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The “is it ever going to snow again” discussion.


psuhoffman
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  • 2 weeks later...
2 hours ago, WxUSAF said:

50yr trend is slightly up for most of our area. Shorter term trend is negative for our area but still positive farther north along the 95 corridor.

 

I'm a big believer in the idea that winters will be more boom or bust going forward. Don't think it'll be close to a 50/50 split of boom/bust, maybe closer to 20/80, but enough killer years could end up causing a positive trend even if the intersnowy years suck.

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2 hours ago, WxUSAF said:

50yr trend is slightly up for most of our area. Shorter term trend is negative for our area but still positive farther north along the 95 corridor.

 

The larger picture is terrifying though.  Look at the larger mid latitudes across the CONUS.  And you can see where snow is increasing to the north in Canada as the boundary is more north so areas that typically were cold/dry in winter are now getting more moisture and are still cold enough.  This makes logical sense.  It's also clear the impact of all those monster HECS east coast storms the last 30 years.  But the median, which I care about much more because that is more indicative of what our typical winters will be most of the time, and what we experience 8 times a decade affects my mood way more than those 1 or 2 anomalies, is tanking.  Also...if we continue this trend and start to lose some of those HECS storms...that little area of blue along the coast will creep north or disappear completely.  

 

This is also visually discredits something I've seen a lot lately where people post about how its snowing somewhere out west without the context that its at 8000 feet in elevation which has NOTHING TO DO WITH OUR CLIMO!  I ski out west a lot.  It's raining more often at places like 5,000 to 8,000 feet a lot now...but yea it still snows a lot at those elevations...and yes at 10,000 feet its still going to snow a ton and maybe even more if we increase precip due to warming...but that has absolutely NOTHING indicative wrt our climo.  Its a totally different phenomenon.  Or showing how its snowing more in Canada...so what...they want the boundary to be further north up there.  We do not.  That map shows that at our latitude the trend is VERY CLEAR.  

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12 hours ago, psuhoffman said:

The larger picture is terrifying though.  Look at the larger mid latitudes across the CONUS.  And you can see where snow is increasing to the north in Canada as the boundary is more north so areas that typically were cold/dry in winter are now getting more moisture and are still cold enough.  This makes logical sense.  It's also clear the impact of all those monster HECS east coast storms the last 30 years.  But the median, which I care about much more because that is more indicative of what our typical winters will be most of the time, and what we experience 8 times a decade affects my mood way more than those 1 or 2 anomalies, is tanking.  Also...if we continue this trend and start to lose some of those HECS storms...that little area of blue along the coast will creep north or disappear completely.  

 

This is also visually discredits something I've seen a lot lately where people post about how its snowing somewhere out west without the context that its at 8000 feet in elevation which has NOTHING TO DO WITH OUR CLIMO!  I ski out west a lot.  It's raining more often at places like 5,000 to 8,000 feet a lot now...but yea it still snows a lot at those elevations...and yes at 10,000 feet its still going to snow a ton and maybe even more if we increase precip due to warming...but that has absolutely NOTHING indicative wrt our climo.  Its a totally different phenomenon.  Or showing how its snowing more in Canada...so what...they want the boundary to be further north up there.  We do not.  That map shows that at our latitude the trend is VERY CLEAR.  

Whoa boy. Well, I think we're gonna have to learn to be okay with this. I mean seriously--for our own mental/spiritual health! I mean yes we don't know everything about the future (only what the trend has been up to this date), but if this is coming/gonna get worse...we have to learn to be okay. It may not be worth getting upset about (or even giving too much thought to)...otherwise we'll be living in a dread of "terrifying" trends and such creating the illusion of some objectively bad thing coming that isn't really objectively bad.

