West Coast Blocking still in process with warmer and drier than normal Forecast for our future…..Longer Range “Outlook” shows the next opportunity of a decent system 10 Days Out…..Rumor Mill Runs Amuck

PS…Congrats to Doug Wolkon from San Diego for figuring out that today is PI Day  IE 3.14.15…..9   You get the Dweeb Award!



The Good, Bad and the Ugly…….

First the Ugly…I visited one of my favorite eatery establishments last night, and as I walked from the parking lot to its front door, I was approached by a rather frantic young lady who said “Is it true what you said”…that we are going to have another drought next winter?  I told her no. That based upon my understanding of the science, there is no one on earth that can accurately predict the weather on a climate time scale like next winter at this time.  I know that the Old Farmers Almanac likes to manipulate the data and say that they do the Summer before. Once in a while they get it right, However, you can be right for all the wrong reasons.  I think that CCM Jann Null did a study on the accuracy Old Farmers Almanac and found that their actual performance was less than acceptable with what you and I would base our winter plans on, two or three months ahead of time. Remember they go to press in the Summer I believe.

Metaphorically Thinking….

I think that one needs to look at climate prediction for the next Winter, like your favorite Fruit Pie. Mine is Banana Cream. This pie is never cut evenly. There are small pieces of the pie and big pieces of the pie. There are most likely pieces that have not been discovered yet.  I find that the pie is most difficult to resist for forecasting purposes when the big pieces are so large that the smaller pieces are dwarfed in comparison. Since the pie cooks very slowly, you must let it bake all summer and most of the fall. This is because during baking, the pieces change in there size through the process. So for a successful climatic forecast for next winter you need to be able to see and examine all the pieces of the pie, only taking it out of the oven until mid to late Fall. That is why NOAA does not come out with their seasonal forecast for the winter until November.

The Pieces:

An example of a piece of the pie that could potentially be huge is a “strong warm” ENSO Signal. If climate scientists have strong proof that the SSTA’s were going to be +1.5C  to +2.5C in the NINO 3.4 to 1+2 region in Dec, Jan and February, A forecast for much above normal rainfall over much of California would be reasonable.  That would be a piece of pie that would be so large it would make you sick!  And….although there might be other pieces that were just as tasty, including the ones that are unseen, you might want to go with the big ENSO piece and a few of the others just to make sure.  So with pieces of the pie metaphorically and collectively so big, you could go to the bank with a pretty good forecast of a wet winter for most of CA during those three months. Climate scientist’s like “Strong El NINO”s as it make their forecasts much easier for much of California and the southwest. But predicting one significant enough 6 months out, is another story.  It should be acknowledged that most winters are not big ENSO years. So you have a lot of smaller or moderate sized pieces of the pie to make a decision upon. The smaller collectively the pieces are, the bigger the chance of a bust for California or for that matter the CONUS.

Other prominent pieces of the pie in addition to ENSO are (teleconnections) or atmospheric anomalies that have either a linear or non linear relationships to specific areas 1000s of miles away. Teleconnections like the +/- PNA, AO, NAO, PDO, AMO, EPO, WPO, the solar cycle and many other oscillations can have an effect upon the planets weather or climate.  There are several other factors that involve Air-Sea coupling, ocean gyres and anomalous SSTs over key areas of the oceans that have a teleconnecting effect over other various regions of the earth in addition to ENSO.  Did you know that the great mountain ranges of the earth can cause a frictional effect upon the wind systems the can add or subtract Atmospheric Angular momentum at various Latitudes. That is because the earth is spinning, and the equator is spinning faster than the northern/southern latitudes.  Yes there are plenty of pieces of the pie as well as the relationships between all the pieces….. So  the next time you hear a rumor about what next winter is going to be like 6 or 9 months ahead of time…..just know what’s involved and smile… 😉


The Bad:

As poor as the amount of natural snow we received this winter, I have spoken with both skiers and boarders that have had a great time this winter.  Mammoth Mt has an average elevation of close to 10,000 feet especially from the Main Lodge to the Summit. That is why we have faired better then most if not all California Ski Resorts this winter as far as coverage. Many resorts have already or are getting ready to close. Mammoth Mt has been able to keep it going, with their snow making and occasional natural snowfall.

