Posted by wxrisk | GENERAL,WINTER 2011-12 | Tuesday 24 January 2012 10:30 am

24 JAN 1030  EST     STARDATE    201201.24


There  is a famous scene and photograph from world war two where field Marshal Walter Model is talking to Hitler about the options left in the  Battle of the  Bulge   (a.k.a.   The Ardennes Offensive).  And in that conference   Model says to   Hitler…

” We must  face  the   facts   squarely  mein Furhrer …we   cannot force our way to the  Muese River. It is over”

That’s where  we  are right now.  Like the Ardennes Winter offensive of December 1944 …the cold weather or winter counteroffensive of 2012  is in serious trouble and is likely headed for total collapse and failure .    With the  Battle of the Bulge there are several important reasons for this–  the initial reaction of the American troops   along the   Our  River   and Elsenborn Ridge…  the inability to take   the key  town/ road junctions of  St Vith  until DEC 21  and  Bastogne which was  never  taken…  Just to name a few  reasons.

With regard to this particular winter   –or non winter depending on your point of view  –    the problems remain immense and the model depiction of how the pattern is going to evolve over the next 10 days has been really bad.    The   various    weather models  keep forecasting these sorts of significant developments of what the pattern is going to look several days down the road .   Yet  when that time  arrives and we compare the actual atmosphere to the forecast from six or eight days ago we see huge discrepancies .

Therefore if you are hoping  for…or anticipating a significant change in the overall pattern across North America and/ or the northern hemisphere which will bring about a stormy  and or colder  pattern for the eastern  CONUS…  well   you are in trouble.  It’s not going to happen . 

There  still remain  a decent possibility of a significant winter storm at some point in February or March for the eastern U.S. and especially the East Coast.  But in terms of a prolonged pattern    flip  or change?   NO. 

In the last discussion I wrote   (  BIG BERTHA   and the BUTT   SISTERS)     I tried to walk a fine line between optimism and reality.  There have been several false signals  given off by both the European and the GFS models during the past several weeks which seem to be indicating the pattern was about the  switch.  But I   also emphasized that despite repeated attempts by various models to accurately forecast  the AO and the NAO   to go negative….  In every case the models have turn out to be disastrously wrong.  Only twice since the beginning of autumn has  the AO and the  NAO  dropped into negative territory but that is not what we seen from the various weather models time after time after time over the past several weeks.


There is simply no other  way to say this.    The GFS  European and Canadian models…  Both with respect to the operational and  the ensemble  — have been  wrong.  As an extremely wrong.     As in  ” without a clue”.

Invariably   when  the models begin to see that things are not turning out as earlier forecasted they come up with a new solution after adjusting the pattern and delaying the cold.

For example  this image compares  the  European   Model / ensemble  from JAN 18  valid day 6…   to  TODAY  Jan 24.   

A quick glance would show that the day 6 European model has verified pretty well when compared to what the atmosphere actual looks like over the northern hemisphere today January 24.  But there is an important difference and that has to do with the key feature I talked about on January 18… which was the development of   New   Vortex over the Sea of Japan.  It was this feature on the  JAN18   European model at day6  that  was  suppose  to start  the entire pattern change.  However if we look at the current image  we see this   Vortex  is  NOT anywhere near the Sea of Japan…  It over the north side of Siberia almost in the arctic regions.

This has huge implications for the entire pattern.

Indeed  if we look at the   European model  ensemble   from JAN18   valid  at day 10…  And compare it to the    JAN  24   0z  European model for   JAN 28-29 … The differences are quite significant.

The   European  ensemble   at day  10  from  Jan 18… valid for the 28th …  Showed a very large powerful new vortex  centered  over the Sea of Japan.  The updated version of the European  model    valid for the 29th of January does NOT  show that  this feature at all!  There is   NO  deep close 500 low anywhere near the Sea of Japan ….so the entire pattern is fundamentally changed and the development of  the colder wintry pattern for North America does not exist.   Instead we have of new deep vortex over the north side of Alaska which is where is been for most of the winter and is the proverbial kiss of death for getting any sort of sustained cold winter patterns in the eastern half of the U.S.

Its Over.