 

My guess is if, say, a decade from now, snow chances are where they are now or worse...we would have gotten used to that reality (by force--because literally nothing would've happened, and things could be worse by then!). Might be time to kinda distance ourselves y'all, lol

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24 minutes ago, psuhoffman said:

@Ji the pattern isn’t the problem. The eps nailed the pattern. 

this was the period we’ve been watching for weeks and it still looks great from a longwave pattern pov 

A6AD0CB0-C79D-47A9-AD29-F56E647230B0.thumb.png.1db6f8cdc22b281eab32db3257d53133.png

That looks similar to a composite of our biggest March snowstorms 

D8B6EBC4-9729-41A4-96B7-1561B7E43817.gif.a49194854689096b66e0c95ee1e36c5c.gif

Look at the specific threat next week

2E0917D0-46D2-4FB2-85B0-D622DBA9AD3E.thumb.png.996e8f009869f5268bc34c0ef0158b0a.png

Baffin Block, 50/50, trough going neutral as it approaches the TN valley, ridge in the mountain west, trough just off the west coast. That is a perfect longwave pattern for a big snowstorm here. It’s literally exactly what has lead to every big March snow.  And all guidance indicated the storm will track south of us. But it’s just too warm.

And don’t blame March, this same thing has happened in other months lately too.   And then the excuse was to blame the pac because we didn’t have an EPO ridge dumping arctic air at us.  But that isn’t actually the right longwave pattern to get snow.  And I don’t know how many times I have to say that.  90% of our snow didn’t come from arctic air masses.  The best longwave pattern to get big snowstorms here isn’t a very cold one!  A huge epo ridge dumps arctic air but that longwave configuration promotes a ridge in the east.  Big storms will cut.  The only way we can snow in an epo driven pattern is to hope a bunch of weaker waves eject east pulling the boundary south and pray to get lucky and have one of those boundary waves clip us.  But that is never going to be a path to either a MECS+ storm or a truly snowy 30”+ winter. Those both come from blocking patterns with marginally cold domestic air.  The best we can hope for from an epo pattern is table scraps and if we get lucky maybe a median snowfall year like last winter for example.  We will never get a truly big storm or big year that way!  

The pattern isn’t the problem. It’s just too warm. You figure out why!  
 

 

This post finally radicalized me. Canceled my WxBell subscription and am becoming a severe weenie. 

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34 minutes ago, NorthArlington101 said:

This post finally radicalized me. Canceled my WxBell subscription and am becoming a severe weenie. 

Yay, welcome to what I've been radicalized into since the December disappointement. At least in spring and summer the people still around are aware that we are really good at failing in Mid-Atl. 

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On 2/23/2023 at 11:34 AM, Maestrobjwa said:

Whoa boy. Well, I think we're gonna have to learn to be okay with this. I mean seriously--for our own mental/spiritual health! I mean yes we don't know everything about the future (only what the trend has been up to this date), but if this is coming/gonna get worse...we have to learn to be okay. It may not be worth getting upset about (or even giving too much thought to)...otherwise we'll be living in a dread of "terrifying" trends and such creating the illusion of some objectively bad thing coming that isn't really objectively bad.

 

My guess is if, say, a decade from now, snow chances are where they are now or worse...we would have gotten used to that reality (by force--because literally nothing would've happened, and things could be worse by then!). Might be time to kinda distance ourselves y'all, lol

There isn’t anything we can do about it, so we may as well embrace the warmth. Our winters have been getting warmer and warmer as climate change continues to accelerate, and that will only continue. Join the dark side, and start rooting for record heat.

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54 minutes ago, Terpeast said:

I see it in two ways, and both lead to the same conclusion. 

If we get a big winter in the next nino, then we know if it’s not a nino, it’s going to suck.

If we get a nino, and the winter sucks anyway, the conclusion is the same. 

Life will be much easier and more fun if we look to the chase. Deep Creek, Vermont, Colorado/Utah, Tahoe.

If we get a non-nino big winter again, then that’s when things get a little interesting. 

Can't agree.

In my opinion, people are basing their takes on emotions stemming from a recent run of years (mostly Ninas) that have sucked. Could it be that, going forward, anything but a Nino is going to suck? Maybe. But I don't think you can make that definitive call based on a relatively short timeframe of suckage.

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3 hours ago, mattie g said:

Can't agree.

In my opinion, people are basing their takes on emotions stemming from a recent run of years (mostly Ninas) that have sucked. Could it be that, going forward, anything but a Nino is going to suck? Maybe. But I don't think you can make that definitive call based on a relatively short timeframe of suckage.

I'm not basing it on emotions. 

