Friday, November 11, 2011


It's been two days since I pulled 15lb crab pots thirty or so times, and my sacroiliac area is still singing to me. Opting for rest and hydration, I did some digging through the solar and climate science that's recently come down the pike.

While our NorCal weather has been trending dryer and warmer compared  to the forecast models, on our horizon there is a lot of climate and weather science news that bears on our impending Winter.

Back in early Summer I found and blogged about a possible new indicator that might help forecast the coming Winter regime. Scientists believe that the Autumn snow cover in Siberia and Northern Scandinavian Europe is directly correlated with North American winter's severity. The National Science Foundation has a good five page overview of the new metric. It's much more complete than the article I linked in my "Foot Dragging" post.

Today, I went looking for the Siberian Snow Cover Extant to shore up my gut feeling forecast of "75%-85% of average precipitation, and colder than average" My web search lead me to NOAA's National Ice Center where the Europe/Asia Ice Extant images reside. Past years of images are archived here.

This year's images show less snow cover than last year. A simple interpretation of the data suggest that we're in for less snowfall than last winter, however this metric hasn't yet proved to be the be all-end all predictor that we're all looking for. Other forces come to bear on the system, and I've been stumbling over them for a few weeks now.

 All are pointing to cooling trends in the Northern Hemisphere.

First up is the National Snow and Ice Data Center Report that says the Arctic Sea Ice reformed in October 40% faster than the average between 1979 and 2000.

Though the Climate Prediction Center's November 90 Day Climate Outlook Discussion is still a week away, October's Discussion said we've got a good La Niña going, and unlike last year's La Niña, this year's model features Ocean Temperature Anomalies that are much deeper than last year. The cold water extends to 100 meters deep.

There's been some interesting Space Weather lately, some huge Sunspots hurled some high energy stuff at Earth and wowed Aurora Watchers as far south as Tennessee. NASA published it's November Solar Forecast which hints at another 1°C of cooling on Earth by 2013.

A little more than two weeks ago, I blogged about @kcraFinan's La Niña Explainer and wrapped it up with some thoughts on the Sunspot Cycle's possible influence on our weather. Well today, my Sunsopt Ship came in!

I found this paper by Nicola Scafetta that found several solar cycles that correlate with warming and cooling periods in the climate record going back to 1650. Scafetta cites observable Aurora Borealis Cycles of 9, 10–11, 20–21, 30 and 60 years. The Authors argue that the aurora records reveal a physical link between climate change and astronomical oscillations!

In the macro, it's going to take a while for the gravity of this discovery to sink into my Weather Geek Brain. I've been waiting years for evidence of the Sun's hand on our climate...I'm not sure I can accept closure all at once.

In the micro-climates of the snowmaker's world, conditions up in the Tahoe Sierra have turned against the resorts. Warming daytime highs, and a lack of mixing winds have allowed a temperature inversion regime to set in. After almost six days of 'round the clock operations, the guns and fans have been silent for three days now.

Mark Finan's forecast for Friday's storm says it's yet another in this Fall's string of  "Not As Much As Forecast"...did I mention that this system's first name was "Thursday's Storm"?

Yep, a day late and 6 inches short...again.

1 comment:

  1. I think once that stubborn lil cut off high is blown to pieces by the three lows tryiing to come ashore we will be knee deep in some interesting weather this weekend.

    All of Cali will be drenched and I'm saying looky for a "back door" effect coming in from the East to lay down some cold, white stuff.

    Interglacial climate and weather have always been variable. That's what is so interesting about these times. Population expands, vegetation migrates, water sources dry up, disease runs rampant and a whole bunch of other phenomena. Cause and effect or form follows function?

    As for ever present snow on mountain tops, well, February is the tipping month. Need lots of cold precip and a cooler, shorter summer to keep it there. Year after year after year.

    Get the boots out, the car winterized and the pantry stocked.