Where do we go from here ?
Good afternoon everyone ,
Well , its february 17th and we are just starting to turn the final bend of winter 2016. Will this winter end quick or will it be on the slow side?. I am going to discuss a very brief synopsis on how i think its going to play out. Look, its a natural process in the atmosphere as we approach spring that the polar vortex and polar jet streams start to retreat back to the arctic circle. Well , from the data and observations i have in front of me , I’m leaning towards a very slow start to spring. We just came off a very impressive stratospheric warming event and that warming effect is going to linger and effect the 500mb pattern. the MJO is also heading into a phase 8 (cold phase) The stratosphere as i type is cooling and that will have an effect eventually on the 500mb pattern , but , there is also a atmospheric lag time to consider here. Based on this cooling and the fact we are entering a higher sun angle which by the way also has an effect on the wavelengths in the 500mb pattern i like around march 20th to start eliminating any winter precip events. This is going to be noticed with the pacific ridge starting to break down around the end of the first start of second week of march. That ridge collapse will allow a more pacific zonal flow to dominate into the u.s. as the polar jet stream starts to have less influence on the pattern. I want to note, without this most recent stratospheric warming event , the spring i feel would be starting much quicker.
the most recent impressive strat warming & current cooling can be seen here:
the ten day forecast at 70mb for northern hemisphere shows the potential for impressive below normal heights around the aleution islands and north america.
What is even more interesting is the state of the MJO. the MJO is going into phase 8 and that is typically a cold and stormy phase for the eastern united states in the winter months. Now you can’t take a MJO forecast verbatim , after all it is a numerical model with a ton of volatility but with recent convection around the date line and a continuing slowly weakening central / west based enso it has a lot of merit here.
So , in short is this winter sealed up and done? , the answer in IMHO is no!! The only question is can the polar and subtropical jet streams deliver before it becomes too late.