Nothing’s Written In Stone Yet… Could & Should Is Very Different To WILL! (Includes Video!)

Written by on October 20, 2012 in North and South America, Rest of Europe with 1 Comment

While my winter ideas for both the US and UK have been out for a while now, it’s very important to remember that nothing is a deffinate and it’s important to look at everything. The information given to you, is what I think ‘should’ happen when factoring in all the variables. We know the past, present but it’s what lies ahead that is the golden question. While I have harped on about what should happen, I also want to look at what could go wrong also. That way your receiving all sides and not a biased one.. All the theories and information we can look at about past weather and patterns which are leaning towards a colder winter, certainly compared to last, doesn’t mean it’s a given that this winter will be one dominated by snow and bitter cold, although just to be clear, I a, still going for a cold winter overall. ALWAYS REMEMBER THAT WE LIVE IN A MARITIME (TEMPERATE) CLIMATE, heavily influenced by the Atlantic with mild westerlies and so no matter how perfect the setup may be for a great winter, there WILL almost always (unless we’re back to a little ice age anyway) be mild spells, the question is, how long do those mild spells occur and at what intensity.

I’ve wanted to discuss this before my winter forecast is officially released, providing balance and a non-bias view. It seems that the many so called forecasters out there lean either towards cold or mild and most will be biased, most will also not ‘want’ to see the other side of the coin. You’ll find that most who cliam to have a prediction, cannot explain why they think what they do about the winter ahead except for going by last winter or the recent cold ones, or they will look at a few long range computer models. Take your pick what one suits you. We’re all guilty of looking and showing the model which best suits our biased idea but it’s vital to, yes look and see what the models are saying, but not lean on them or accept them for what they say. There are many flaws in models, for example.. you’ve heard me multiple times state the importance in relationship between sea surface temperature and atmosphere. There are models out there which struggle to correlate that relationship. They may have the wrong trough/ridge position where water temps may not favour. They may show wetter than normal where the actual upper level height field does not support wetter than normal or they may show a particular ridge position which would, favour cold elsewhere but it doesn’t actually have that cold in the favoured position. It may have warmth over one area but not cold in the other. Not following a given rule can often screen out, wrong. Moral is, see and use understanding of the pattern, setup and what happens when certain ingredients are in place rather than simply look at a model and say, yip. that one suits my idea nicely without actually having a clue. This often sifts out the people who have an agenda without the knowledge to back them up.

In the not so distant past, I asked one or two individuals, where their getting their WARM winter idea from. They claimed that this winter was like last when an actual fact, that is a rediculous statement as the setup in the oceans and atmosphere are in many cases opposite. If that one fails, oh, the models are saying warm, warm warm. That’s agenda ”predicting’, not having a clue what their talkiing about and really just a way to bash other peoples ideas and critisize.

Why am I saying all this. Well, when all is said and done folks, I ALWAYS hold myself accountable and will admit if and when I get it wrong. My point is that all these ideas and theories I have are based on hard work and 15 years of hard study of weather and patterns. Looking at the past and what SHOULD happen in the future but it’s all an IF and only God knows the outcome. But you all know my ideas and their out there but only time will tell whether this happens for us like it did in 2009-10 and 2010-11.

So, what could go wrong?

It’s just as important to look at the other side of it as well as what could and should happen given all the ingredients in place and what’s evolving. Bare in mind that right now, I can only go by current global ocean temperatures and only have models to suggest what temperature they SHOULD be at in Dec, Jan, Feb. Those water temperatures ultimately hold the key as to what we will get this winter. A deviation away from what modeling or I think, in SST’s, can have an effect for better or worse.

For example, the sea surface temperature profile of the North Atlantic is extremely important in favouring a -NAO or blocking high over the North Atlantic and Greenland. In order for us to get that block, the sea surface temperature profile of WARM-COLD-WARM, the classic ‘Atlantic Tripole’ is needed, but what if we don’t get that or waters cool? Well, that can change the entire pressure field and produce more lower pressure rather than higher pressure, meaning less or no cold for the UK. We need to see this setup continue.

Say those water temps are warm like they are now, exactly where are they warmest. This is important because this can determine the positioning of the blocking high and if that high doesn’t set up just right, we could find ourselves in a situation like last year where ridging and a south wind is dominant. Have that ridge too far west or east and the trough position is altered.

Weak El Ninos which have warmest waters out over the CENTRAL Pacific combined with a warm AMO leads to colder winters over the US as well as the UK and Western Europe but right now, the Nino is barely alive and we appear to be on the cusp of a LA NADA, in other words it’s neither an El Nino or La Nina. Could that have an impact on winter here or in the US, I don’t know if i’m being honest. What we want for a ‘perfect winter’ is a weak, centrally positioned El Nino and a nice, warm-cold-warm tripole in the North Atlantic whioch favours positive heights over the North, lower heights across the US and UK. The water temperatures between Hawaii and Alaska play a vital role in where the trough and ridge is favoured and if you get troughiness over Alaska and Western Canada because of colder than normal waters, this could favour RIDGING, not troughiness and so you get a winter like last which of course was very mild.

Ideally, you want a trough just west of Alaska which favours ridging up the West Coast of NA and troughiness over the central and eastern states. This in turn, would promote ridging over Greenland and the other of the TWIN troughs over Western Europe, like we saw persistently in 2009-10 and at the start of winter 2010-11.

The above charts show SST’s at this point in October for 2002 and 2009 which were years similar to this year with the weak Nino but the key differences with this year compared to 2002 and more importantly 2009 which is our benchmark for snow and cold since at least the 70s, the PDO and AMO are stronger in their cold and warm phases and what effect this may have is unknown. In fact their so strong, their about as strongly cold in Pacific and warm in Atlantic as they’ve ever been in recorded history.. Fly in the ointment? So too is the fact that the El Nino is struggling.

This is a winter which I believe could go either way. While I see lots of potential for a cold winter, it could go to the extreme with a brutal winter or it could be slightly below normal with modest cold and snowy spells. There’s a lot of unknown but it’s exciting all the while.

Just look at what could well be coming down late next week. That btw could be the strongest late Oc/early Nov cold blast in many years. Could see low level snows. I will post on this frequently and keep you well updated.

For comparison.. Here was last year’s SST’s at this time… any comparison to the above? No! If you actually look, you’ll see for yourself how different things are this year compared to last. One striking difference without having to look at a chart is knowing there was a La Nina. By the way, this El Nino is a reaction to the cooling Pacific. In spring, there will be another La Nina and that could bring us a different summer next year and potentially a bad hurricane season. More on that later.

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  1. Jamie says:

    Enjoyed your video! Keep up the good work.

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