Yes, I'm frustrated just like anyone else on here, too. 

But I'm basing it on decadal trends, using the 30-year median and 10-year median.

The recent 10-year median excludes the 09-10 winter, but not the 13-15 winters yet. So it's a little elevated. If I were to narrow that down to the last 5-7 years, we would see a huge fall off. 

These are IAD numbers. As much as I want and hope the trend to reverse itself, I can't see it happening with the [not to be named] background state, which I'm afraid is driving more nina-like patterns due to SST gradients in the pacific. 
1270967585_Screenshot2023-03-09at1_55_01PM.png.78304490ab123f909c842c3826e00e60.png

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23 hours ago, mattie g said:

Can't agree.

In my opinion, people are basing their takes on emotions stemming from a recent run of years (mostly Ninas) that have sucked. Could it be that, going forward, anything but a Nino is going to suck? Maybe. But I don't think you can make that definitive call based on a relatively short timeframe of suckage.

I also don't think my "emotions" are driving my points here.  Actually, what I am doing runs contrary to emotions.  I don't want this to be true.  I think emotions are actually the reason many are so hostile and resistant to some of this data and get upset when it's presented.  Actually 90% of what I have posted in this thread isn't predictive at all...its simply pointing out data and evidence of trends that have already happened.  

First of all this trend is not just the last 7 years.  Snowfall is a very anomalous fluky thing in our region.  It runs in cycles some of which have some regularity based on decadal cycles and some of which is pure fluke luck mixed in.  So if you focus only on one small sample size you can skew the picture.  But when you pull back and look at 100 years or more the patterns become more meaningful.  Yes there are up and down cycles within the trend line but there is a downward trend within that chaos.  The up periods are less up and the down periods are more down.   This current down cycle is no doubt a "down period" but it's worse than the last comparable down periods of this type.  This trend has been going on for a long time not just recently.  

It's definitely more apparent in the median than the mean because within this trend there is a phenomenon that we are also getting a few super crazy snowy years mixed in.  Part of this seems to be because the frequency of HECS events has increased.  This can also logically be explained by the same phenomenon causing the lowering of the snowfall median as a warmer base state with both reduce the number of snowfalls but also increase the chances of a super big snowstorm in the rarer instances that it is cold enough.  

There are a lot of factors here going on that in isolation each one might be hard to attribute a significant portion of this but the issue is all of these factors are all influencing things the same way, and if taken in totality I don't think its a stretch to say that is what is impacting our snow climo.  Unfortunately we are in a region that is being most affected by several of these factors when it comes to snowfall, at least median, like I said the mean is less affected because of HECS events skewing the mean.  But factors like the expanded Pacific Hadley cell, the Indo-PAC warm pool, and the warming gulf and atlantic basin are all impacting our area specifically more so than some other places.  We don't have the latitude or elevation to survive even a small push northwest of the boundary during winter along the east coast, and unfortunately all of those factors lead to that end result.  

The indo pac warm pool is favoring hostile mjo phases which leaves more of our winter in shit the blinds patterns.  The expanded hadley cell is shifting the jet north and causing a compressed flow over the north pacific (pac firehose) directing more warmth into the CONUS than was typical in the past.  The warmer gulf and atlantic is feeding the SER.  The warmer base state of the pac is favoring la nina's in the effort to balance the heat which is a bad thing for us.   It's a nasty feedback loop for our snow hopes and dreams.  

My emotions actually make me want to resist this some.  That is why I almost always bust high on my seasonal predictions.  You know from my posts all summer and fall i knew this year was going to be awful.  I think everyone got tired of me saying how god awful things looked wrt prospects for this winter.  Part of that was a generally bad longwave configuration but a lot was me knowing what that imposed onto the current warm base state would look like for us.  But when it came time for me to make a seasonal forecast I did go below avg snowfall but not nearly enoough below.  Because I just didn't want to fathom a snowless winter, but in my gut I kinda knew this was very possible if not likely.  But I went more hopeful in my forecast.  I did that again with right now.  I knew in my gut that given the extreme warm base state it was unlikely any patter was going to work out in a big way for us in March...but I didn't want to just give up on winter totally and I knew March was likely to be our only chance at a decent longwave pattern so I held out hope and said maybe we do get something in March.  I am actually to optimistic wrt our snow chances because of my emotions.  I sometimes ignore the data and evidence because I want it to snow and I want the data to be wrong.  

