Dec 052017
 
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JJ challenged me to comment on Facebook about a post from WeatherWest.com about the Ridiculously Resilient Ridge from a few years back. This was the weather system that gave California a long drought, and robbed Arizona of a good El Nino winter. The blob of warm water disappeared and the ridge went with it. I still think it is not clear which came first the ridge or the blob. Yada, yada, yada…Here is what the global sea surface temperatures looked like back then.

Global sea surface temperature anomaly animation, August 5, 2015. From Climate Prediction Center.

Global sea surface temperature anomaly animation, August 5, 2015. From Climate Prediction Center.

This winter, things look different.

Global sea surface temperatures and anomalies, November 29, 2017. (From the Climate Prediction Center.)

Global sea surface temperatures and anomalies, November 29, 2017. (From the Climate Prediction Center.)

First, look at the cold blue water off the Pacific coast of South America. A significant La Nina is underway this year. Typically, La Ninas make Arizona warmer and drier than average, where as El Ninos make it warmer and wetter. (Notice how everything makes it warmer? hmm.)

Now, look at the difference in off the Pacific coast North America. The blob is the more northern of the two red zones. Today, it is replaced by a cold patch. Off the SoCal coast is a diffuse warm region.

In short, now looks nothing like back then.

This winter is probably going to continue mostly dry. After 7-8 years of repeatedly above average precipitation for Northern Arizona, we are sadly due for a dry spell. Still a single break in the action can turn that frown, upside down. That break is not in sight. The likelihood of a White Christmas is very low.

The East Coast is in for a very cold December.

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