The three biggest contributing factor in this years drought year was, 1. The Record high positive PDO where we have so much warm water along the entire west coast up into the Gulf of AK, 2. The warm but now cooling Atlantic Multi decadal Oscillation 3. The weak warm ENSO where most of the warm water is centered near the equator and central pacific and cooler waters over the Eastern Tropical Pac.   IE. (Modoki)  Those 3 pieces of the pie are deadly to the California West Coast for rainfall. Especially with out the aid of a strong warm full basin ENSO signal.

Drought stricken CA will have to deal with yet another severe fire season; very low water reserves and a continuing depleting ground water supply.


The Good….

It is still Winter but shortly Spring… there is likely to be at least a few more storms this Spring.  Then there is what may happen with ENSO.  Once again there is chatter about a possible strong EL Nino next winter.  As we know from last Summers hype, there is no guarantee…. The “possibility” of a strong El Nino for the following winter is just a guess based upon some scientific evidence.   You are going to hear and read a lot about that this summer….One is based upon conditions that may lead to a strong Warm Event, rather than a warm event actually in process. The latter is much better…..

So here are some interesting curiosities….

1. There are several eastward moving down welling events in process. One moving into the eastern pacific with quite a warm pool beneath the surface. And another behind it.

The Strong MJO event now in progress has already spawned a few typhoons, both in the southern and northern hemispheres. There is an area with significant westerly winds bursts pushing warm water from the western pacific to the central pacific then possibly into the eastern pacific. The MJO itself is expected remain very strong the next week with a sigma of +4 in phase 7, IE. well into the Central Pac, then weakening into the eastern pacific, where areas with cooler water have less convective potential compared to where it is today. The MJO is an air sea coupled system that can be associated with very strong thunderstorms and twin anti cyclones at 850MB that can move a lot of warm water from west to east.  It is suggested theoretically that the MJO is possibly related to initiating a warm ENSO event or at the least assisting it its development. That and the kelvin wave could work together to add anomalous warmth to the Nino basin.  I would say that right now is a very intensive operational period for oceanographers and climate scientist to see if indeed this latest MJO and current strong westerly wind burst, jack starts a strong warm ENSO event.  It is unfolding RIGHT NOW!!!!

This is very exciting news….but still no guarantee of a strong El Nino Event for next winter…..


Remember the proof will be when the pie comes out of the oven……



More later………:-)


A Subtropical Upper jet to bring mainly light precipitation to the high country Wednesday…..Then a rather dirty ridge is expected to develop Friday and into the weekend allowing considerable high clouds and very mild temperatures……A remarkably strong MJO is developing over the Western Pacific the next week and is expected to propagate eastward toward Central Pacific….

Wednesday AM:

Light snow is currently falling in the Town of Mammoth. Snowfall amounts are expected to be in the inch or two range on the mountain with a trace expected in Town, mainly above 8K.

As far as the short and medium range forecast’s. All of the guidance indicates, drier than normal and warmer than normal conditions prevailing, beginning Thursday and continuing through early next week.  Highs this weekend will be in the low 60s while considerable high level cloudiness is expected at times. (Dirty Ridge)

Longer Range:

According to the CPC, there is not much support in the dynamical models for significant tropical moisture transport into California during the Weeks 2-4 time period. (Mid March to Early/Mid April) The CFS does indicate “some potential” for modest California wetness during Weeks 3 and 4, but the ECMWF maintains a dry signal.  Most of the tropical moisture is anticipated to remain over the northeastern Pacific; see: http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/products/people/wwang/cfsv2fcst/imagesInd3/glbPrecMonInd1.gif for the latest CFS March outlook.

Additionally, the model guidance supports above normal temperatures persisting through the end of March for California, which would not be supportive of any late season mountain snowfall, and would promote early melting of the little snowpack that exists.

