Winter Outlook

 Outlooks  Comments Off
Oct 302012
 

I’ve scratched my head about this winter. Without a strong El Nino or La Nina, there isn’t an overriding stimulus for wet and warm or dry and cold, or any other combination. Looks like anything could happen. I just don’t know.

The National Weather Service is much more adept at saying the same thing. When they say it, they sound very competent. Here is a link to their winter outlook slide show. They did a very nice job with the information. The narrator could use some life in his voice. It’s okay to enjoy talking about the weather.

For translation purposes, “Equal Chances” mean “I just don’t know.”

NOAA Winter Precipitation Outlook 2012-13

NOAA Winter Precipitation Outlook 2012-13

 Posted by at 6:44 am
Sep 252012
 

An El Nino had built all summer in the Equatorial Pacific Ocean. Last week the 3 Month Outlook at the Climate Prediction  Center was update to forecast normal condition for the next 3 months. The outlook had been for above normal conditions.

3-month precipitation outlook from the Climate Prediction Center

3-month precipitation outlook from the Climate Prediction Center

I started to wonder about the cause of the change. Then I saw a post from Dr. Bob Tisdale at the University of Alabama: Hey, Where’d El Nino Go?

I toook a look at the update Pacific temperatures and anomalies graph at the Climate Prediction Center. As you can see in the graph below, El Nino had been persistent until recently. In the last few frames of the animation below, the El Nino pattern dissipates, but a warm area near Central America is left behind.

Global sea surface temperatures and anomalies - Climate Prediction Center

Global sea surface temperatures and anomalies – Climate Prediction Center

At this point, it looks like we have seen an unusual early demise of an El Nino. Maybe the warm water off the coast of Central America will be a good moisture supply for this winter. I don’t know.

 

 Posted by at 6:51 am
Aug 042012
 

The pattern for July was very strong and provided much needed, always needed, rain to most of Arizona. There were still some dry spots, but otherwise, July was wet. The middle of the US was not so lucky and is suffering an intense and extended drought.

Very intense high pressure has dominated the middle of the country. In the Northern Hemisphere, high pressure systems have a clockwise flow. This strong high pressure has ensured a constant flow of moisture from the tropics into Arizona. This wet pattern is now projected to continue into the fall.

Here is an animated gif from the Climate Prediction Center showing the precipitation outlook for the 6-10 day, 8-14 day, 1 month and 3 month periods. Notice in the fall, a slight shift to the southwest occurs. I think this is probably due to the mild El Nino effect. This is not a strong El Nino and may not have a large, lasting effect. Currently, we are in a lull with much less storm activity since the heavy storms on Tuesday evening. This shouldn't last and we will have more rain on the way.

Animated gif of the Climate Prediction Center's 6-10 day, 8-14 day, 1 month and 3 month precipitation outlooks. From Friday August 3, 2012.

Animated gif of the Climate Prediction Center's 6-10 day, 8-14 day, 1 month and 3 month precipitation outlooks. From Friday August 3, 2012.

On a separate note, my weather station software is not interfacing with my WMR200 very nicely. I may need to shift to a new software. Messing with the weather station has used up my free time and limited my time for the blog. Hopefully, I will get it resolved soon.

 Posted by at 7:58 am
Jul 192012
 

This is the Drought Outlook from the Climate Prediction Center. They posted it today, July 19, 2012. The good news is that for the outlook period, now through October 19, 2012, Arizona should see great improvement. The rest of the country isn’t looking as good.

Seasonal Drought Outlook from the Climate Prediction Center - July 19, 2012

Seasonal Drought Outlook from the Climate Prediction Center – July 19, 2012

Starting tomorrow and through early next week, thunderstorm activity will rise to a stable monsoonal level.

 Posted by at 6:37 pm
Jul 082012
 

Here we are on July 8 and no real rainfall to show. Here is the month to date rainfall map for our area from rainlog.org. Flagstaff has missed out on the precipitation so far.

Month to date rainfall for our area from rainlog.org at the University of Arizona

Month to date rainfall for our area from rainlog.org at the University of Arizona

Our dewpoint temperatures have oscillated and are currently down in the lower 30′s this morning. You can see my dew point temperature graph on the right sidebar. The good news is that the Climate Prediction Center continues to provide a wetter than average outlook for us. Below is a animation of the 6-10 day, 8-14-day, 1 month and 3 month outlooks from the Climate Prediction Center on Friday afternoon.

Animation of 6-10 day, 8-14 day, 1 month and 3 month precipitation outlooks from the Climate Prediction Center on July 6, 2012.

Animation of 6-10 day, 8-14 day, 1 month and 3 month precipitation outlooks from the Climate Prediction Center on July 6, 2012.

Although they predict a wetter pattern for us, there are two things to remember. First, monsoon seasons are hit or miss. We’ve been completely dry, but Prescott has had some nice rainfall totals. Second, El Nino is building. El Nino can cause winds to shear across the tropics and carry our moisture away shortening our monsoon season. Currently,the consensus predictions have this El Nino remaining weak. We can only wait and see.

 Posted by at 6:33 am
Apr 042012
 

Just when I condemn us to a dry spring, the GFS and NoGAPs Models align around a storm for next week. It’s unusual for both models to align at long time points. In the current case, both are predicting a significant storm around next Wednesday or Thursday. NoGAPs predicts the storm’s arrival 6-12 hours earlier than GFS. We will see.

