Chance of winter storms will increase in a few weeks

The driving force behind the very mild weather in December was less affected by La Niña and more affected by the North Atlantic Oscillation.

In the fall, most Meteorologists believed we were in store for a cold, snowy winter. The reasoning behind that is the fact that most recent La Niña winters have been cold and snowy. It was easy to make that cause and effect analysis.

So, why has it been warm and wet? We have to look more closely at the NAO. [The graphic to the left is a 'spaghetti plot' forecast of the NAO over the next few weeks. The dark line in the middle is the average...which goes negative by the middle of January.] The North Atlantic Ocean is the tilt of the jet stream east of the North American continent. When the NAO is negative, a large ridge is located over Greenland giving this pattern a nickname of “Greenland Block.” When the NAO is positive, there is low pressure over Greenland and high pressure over the eastern half of the continent.

Bottom line is if the NAO goes negative in a La Niña period we’re going to be in for quite a bit of snow! (Insert dramatic *duh, duh, dunnnnnnn* here.)

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Posted under climate/climate change, cold blast, news, snow, weather geek, winter weather

This post was written by Eric Sorensen on December 29, 2011

5 Comments so far

  1. Justin December 29, 2011 7:05 PM

    I probably sound like a broken record but keep it up on these types of posts! Its not so easy to catch on to these types of patterns on my own so having it watered down and explained is very beneficial to everyone, knowing what we might expect. Better to have “some” idea two weeks out than no idea at all.

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