Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Third Stratospheric Warming In Sight; Fourth Warming Incoming?

The long range GFS model has consistently been putting a third sudden stratospheric warming in the forecast, with the upper stratosphere forecast to experience unusually warm temperature anomalies over Canada and the New England area.

The presence of a third sudden stratospheric warming after a significant warming that ended several days ago and an incredible ongoing SSW (link) would surely penetrate the inner core of the polar vortex, pushing it further and further to the breaking point, a.k.a. collapse. I have been heralding such a collapse for weeks now, and I am not backing down with its potential. While the collapse may be pushed back a bit, I am confident that a collapse (the Arctic Circle is no longer dominated by the polar vortex) is imminent in at least some parts of the stratosphere.

Let's turn our attention to the next potential Fourth SSW. This one has me very excited, because it could feature a prolonged warming event, which would only further enhance the vortex's collapse, possibly into oblivion if we're lucky, keyword "if".

This is a forecast image of the Madden-Julian Oscillation, composed of several forecast models and ensembles. The Madden-Julian Oscillation, known as the MJO, involves placement of wind anomalies and convection from the Indian Ocean, across the Pacific and into the Caribbean. Phase 1 starts in the Atlantic and Indian oceans, and transitions east from the Indian Ocean from Phases 1 to 8, as seen in the image on the left. I am in to finding correlations between certain indices, and this is no exception. Upon some hard research, I found data suggesting that a sudden stratospheric warming can be predicted days- even weeks- in advance just by using the MJO. Here's a quick rundown of MJO phase to possible SSW in days:

Phases 2, 3: 25-36 Days
Phases 4, 6, 7: 13-24 Days
Phase 7, 8: 12 Days

So, if we use that MJO forecast graphic, we see the models going from Phase 5 to Phase 7, which is roughly a 13-24 day lag time from MJO phase to SSW. But here's the catch: the models start to circle in Phases 6 to 7, meaning the convection in the image on the left stays in the areas just east (and inside) of Micronesia. What this ALSO means is the potential for a prolonged stratospheric warming event starting in the next 13-24 days and continuing for as many days as the MJO can stay in the designated Phases.

This is all very exciting, but a major caveat is that the MJO does not necessarily always provoke sudden stratospheric warmings- it helps them along, so to speak. In this environment, an SSW would be easy to establish.



Anonymous said...

You are funny sometimes.... "possibly into oblivion"... Lol :)

Mike P said...

I am new to the The Weather Centre and find your weather information very interesting. The US National Weather Service is forecasting a continuing warm pattern for much of the US in January/February. IS the collapse of the polar vortex such an unusual event that the Weather Service is reluctant to make this prediction? What are the odds of the collapse in the next 15 days?

Frank-o said...

Greetings! I have been a avid reader of this blog for over a year! I find myself coming here daily now. It is my favorite weather site.
I to have saw that the NWS(NOAA) is forcasting a warmer then normal Jan, Feb, & March for much of the nation. Why are they so closed mouth about the vortex and coming cold snaps?