We have wind on tap for the next few days

NoGAPs precipitation forecast for Wednesday afternoon, April 11, 2012

NoGAPs precipitation forecast for Wednesday afternoon, April 11, 2012

 Posted by at 6:37 am
Apr 022012
 
National Weather Service's Weather Story for Monday, April 2, 2012

National Weather Service's Weather Story for Monday, April 2, 2012

I think this is the pattern we will see for the spring. Warmer than average sunny periods interrupted by strong windy periods. As it persists, conditions become drier and drier. Which brings us to the fire season.

Campfires Limited has their website up and running (http://campfirelimited.com) I think we all remember the Shultz Pass Fire from the summer of 2010. It was most likely caused by the remnants of a campfire. Stop by their site. Buy a bumper sticker. Here a picture to stir your memory. If that’s not enough, take a drive out by the east side of the peaks and look at the damage first hand.

View of the Shultz Pass Fire as I travelled back to Flagstaff on Highway 89. It was only a few hours old at this point on Sunday afternoon, June 20, 2010.

View of the Shultz Pass Fire as I travelled back to Flagstaff on Highway 89. It was only a few hours old at this point on Sunday afternoon, June 20, 2010.

 Posted by at 6:47 am
Dec 172011
 

First of all, I am sticking to my outlook for the weekend. Look below at Friday’s post for that.

My original outlook for this fall and winter were for them to look more like the fall and winter of 2010-2011. So far, I don’t think that is the case. From a precipitation point of view, this fall has been fairly wet. This looks more similar to 2008 than last year.

Precipitation for fall and early winter, 2008-2011

Precipitation for fall and early winter, 2008-2011. Total precipitation on top line graph. Daily precipitation on bottom bar graph.

2009 and 2010 both have dry falls and then precipitation took off in December. 2008 and this year had a steady progression of storms. What is odd to me is that 2008 was a strong El Nino year. This year is a weak La Nina year with the Pacific Ocean being generally colder that average. Also, the Atlantic is colder. The Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation was negative for the first November since the 1970′s. The cold ocean temperatures could explain our temperatures.

Sum of daily departure from normal temperatures, fall 2008-2011

Sum of daily departure from normal temperatures, fall 2008-2011

This is a graph of shows the summation of the daily departures from normal. Another way I could have done this is to add the heating degree days and cooling degree days. This seemed more straight-forward. Effectively, this is a running total of hot/cold variance compared to the climatological norms. Here we see 2011 seem more similar to 2009. We have had nice swaths of above and below average temperatures this fall. Most recently, Thanksgiving was well above normal temperatures, but bracketed by very cold periods. Since September 1, we are well below normal.

It’s funny to see the continued long-range outlook for our part of the world shows near normal temperatures, but dry conditions. Will it all change? Or, will we continue to see cold, wet conditions?

3-month temperature anomaly outlook for January-March 2012. Climate Prediction Center

3-month temperature anomaly outlook for January-March 2012. Climate Prediction Center

3 month precipitation outlook for January-March 2012. Climate Prediction Center

3 month precipitation outlook for January-March 2012. Climate Prediction Center

 Posted by at 7:15 am
Oct 092011
 

I think we should start with a review of last October’s record tornado event.

Tornado outbreak of October 2010

This was a massive event. The National Weather Service did an outstanding analysis of the event. Please take a look.

This fall isn’t much different. The last two storms have been fairly wet and quite violent. The September storm had tornado activity associated with it.

This year and last year will probably be very similar. La Nina is building cold water in the Pacific. Although the Sun is displaying stronger activity this year, it is still far below what it has been in the past. Global temperatures are lower than most of the last few years.

Global temperatures at 14,000 feet - AMSU Discovery

Global temperatures at 14,000 feet - AMSU Discovery

I think that colder temperatures could lead to stronger storms systems and better precipitation chances for Northern Arizona.

Last winter had ebbs and flows of temperatures and precipitation. I think we will see a similar pattern this year. Overall, I think we will end up slightly short on precipitation, slightly warmer than average. We could see big, cold, record-breaking storms from time to time.

 Posted by at 4:13 pm
Oct 022011
 

Both GFS and NoGAPS models are predicting a wet, continuously cooler week  ahead. AccuWeather has predicted temperatures in the low 30s and upper 20s for Thursday and Friday. The pattern from the last few days for Arizona has been more of a monsoonal flow. With the jet stream dropping down, Pacific storms moving from the west to the east will be responsible for the next few precipitation events.

US Navy NoGAPS model precipitation outlook for 6 hours, Thursday morning, October 6, 2011

US Navy NoGAPS model precipitation outlook for 6 hours, Thursday morning, October 6, 2011

NoGAPS and GFS models are in agreement with a wet start to the week. Then, they indicate a bit of a break on Wednesday before the big cold push on Thursday and Friday.

US Navy NoGAPS temperature outlook, 5am Friday, October 7, 2011

US Navy NoGAPS temperature outlook, 5am Friday, October 7, 2011

I haven’t done a big winter outlook this year. I think we could see a similar year to last year. We have a weak La Nina, a more active, but still anemic, Sun, and a generally cold Pacific. For the winter overall, it will probably be warmer than average, drier than average, with scatter times of heavy snow and very cold temperatures.

 Posted by at 7:37 am
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