US: A Winter Crossroads Is Approaching And Could Go Either Way!

Written by on December 17, 2015 in Autumn 2015, United States of America, Winter 2015/16 with 0 Comments

Before I get into today’s post I wanted to share with you a video taken by NOAA of the full lifecycle of the record tying 924mb Pacific bomb which came off China and blasted Alaska.

This is a breathing capture of meteorological beauty, perfection and power.

As the above title states, we’re heading for a very important crossroads. Late December/early January often holds the key as to where the rest of the winter is going. As you’re well aware, the warmth of November/December and really fall overall has been exceptional, even unprecedented. I put this down to the true power and heat release of the super El Nino.

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At this point in time, many will have written this winter off. A 1997-98 repeat? However, I think this winter could now go either way with continued warmth and all but brief cold spells or the pattern turns on it’s head.

Modelling is hinting at more of a 57-58, 84-85 and to lesser degree, 09-10 option where warm to very warm eastern US December’s were followed by cold January/February’s. It will take for a shift in El Nino and significant weakening of the polar vortex.

I think one of keys is held with the peaking of this El Nino because I cannot tell whether this is influencing a stronger polar vortex over the arctic. I also believe the waters in close to South America are warmer than you’d like to see hence the reason for such warmth over central North America perhaps.

Credit: Tropical Tidbits

Credit: Tropical Tidbits

There is cooling in Nino 1.2 which is a good sign.

Credit: Tropical Tidbits

Credit: Tropical Tidbits

If these waters don’t cool enough over the next 3 weeks with westward shift in warmest El Nino waters then I think that mean ridge is likely to maintain it’s position and strength over southern Canada/Northern US, keeping things largely warmer than normal over the Eastern two thirds.

Modelling supports significant height rises from NE Asia into Alaska and Northern Canada reflective of the strongest strat warming at 50hpa. The region in which we’re seeing the warming and displacement of the 50pha cold core into Greenland and Europe is the same as last year and the year before which sent waves of arctic air south into the Lower 48.

If this comes off within the next 10 days, we’re watching the period Jan 1-10 onwards.

7 day

gfs_t50_nh_f168

10 day

gfs_t50_nh_f240

Latest Canadian for January…

Credit: Tropical Tidbits

Credit: Tropical Tidbits

Credit: Tropical Tidbits

Credit: Tropical Tidbits

Credit: Tropical Tidbits

Credit: Tropical Tidbits

What’s going to be interesting also is the intensity of arctic and or Siberian air which comes south. The polar stratosphere has been far stronger this December compared to the previous two.

CFSv2 on the other hand holds this warm December pattern through January.

Credit: Tropical Tidbits

Credit: Tropical Tidbits

As we well know, the above charts are all MODELS and we know how much they can change, especially when talking weeks and not days. Only time will tell.

See this morning’s video for the discussion.

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