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Just some initial thoughts on winter
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Just some initial thoughts on winter

Just some initial thoughts on winter

Just some initial thoughts on winter

STOP yourself if you think a season months away can be predicted now. NOBODY knows right now. The truth is seasonal forecasting is still in its infancy. Even forecasts made just before a season starts are only a little bit better than a coin toss on average. 

Both Farmers Almanacs have been evaluated independently as well at 50% or LESS. 

This is also true of various old wives tales like wooly caterpillars, wasp nests, squirrel nests, fog in August, thunder in any month, and all the rest of the old folklore ideas, none have been tested as showing any reliable results. 

I’ve been asked if this hot weather means a cold winter. The answer is no, it also does not mean a warm winter. Research does not find a useful correlation between Summer weather and winter weather. IF ONLY forecasting were that easy. 

ALMANACS FOR THIS WINTER:

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They sort of agree on wet for the Southeast (although you can have soakers but end up drier than normal so thats vague). One says a mild winter and one says “brisk” lol. I normally associate brisk with bracing or chilly with a wind.

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So a mild or brisk winter which will be wet or at least have some of our usual soaking rains but unknown how many or how much. No snow except for Rabun County area. So there you have it, I don’t have to do any research now the verdict is in :)

CLIMATE NORMAL OR AVERAGE YEARLY SNOWFALL: 

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When Atlanta averages only about 2 inches of snow per year over the course of history, it means most years have little or no snow. A handful of big snows skew the average. When you only get about 2 inches per year it’s easy for any given winter to be above OR below normal because the standard deviation is so small. 

Peoples memories are short (recency bias) so if in recent years you get more ice and snow than usual people start to think it’s normal, but it IS NOT. 

A mild winter with no snow is more typical in Atlanta. If you love snow and cold move North of Tennessee. 

One of the weird things about last winter was that while we had an El Nino (+ENSO) in the Pacific Ocean, the atmosphere behaved much of the time as if we had a La Nina (-ENSO).

Right now the atmosphere continues to act with a La Nina flavor despite the Pacific being in a mostly neutral condition with some weak El Nino (warm waters) and some weak cooler than normal sea surface temperatures (La Nina) near the equator.

Since the condition of ENSO is a major climate driver not knowing which way it will be in winter makes making a forecast even harder than normal right now. Hopefully, trends and models will come into better focus in the months ahead. 

As of now it looks like the worst of winter East of the Mississippi River would come in the February-March period something common in the last 20 years. 

TYPICAL EL NINO AND LA NINA WINTER PATTERNS:

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Unless or until which way ENSO goes (EL or LA or neither) becomes more clear we are forced to lean on much less solid methods to estimate the coming winter season. 

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CURRENT EQUATORIAL SEA SURFACE TEMPERATURES (TOP) AND DEPARTURE FROM AVERAGE (BOTTOM):

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Right now I am looking at the behavior of summer weather, the low solar cycle, the hurricane season so far, and global ocean temperature patterns to come up with the following analog years:

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Here is the NOAA/NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE WINTER OUTLOOK:

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INTERNATIONAL MULTI-MODEL BLEND:

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US AND CANADIAN MULTI-MODEL BLEND:

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So for winter NOAA currently says a mild winter with rain/snow having equal chances of above or below average.

The international models show above-normal winter temperatures with slightly above normal precipitation.  

The American and Canadian models also suggest a mild winter but with precipitation near normal to below-normal.

The analogs go against all the models as of now showing below-normal temperatures with precipitation hovering near-normal.

I have to lean towards a winter that has temperatures average near-normal to above-normal with precipitation near to below-normal.

Either way this looks about right from August or September or anytime...

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As always a reminder that whether for a month or a three month period we are talking averages for the entire period not every day or every week. 

But remember as I said at the start the models and analogs are NOT a forecast because it’s just way too soon for that. 

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