Official United States Winter 2016-17 Forecast

Written by on November 2, 2016 in Autumn 2016, United States of America, Winter 2016/17 with 0 Comments

Today’s winter forecast is based on all current global atmospheric/oceanic drivers in place, their current status and model projection.

Following the record tying strongest El Nino in history last winter in which global temperature has been at record levels for some 16 months as a consequence, the ENSO is back NEUTRAL although record warmth is still be felt. Particularly so across the United States.

September anomaly

Credit: Michael Ventrice

Credit: Michael Ventrice

October anomaly

Credit: Michael Ventrice

Credit: Michael Ventrice

Autumn is likely to follow in summer 2016’s sweaty footsteps as being one of the warmest on record or at least top 5.

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Background Behind The Winter 2016-17 Forecast

Coming off a super el nino = weak polar vortex = persistent high latitude blocking = record low arctic sea ice = fast siberian snowcover growth…

Powerful El Nino’s create a sharp rise in global temperature and like heating up a house, once it’s warm and you turn off the heat source, it takes time for the atmosphere to cool, hence the very warm autumn. However, after the lag of warmth, there’s typically a sharp drop in global temperature once the ENSO flat lines. Are we seeing the trend reverse already across Eurasia?

While folks in the Lower 48 may not realise, the polar stratosphere has been unusually weak this autumn and slow to cool, so much so that we’ve seen a rare October split in the polar vortex circulation.

Credit: chorleyweather.com

Credit: chorleyweather.com

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This has made for a strongly negative Arctic Oscillation. This has also slowed the reformation of Arctic Sea Ice and so we’ve observed widespread and strong high latitude blocking which has helped Siberia become snow covered unusually early and fast.

Credit: AER

Credit: AER

Interesting to see the reflective cold over that growing snow cover of Eurasian but North America remains under the blowtorch.

Credit: AER

Credit: AER

Arctic sea ice remains record lowest extent for the end of October.

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Note the incredible expanse of open water on the Eurasia side of the ocean, likely due to persistent blocking above.

The Super El Nino occurred following the peak of solar cycle 24 which is well off the maximum and below the half way point to the minimum which should occur around 2020.

Credit: NASA

Credit: NASA

Sunspot activity this year is said to be quietest since 2010.

What’s interesting is that Eurasian snow cover is at the greatest land coverage for late Oct/Nov in some 40 years.

Atlantic & Pacific Sea Surface Temperature Anomaly

While all the above is positive factors to a cold winter over the hemisphere and looking below, we still have the warm pool in the Gulf of Alaska but it’s nowhere near as prominent. That warm pool prior to last winter has drove an impressive back to back winter pattern with persistent blocking over Alaska which frequent waves of arctic air swept into the Midwest and East.

Credit: Tropical Tidbits

Credit: Tropical Tidbits

While the winter ahead is likely to be cold across Eurasia, the incredible warmth we continue to see over North America is making me wonder if another 2011-2012 or even 2006-07 type winter is ahead where much of the cold is bottled over the Eurasia side of the hemisphere and not so much the US. I throw in 2006-07 because the winter was warm December and January but turned on it’s head in February.

CFSv2 Dec-Feb 2017 forecast

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The exceptional warmth over the Gulf of Alaska back in 2013/2014 was likely the primary driver to a cold Central/Eastern US, Canada winter. That Gulf of Alaska warm pool is less and with cooling showing up more between Alaska and California and warm water off California and East Coast, it begs the question as to whether there’s more Alaska trough/California ridge with back and forth further east?

CFSv2 is seeing what I’m seeing.

Credit: Tropical Tidbits

Credit: Tropical Tidbits

Credit: Tropical Tidbits

Credit: Tropical Tidbits

Credit: Tropical Tidbits

Credit: Tropical Tidbits

Credit: Tropical Tidbits

Credit: Tropical Tidbits

Conclusion

So, am I saying we have a warm winter on the way? No necessarily but I recon cold and warm spells will be more equal and some of the cold surges which come south could well be Siberia enhanced with cross polar flow likely given the weak PV.

MORE TO ADD SHORTLY, STAY TUNED!

See this morning’s video.

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