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The goal of this thread is to create a valuable learning thread about long range forecasting. First, the concept of long range forecasting will be explained in short. Thereafter, we will have a global look at the GWO (Global wind oscillation) and how it affects our weather. Long range forecasting Long range forecasting (10+ days out) has proven to be a very difficult subject over the past several years. It is a timeframe where global models lose their deterministic value, although they can still be used as a guide for trends. It is also a timeframe where the presence or absence of tropical convection at a given place near the equator can change the complete midlatitude synoptic setting (this is showing some resemblance to the so-called butterfly effect). Fortunately, this is how far the bad news goes. Even though small details can change whole patterns, these details can be predicted to quite some extent and can even show a kind of cyclical pattern. This is, for example, the case for tropical convection activity anomalies (e.g. the MJO). That means that knowing how these patterns will develop makes one able to tell something about the weather at the midlatitudes, mainly through analogues of previous years which have seen a same kind of pattern. To make this recognition of patterns somewhat easier, teleconnections have been developed. Think of the GWO (Global Wind Oscillation, a recently developed index), MJO (Madden-Julian oscillation) and ENSO (contains and explains El Nino and La Nina) to name but a few. Aside from the indices listed above, a fairly new subject is stratospheric meteorology, which also has predictive value for forecasting, for example, the likehood of blocking developing at the midlatitudes. A separate thread can be found on this forum about this subject. The interesting, yet complicated, part comes when one tries to interpret one teleconnection separately. This is not possible, because all the teleconnections are interrelated. For example, ENSO has an effect on the convective anomalies in the tropics (which is, in very simple terms, where the MJO relies on). Therefore, if one wants to make a very good long range forecast, all factors need to be incorporated in one view. Glacier Point, an old member of this forum, is a master on this subject. For most of us, though, there is much that can still be learned about this. It would be nice to get as much input as possible on these teleconnections in order to make this a valuable thread in terms of long range forecasting all year round! GWO One of the several interesting teleconnections is the GWO (global wind oscillation). The part below may help in grasping the concept of this. Basics of the concept The GWO is an index which tells something about the amount and latitudinal localization of AAM in the atmosphere. Atmospheric Angular Momentum is a conserved quantity in the atmosphere. It is defined from the Earth' axis of rotation (so from the north pole through the Earthâ€™ core up to the South Pole). We will regard the wind speed relative to the Earthâ€™ rotation (so the wind speed we can measure). The image below gives a good representation of how this should be visualized. Visualization of AAM as it could be seen from viewing the Earth. Courtesy: COMET. AAM is, in terms of the atmosphere, equal to the velocity of an air parcel times the distance it is away from the Earthâ€™ axis. For example, at the Equator, the distance of an air parcel to the Earthâ€™ axis is very large. Therefore, it has a relatively low velocity. When the air parcel is being carried away from the Equator, its distance relative to the Earthâ€™ axis decreases. That means the velocity needs to increase in order to maintain conservation of AAM. As a result, the parcel will accelerate. This is all under the assumption that the parcel does not exchange AAM with the surface or other air parcels. Near the equator, the wind is from west to east relative to the Earth. This, paradoxically, means the air is still moving from east to west, but at a slower speed than the Earth rotates itself. This all results in AAM being added to the atmosphere from the surface. At the midlatitudes, this situation is reversed. Winds tend to flow quickly from east to west at this latitude relative to the rotation Earth. This means that the air flows from east to west even faster than the Earth rotates itself. As a result, AAM is being lost to the surface due to this imbalance. The above yields a surplus of AAM at the equator and a shortage of AAM at the midlatitudes. This in turn creates a â€œflowâ€ of AAM from the equator to the midlatitudes. The