Thursday, December 30, 2010

Mild weather: Long-lasting, or a temporary reprieve?

After a month of the coldest December weather in many years, the Carolinas finally are getting a break as we head into the New Years holiday.

A weak low pressure system is crossing the area today, bringing clouds and a few sprinkles, but skies will clear later Thursday night and usher in a very nice New Years Eve. Fans heading to Friday's Meineke Car Care Bowl at Bank of America Stadium will have sunshine, temperatures in the upper 50s, and -- judging from the tepid ticket sales -- plenty of room to spread out.

Nice weather will continue through New Years Eve, and relatively mild conditions are expected to continue through next week.

That raises the question: Is this the long-awaited breakdown of the pattern that brought us cold, sleet and snow in December? Will our La Nina winter -- mild and dry -- finally get under way?

Or is this just a temporary reprieve?

Based on what long-range forecasters are saying, it's the latter. The cold and stormy weather is returning, they say.

The Greenland block -- a strong high pressure system that brings cold and storms into the eastern United States and into Europe -- is making a comeback. The consensus seems to be a wintry pattern will return around Jan. 10, and the eastern United States will face another extended period of nasty conditions.

So whatever happened to La Nina?

I asked two experts, and they agree ... the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) and Arctic Oscillation (AO) have been far too strong for La Nina. The pattern of the jet stream, sending cold air and storms on a roller-coaster ride southward from the Arctic into the U.S. and Europe, has cut off the predicted west-to-east pattern of milder conditions that we'd expected.

It shows, once again, that long-range predictions are tricky. When we're told to expect an El Nino (cold and chilly) or La Nina (mild and dry) winter, those Pacific Ocean conditions are only part of the story. The NAO and AO have a big role in what happens, along with some other factors.

To be fair, some of the long-range winter forecasts (I'll give Accu-Weather's Joe Bastardi credit for this) said there'd be occasional episodes of arctic blasts intruding on La Nina. But December was a lot more than an "episode." It was nearly the whole month.

So if all this is true, we'll get about 10 to 12 days of seasonal weather here in the Carolinas before we head back into the deep freeze.

One cautionary note ... forecasters are only 1 for 2 on recent predictions of cold weather. They were 100 percent correct about December, but some meteorologists had called for a cold weather outbreak in late October. That didn't happen.

However, with solar energy very low now, a return to cold weather doesn't seem too far-fetched.


Anonymous said...

Good info. I think its safe to say man made global warming cannot be proven, in the slightest manner scientifically.

Anonymous said...

Really? Do you really think that is "safe to say"? Astonishing.

Anonymous said...

No global warming is still going on, really it is, just ask any liberal:

BRITAIN’S winter is the coldest since 1683 and close to being the chilliest in nearly 1,000 years.

Latest figures reveal that the average temperature since December 1 has been a perishing -1C.

That makes it the second coldest since records began in 1659.

The chilliest on record was 1683/84,when the average was -1.17C and the River Thames froze over for two months.

But with January and February to come, experts believe we could suffer the most freezing cold winter in the last 1,000 years.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the info, been wondering why our drier and warmer winter isn't panning out. It's always something. If we could just control the jet stream......

Anonymous said...

It's called climate change. Winters will be colder and snowier, summers will be drier and hotter. Weather will be more extreme. I don't know how to dumb it down any more for you flat-earthers than that. Geez.

Anonymous said...

"Climate Change" is an oxymoron. Climate is constantly in flux and always has been. Maybe Global average temperatures have been rising, but you can't prove it since the data has been fudged beyond all recognition and the methodology in gathering it is completely out of control.

The idea that current trends in climate are affected at all by man in any significant way is stupid.

Anonymous said...

Keep telling yourself that, dude.

Anonymous said...

How much humans are responsible for our climate change is impossible to know, but I do know we could do a lot better and be more responsible in how we care for the earth for future generations.

Anonymous said...

Wow, a weather forecast prompts blog warfare. What a sorry state we've sunk to in this country that everything is now a competition. Leaves little hope for cooperation for the really important things we need to do as a culture.

Jonathan said...

I like blue.

Judson Phillips said...

The earth is flat.

John said...

Global warming advocates don't want to talk about it, but some bright guy decided to test their "prediction models" by taking existing data and running the equations backwards to compare it's predictions to actual known weather conditions in the past... and they failed miserably!

It's like checking your math... if 3+2=5, then 5-2 must = 3. If they can take, say 1960 - 2010 data and predict ahead 50 years, then they should also be able to take the same trending and "predict" the weather for 1910. They couldn't. That means the math has to be faulty.

Anonymous said...

"Long lasting, or a temporary repreive?"

You know it's just temporary. Why even ask? It's happened before, it'll happen again.

It's winter. Don't be silly and think it isn't going to get cold again.

Anonymous said...

The Earth is flat.....HA!!! Woot! Woot! That is funny!

Anonymous said...

I like your hat

Anonymous said...

lemme's winter, so I'm gonna go really out on a limb here and predict it's gonna get cold again