STILL Not Much to Hang a Hat On for the Winter

November 15th, 2012 at 8:36 pm by under 4 Warn Weather

The Climate Prediction Ctr has updated its Winter Outlook and its Monthly (December) Outlook today. If you were looking to the CPC–or me–or anyone else to reduce the uncertainty about a winter outlook, you’ll be disappointed. CPC is maintaining its EC/Equal Chances status for much of the east. They’re reasoning is partially tied to the lack of predictability of the phase of the AO/Arctic Oscillation or the NAO/North Atlantic Oscillation beyond a couple of weeks. The MJO/Madden-Julian Oscillation is briefly mentioned but, not much was said about its current active phase due to that lack of predictability. On the matter of time scales CPC put a little more emphasis on the role of the PDO/Pacific Decadal Oscillation, which is in a Cool/Negative phase. Before anyone gets excited about what that might mean, PDO phases tend to run on the order of 20-40 years, as opposed to the typical 30-60 days for the MJO. They seemed to imply that the negative PDO, which weakened in October but is expected to strengthen again by summer next year, may have been enough to kill off what would have only been a weak el nino and keep ENSO neutral.

I might have expected them to give more weight to the current active phase of the MJO, which favors above average temperatures in the central and eastern U.S. Since this active phase has run only 2-4 weeks, that would still leave it with at least several weeks more time in this phase, which could weight the start of winter with above average temps in the central & ern U.S. In my mind, that might have tilted the odds toward a positive temperature anomaly for December, with the emphasis on the first couple of weeks.

Now that I’ve said all that, I do not have the tools and experience of the long range specialists of CPC, and I have very little experience balancing the PDO with shorter term oscillations. That is not false humility. That is a statement of fact. If the MJO returns to the normal longevity for its phases, we could well see a notable flip in the overall patternĀ  later next month. The length of active phase time the MJO took on last winter was highly anomalous, and didn’t follow the rules. Could that happen again? No one knows. If it does not happen again, we may see a return to more variability in 4-6 weeks.

158 Responses to “STILL Not Much to Hang a Hat On for the Winter”

  1. Devin in OP says:

    Pretty windy here in OP. I’d say gusting 35-40

  2. Sled Hill says:

    I was multching up some last minute leaves and almost got hit by a tree branch

  3. Devin in OP says:

    KBUF sustained 33 gusting to 46 right now.

  4. THINKSNOW12 says:

    Looking upstream there is a wave or something it seems because there is a batch of snow just west of Detroit metro and my guess us with the shortwave coming in later tonight we might all see a dusting or a snow burst at the very least. In fact if Don were working today I’d wonder if he’d be confident that we won’t get to early December for our first accumulation.

  5. THINKSNOW12 says:

    Another observation just looked at the PNA, NAO & AO and early to mid December is starting to look REAL good. PNA is just about neutral, the NAO is weakly negative but the AO goes moderate negative and almost all ensembles agree. Hope it pans out.

  6. Devin in OP says:

    Nice bands already forming over the western part of the lake on KCLE radar.

  7. Southern Tier Hunter says:

    Well I’m lookin forward to some snow tomorrow. Got a Lake snow advisory posted. Up to 6 or 7 inches might fall down here tomorrow. Finally some tracking conditions and the snow might stick around with temps staying chilly next week.

  8. Marc (Lockport) says:

    Check out climate prediction and the above normal temps through most of the US. This includes our area too especially in the 8-14 day.

    I’m beginning to wonder if this winter might be even more of a dud than last year’s. Seems hard believe but this warm weather is just crazy. Thanksgiving 2012 was nearly a repeat of Thanksgiving 2011. Sunny and spring like.

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