image above illustrates this well. Mountains (courtesy to Tamara for contributing in this part) Mountains can add and reduce AAM via torques (in terms of friction). This process is quite complicated, but it is an important factor for the GWO. Basically, this event can be thought of some kind of weather event colliding with a large mountain range (Rockies, Himalaya etc.). This torque mechanism can add or remove AAM from the atmosphere. Such mountain torque events can send Rossby waves into the stratosphere in a certain part of the Northern Hemisphere. The net effect of this is to create a disturbance to the polar vortex and a jet stream amplification which feeds downstream. In laymanâ€™s terms a mountain torque can affect the amount of amplification that happens downstream. If, for example, the Pacific jetstream collides at the Rockies, it may via complicated mechanisms (aka the Rossby waves mentioned above) cause amplification in the flow toward Europe, causing blocking to form. GWO orbit explained The GWO has a cyclical nature. This means that the GWO undergoes a kind of repetitive pattern, which can be explained by a circle diagram. Analogous to the MJO, the GWO has been divided in 8 phases, each with its own characteristics. All these phases are basically a follow-up of the phase before. The GWO orbit can be best seen as a measure for the total amount of AAM in the atmosphere. Below is the GWO orbit diagram with a brief explanation of what happens at every phase. Visualization of the GWO orbit In phase 1, negative mountain torque removes AAM from the atmosphere. The longer the GWO stays there, the lower the amount of AAM becomes in the atmosphere. This can be thought of a Jetstream colliding at a large mountain range Phase 2 and 3 generally describe low AAM values in the atmosphere (which is on average also occurring according to the conceptual model described above). In phase 4 and 5, positive mountain torque adds AAM to the atmosphere. The longer the GWO remains in that position, the higher the amount of AAM becomes in the atmosphere. Finally, phase 6 and 7 indicate high levels of AAM in the atmosphere. Concluding remarks There is much more that can be told about the GWO (and many other parameters), but that is for a later time! Any help or corrections in the explanation are greatly appreciated. Also, I hope many people will be willing to contribute to this thread! Hereâ€™s hoping that this will become a fruitful thread and a learning place for many! Useful links In the end, a list of links which could help for teleconnections are given here: GWO forecast: http://www.atmos.albany.edu/student/nschiral/gwo.html GWO composites: http://www.atmos.albany.edu/student/nschiral/comp.html MJO forecasts: http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/products/precip/CWlink/MJO/mjo.shtml MJO composites: http://www.americanwx.com/raleighwx/MJO/MJO.html Update on tropical weather (expert assessment on tropical convection, including the MJO, great link): http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/products/precip/CWlink/ghazards/ ECMWF stratosphere forecast: http://www.geo.fu-berlin.de/en/met/ag/strat/produkte/winterdiagnostics/ Stratosphere updates: https://forum.netweather.tv/topic/81567-stratosphere-temperature-watch-20142015/ GWO further reading: http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/psd/map/clim/gwo.htm Sources: https://www.meted.ucar.edu/ http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/psd/map/clim/test_maproom.html
Well, what a record-breaking day it has been in the Eastern and Central Pacific it has been today! As of speaking, three (3!) major hurricanes are roaming the Pacific waters at the same time, which is unpreceded in these areas. It is likely that this activity has been aided by the ongoing El Nino event, which has caused anomalously warm waters in the Central and Eastern Pacific. In this post I will provide some details about the cyclones individually, as well as a short look into the causes of this record-breaking activity. A sight to behold Below is an impressive satellite image showing all three systems in daylight: Satellite image of (from left to right) Kilo, Ignacio and Jimena. Courtesy: NOAA. All three systems show up clearly as well-organized hurricanes with an eye visible surrounded by intense convection. Kilo: a very stubborn cyclone The leftmost one, and probably also the one with the most interesting history, is hurricane Kilo. Just 24 hours ago, the system was still a 60-knot tropical storm, and now it has almost doubled its intensity up to 110 kt. Exactly what one could call rapid intensification. This make the system a category 