Monday, November 24, 2008

NOAA releases winter outlook

NOAA forecasters in the US have released their outlook for the upcoming 2008-09 winter. Their outlook indicates more variability in the weather this winter, with no clear signal for warmer or colder conditions this winter over much of the US. Data suggests only the Mississippi Valley having slightly better odds of a warmer than normal winter. Elsewhere, including the northern Plains, there is not enough predictive correlations to say what kind of winter to expect this year. This is due to the absence of an El Nino or La Nina this year in the Pacific, which historically provide better skill in predicting winter temperature and precipitation patterns, especially in the western US. As a result.. other climatic patterns will influence our winter this year, including the Arctic Oscillation (AO) and North American oscillation (NAO), although these patterns are harder to predict long term, and have less predictive skill to our overall winter than the Pacific ocean patterns. All we can say this year for the upcoming winter in Manitoba is "We'll have to wait and see". Environment Canada will release their 3 month winter outlook for Canada on Dec 1st.

UPDATE: (Nov 27): The NWS office in Grand Forks has released their own local winter outlook for North Dakota based on climatological patterns for the Northern Plains. Their prediction calls for a generally colder than normal winter for the Red River valley, with above average snowfall. Overall, they expect a lot of variability this winter (i.e. roller coaster pattern) with a couple of distinct cold periods.. one from early to mid December, and another from late January to mid February. They also point to a cooler than normal spring.


  1. The lack of sunspot activity, we currently in "Cycle 24" is having an effect on weather patterns here on Earth.

    I predict another frigid Winter like the one of 2007-08.

    Wikipedia - Solar Cycle 24

    It's great for AM and HF communications though.

  2. I hope your prediction comes true!
    I WANT a cold and stormy winter!!
    I want a BLIZZARD!!!

  3. I want 10 blizzards and about 20 snow falls Ha

  4. I don't see any major storms in the forecast for at least the next two weeks, of course that is always subject to change!

    Look on the bright side you might wake up to a fresh 2cm on the ground by morning.

  5. I don't want snow. In fact if we eventually do get affected by another large system coming up from the south.. I hope we would stay on the warm side with rain.

    The problem is .. this is not southern Ontario or the Maritimes. Those areas can get pounded by heavy snow only to have it melt quickly with a shot of rain and +10 C temps even in January.

    Here.. in the treeless, flat red river basin... a snowpack transforms the area into a bleak tundra. The high albedo and poor thermal diffusivity of snow ensure we get trapped in a viscous cycle of cold and snow.

    If we would get the snow totals that they do out east... we would be lucky to melt the snow pack by Canada day lol.

    Btw... Tuesday is looking very nice..for melting snow that is. GFS brings a torrent of mild pacific air over the rockies. 850 MB temps of >10 C in western prairies and 4 C over Winnipeg.

  6. I would much rather have a big blizzard with 40cm, rather than these spotty 2cm events (that will eventually cover the ground anyway). This is Manitoba, and there is no avoiding a cold snowy winter. We might as well have some excitement in the form of a big snowstorm!

  7. Periodic dustings of light snow have no where near the same effect as one large dump of snow. In the former, periods of melting/degradadation are allowed for. Much like what is happening now... we are in a sort of 'holding pattern' until some other strong forcing takes over (change in longwave pattern).

  8. The GFS now shows another major low in the forecast. This 979mb cyclone would likely dump 20 to 30cm of snow in Northern Alberta, and Northern and Central Saskatchewan. By the time it reaches Manitoba it might have enough moisture to drop 10 or 15cm in the Central part of the province, but no more than 5 to 10cm in Southern Manitoba.

    Once again this is only a forecast, and based on GFS runs lately I personally have very little confidence in it.

  9. Today's 12Z GLB solution was more in line with what the GFS was suggesting for early next week, so those highs of -8 to -11 for Sun/Mon over Winnipeg will likely be adjusted upward quite a bit.

    Models suggesting a warm day over western Prairies Nov 30th-Dec 1st with highs in the double digits over snowfree areas of southern AB/SK, with some of that warmth spreading into southern MB on Dec 1-2nd as an intensifying Alberta clipper moves across central MB. This system may bring some mixed precipitation to southern MB on the 2nd, followed by a cold surge for the first week of December.