Winter Outlook 2009/2010 - my take on it all


Here's a look at a few of the different outlooks that are issued from various agencies. The first two maps for Temperature and Precipitation come from the Climate Prediction Center (CPC) and the other map at the end, comes from the Farmers' Almanac.

BEFORE you just look at this map and say "Yup, gonna be a warm one"... there's a lot of information that goes into these maps.

First- the CPC maps are for the months of December through February.  The Farmers' Almanac map is for January through March.

Second- these maps are the "average"... that means that this winter there still could be warm spells and cold spells, but at the end, the three month average is what these maps are trying to point out.

Third- the Farmers' Almanac issues their outlook by using: sunspots, sunspot activity, planet position, tides, moon phases and a bevvy of other things.

The CPC uses things like: computer modeling, temperature trends over the past 10 years and then they especially pay attention to La Nina/El Nino in the Pacific Ocean.  Right now, the ocean is beginning to remain a bit warmer than normal, hence the reason the CPC came up with the results below.






Here's the outlook from the Farmers Almanac:




Now... here's what I want you all to pay attention to... if we are to assume we are entering an El Nino winter (which judging by current satellite imagery and buoy data shows is starting to occur), here's a look at the past 5 El Nino winters in Wausau. In cases where we had a strong El Nino, I have put the word strong after the seasonal/year. 


Notice that there was NO clear consensus between the last 5 events. 3 of the winters after there was less snowfall than average (quite a bit in 2 of those), but the other 2 winters (92/93 and 97/98) we had a seasonal snowfall.  The other thing to note is the months that got a lot of snowfall. They varied from December a few years, to 23" one January to a lot of snowfall in all of the March's following an El Nino.

Temperatres- well, if you notice, only one winter did we see an extremely warm winter, and that was 97/98 during a strong El Nino.  2 of the 4 other years were above normal temps and 2 of the 4 were below normal temps.


Now, what does that mean for Wisconsin?  I think we'll end up with a fairly seasonal winter time with snowfall, probably ending up in the 55" to 60" range in Wausau, with most of that coming in Dec and March.

Temperature wise, I think we'll end up with temps actually at or a little BELOW normal for winter.  Let me explain why,,, we have been relatively cool this summer and fall and therefore the Earth will continue to cool off a little bit more than normal going into November and December.  So, that will set our temps up to be a bit cool. In addition, I think the cooler temps and the cloudiness will continue into December as well, hence my current thinking December would be one of the "snowier" months. (I should point out it is in the top 4 in Wausau climatologically).
I think the El Nino will be able to overcome that "coolness" sometime in late-January and therefore we will probably see slightly warmer than normal temps in February. (again, all outlooks are based on "averages")  I then think March will be a bit cooler than normal for the first half with a higher than normal snowfall for the first few weeks in March.


What do y'all think?  Am I nuts?  Remember, these outlooks are AVERAGES... that doesn't mean we won't or can't have warm or cold snaps!



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