winter 2016-2017

WINTER 2016-2017 NOAA WINTER FORECAST OR THE NON FORECAST FORECAST

WINTER 2016-2017 NOAA FORECAST OR THE NON FORECAST FORECAST

WINTER 2016-2017

NOAA WINTER FORECAST OR THE NON FORECAST FORECAST

Having worked for the federal government for a few years (both weather and non weather) one thing I learned is that while their capacity for dealing with the public in a way that average folks can understand, sometimes they overthink things. I think their seasonal forecasts are like this because they basically say nothing when answering the actual question that everyone asks this time of year. “What is the winter going to be like? Also they arent’ exactly saying above or below here, they are actually forecasting the probability of it being above or below.

A FORECAST PROBABILITY OF EITHER ABOVE OR BELOW NORMAL IN THE THREE-
CLASS SYSTEM IMPLIES A CORRESPONDING REDUCTION IN THE PROBABILITY OF THE 
OPPOSITE CLASS AND A FIXED PROBABILITY (AT 33.3%) OF THE NEAR NORMAL CLASS FOR 
PROBABILITY ANOMALIES UP TO 30%.  FOR PROBABILITY ANOMALIES GREATER THAN 30% OF 
ABOVE OR BELOW NORMAL THE PROBABILITY OF THE OPPOSITE CLASS IS FIXED AT 3.3% 
(A -30% ANOMALY) AND THE PROBABILITY OF THE NEAR NORMAL CLASS IS REDUCED BY THE 
EXCESS FORECAST PROBABILITY ANOMALY OVER 30%.  NOTE THAT THIS IS ONLY A CRUDE 
APPROXIMATION OF THE TRUE PROBABILITY OF THE NON-SPECIFIED CLASSES AND IS 
GENERALLY LESS ACCURATE FOR EXTREME SHIFTS (20% OR MORE) IN THE PROBABILITY 
ANOMALY OF THE MOST LIKELY CLASS. 

EXAMPLES:  FORECAST PROBABILITY ANOMALIES OF 20%, 30% AND 40% FOR ABOVE NORMAL 
IMPLY PROBABILITIES FOR ALL THREE CLASSES (ABOVE - NEAR - BELOW) OF 53.3% - 33.3% 
- 13.3% --- 63.3% - 33.3% - 3.3% AND 73.3% - 23.3% - 3.3% RESPECTIVELY.

noaawinter

So basically what this is says is that for example in the below normal area where it says 30% means that there is a 30% increase chance of below normal temperatures and not that they are necessarily forecasting below normal temperatures. As I get older i have less patience for this sort of stuff. If i got this wrong please let me know.

As far as temperatures go they are forecasting much of the northeast into the Middle Atlantic at equal chances of either being above or below..which means basically nothing. A greater probability of above normal temperatures across the south and below normal across the Plains and Midwest. Okay so what does that really mean? Well from the standpoint of a stretch of weather covering 90 days, not very much. My guess is that it reflects that the pattern overall would be more “normal” certainly as compared to last year which is kind of a no brainer really. There is no super El Nino. Just a weak La Nina for now. The ridge in the east won’t go away so that’s an issue for the time being.

winter 2016-2017

As far as precipitation goes they are indicating below normal across the south and above across the north and for us..yes you guessed it..EQUAL CHANCES. Given the drought pattern still has its grip over the northeast we would need to see that break down. As I read their discussion they based the forecast strongly on La Nina conditions and pretty much nothing else. No mention of conditions in the Arctic, Arctic sea ice, Arctic and North Atlantic Oscillations and Pacific Oscillations, snow cover…nothing. Something tells me it won’t exactly be that simple.

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WINTER 2016-2017 PART 1 OCEAN WATER TEMPERATURES

WINTER 2016-2017 PART 2 ARCTIC SEA ICE AND SIBERIAN SNOW COVER

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