Winter Forecast

Bill's Blog

It’s already time for the some of the schools to start up…we’re into the last 2 weeks of meteorological summer…and I’m starting to look at what the weather will be like for the coming winter.

Sea Surface Water Temperature Anomaly for August 15, 2019

Here’s the latest global sea surface temperature anomaly map. We have satellites that can use infrared scanners to “see” the temperature of the oceans. On this map…areas that are cooler than average are in blue (much of the Southern Hemisphere) and areas that are yellow-to-red are warmer than average (much of the Northern Hemisphere.

Land areas that are adjacent to cold water tend to be colder than average and land areas that are next to warm water tend to be warmer than average. There’s been a significant amount of cold and snow in Australia (where it’s winter). They call this a “cold air raid” in Argentina… and a “brutal cold front” pushed into Southern Africa. On the other hand…Anchorage, Alaska was 6.5° warmer than average in July.

In winter, an upper level ridge often sets up where the warmest water is located. Given the sea-surface temperatures above, a ridge would be likely in the mean south of Alaska and west of the Pacific NW. That would induce a trough downsteam somewhere from the Northern Plains to the Northeast.

CFSv2 for February – April

Lo and behold out comes the CFSv2 model. This is for February to April. You can see the warm ridge from Alaska into the Western U.S. and the cold trough oveer the Great Lakes.

Western Ridge – Eastern Trough

You might get a mean pattern like this – ridge south of Alaska and a trough in E. Canada. Cold air masses could more easily “ride the jet stream” down into the northern U.S.

This pattern would not be unlike last winter…with the cold centered a little more in the 2nd half of winter than in the 1st half. In the meantime, if you don’t like winter…consider a winter vacation somewhere warmer than Michigan. If you do like winter, I wouldn’t hesitate to get that season ski pass and I’d make sure the car was properly winterized this year.

I’ll have a more complete winter forecast sometime around late October or early November…when we see how the early snow is building up in Siberia and N Canada.

N. Hemisphere snow and ice – August 18, 2019

Here’s North American snow and ice as of Sunday, August 18. There is still plenty of ice at the N. Pole, but this is one of the lowest surface ice areas for August since we started keeping more detailed satellite records in 1979. However, note that there is STILL a little bit of ice in Hudson Bay. It’s a little late for that (though I’ve seen ice in the bay into the 2nd week of September). There is actually some new snow in the Yukon and even northern British Columbia…it’s certainly early for that.

Here’s an interesting article on the accuracy of winter forecasts last winter. It’s interesting to see the tracks of storms last winter…easy to see why the U.P. had so much snow (esp. in February).

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