3 hurricane on the Saffir Simpson Hurricane Scale. However, the most remarkable thing is that this system has been more noteworthy for its lack of intensification so far. During the past several days, Kilo was continuously forecast to become a hurricane, which it refuse to do, up to now. It stubbornly stayed as a tropical depression in seemingly favourable environment. Furthermore, its track has also defied forecasts quite a few times (also partly because it stayed so weak), as also alluded to by Somerset Squall in the thread about this cyclone. Originally, Kilo was forecast to strike Hawaii as a hurricane a week ago as well. Fortunately, this was not the case. Here's a link to the appropriate thread. https://forum.netweather.tv/topic/83810-hurricane-kilo/ Ignacio to possibly threaten Hawaii The center one is hurricane Ignacio. This cyclone developed in the Eastern Pacific and crossed 140 degrees longitude into the Central Pacific. Initially refusing to intensify quickly as a category 1 hurricane, Ignacio also put up a burst of rapid intensification. As of writing, the cyclone is now a category 4 hurricane with 120 knot winds. What is noteworthy about Ignacio is that it may be a threat for Hawaii in a few days, as it moves closer to the islands from the southwest. Currently, the CPHC forecasts the cyclone to pass safely to the north of the islands, only causing high surf among the islands. Another unusual thing about the forecast of Ignacio is that it is anticipated to stay a hurricane while passing north of the islands. Cyclones like Ignacio seldom retain hurricane intensity while passing to the north of the Hawaiian islands from the east. More to be found here: https://forum.netweather.tv/topic/83855-major-hurricane-ignacio/ Jimena to undergo eyewall replacement cycle Finally, the easternmost cyclone that can be seen here is Jimena. As of speaking, Jimena has already past her peak, and is now a 120 knot system, making it a category 4 hurricane. Her intial peak was reached 6 hours ago at 130 knots. Talking about rapid intensification, Jimena managed to get from 25 kt to 130 kt in merely 3 days! The NHC has noted that Jimena has developed concentric eyewalls, which means it is likely to embark onto an eyewall replacement cycle. In such a cycle, the inner eyewall weakens and dissipates, while a new, larger outer eyewall becomes better defined. In this process, the eye becomes much larger and the system itself usually weakens a bit. After completing such a cycle, a new round of intesification can begin assuming that favourable environmental conditions prevail. This could also be the case for Jimena. So far, the system is not forecast to hit land. Here is her own topic: https://forum.netweather.tv/topic/83870-major-hurricane-jimena/ Anomalously warm waters due to El Nino One of the major causes of this unique event appears to be related to the El Nino that is currently active. Below is a map of the SST (sea surface temperature) anomalies of the 27th of August: SST anomalies as of 27 August. Courtesy: NOAA. For clarity, the black box roughly indicates the area in which the tropical cyclones are residing. Note that this area does not explicitly overlap with the most significant warm waters near the Equator associated with the El Nino event. Still, sea surface temperatures inthe encircled area are much warmer than average, contributing in the increased tropical activity. Summary An impressive event to say the least, three consecutive major hurricanes active in the Eastern and Central Pacific. Possibly we will even be facing one or two category five hurricanes in the very near future. Much more can be said about these systems, so do not hesitate to add any facts/statistics/any other things you might think of . Finally, just because of the amazing sight, below is a loop of the three tropical cyclones at major hurricane intensity. Click to activate. Satellite loop of the Eastern and Central Pacific. Click to activate. Courtesy: NOAA. Sources: http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/satellite.php http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/ http://www.prh.noaa.gov/cphc/tcpages/archive.php http://www.ospo.noaa.gov/Products/ocean/sst/anomaly/
Around this time of year I often search out new papers to assist in winter forecasting. However, quite often I lose the links to these papers by the time winter arrives. So, I think it makes sense to have a drop off zone for these type of papers that I and others come across. Please post in here any abstracts or PDF links that you may find of interest. A brief description of the paper would be most welcome. ( No climate change papers please)