Monday, December 3, 2012

Serious Intro to Winter Begins New Winter Pattern

The 'Four Corners' pattern is showing up on the GEFS Control run.
Lower height anomalies are shown in darker colors, above normal
height anomalies in warm colors.

A serious introduction to winter looks to kick off a new pattern for the 2nd half of December, as I have previously stated. But the question is, will it stay?

This pattern, which I like to refer to as the 'Four Corners' pattern, is showing up in the next 9-10 days on the GEFS control forecast. Before we get into it, let me break down what the Four Corners pattern is.

When you're playing Bingo (or even Tic-Tac-Toe, if that's your strategy), an objective may be to get all four corners covered in order to get an advantage in Tic-Tac-Toe, or to win in Bingo. Much like you receive an advantage from this tactic, North America also receives an advantage from this sort of pattern. In this situation, the GEFS Control is forecasting ridges of high pressure (HP) to set up in four areas: off the Canadian Maritimes, northwest Europe, north Asia, and the Gulf of Alaska. In response to this blockade of HP systems, the polar vortex has to go somewhere, and in this case, North America is the only exit for the Polar Vortex (PV). So, as a direct response to this Four Corners blocking system, the PV will begin sending its energy southward; in this scenario, into North America.

Back to the Day 9 GEFS Control forecast, the forecast does include this Four Corners pattern, and in response, the PV must dip its energy south. Now, while it does not appear that this energy is in the Lower 48 at the moment. However, if you look into northwest Canada, you will see at least one circle of low pressure (LP) in the region. The Gulf of Alaska ridge will force this LP system south into the States.

Advancing to December 16th, we find that, as expected, the Four Corners pattern (and a newly-developed negative NAO) has incited a deep low pressure area to penetrate into the Rockies. The main polar vortex area is still located in the North Pole, so temperatures may not be as cold as earlier forecasted. However, this is still a strong low pressure system, so let's keep watching. Notice how the Four Corners pattern has now turned into a three-fold system, with the Canadian Maritimes and North Europe HP systems combining and extending into Greenland.

Let's make the connection between the negative NAO and this strong LP system in the Rockies. This system looks like it will be pushing east- that much is apparent. A negative NAO should try to keep the system south, but notice the HP area in the Southeast. This could pose problems for such a solution, but I will discuss this storm more in depth later on in another post.

Advancing to the end of the GEFS Control forecast, we see that a very strong negative NAO is now holding itself up, and our storm system has now strengthened and shot east, possibly as three separate systems. Here is where we encounter some signs I want to watch for the rest of the month- a strong Bering Sea HP, a deep Gulf of Alaska LP, and a ridge in the West. Now, the first two things should make you cringe- they were the items that caused the warm weather recently. However, if we have the GOA trough confined to its own region, a ridge can form in the West, and suddenly we have a good positive PNA going on. The negative NAO presence tells me that it should be there to stay, but this strong trio of low pressure systems in the East US could knock that -NAO right out of place. I would like to wait awhile before I make any conclusions on that, however.

In summary:
-A strong storm system may introduce the new weather pattern.
-There is potential for a positive PNA / negative NAO pattern to set up.
-Watch the Bering Sea / Gulf of Alaska to see if the +PNA can set up.
-This would be December's best chance for a better pattern.



Anonymous said...

Would this bring a storm to the northern plains specifically Minnesota?
Thx Amy

Anonymous said...

Would this bring a storm to the northern plains specifically Minnesota?
Thx Amy

Andrew said...

It is possible- see my new post on this potential:

Cameron Jourdan Fry said...

Raleigh wx guy is all doom and gloom for December:

Anonymous said...

Cameron...Your Raleigh guy knows his stuff. He has a great website also with fantastic weather data. It is possible for the Raleigh area (the Southeast in general) to be stuck in a ridge for awhile but further north cold see some cold weather at times in December.