Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Next Winter Could Be Unusually Frigid

New and bold data has been uncovered, suggesting that the winter of 2013-2014 may be unusually frigid ('frigid' being defined as temperatures ending up below normal for the winter timeframe).

The data I uncovered was the result of digging through records of the Arctic Oscillation. I put together the proposition of using early spring Arctic Oscillation values to predict the next winter's temperatures and atmospheric flow throughout the Northern Hemisphere. For this case, I used years where Arctic Oscillation values in February were negative, but the year after that, the AO values were even deeper into negative territory. For example, if February 1978 had an Arctic Oscillation value of -0.75, and February 1979 had a value of -2.08, I would use February 1978 to compare to the current year and see if the patterns match up. If the patterns do match up, it would be plausible to expect a negative Arctic Oscillation in the forthcoming winter, thus a higher potential for cold. The image above shows 500 millibar height anomalies for five different years- February 2009, 1984, 1977, 1968 and 1962. You may immediately notice years like 2009 for its Northeast impacts, as well as 1984, the year before the epic polar vortex collapse. All of these years have had a negative Arctic Oscillation value in February of that year, to be followed one year later by an even more negative AO value. A quick glance over the image reveals low pressure in the East US, general high pressure across Canada and towards Greenland, as well as to the north of Europe. Low pressure tendencies are found in Western Europe, the Bering Sea and East Asia. I'm going to show observed height anomalies for this past February next; bear in mind the placement of the high and low pressure tendencies in the image above when looking at February 2013 below.

Let's run over the checklist of high and low pressure tendencies we looked at above and compare them to what February 2013 held in store. We see low pressure in the East US, as well as high pressure anomalies in Canada and into Greenland. We also observe deep low pressure in western Europe, in addition to East Asia and the Bering Sea. High pressure prevails to the north of Eurasia. Taking a look at the images together should set off multiple alarms- all the items I listed in the last couple of sentences appeared not only in February 2013, but also in the averaged-out 5 years image at the top of this post. Now, there are a few differences, like extreme high pressure in the northeast Pacific in 2013, as well as more extended low pressure in the multiple year image that we don't see in 2013. However, you get the general idea- there are several similarities between these images.

So, what does this all mean? Well, we've managed to figure out that the atmospheric flow in February 2013 is at least reasonably similar to that of the five years listed above. This means that, going forward, it is plausible to be on the lookout for a pattern similar to 2009, 1984, 1977, 1968 and 1962 going forward. What this also means is that the winter of 2013-2014 could see some similar features as far as the winters of 2009-2010, 1984-1985, 1977-1978, 1968-1969, and 1962-1963 go.

The image above shows average surface temperature anomalies for the aforementioned winters. We see a wide swath of below normal temperatures stretching from the northern Plains into the Midwest and engulfing the Central and East US regions. This widespread cold shouldn't be surprising- January 1985 was the month where the polar vortex truly collapsed, while the winter of 2009-2010 was the snowiest of record for many. All in all, the analog years spell a chilly winter ahead.

I understand if you don't really get how I chose the analog years, my explanation at the top may not have been as sufficient as I would have liked. If you have any questions, comment them below and I'll try to answer them as soon as possible.

**Don't forget, the Anniversary Festivities begin April 26th with two MAJOR posts!!**



Anonymous said...

That is so not good to hear at all! I should really think about moving to Florida with my sister! She is moving this June because she hates Iowa winters! I could I guess vacation there during the winter! Oh..I forgot I have to work!

Eric said...

This is great information (starting to give me ideas to write up for my next post), & I give you applause for the post, truly awesome research you did here. Don't know if you saw my post, but in it, I outlined further my hurricane season ideas from March 24th, and I also showed that based off of my expectations for this season to be active landfall-wise on the east coast, and showing the Western Pacific typhoon landfalls, that those following Decembers, were colder & snowier than normal over the east coast especially, it seems those winters are most similar to 2010-11. Got off to a fast start early remained strong, but faded later in winter, of course that's just mere observation. Also, knowing you're looking at AO, this site should really help you get WAY MORE information, with daily & monthly data going back to 1871, really need to check this site out, will be one I'll use in the future in my posts/predictions.

Andrew said...

Eric: Yes, I've been meaning to respond to your comments. Once again, your post was top-notch quality. I've been looking for the current AO website, looks like that's the link I've been looking for. Appreciate the comment and link, best of luck on your next post. You have the attention of many, many weather enthusiasts with your research, myself included!

Eric said...

@ Andrew Thank you so much, and I really hope that helps, as I know you're very smart and could do a lot with all of that information. Also, you should see that on that site on the left hand side there are links built in with daily & even (if you can believe this is even possible) sub-daily composites, truly a goldmine of information in there. Another site I also like is the Plymouth State (link) This site I think you'll love too, this one has daily 500 millibar heights with operational and ensemble means with data going unbelievably as far back as 1871, think you're really going to love this site too and really think it will be very useful in the future. (I'm definitely going to bookmark this one)

Eric said...

@ Andrew, that last site for example, here's a 500 mb & sea level pressure pattern I created for the Long Island Express of 1938, a storm I have mentioned many times in my last post. Interestingly, I also forgot to mention to you that this ideas that these next several winters could be frigid is something Joe Bastardi mentioned while we he was on accuweather in 2008, and here's the link to his video, it is truly worth watching, and seems like many of his ideas he made several years ago are starting to verify. (link)

Anonymous said...

Please stop. We've just come through a sub-normal November, normal December/January, and sub-normal February/March. In other words, five months of winter. Can we just enjoy a few months of warmth before the misery starts all over again?