago, WidreMann said:

The dogma is that winter will be normal to below normal. Every year we get posts along those lines. They fancy it up by saying "probably warm December then flip to cold" and some intricate discussion about this or that teleconnection. And yet most winters around here in the past 15-20 years have been above to well-above normal. So I don't think calling for another warm and weird winter is unreasonable or "dogmatic" at all.

Unless there's some obviously visible outlier signal that is overwhelmingly associated with a colder winter (for example, if Yellowstone had a full-on VEI level 8 eruption), then the ultra safe bet is going with persistence until such time as the greater pattern changes.  IMO, there's a larger than 50% chance (probably more like 75%) that we'll see normal to above normal temps again this winter.

That said, there are some solid posters, Grit being one, who offer much better insight on variables that could affect the outcome of winter as a whole.  Hopefully, these variables will actually align in a way that can bring about a cold winter, but I don't hold a lot of hope for it.  I do however have hope that we can get at least a 2-4 week stretch of cold coincident with opportunities for storminess.

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2 hours ago, Cold Rain said:

Unless there's some obviously visible outlier signal that is overwhelmingly associated with a colder winter (for example, if Yellowstone had a full-on VEI level 8 eruption), then the ultra safe bet is going with persistence until such time as the greater pattern changes.  IMO, there's a larger than 50% chance (probably more like 75%) that we'll see normal to above normal temps again this winter.

That said, there are some solid posters, Grit being one, who offer much better insight on variables that could affect the outcome of winter as a whole.  Hopefully, these variables will actually align in a way that can bring about a cold winter, but I don't hold a lot of hope for it.  I do however have hope that we can get at least a 2-4 week stretch of cold coincident with opportunities for storminess.

CPC has the same idea (normal to above normal):

http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/products/predictions//multi_season/13_seasonal_outlooks/color/churchill.php

Not saying I believe them (above others), but it's definitely a good bet.

As I posted before, it's going to come down to how much blocking we get; particularly for the SE.  Too many variables to try to forecast at this point.    

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9 minutes ago, FallsLake said:

CPC has the same idea (normal to above normal):

http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/products/predictions//multi_season/13_seasonal_outlooks/color/churchill.php

Not saying I believe them (above others), but it's definitely a good bet.

As I posted before, it's going to come down to how much blocking we get; particularly for the SE.  Too many variables to try to forecast at this point.    

If it comes down to blocking, we're screwed! :(

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6 minutes ago, mackerel_sky said:

If it comes down to blocking, we're screwed! :(

I have a non-scientific thought of "we're do". It's been many years since we've seen a predominant -NAO. Seen +PNA and -AO but man that NAO hasn't worked out. Maybe this year.. 

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As Mack said, if it comes down to blocking, "maybe this year", or "we're do", hang it up we're screwed.  I'll start planning my winter camping plans if thats the case.  Should be balmy in the 40's and 50's again once we get past the teaser December 6" snow storm.

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On 7/22/2017 at 0:47 AM, WidreMann said:

Someone above mentioned ocean temps, and I think this is the elephant in the room, and probably what contributed to last year's ridiculous temperatures. The tropical and subtropical oceans are just plain warm, everywhere. This chart is particular scary. Until that changes (*if* it changes), I think it's going to be hard to have even a normal winter, let alone a below-normal one here. I just hope we don't have another record-breaking winter month like we've had the last two years.

sst.month_anom.pacific_lat.thumb.gif.52d0bfb1f5eaea9cddeb30446462b0b0.gif

Looking at it in terms of 500mb height anomalies for the period from July 2014 to June 2017 ( which corresponds to the time period of elevated tropical and subtropical SST warmth on your chart), it's pretty remarkable how there are only a few small pockets of below normal anomalies, with 90% of the northern hemisphere in above normal anomalies...a background state of elevated heights and warmth no doubt.

aYPFC66.png

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15 hours ago, WidreMann said:

The dogma is that winter will be normal to below normal. Every year we get posts along those lines. They fancy it up by saying "probably warm December then flip to cold" and some intricate discussion about this or that teleconnection. And yet most winters around here in the past 15-20 years have been above to well-above normal. So I don't think calling for another warm and weird winter is unreasonable or "dogmatic" at all.

 

I guess that's what happened in 2009-10, 10-11, 13-14, 14-15?

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