Stratospheric Warming Supports Very Cold January For The United States

Written by on December 29, 2012 in North and South America, United States of America with 0 Comments

Asia took centre stage for cold across the hemisphere during December but as you’ll see from the below stratospheric temp charts, a significant warming episode is underway on the Asian side of the pole. This not only suggests a milder month to come in the very areas which have seen one of, if not the coldest December on record.. but it also drives the core of coldest air on earth towards the United States.

A mild first and mid part of the month appears to be history now with over 64% of the US now snowcovered and with another two systems set to lay down more snow over the next 4 days and arctic air to follow, there is every reason to believe that once we enter January, there could be a major period of cold across a large area of the Lower 48.

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Here’s the current strat temp. Note the slight warming over arctic Asia and a very cold strat over the pole.


Now take a look at the chart for 240 hrs.


The above chart suggests a period of potentially severe cold perhaps around middle January with 30-40 below normal from the Rockies, Ohio Valley to East Coast. I suspect a brief moderation around next weekend before there is reaction to this strat warming which could well send the US into a deep freeze for about 10-14 days. This may well present the greatest arctic outbreak since January 2009.

So, if this warming is occuring now and there is a 10-14 day lag, then anytime beyond January 10, would be primetime for some real blasts of arctic air. This is not a certainty, but looks highly likely that the stage is being set aand the wheels have been in motion since the run up to Christmas.

The PNA for the most part of December was not conducive and it stayed negative so therefore, there was no west coast ridging to tap the brutally cold air over Alaska and NW Canada but this is trending more positive, so this index fits the strat warming. As for the NAO, well the latest ensembles don’t show a firm signal into negative but I believe this will change as both the US and Europe fill with cold.

If you think the current pattern is wild, we may not have seen anything yet. I shall be in New Jersey on January 4, so shall be posting perhaps from the thick of the action. Can’t wait!

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