Monday, October 17, 2011

Another Brutal Winter

We seem to be heading into another nasty winter this year, although surely not on a par with last year’s over kill.  We can not be that unlucky.  Yet cold winters do come in cycles if that is what we should call them.  While the continental USA is catching it, it usually turns out somewhere else is getting away with a very mild winter.  The average may barely change in terms of the Globe, but a significant cycle exists within that average that gives us what we actually get.

I also added the usual notes here on the sunspot crowd.  That is still lagging and it supports a continuing coldness in Europe and elsewhere.

I would prepare for another round of cold weather this winter.  It certainly feels like an early one on the West Coast which often dodges the worst of it.

Brutal Winter Predicted for U.S.

Another La Nina in the Pacific Ocean will make it a cold and snowy winter in most parts of the country

 By Heather Buchman and AccuWeather   | October 6, 2011 | 7

The Long-Range Forecasting Team is predicting another brutally cold and snowy winter for a large part of the country, thanks in large part to La Niña... yet again.

La Niña, a phenomenon that occurs when sea surface temperatures across the equatorial central and eastern Pacific are below normal, is what made last year's winter so awful for the Midwest and Northeast. Monster blizzards virtually shut down the cities of New York and Chicago. Last winter was one of New York City's snowiest on record.

La Niñas often produce a volatile weather pattern for the Midwest and Northeast during winter due to the influence they have on the jet stream. The graphic below shows the position the jet stream typically takes over the U.S. during La Niña.

This graphic illustrates the common position the jet stream takes over the United States during La Niña.

The way the jet stream is expected to be positioned during this winter's La Niña will tend to drive storms through the Midwest and Great Lakes. Last year, the jet stream steered storms farther east along the Northeast coast, hammering the Interstate 95 corridor.

Therefore, instead of New York City enduring the worst of winter this year, it will likely be Chicago.

"The brunt of the winter season, especially when dealing with cold, will be over the north-central U.S.," stated Paul Pastelok, expert long-range meteorologist and leader of the Long-Range Forecasting Team.

Chicago, which endured a monster blizzard last winter, could be one of the hardest-hit cities in terms of both snow and cold in the winter ahead. Long-Range Meteorologist Josh Nagelberg even went so far as to say, "People in Chicago are going to want to move after this winter."

While winter's worst may not be focused over the major cities of the Northeast this year, the region will not get by unscathed. Pastelok warns there could be a few significant snow and ice storms that could pack a punch.

Ice events could also be a problem for areas farther south from the southern Plains to the southern Appalachians this season, while a significant severe weather threat develops in the Lower Mississippi Valley in February. This threat is extremely concerning for the areas in Mississippi and Alabama that were devastated by tornadoes in the spring.

The West is expected to be split between mild and dry conditions in the Southwest and highly-variable, frequently-changing weather elsewhere.

Chances that Texas pulls out of its epic drought this winter are extremely slim with below-normal precipitation predicted for a large portion of the state.

Brutal Winter Ahead for the Midwest, Great Lakes
 Hands down,'s long-range experts agree that the Midwest and Great Lakes region will be dealt the worst of winter this year.

Bitterly cold blasts of arctic air are expected to invade the northern Plains, Midwest and Great Lakes December through January, while snowfall averages above normal. "A couple of heavy hitters are possible [during this time]," Pastelok said in relation to the snow.

In terms of both snow and cold, this winter is expected to be the worst in Chicago.

Full Winter Forecast for the Midwest and Great Lakes

More Monster Snowstorms for the Northeast This Winter?

Overall, this winter is not expected to be as extreme as last winter for the Northeast's major cities. However, there could still be a few snow or ice storms that have a significant impact.

Snowfall is forecast to average near or even slightly above normal in areas south and east of the mountains from Virginia to Maine.

For areas north and west of the Appalachians, however, snowfall for the season is expected to be much higher. An early, heavy lake-effect snow season will put northwestern Pennsylvania and western New York into the zone of winter's worst snow and cold, according to the team.

Full Winter Forecast for the Northeast

Ice Zone Sets Up Across Southern States; Severe Threat Develops in February

The Long-Range Team expects areas from northeastern Texas and Oklahoma into Kentucky and Tennessee to deal with more ice than snow events this winter, especially from early to mid-season.

Occasionally, icing could affect areas farther east into the western Carolinas and northern parts of Alabama and Georgia. This would be most likely in January.

The team also expects a significant risk for severe weather and flood events to develop over the lower Mississippi Valley in February. Mississippi, Alabama and Tennessee, which were devastated by tornadoes in the spring, will be extremely sensitive to any severe weather outbreaks.

Full Winter Forecast for the Southeast

Southwest, Texas Stay Parched and Warmer than Normal
"Mild and dry" will unfortunately be the mantra this winter for much of Texas and the Southwest, a region that desperately needs rain. Texas continues to suffer through the worst drought in its history.

Precipitation is expected to remain below normal in southern and western Texas and the interior Southwest this season. "The interior Southwest will be the driest area of the country through winter," Pastelok said.

