Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Why the Models are So Bad-- And What the Rest of Winter Holds in Store

For all the avid meteorologists out there, we all know the models have been horrible this winter. The thing we don't know is why. I believe I have an answer for you.
A common piece of knowledge is that change takes time to process. The same goes for computer models. What they may be indicating is an upcoming pattern change, and are thus having a difficult time forecasting. Or it could just be a bad model winter. But i'm having a gut feeling that the latter option is more unlikely.

So what does the rest of winter hold in store? Well, let's take a look overseas first.
First 8 days of GFS Forecast temperature anomaly

Last 8 days of GFS Forecast temperature anomaly

What I have found over the years is that weather in Europe is similarly reciprocated in the US a short time after. Looking at the 16 day forecast temperature anomalies produced by the GFS, the model is forecasting Europe to go into a freeze of sorts, with widespread anomalies of -5 degrees or more.
So what does temperatures in Europe have to do with our weather? As explained above, Europe weather can be reciprocated into our weather. If that holds true, I believe our pattern change is a short time away, which would also spell the model's inconsistency problems out.

CMC AO Forecast
I am using the CMC as a forecast because, as you see, it has much less flawed runs against verification than other models do. That is, there are less gray lines (past forecasts) leading far away from the verification, thus increasing my confidence in the forecast. Recently, the Arctic Oscillation has been negative- a sign of the changing atmosphere. The stratosphere and associated polar vortex have taken big hits recently and are staggering around, barely able to be held up on their own. If we can get one more good SSW (sudden stratospheric warming), I believe this cold will be forced to come south very quickly as the polar vortex breaks. The negative AO also supports cold air in the US, which could be the reciprocation of the cold Europe land mass.

CMC NAO Forecast
I am using the CMC for the same reasons i used the CMC for the AO, and those reasons are mentioned above. The CMC tells that the NAO is negative and should continue to be that way for a while. I find that the NAO and AO are very closely related, and thus it is possible for both to go negative simultaneously. That appears to have happened in this scenario. These AO and NAO are only short range forecasts, and while they appear to not contribute to the rest of winter forecast, they do. We have seen less strong positive days and more negative days of the AO and NAO this month than last- a sign that the pattern regime holding in the warmth and holding out the cold is weakening.

My thoughts
I'm still thinking a change to more snow and cold is in the cards. I find it way too early to throw in the towel on this winter, especially with these latest AO, NAO, Temp. Anomaly forecasts and data presented here today. I think it is still possible a good Nor'easter will come around. When it does, it could be "major". As for the storm track, the jet stream should shift at least slightly south, bringing Chicago, Des Moines, Detroit into possible target zones for snowstorms.

If you have any questions please ask below.

29 comments:

Anonymous said...

I personally think it's kind of getting late for the pattern to do a complete change.There is only about a month and half of winter left.This pattern we are in right now,is probably going to stick around until spring!!!

Andrew said...

After this winter, anything's possible.
I have been reading up on some weather forums and have still found a good deal of hope that there will be cold and snow to go around.

Anonymous said...

I just don't know. There is nothing major for the next week. By then it's already February. I've heard many many "forecasters" say winter will get snowier and it hasn't. I'm tired of the "pattern change" and frankly, a pattern change in early to mid February is already too late for most regions. I think its time to get ready for severe weather season and forget this winter. We all love winter and snow but we can't let our hopes get in the way of reality. Winter of 2011-2012 has been ridiculously disappointing and I have lost so much hope. It was nature's time to even out the snowfall after the past 2 snowy winters. Next year should be fun. This winter is gone. It's felt more like Spring half the days from December to now in the Mississippi Valley.

Mike Paulocsak said...

Hello Andrew.Could this storm track if it does in fact take hold,bring my area in Ohio heavy snow.Holmes county Ohio.Thanks.

Anonymous said...

Andrew so would South Central minnesota be in the storm track as well? We are always on the northern fringe and so far the most we have gotten out of anyone snowfall is 3" tops which surprisingly we have gotten 7.5" this month alone.....
Thanks Amy

Anonymous said...

Andrew- you should just let this winter go. It's pointless to issue "what I think the rest of the winter will be like" updates and claim there is still going to be a change to more snow and cold. Let it go. There is no pattern change. It didn't happen in mid January, not in late January or in early February. Time is running out to push the "pattern change" back. The pattern change will be when Spring starts and severe weather season gets going.

Anonymous said...

lol, I knew this winter update would say that there is still some winter left. No way you would come out and say that winter is done. Don't listen to forum hype. At accuweather forums, people have been talking about a pattern change in early December. Just cause forum people think there can still be a winter means nothing. They are just hoping. Spring is almost here!

Anonymous said...