Of note; the PDO came in at positive record levels again for the month of February. These are 115 year records dating back to 1900. With another robust Down welling event translating eastward across the Central and Eastern Pac, no doubt that the +PDO signal will not flip negative, anytime soon…


The Dweeber…………………………….:-)



Lots going on with the Madden Julian Oscillation and potential future weather changes more on an inter-seasonal time scale or even climate time scale than anything else this morning. The Dweebs have been watching the forecast of a robust MJO that is forecasted to flare over the western pacific the next 10 days.  The forecasts in the some of the global models has been showing the standard deviation from normal, off the chart in phase 7 and progressive in many cases into phase space 8.  The Dweebs have been poo-pooing any serious effects for the CONUS from this tropical forcing, mainly because the statistical model has not shown any sync with this anomaly. The Dweebs looked at the statistical model this morning and its taken off.  So we got a real event that is going to have significant effects upon the CONUS in a couple of weeks, and possibly on a climate time scale I suspect. The MJOs lead time is often beyond week 2, so chances are,  it has not been reflected in the global models yet!  I will be attending a special webinar from the CPC this afternoon and will report tomorrow AM on the same.

Although unrelated, another robust Kelvin Wave is translating east with some of the core heat in the wave, sub-surface as high as +6C!  This appears to be another strong Kelvin Wave translating east, that will hit the Central American coast later this Spring and push anomalous warm water north along the Mexican coast, and eventually the west coast of the CONUS, including CA this Summer reinforcing the +PDO.    It is interesting to note that Kelvin Waves can jack start Warm ENSO events. Additionally, Strong MJO’s can also Jack start Warm ENSO events.   So there is something interesting going on and I suspect that it should be a very interesting day today at the CPC…..


The Dweeber………………………:-)

Upper High centered over Northern California today will remain in the Vicinity through Monday. Sunny skies, Clear Nights along with light winds are expected to continue….Cooler breezy weather to develop by Tuesday night into Wednesday with the chance of showers……Time to Spring Forward Saturday Night!

Saturday AM:


If you caught this mornings Sat Map, the big closed low NNE of the Big Island has tapped a plume of moisture from the ITCZ….  An Atmospheric River (AR) has been created…. What a waist, as it’s too bad it is not directed into CA!   SEE:  http://www.ospo.noaa.gov/Products/bTPW/index.html


Discounting the short and medium range where there is still a slight chance of showers in the forecast the middle of next week;  It is not surprising this afternoon by the looks and recent trends of the ensembles of the ECMWF and GFS, that the CPC has gone warmer and drier than normal for the next 14 days.  They tell a story that is getting older by the year…..

SEE:  http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/products/predictions/610day/

and  http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/products/predictions/814day/index.php

PS  Don’t forget to spring forward an hour Saturday Night before retiring for the evening or it will be later then you think Sunday….




Looking at the latest guidance this morning not much has changed forecast wise for the next 5 days except to adjust up the temps over the lower elevations of Eastern CA/Owens Valley the early to mid part of next week

The outlook still shows cooler cloudier weather with the chance of showers by the middle of next week as the present upper high gets dampened and shoved east by the westerlies. In that the upper jet remains well north of Mammoth, the air mass will be mild mid-week with higher snow levels for any shower activity. Model “trends” appear to be stronger now with the upper ridge over CA that following weekend. This occurs as shown by todays 12Z Friday run of the new higher res GFS T1534. Its deterministic run shows today, a trapped closed upper low near 155west. and a closed upper high centered over CA at the moment.   Upper heights weaken to the north over the GO/AK the next few days and the closed low progresses east. As lower Upper heights developed over the GOAK the upper jet strengthen and both flatted the west coast ridge and pushes parts of east next Wednesday.  This allows cooler wetter weather to develop over Northern CA northward, giving Mammoth mostly wind, cooling and a chance of orographic showers.  There appears to be two decisively different systems/streams out over the mid pacific later next week. The southern branch seems to have the greatest -(height anomaly).

The prind point here is that if the current GFS T1534 is correct,  the deepening of the southern system next Thursday near 150w to 140w will actually strengthen the upper ridge over the far west, wave length wise, and delay a significant system that next weekend of the 14th-16th, (if the new model run and trends continue).

Of interest is what is following the slow moving mid latitude low by the 16th.  It looks like that there is an extension of the East Asian Jet moving across the pacific. That may push the remains of the old low, into CA, beyond the 16th. It will be interesting to see how far east that upper EAJ jet gets. That following week the models show that upper jet has 200knots in its belly…..moving across the date line…..Hope it continues to be progressive…..


Again…as mentioned a few days ago…the idea of an atmospheric river is off the table for Central CA until further notice…..


The Dweeber……………………..:-)