Friday, November 23, 2012

December Likely To Favor Midwest, Ohio Valley, Northeast For Cold, Storms

It appears that a cold and stormy start to December is unfolding. Let's take a look.

This image depicts the 30 day sunspot cycle. This is not the big solar cycle that lasts several years between each cycle, but a smaller cycle that has a wavelength spanning a good 30 days. As you can see in the image above, we are currently near the maximum of this 30 day sunspot cycle. The sunspot numbers actually had a very high spike not that long ago, but now appear to be going down towards the minimum.

The reason why this is important is because there appears to be a negative correlation (one factor goes up, the other goes down) between the 30 day sunspot cycle and the Pacific North American (PNA) index. For instance, the 30 day sunspot cycle is around its maximum, and the PNA just so happens to be pretty darn negative. This is a negative correlation. In coming days, the sunspots will decrease while the CPC ensemble members begin to bring the PNA towards positive values, as seen in the image below.

For those who don't know what the positive PNA does, it directs the storm track more inland towards the Midwest and Ohio Valley. An example of this is shown as the Chicago Blizzard of 2011 occurred during a positive PNA. So, as we begin to see the sunspot numbers decrease, the PNA is likely to increase. The extent of this increase is unknown, but the likelihood for a pull towards positive territory is likely. Additionally, as the sunspot numbers go down, so will temperatures. The sun is a heating source for our planet. When sunspots are high, it means the sun's energy is high, and the Earth gets a little warmer. In a similar fashion, when the sun has little sunspots, the sun is less energetic, and less heat is released to the Earth.

In conclusion, we can expect an incoming slightly cooler pattern as the sunspot numbers drop gradually. Due to the negative correlation between sunspots and the PNA, the PNA will make a good attempt (and possibly succeed) at going towards positive territory.

What I should also mention is that the tendency for a negative NAO will continue, and thus the chances for Northeast storms will continue.


1 comment:

Gail said...

Andrew, you got me thinking... Any cause & effect between sunspot activity and "global warming"?