Friday, September 12, 2014

Long Range Regional Outlook (Northeast & Mid-Atlantic): September 20-October 12

This is the premiere post of the Long Range Regional Outlooks, this one valid for the Northeast over the September 20th to October 12th period.

After examining long range ensemble guidance, a split became evident between the ECMWF/CMC ensembles, as well as the GFS Ensembles. Have elected to side with the ECMWF/CMC projections, as GFS Ensembles are generally going against the grain of the other two ensemble sets, as well as my own thoughts.

The CMC ensemble mean 500mb geopotential height forecast is shown above. As a general rule of thumb, depressions in the contour lines tend to indicate troughing and cold/stormy weather, while arcing of the contour lines indicates ridging of high pressure, as well as warm/quiet weather. In the image above, we see 500mb height contours valid for September 20th. We see a rather zonal flow (non-wavy pattern) set-up over the northeast Pacific, with the jet stream pushing into the west coast of North America. This is in contrast to the GFS ensembles, which predicted deep troughing in the Gulf of Alaska. There is some slight ridging in the Southwest, leading to some weak troughing across Central and Eastern US areas.

The ECMWF ensembles are shown above, with the 500mb geopotential height anomalies and contours shown on the left panel, as well as the 'spread' (degree of disagreement among the ensemble members) for this forecast of September 21st on the right. This forecast is similar to the CMC ensemble projection above, as we see the Pacific jet stream pushing into the Western part of North America.

According to the height anomalies and contours, we do see some substantial troughing in the Gulf of Alaska, though it is not to the degree of the GFS ensembles. We then see some weak ridging in the Southwest, as was also seen with the CMC ensembles, though it is suppressed. Some weak troughing evolves in the Central US before weak ridging in the East.

Tropical Tidbits
In the image above, valid September 17th, we see a swath of negative height anomalies overtaking Japan as a rather strong upper level low scrapes the nation to the north. Seems pretty mundane, sure, but the consequences here at home are far more than mundane. As has been discussed consistently for the past couple of years, the weather in East Asia can have a significant impact on weather here in the United States. Utilizing the East Asian correlation of ridging over Japan equals ridging in the US 6-10 days later, and the same situation with negative height anomalies, we can foresee long range weather patterns weeks out at a time. This mechanism is referred to as the Typhoon Rule, and states that weather patterns found at the 500mb level can replicate themselves over North America 6-10 days later after they appear over Japan.

If we use this rule for the Northeast, we might expect to see the northern parts of the region get some substantial cold around a September 23rd - 27th period. This fits in with the CMC and ECMWF ensemble projections, and is a reason why I disagreed with the GFS ensembles.

* The image used above is a forecast from the GFS ensembles, but the part I disagree with is for its forecast in the Northeast Pacific, not over Japan. Still, this part of the forecast must be monitored closely for the discrepancies described above.

Tropical Tidbits
Once again using this Typhoon Rule, we see the forecast on September 21st calling for continued deep troughing over Japan, now pushed deep into the country. Using the guidelines set forth for this rule, we might expect continued cold in the Northeast around the September 27th - October 1st period.

After going over all of the factors above, as well as extra analyzations not mentioned in this post, the outlook for the September 20th to October 12th period over the Northeast is as follows.

Temperature Outlook:

The Weather Centre
Temperature Outlook
Precipitation Outlook

The Weather Centre
Precipitation Outlook
I expect the Northeast to remain predominantly below normal for temperatures in the aforementioned time period, while precipitation should end up a bit below normal, close to neutral.