How Accurate Are Those Winter Forecasts?

Climate Cast


Good are those winter forecasts. I'm NPR chief meteorologist. Just Paul Hutton here. This is climate cast one thing we know for sure in Minnesota. Winter is coming so how much and long-range climate forecasters really tell us about this upcoming winter. Let's ask Pete Boulay from the Minnesota. DNR climate working group Hi Pete Great to talk with you again. Ed Great to be Your Ball. We know the first of Minnesota's two seasons road construction is winding down right so that must mean winter is coming. I checked with no other climate prediction center and they don't suggest any trends for a warmer or colder winter right absolutely the there's not much direction this year for temperature sure at all so they went with the three sided coin equal chances above normal or below temperatures and so that's how they break down these forecasts tell us a little a little bit about that whether waited for one direction or the other so there could be a little bit of a tilt for above normal or below normal and then their confidence level increases from there air every ten percent so rarely. DC A real extreme on either case for Minnesota least let's talk about what some call the Blob that unusually warm bubble of water in the eastern Pacific off the west coast is back it happened in twenty fourteen and my sense of it atmospherically as it supports warm weather in California that puts us downstream often the northwest flow potentially could mean plenty of cold outbreaks sure and that's the real key. There's a big difference where that gentle setup so to the north and east of that jet will be cold south and west of the jet will be warm and you know one thing to look for to that's happening. This fall is warm water temperatures all around Alaska Aska Alaska's got a very good chance of having a very warm fall so the longer that persist the less chance will have forgetting some real extreme cold air because of cold air has gotta gotta come from somewhere and it felt in the Arctic in Alaska stays warm. Our Pool of cold air will be somewhat limited as you look at the atmospheric factors this winter. What indicators do you see. That might give us a clue about how this winter could unwind. One factor is you know overall trends have been for increased precipitation in the winter in general so last last nine out of ten winters have had above normal precipitation. That's meteorological winner December through February. I call the almanacs the worst of the weather they're terrorists because they always seem to predict the worst winter ever every year and I see their long-term. Accuracy is about fifty fifty at best. What about the no outlooks outlooks. What's the state of the Science of seasonal climate prediction. The farmer's ALMANAC have my mom and her friends terrorize just petrified with fear with this winter the thing it's going to be the worst ever and it really doesn't look like it will be I look back in the last couple of years from the climate prediction center's. I'll look for the winter see how well they did. Last last winter they were banking on a war were the normal and a dry winter and it turned out to be normal to cool very wet so they didn't do so good for eighteen thousand nine the year before that they said cool and wet and it turned out to be normal in cool and normal the wet so I'll give him a pass and that when they did okay so sometimes I do pretty good and sometimes they you might as well go with just the opposite so anything could happen and it is a very difficult process isn't it. I mean the Tele connections that we talk about out in the atmosphere. How warm water in the Pacific or jetstream patterns will affect winter or a season is pretty hard to pin down. An atmosphere is very fickle fickle. Where were those storm set up. You can build on a winter by getting a early snow. Cover a long duration snow cover and that adds to the coolness It's it's like a puzzle with some of the pieces missing seems like climatologist people lay with the Minnesota. DNR climate working group. Thanks for your perspective on climate cast today

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