Northern and eastern Texas, however, could fair a bit better with higher chances for precipitation as cold fronts "make it there with ease", as Pastelok stated. The downside to these higher precipitation chances, however, will be the risk of ice events, especially from late December into January.

Full Winter Forecast for the Southwest, Texas and Southern Plains

West to Experience Big Swings This Winter
Apart from the Southwest, people across the western U.S. can expect large swings in weather conditions this winter, according to the Long-Range Team.

December is likely to feature above-normal warmth across much of the entire West. However, from late December into January, the team expects a transition where cold fronts will drop farther south along the West Coast, reaching northern and central California. This transition should bring temperatures back near normal, away from the interior Southwest.

The famed "Pineapple Express", a phenomenon that occurs when a strong, persistent flow of tropical moisture sets up from the Hawaiian Islands to the West Coast of the U.S., could develop for a time this winter. This phenomenon often leads to excessive rain and incredible snow events.

Full Winter Forecast for the West

The 2011-2012 Winter Forecast runs in line with meteorological winter, which begins on Dec. 1 and runs through the end of February. Astronomical winter, on the other hand, begins on Dec. 22 this year and runs through March 20.

Will Sunspots Freeze Europe This Winter? 

 Written by Rebecca Terrell    
 Monday, 10 October 2011 17:32

Forecasters at Britain's national weather service are predicting another frigid winter in the Northern Hemisphere due to sunspot activity. Their recent findings, published in Sunday's issue of the journal Nature Geoscience, show that low-level solar radiation is likely responsible for Europe's past three harsh winters and probably holds the same in store for the upcoming season. Met Office head of Seasonal to Decadal Prediction Dr. Adam Scaife bragged, "Our research establishes the link between the solar cycle and winter climate as more than just coincidence," as reported by the Daily Mail.

On the contrary, scientists have known about the more-than-coincidental relationship for two centuries. Last month Larry Bell, professor of space architecture at the University of Houston, outlined the history in a Forbes article entitled, "Sorry, But With Global Warming, It's the Sun, Stupid." In 1801 William Herschel correlated the number of sunspots to the price of grain in London. German astronomer Heinrich Schwabe proved the 11-year cycle of sunspot activity in 1843. Bell noted the absence of sunspots during the Little Ice Age that spanned the 17th and 18th centuries. And for the past two decades scientists have been publishing research based on the satellite record available since 1979 pointing to the overwhelming influence of solar activity on Earth's temperature. Their research has been very unpopular with, and routinely ignored by, climate change alarmists.

Enter the highly-respected European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN), famous for its invention of the World Wide Web in 1989 (much to Al Gore's chagrin). CERN researchers have given Gore something else to stew about. They published an article in the August 25 issue of Nature, detailing their "Cosmics Leaving Outdoor Droplets" (CLOUD) experiment. It found that solar activity significantly impacts Earth's temperatures. More importantly, CERN showed that none of the climate models used to generate dire warnings of global warming takes this sunspot effect into account.

Now the Met Office is making headlines with the same news. Its findings are, like CERN's, based on satellite measurements of solar radiation, and it concluded, as CERN did, that low sunspot activity contributes to colder temperatures. So why is this news drawing attention now, less than two months after it was barely a blip on the media radar?

The significant difference between the two reports is that the Met Office believes solar activity has little bearing on global temperatures in the long run. "Low solar activity, as observed during recent years, drives cold winters in northern Europe and the United States, and mild winters over southern Europe and Canada, with little direct change in globally averaged temperature," reads the report.

In other words, the Met Office uses sunspots to explain severe winters in the midst of an era of alleged man-made global warming. CERN never claimed that sunspots exclusively account for climate change, but lead researcher Dr. Jasper Kirkby blackballed himself and the CLOUD experiment at its launch in 1998 when he predicted that the sun and cosmic rays "will probably be able to account for somewhere between half and the whole of the increase in the Earth's temperature that we have seen in the last century."

Once the CLOUD experiment was complete, CERN Director General Rolf-Dieter Heuer admitted to Die Welt Online that he gagged the scientists involved. "I have asked the colleagues to present the results clearly, but not to interpret them," he said, adding that he thereby hoped to avoid the "highly political arena of the climate change debate."

Nevertheless, Kirkby defended the scientific method in a press release accompanying the CLOUD results. Speaking of atmospheric aerosols known to help drive global climate, he noted, "We've found that the vapours previously thought to account for all aerosol formation in the lower atmosphere can only account for a small fraction of the observations." Kirkby said this "big surprise" underscores the vital importance of discovering "which additional vapours are involved, whether they are largely natural or of human origin, and how they influence clouds. This will be our next job."

He probably won't get much help from the Met Office, as its website unquestioningly attributes global warming to human activities. But perhaps its new "discovery" will improve the weather service's poor reputation for winter forecasting. In each of the past three years the Met Office predicted mild winters, but Mother Nature broke severe weather records every time.

Science editor Dr. David Whitehouse offers little hope for an improvement in the weather service's forecasting abilities, however. Reporting for the Global Warming Policy Foundation, he said solar activity this year is back up to 2004 levels when the Northern Hemisphere experienced mild winters. "So, if anything, the logic behind this particular piece of research points towards the Winter of 2011 being a mild one.

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