Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Winter 2010-11 Outlook Part 1 - The Gestalt of the Season

     Gestalt is a fascinating word which describes a structure of parts so integrated that its function cannot be figured out by examining the parts.  It also describes a very effective Psychological Therapy and is my favored method.  So what does an awesome German Philosophy have to do with the weather?  Figuring it out may drive you crazy!

    Outcomes of weather interactions are a Gestalt.  Mainstream media greatly dis-serves the public when explaining climate behavior in terms of over-used and stereotyped expressions like El Nino and La Nina.  If last year's Strong El Nino caused the dreadful cold then why did the south not freeze during the 1997-98 event, that was strong!  I guess that El Nino is easier to write than Arctic Oscillation (AO).  The AO plunged to historic negativity last winter and created a situation which Polar Regions were warmer than average because the coldest air was displaced south.  Snowlovers in VA and the mid-Atlantic feasted on endless persistent cold and delivery of moisture from the deep tropics as they were buried in snow.

    Winter 2010-11 appears poised to feature much different character than last year.  An understanding of the Science of Behavior (Psychology) is applicable to weather because as people ebb and flow in ranges of emotions, interactions, and outcomes so does nature.  Note: My undergraduate degree is a BS in Psychology.  2009-10 featured consistent winter performance and over-achievement which started and left on-time.   This season will feature a quiet student who gets hyperactive if he does not take his ADD medicine.

    Is the ocean telling us that the coming winter is destined to be a dud?  Here is the temperature pattern of Oct 2007.  The following winter we has NO SNOW:

Oct 2010 looks really similar:
      Don't give up yet!  I have been experimenting with the idea that Hurricane tracks can reveal some of what the global weather pattern is attempting to accomplish.  Notice how 2007 storms in the tropics tracked all the way west, guided by a vast subtropical high pressure.

2010 featured storms which recurved to the NE.  While there was some west Caribbean and Gulf activity the bigger storms all stayed in the Atlantic basin. 
Source Wikimedia Commons
      Our terrible summer was caused by land based torrid ridges of high pressure.  Therefore the lowest pressure and path of least resistance was out to sea.  What could this mean for winter?

      Keeping in mind that my idea is experimental .... What if the hurricane paths indicate that the lack of high pressure building during the storm season?  Could this mean that not all of winter's strong storms are going to shortcut to the Great Lakes?  Is there a chance that since high pressure flows into low that the door is open for a big Arctic event? 

    To those who are ready to give up on this winter take a look at 1999's storm paths:
Is 1999 looking a lot like 2010?

Part 2 will feature what to expect in the 2010-11 season for Central NC and VA.

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