I subscribe to a few meteorology sites to help me with my job…I love weather, know how to interpret some models well enough to know what I am reading and I think that really helps me with my analysis of all factors going in to winters.
One of my favorite meteorologists is Joe Bastardi, of www.weatherbell.com.
He just made a post with some charts saying that this is the most excited about winter, this far away from it, as he has ever been…and he is one who LOVES cold and snowy winters.
The headline of his latest missive: “AS EXCITED ABOUT WINTER AS I HAVE EVER BEEN THIS FAR OUT”
He showed some sea surface temperature (SST) overlays from recent winters of the past 15 years that have been mild to warmer, showing what the sea surface temperatures in the Pacific at various times…the waters were cooler Asia to Alaska…which helped to push the polar jet stream far to the north as it rises north of the warm pool of water….it is actually forced this way. This is an Omega Block set up, as I have previously explained. That portends to artic blasts on the backside of that block, which is what people were calling the ‘Polar Vortex’ events last year…really, it was the polar jet stream behaving predictably as it traversed north of Alaska.
The first image is from late December of 2011…notice the cold waters off the west coast of the United States identified in bluish hues:
This next image is the projected SST (sea surface temperatures) for January 2015, or this coming January:
Notice the projected pools of warmer water off the American pacific coast, identified in reds and oranges, all the way to Alaska and back towards China….THAT is a very, very similar set up to what we experienced last winter, which you can see in this next graphic:
As you can see, the January 2015 projection looks very similar to what we encountered in January 2014, which produced the Omega Block, pictured below:
By the way, here is what the SST’s looked like in January 2013, which was normal to mild for the eastern two-thirds of the United States. Notice the colder water off the Alaskan coast:
Just to make sure I was on the right path, I called a friend of mine who is a meteorologist in Des Moines, Iowa. He confirmed that the colder temps in the North Pacific tend to see a polar jet that stays farther south, which means more moderate temperatures as the jet goes more west to east. This is the set up I thought we might see for this coming winter, way back in March when the ‘strong El Nino’ forecasts were all the rage…as the warmer pools of water tended to be farther south and the North Pacific was colder, which means the jet drops farther south and doesn’t collect that cold air from the north.
We are still several months away from this winter taking place, but the models continue to support another cold and challenging winter season ahead for the eastern two-thirds of the United States as the SST’s look favorable for a repeat of last year’s conditions in the North Pacific.