Forecasting the Future

November 30, 2015

1371724873_Rain_brad-sharpDrizzling rain and chilly this Monday morning on California’s north coast — the storm was something of a surprise as all indications last week seemed to show the front wouldn’t move through until Wednesday.
So much for predicting the unpredictable sometimes.

Along with the early rain, way-low temperatures (via KTLA): ‘According to the National Weather Service, it was actually colder in Alturas, Calif., the seat of Modoc County in the far northeastern corner California, than it was in Barrow, Alaska, which lies above the Arctic Circle and is the northernmost city in the United States.
Alturas registered minus-3 degrees, while Barrow recorded 3 degrees above zero.
It was even colder in Alturas on Saturday — minus-5, breaking a record set in 1931 — and that was warmer than one spot in California, in the Lassen National Forest east of Redding, which checked in at minus-11.’

(Illustration: ‘Rain,’ by Brad Sharp, found here).

Although here along the shoreline there’s not a massive freeze, the interior is really, really cold. And what about that famous El Niño effect? — from SanJoseInside:

“It’s right on schedule,” says Nate Mantua, Ph.D., a climate scientist for NOAA’s Southwest Fishery Science Center.
“I checked [last week], and temperatures in Southern California are about 5 degrees Celsius warmer than normal, or almost 10 degrees Fahrenheit warmer than normal.
“Local waters are 5.5 degrees Fahrenheit above average, or in the low- to mid-60s, depending what the wind is doing.”

El Niño isn’t synonymous with rain, per se.
Four out of the last six strong El Niños brought wet winters to California, says Mantua.
But NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center is calling for “increased odds” of a wet winter in Northern California — to the tune of a one-in-three chance of having a wet winter, and a less than one-in-three chance for having a dry winter.
And while the odds for a wet winter increase toward Southern California, the Gulf Coast and Florida, there’s just a 5- to 10-percent shift in the odds for a wet winter for the Central and Northern Coast, says Mantua.
“It’s pretty subtle,” says Mantua, “but that is the nature of climate forecasting.”

See, hard to tell just by looking at the sky. And just because this particular storm is a considered ‘a weak front,’ more rain mixed with snow at the higher elevations means winter be here, just the ‘nature‘ of reality.

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