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Mark Clifford

Winter 2018/19 Early Thoughts

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Meanwhile for the monthly charts of the ECM seasonal model update for September 2018.... Beast from the East in December and especially January (nightmare charts if you're not a fan of cold or snow). Northerlies for November and February maybe? Hard to say with these weird charts for them months. Just for fun.

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Another tease from Big Steve.

*** ALERT - TODAY IS A DATE RECORD BREAKER FOR THE STRATOSPHERE ***

Weakest vortex ever for 13th September @4.3M/S ( 0.2 m/s below the 2001 record of 4.5M/S )

data source ERA interim.

Is this significant? - in isolation with a bandwith on todays date of 6M/S between the record strongest & weakest this its significance isnt as highly correlated to winter than say if we were here on November 13th-

However today could be a signpost of whats to come this winter....

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UK Met Office Glosea5 September 2018 update for Winter 2018-19 has an above average chance of verifying if you ask me.

Why do I say this?

- The Atlantic SST profile favours it
- QBO will go westerly

It'd be a mild and wet scenario.

The Atlantic SST profile is really the main reason why I don't have much faith in this Winter being "the one" of this incoming solar minimum. It has changed very little since I last updated on it here.

If there's two things I'd say in regards to the QBO going westerly, the early Winter will likely not have much impact from it going westerly as there's a time lag and the expected weak Polar Vortex for November/December could have a say in things too. We shall see.

2cat_20180901_mslp_months46_global_deter_public.png.9ece945b052d7f71ea041903dab1beac.png

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Remember the above is only based on two things; Atlantic SSTs and QBO. I'm gonna further the discussion here on the QBO. Many other things to consider!

My graph I generated below shows the QBO for every Winter back to 1949-50 up to 2017-18 (y-axis) along with the Central England Temperature for each of the Winters (x-axis). We can see colder Winters (the Winter average is 4.5c) tend to occur relatively more during easterly QBO years than westerly QBO years especially if it's very/extremely cold levels such as 1962-63 or 2009-10. Not impossible to get a severe Winter in westerly QBO, one in particular there stands out like a sore thumb; 1978-79 which contained the last subzero January for the CET and the last New Year blizzard we have had. 1978-79 was very weak westerly QBO though so explains that.

The QBO is something we can predict somewhat like it's nearly guaranteed to become westerly by New Year (or even late 2018) but it's difficult to predict strength and exact timing of transitions to phases. All the QBO is an index that reflects the strength of the zonal winds in the stratosphere and during easterly QBO phases, it is easier for SSW events to take place but it is not impossible for them to occur in westerly QBOs. 

Late 2010 (November/December 2010) was during a westerly QBO phase (and fairly strong at that) but other factors such as the sun's magnetic field, Iceland volcano, warming over Canada and low speed of the gulf stream, fend off the westerly QBO phase influence until later in the Winter. The QBO is one reason why people are feeling a front loaded Winter is going to take place this year with the coldest conditions either in December or January like 2010-11, 1996-97 and 1981-82. 

360374298_QBOvsCET.thumb.png.0921726ce28159053b24b87db9e780ae.png

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Food for thought in the above video. For instance, there is some striking resemblance between September 2018 and September 1946 in terms of SSTs. Very warm anomalies near the eastern US, warm Norwegian Sea, horseshoe shape cold AMO. Although, PDO was much colder then than now.

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This reconstructed cross-section of QBO also shows 1946-47 was a westerly QBO Winter.

19477.thumb.PNG.7c5327ff694e0c76105d5aa27e2449dc.PNG

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First, significant snowfall in the United Kingdom. My guess would be sometime between 15th November and 1st December. 

Anyone dare to say a particular date.. ? Winners will get my respect and if you live in the South East a pint on me. 

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On 23/09/2018 at 16:35, James Young said:

I'm expecting snow this winter, is that good enough?

Wouldn't it be funny if that turned out to be wrong 😂 

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It's been a while now but here's all the winter forecasts I have read/think are worthy of reading... 

Are there any that I have missed that you think is a decent read?

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