Today is a big day for us "weather types." NOAA's Climate Prediction Center will issue it's winter outlook. So what does that mean for you and me? I guess that depends on just how much stock you put into long range forecasts.
As a meteorologist I know the challenges involved in forecasting just a day or two out. Long range forecasts are an entirely different beast. So what will forecasters look at when determining the outlook for this winter?
Mostly global patterns, what kind of cycle are we in and what kind of cycle are we likely to be in a few months from now? Are the ocean waters cold, warm, average? These are the things forecasters will consider.
Last winter we set records for cold and precipitation thanks to a strong La Nina pattern. A La Nina pattern results from cooler than normal sea surface temperatures in the Pacific Ocean near the equator. A La Nina pattern for us translates into wetter and colder than normal conditions. Last winter we experienced very strong La Nina conditions.
The catch comes with the "degree" of La Nina conditions. A "weaker" La Nina pattern like we're currently experiencing will not act like a strong La Nina pattern which greatly reduces the skill in forecasting. In other words, no two La Ninas are the same!
It will be interesting to see what forecasters have to say about our winter. I'll post the forecast in my blog tomorrow. Meantime, "like" my facebook page (Glenn Willey Weather) when you have time and follow me on Twitter at willeyonweather. Thanks for reading!