Archive for March, 2015

Mammoth Mt Reports 2 inches at the Main Lodge…..It is Gusty and Blustery Monday AM……Rising Heights the Next Few Days spells a warm up ahead……

Although Mammoth Mt reported new snowfall of only 2 inches this morning at the main lodge…..there was .44 inches tallied in the water bucket…..Temperatures over the crest were in the lows 20s when the moisture band came through. So it is possible based upon .44 inches, there may have been 4 or 5 inches over the crest this morning based upon temperatures at the summit and snow to water ratios….

It was great to see snowfall this morning even through it was short lived!

As mentioned earlier.. Rising heights will allow for a warming trend beginning Tuesday then continuing through Friday. In that stronger ridging develops Wednesday….high temperatures will go from the upper 40s today to the low 50s Tuesday then upper 50s Wednesday. Further warming Thursday into Friday will push highs into the mid 60s.  Over night lows will be in the 20s early this week with mild inversions at night setting up 2nd half of this week. Expect temps in the 20s and 30s second half of this week with warmer early morning temps above 8,000 as compared to the lower elevations of town.


Extended Outlook:

A weak Cutoff Low is expected by the end of the week on a track toward Southern CA Sunday.  This is likely to cause some destabilization of the our local air mass, especially over the higher elevated heat sources. There is also the possibly of a zone of deformation to set up over the Sierra. The Forecast at this time indicated that there is only a slight chance of any shower activity next Sunday, about a week away but stay tuned.. The Dweebs may have to add some Thunder later in the week for Sunday PM.


Inter Seasonal Outlook

Week 3 still shows the possibly of a pattern change to the wetter.  That may just mean a storm or two….. This would be likely around or just after Easter Sunday.


Also the MJO and Dynamic Models; ECMWF Ensemble’s:

Also Composite for April Phase 2, 500MB with ENSO 3.4 of at least .5C:

Same                              April  Phase 3


Looking Ahead for the Remainder of March…..Next Possible Storm and What April May have in Store for us….

Friday AM:


The first system of the Spring will bring gusty winds and the chance of some light snowfall late Sunday night into Monday.

The weekend looks fair and breezy with winds ramping up Sunday and Sunday night over the upper elevations. Wind Advisories are expected Sunday night into Monday AM as a Strong short wave moves through Northern CA.  Temperatures on Friday will reach the mid 60s then cool to the mid to upper 50s Saturday with further cooling Sunday into Monday. Highs early next week will be in the upper 40s near the Village at Mammoth. In that the models are trending further south with this system this evening, there is the chance of some light snowfall over the upper elevations early Monday Morning with showers Monday afternoon.   Although snowfall amounts could reach a half a foot over the Northern Sierra, for the southern parts of the Central Sierra, amounts generally in the trace to an inch range are possible by Monday afternoon over the crest….  This was revised from last night due to the models coming in drier…

It will be warmer between Wednesday into Friday….


The Dweeber…………………………..:-)



St Patty’s Day Update:

The Dweebs have been watching the MJO Phase Space intently that indicate a very strong MJO now over the Central Pacific. Although there appears to be no connection to an “AR event” in the Dynamic Models, the MJO is very strong and has crossed into Phase Space 8, providing westerly wind bursts along or near the equator, pushing warm waters from the western pacific eastward. It will be interesting to watch how the ENSO signals including the ONI develop over the next few months.  With the Nino 4 and 3.4 region already warm, priming the pump for a warm event will not be nearly as difficult as it was last Spring, coming off La Nina.

The Dweebs have been touting for several weeks now that the seasonal change is well under way with the first days of spring this coming weekend….. You can see it, even in our local forecasts with a chance of thunder Wednesday and Wednesday evening over the Eastern Sierra. The reason for this is that air masses react differently once daytime heating from an elevated heat source like the sierra, is added to even weak troughing.  Capes increase as the air mass becomes more unstable just because of the combination of cooler air aloft, upper divergence or diffluence….plus the added rising air from convection.

The record strength positive PDO for the months of Dec, Jan and February, is most likely the biggest reason why the winter has been so dry and so warm for the golden state. This unusually warm water over the far eastern pacific,  has supported strong long wave ridging aloft along the west coast. This system very effectively blocked storms most of the winter, giving California, one of the warmest and driest winters on record, similar to the winter of 1977!

As mentioned earlier, the Continental US, IE “CONUS” is warming up.  This is/will have the effect of “diminishing the effect” of the anomalous warmth over the eastern pacific by switching the heat source from the ocean to the continent this Spring., this has a good chance of breaking the cycle, for at least as long as the westerlies remain far enough south before they weaken during the month of May…..  So in other words, although March has not come back wet, there will still be an opportunity for April to…..

Interseasonal Models weeks 3 and 4  are supporting this notion with a change in the pattern the end of March with a strong under cutting upper jet into the west coast about April 1st…..

Dr Howard and the Dweebs…………………………………………………;-)


It was a record-breaking day across much of California yesterday. High temps over Southern CA reached low to mid 90s over much of the coastal plain. This was due to a combination of the persistent ridge over the west coast, heights and 500mb-1000mb thickness considered, a mild offshore Katabatic flow which was not associated with any great basin chilly surface high and probably as important now, the fact that it is Mid March, the sun is higher in the sky akin to late September, and able to heat the surface more thoroughly.

Bishop was warm as well with a high of 78 yesterday. That was no high temp record as the current record STANDS AT 84 set in 2007. It should be noted that during the cooler season, Bishop’s high temperature records are usually only broken during the more dynamic process of convergence aloft from an upper jet that causes Down Sloping winds along the lee side of the sierra katabatically…

Katabatic winds are the same as Santa Ana Winds as they both heat by compression adiabatically, at a lapse rate of 5.5F per thousand feet. Remember that there is a no heat transferred outside of the Adiabatic process. It is contained  within.

You would not use the colloquial term Santa Ana winds for Bishop or the Owens Valley as the term has no relevance.  That last prime example of Katabatic winds in the Bishop Area occurred during the beginning of the Round Fire when down sloping winds pushed temperatures up at the Bishop Airport that day into the low 80s……That was a new record for that date.  The term Katabatic refers to a system meaning running down hill. Santa Ana winds are down sloping winds as well. Other areas outside of Southern CA like the eastern slopes of the Rockies can use the term Katabatic winds. However, they frequently they use colloquial terms like Chinook or Foehn winds. However,  they are  the same and pretty do much do the same thing….Warming by compressional heating through the adiabatic process.

In that Spring is about one week away…The Sun is higher in the sky and the differential heat sources of Pacific Ocean will have less or a different effect upon the upper pressure patterns over the far west. Storm’s will perform differently. They will in essence,  yield to the more dominant heat source of continental heating rather than the anomalous warm water along the west coast.  As the Dweebs have mentioned before, this is why weather patterns and WX systems often times change behavior in springtime as compared to winter.

It is possible that over the next few weeks that storms will have an easier time getting through the west coast upper block and bring us badly needed precipitation, here in California.  The Dweebs see a few precipitation opportunities, indicated by several models and their ensembles with the dates like next weekend or between the 21 through the 24th as such an opportunity. That is one period of time as well as the very end of March.  So may be that March will go out like a Lion this Spring, at least it is a possibility today.


Dr Howard and the Dweebs…………………..:-)



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………:-)