Just to add on to my last point, forums are built for people to discuss and get excited about winter. People will tell you on them that winter will still come, or else there will be no discussions about winter if everyone knows it's done. You will learn that you can't trust what people say on weather forums. It's not accurate and you will be disappointed when it ends up not happening.

Andrew said...

I am not going to answer questions on if the storm track could affect anyone.

I am going to say this: I will stick to my guns to the very end on this. I have seen a change this winter. Believe it or not, a change of sorts has already happened- the NAO/AO have been more negative, the GLAAM has been falling, and more severe storms (typical of La Nina) have been occurring. The question is if this can continue. If this continuation of a pattern change fails to come together, I guess I busted. Only one winter of many hard-forecasting winters to come.

MIKE PAULOCSAK said...

Fine,if you don't want to answer my question be that way!!!!!!I would say this winter is going to keep going the way it is.The NWS says 6-10 outlook with above normal precip.& precip.Locals are also saying this.Next week 45-50 in the Ohio area.This begins Feb.I would not consider this winter by no means myself.Cold & snow will be very hard to come by in the Ohio Valley the rest of the winter.I now how ohio winters are,i live here!!!

Andrew said...

The only reason I did not answer is because of low confidence. The storm track reference was an average if cold shots keep coming.

And as for your answer, yes. If the jet stream dips far enough south.

Amy: You would likely get cold and possibly some clipper snows if this verifies.

eddie said...

Andrew is there signs of a another SSW Staring up soon? and is so when?.... and watch now that people gave up were all going to get a 2 foot snowstrom

Jen in toledo said...

hi andrew,....i find it strange that people are getting mad at you, for forecasting about the weather...and im not sure why. i too, live in ohio. toledo to be exact. about 2 mins from the michigan border. and i can tell you ALL this...when andrew predicted the january 19-22 snowstorm, he did so quite awhile in advance. on the sunday before the storm hit, our local forecasters were predicting for the 7 day outlook with way above normal temps. including the days that got the snow and cold, to be at around 50. i, personally have found this weather site to be the most accurate. and lets all remember, andrew is not mother nature. anything can change, at anytime. look at the blizzard of 78 in ohio. NO ONE predicted that. and so, i thank you andrew, for taking the time to help us all with the weather, and to better understand it.

Andrew said...

Eddie- there are some subtle signs that a SSW is possible.

Jen: I'm not surprised- this winter's been horrible, and if I knew nothing about weather and saw this, I would probably throw it out the door like everyone else is. But when you get into the nitty gritty- that's when you separate overhype from evidence on a colder pattern shift. Thank you for the kind words, Jen.

rod mclane said...

Rod Mclane I LIVE IN NE IOWA AND WE HAVE HAD MORE SNOW THIS MONTH-in Jan--(-than NOV-DEC when no snow happened and warm dry weather was in place with few storm systems) NOW IN JAN WE'VE HAD 15 inches in 3 storms 2 days no school -blowing snow ect. -i do believe with Andrew the pattern change is beginning already-and still is---and more of this pattern change is coming FOR THE MIDWEST AND NEAST!!! AND more severe weather is and has happened-some years jan.has no severe storms!!!! we got Feb-thru April yet people!!!rod mclane

mike paulocsak said...

Hello Andrew.It's the 34'th anniversary since the 1978 blizzard struck Ohio.This was and still is the deadliest storm to affect ohio.This was even worse then the Xenia Ohio tornado outbreak back in 1974.

Anonymous said...

charlotte nc in for some of this?

Wally said...

Wally in Huntley,,,. Andrew, could this pattern change also effect the up coming month if warm and how would it be ?

Anonymous said...

I'm to not a strong believer in a pattern change that will bring "winter" back to stay.

And on the models I'm very surprised with the technology we have that these models are and have been so far off all winter.

Anonymous said...

This may sound crazy to some,but maybe the models need an update with software!!All computers need updates to function properly.Again this is just a thought,and something to really think about!!These never had this much trouble predicting in the past winters.Let's just hope they don't predict this way in the spring etc.

mike paulocsak from ohio said...

Hello Jen.I'm not picking on Andrew the way he forecasts.If you are refering to me.I was two years old when the 1978 blizzard struck ohio.I'm from Holmes county ohio.This is located in northern ohio.Yes,your correct no one forecasted the 1978 blizzard.Also,i have stood by Andrew and defended him when people try to run his forecasts in the ground.If you don't believe me,check our previous posts.The people who run Andrew in the ground sign their names as anonymous.I always use my real name,not anonymous.So,what i'm trying to say is,i do not run his forecasts down.

rod mclane said...