Looking at day 10… valid FEB 3  …  We see more the same sort of thing.  The   PV  is centered over the western side of the arctic region barely reaching into the western hemisphere.  All the truly cold air is located on the Pacific side of the arctic circle not on the Canadian side.  This is simply the wrong location   for the PV  to be located IF you are trying to get the pattern to change over the eastern half of North America.


What a god awful nightmare…  If you like a winter weather in the eastern U.S.

Even if we try and project or hold for something to change down the road we  run into problems.  The general trend of the Arctic Oscillation   ( the  AO)  is moving back towards a neutral and is no longer dropping into the negative territory.   WHY?   Because the PV that was in the gulf Alaska and heelped  bring about the Seattle and Pacific Northwest snow and ice storm did  NOT move   east into western or Central Canada  ( like the Models    forecasted).     Instead it has reformed on the north side of Alaska where it  has  been for most of this winter…  which really is  + AO position.

Even the    negative trend in the NAO has halted and  the GFS  ensemble    show the NAO   levelling off at Neutral.     Again go back and reread what the model data and the trends are showing on January 18.     This was not   the way things supposed to be evolving .



And if you are a professional meteorologist and you cannot see this   then   you are  trying   to sell somebody something  or  you are  delusional.

And really  the pattern does not change much  no matter  what we look at with respect to any particular model.  For example here is the day 10 GFS  — the 0z run–   ensmeble mean.  We have a moderate sized trough in the east a little bit of a ridge  on the West Coast…  which  by the way  the European model does not have…  The dark purple areas clearly show  2  PVs  located on the Pacific side of the arctic circle .  Another words although really serious cold air is located on the long side of the world to get a sustained cold pattern to develop in North America


  *****     It is hard to understate how   damaging it is with respect to the pattern the evolving into  a  cold one over the eastern half of North America and the U.S.  with a huge vortex of centered over Alaska or snow on the western side of the arctic circle.  ****

If we look at say the  8-14 day   reforecast model from  ESRL …  The pink areas clearly show some sort of  -NAO   but the pronounced and very noticeable dark Blue  areas over Northern Alaska is  STILL   there and shows no signs of moving.  What this feature does is essentially cause the Pacific jet to become very strong…  And therefore  there   can be no  sort  of  pattern a amplification over the  eastern pacific / west coast of North America   ( NO +PNA  and distinct tendency to get a – PNA).


One last  note: if we do  in fact keep  and  hold   the -NAO   into   a good portion of   FEB … then  it still  might  be possible to  get  a surprise a snowstorm for the  northeast US  of the some magnitude.  By surprise I am talking about relative terms — inother words it might be something that 10 days out looks like nothing and then in the last 72 hours things change into a moderate or significant snowstorm for the northeast U.S.    In order get something like this to happen there would have to be some sort of pattern amplification occurring on the West Coast   – a ridge over    western US / Canada–   that would cause a  short wave to  dig much further to the south resulting in some sort a cyclogenesis over the southeast U.S.







  1. Comment by jinx — January 25, 2012 @ 1:25 am

    this outlook would be worser than taking a monica lewinsky blow, to a winter lover if this outlook holds true.

  2. Comment by Watcher — January 28, 2012 @ 12:00 am

    Looks like you need to update your AO and NAO graphics — both are currently negative and even the EURO and EURO ensembles show a continuation of negative, if only in the AO, but most probably in the NAO, as well. Interestingly, of all, the ensembles should have the highest confidence level. Predictability of the 500 mb pattern has been high for both the GFS and ECMWF (.87 and ~.907 respectively). There is a decent handle and a depiction of a ridge shoving in on the west coast going over the top. Also, all the cold anomalies across the atmosphere have entered from the east first, then shoved the warmth west (presently Asia bears an example of this after a PV anomaly came east and connect to the polar westerlies, shoving cold into central and east asia, where there have been impressive anomalies). A look at the Canadian ensembles shows an increasing trend toward shoving positive anomalies up in to Alaska and over the Pole, which is why it continues to show a continuation of negative AO values into February. When you issue an assessment like this, it would be be important to be sure to update your graphics such that the story can be seen — you cut off the AO and NAO directly at the descent. And just because the models have failed thus far because of their individual biases doesn’t mean they will continue to do so. That reasoning is correlative at best, but doesn’t prove causation.

  3. Comment by ritch — January 28, 2012 @ 1:51 am

    This is depressing for snow and cold lovers like me. Hopefully next year’s winter will be the polar opposite.

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