All that said I am also sure this is also a down cycle.  We have had a run of hostile longwave pattern seasons where even in a better climo period it was likely to be a down period.  This period can be analogous to similar periods in the 1950's, 1970s, and late 80's into early 90s.  Those were all bad too...just not as bad.  I am sure we will have a better period ahead at some point...but will it be as good as past good periods... probably not and that is the issue.  I am sure the next time we get a 30" winter some will say "see the doom and gloom was wrong, everything is fine" but that isn't the point.  No one is saying it can't snow anymore.  We are saying it is snowing less.  ANd all the data proves that.  That isn't predictive its a reality we have been living for a while now.  The only valid question is "how much less".  

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On 3/8/2023 at 11:35 PM, George001 said:

There isn’t anything we can do about it, so we may as well embrace the warmth. Our winters have been getting warmer and warmer as climate change continues to accelerate, and that will only continue. Join the dark side, and start rooting for record heat.

Now that I will NEVER do, lol Even if we aren't gonna snow as much, I need my four seasons! Even 40s is still wintery so I hope we can hang on to that, at least.

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  • 9 months later...

From reading PSU's posts in the topic, my advice to people who enjoy snow is this: You need to adjust to the changes, OR move west and UP in elevation. Move to 8000 feet in the Rockies or Sierras. They will always get snow, no matter what.

I'm older now, and really really slowing down.

I LIKE 88/68 conditions here in January. I am getting older. I will hit 60 in March 2024. My body does not feel the same as it once did when I was 23 and crrazy about deep snow and 120 below zero temps with 135 mph wind gusts. I drove everyone crazy around me with that talk in high school and college and most of my adult life. But now I would want to settle in Key West, if not for hurricanes lol. Or even down in a place like Panama!!!!!! No winter, always 90/73!!!!!! Or Hawaii! Sky blue cerulean seawater!

Or maybe even in Brazil! Man that place is a JUNGLE!

I would never have imagined back in 1978-1997 when I craved The Day After Tomorrow conditions, that I would come to adore warm and humid weather by about 2022 living in south Texas.

But, this is true.

Texas is very good. People are much much MUCH nicer down here as well. I can't believe I survived 55 years in the DC region. I had a horrific time. I am lucky to have gone thru what I did and still be in fairly good shape, emotionally. It should have utterly destroyed me for all-time. I'm 1300 miles from DCA and damn glad. Thank goodness.

I wish the SWE event fully on DCA. All of it. I want you guys to be 60 to 70 degrees below normal. I want you guys to get ten feet of snow. But if that happened down here, Yikes. It would kill me, the way I am now. The way I am really now. But if that hits Texas, well, it was nice knowin y'all. We're done for. Highs in the low single numbers will finish off Texan civilization for ever. I'll freeze to death.

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2 hours ago, Maestrobjwa said:

If things don't work out and this is it (we don't know that yet of course), I wanna know why it happened so quickly. Like something just flips on a dime in 2016...that doesn't make sense to me. Somebody needs to study that year...To see such a precipitous drop, it had to be a catalyst somewhere, right?

Super Nino in 2016 may have been a tipping point.   Warmer the pacific past a point at which can be overcome by other factors. Just speculation though. 

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18 minutes ago, Maestrobjwa said:

Welp, if that was the tipping point, at least it went out with one big blizzard, lol

It will snow again. We’ve had snow the last 7 years. Just not nearly as much. And we will get a hecs again. Hopefully this year. But it’s possible our new normal is significantly less than we want it to be. 

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It’s not just the lack of snow that bothers me, it’s also that lately we seem to be unable to get a significant wintry event outside of January. I haven’t had a WSW event in February since 2016 and in March since 2018. Most Feb/Mar now here have been a near-shutout.

Everyone says peak climo is until March 15, but increasingly it looks like it ends around January 31. So tbh, I’d like it even more if we really do score big this year in February or March. That would give me a lot more hope that winter isn’t being boxed in.

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