IN APRIL 8-10 1973 SOUTHERN MINN-WISCON-IOWA N.ILL-HAD A SEVERE BLIZZARD -I WAS 9 YRS OLD THEN -NO SCHOOL FOR 2 WEEKS-- WE HAD 20 INCHES OF SNOW --WINDS OF 50-65 MPH FOR 2 DAYS DRIFS 20 25 FEET HIGH THEN TEMPS IN THE 70'S WHICH MADE IT HARD TO OPEN HIGHWAYS AND GRAVEL ROADS 2 DAYS AFTER THE BIG BLIZZARD- IFEEL THAT SOMEONE IS GOING TO HAVE A STORM LIKE THIS SOON WHERE???TIME WILL TELL -HERE IS SOME PICTURES OF THE 1973 BLIZZARD---http://weatherwatercooler.kcrg.com/files/2010/03/Blizzard73BFRoadNew.jpg--------
http://weatherwatercooler.kcrg.com/files/2010/03/Blizzard73CarNewOne.jpg-------
http://weatherwatercooler.kcrg.com/files/2010/03/Blizzard73HouseNew.jpg---

ERN WX said...

I hope it is the real Mike that is commenting. The pattern has definitely changed. Some folks believe that the pattern has not changed and will not change. I have noticed that the number of snowstorms and cold shots have INCREASED since December. If you check the data on the number of cold shots and snowstorms, you will see that the pattern has actually changed. It might not have been so drastic but the pattern has changed. February will bring cold and snow to many people. Next winter will be an ENSO neutral or weak El Nino. The solar cycle looks decent for a good winter. It will be better than the current winter I can guarantee that. The Gfs shows blocking developing soon, so don't say winter is over yet. A good cold shot may attack the east in early Feb. Andrew, think you did well on this article. Good work! Thanks for what you do.

mike paulocsak said...

Hello ERN WX.Yes,it is the real Mike that is commenting.I NEVER,NEVER,hide behind anonymous.Like i stated in my previous post,i have defended Andrewew when others have ripped on his forecasts.Like the other day,some JERK kept bugging him asking what his real age was.I told him it was none of his business and that this is not the place to talk about that topic.

Andrew said...

I am responding to comments starting after my first response.

Anonymous #1: There is always still March and potentially April. Even though the months change, the seasons don't follow any certain clock (which i'm sure everyone here knows this winter).

Mike: If it indeed takes hold, your area would definitely be affected as a more La Nina pattern would also begin to show itself.

Amy: I can see some clippers and cold weather in store for MN in the event of a continuing pattern change.

Anonymous #2: I know that many here think I should give up, but I see solid evidence that something has already happened to let in more cold and snow this month, and at least a decent chance that the pattern will continue to improve for snow and cold.

Anonymous #3: Since i've been at Accuweather Forums, I've found it to be the most knowledgeable place for weather. It's pretty easy to separate those who want a snow day and those who know if one will happen.

Anonymous #3, Comment 2: No one knew that this pattern would be so horrible over there or on any forum for that matter. There were some subtle hints, but it was a pretty big surprise for how long it has been lasting.

Eddie: I may have to publish a post concerning a possible SSW soon.

Anonymous #4: If a more La Nina pattern takes hold, I would watch for more cold and snow in Charlotte.

Wally: If the pattern change is going to affect any month with cold and snow it will be February and maybe March.

Anonymous #5: This is not to bring winter back to stay- if we're extremely lucky, maybe. But it looks like a slowly turning pattern change at this point that has gained momentum this month.

Anonymous #6: I heard that the GFS Ensembles are getting either an upgrade or a parallel model software to run. As for the spring, I highly doubt the models will be this bad.

Mike, Comment #2: I greatly appreciate you for sticking by my forecasts this winter, Mike.

Rod: That certainly would be a very interesting storm.

Eastern WX: I completely agree with your thoughts on the rest of winter, by the way. And thank you for the kind words. As for Mike, I'm pretty sure that other Anonymous/Fake Mike is gone for good.

Jen in toledo said...

to mike paulocsak from ohio....wasnt referring to you at all! :) i see you on here, defending and asking questions! i just wanted to post a "general comment" to those that were busting on andrew....and was jsut giving my area of location...i was actually in agreement with you! ps....LET IT SNOW...LET IT SNOW!!! i was 7 when that blizzard hit..... :)

MIKE PAULOCSAK said...

Hello Jen from the Toledo area.I understand.Thanks again.Today is the 34'th anniversary since the good old blizzard struck ohio.I don't remember it so well because i was only two years old.I do remember that we lost electricity for a week.My parents say it was an INCREDIBLE storm.It's too bad i wasn't older back then to remember it more.Then again that would just make me older today.Take care!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Hey: Pundits have correctly called your forecast the most fact bassed. Even the guys at Accuweather kept calling for cold to hit first late Dec. then in early Jan., no such luck yet. This is supposed to be the coldest week of the year. Here in Winnipeg, Candad. We are about 20 degrees above normal. Look to Feb. I guess. Theres about 4 inches of snow.

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