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The All New 12/13 Weather Outlook Thread

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The All New 12/13 Weather Outlook Thread

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
But you can't tell the weather six to nine months ahead! Er, no. You can't. Good. That's settled.

Moving swiftly on.

Ladies and Gentlemen, La Nina has now left the building.

NOAA put out it's last La Nina advisory last week. Conditions are now neutral and most models suggest it will transit to a weak El Nino over summer. At this stage that could still go either way and the CFSv2 ENSO (they've updated their model this year) has been providing some suggestions that it could strengthen to moderate later into Autumn, but it's certainly not consistent yet.

What does that mean for Europe? Probably not a great deal as ENSO conditions don't have much of a clear correlation to conditions this far east. But out of curiosity here are some figures for St Anton for recent El Nino years.

2009/2010 was a strong El Nino

Generally colder than average and drier than average except for early season. Started good then so, so.
(Nov +3.1 116%, Dec -0.2C 78%, Jan -1.0C 11%, Feb -0.5C 22%, Mar -0.4C 52%, Apr +1.5C 77%)

2006/2007 was a weak El Nino

Generally very mild, often dry, but wetter than average in January and March. Pretty grim.
(Nov +2.4C 76%, Dec +2.4C 29%, Jan +5.4C 117%, Feb +3.3C 67%, Mar +2.3C, Apr +6.0C 19%)

2004/2005 was a weak El Nino

Cold winter. Fairly dry.
(Nov +0.7C 20%, Dec -0.6C 61%, Jan -1.3C 62%, Feb -3.1C 48%, Mar +1.4C 38%, Apr +2.7C 40%)

2002/2003 was a moderate El Nino

After a very wet November, generally dry.
(Nov +2.2C 176%, Dec +2.9C 92%, Jan -0.3C 48%, Feb -2.1C 35%, Mar +3.2C 5%, Apr +1.5C 39%)


So by and large, good news the correlation is weak...
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Smashing. Now what's the snow going to be like in the PdS at half term? Very Happy
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SLF have put together an interesting chart putting this season in context.

"What a winter! The early barren period for large parts of the Alps was followed by persistent snowfall with near-record quantities and critical loads in some cases."



"Number of snow days (days with snow depth ≥ 50 cm) above 1300 m on the northern flank of the Alps between December and March. The bars for each year illustrate the deviation of the mean for the seven listed stations from the long-term average (1961-2000). The absolute value of the long-term average is 89 snow days. The 104 snow days recorded in winter 2011/12 (final bar) was far above average, but well short of the record." [SLF]


The lengthy weak spell during the 1990s is clearly shown.

There's further background in this article from SLF, Snow Climatology.

Meteo France have also produced an interesting assessment of the season.

Saison 2011-2012 : bilan de l'enneigement sur les massifs français

- 2011/2012 season was varied considerably from region to region.
- The Northern Alps had an excellent season despite contrasting conditions.
- In the Southern Alps, snow arrived earlier, at the start of November in places, but for the remainder of the winter the extreme south of the Alps were well below normal throughout the season.
- In the Pyrenees, the dry winter resulted in below average snow depths in December and January and again in March. Nevertheless there was timely snowfall in mid-December and early February.

In the Northern French Alps

- Drought and mild temperatures at altitude in November.
- Conditions changed rapidly in early December. Bourg St Maurice had the third wettest month on record.
- By early January snow depths were remarkable and the deepest in 30 years.
- The nights of 05/06 January saw a violent storm (Andrea) bringing strong winds and very large amounts of snow.
- By the end of January snow depths were excellent and in the top 20% for the last fifty years.
- February in contrast was exceptionally dry. BSM saw the third driest month since 1945-46.
- In the first half of February intense cold produced the fourth coldest temperatures in the last 45 years.
- Though by the end of the month temperatures were close to record highs!
- March was very dry and mild, despite this snow depths remained above average till mid March.
- But from 05 April wintery weather returned.
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Some reflections on the poor season in much (not all) of the US.

It’s official: 2011-12 ski season was the worst in 20 years with 51 million visits

Interestingly there was an increase in international visitors to US resorts. Possibly as a result of the relatively poor European season in 2010-2011?

Looking south to New Zealand, here's NIWA's latest seasonal forecast.

Seasonal Climate Outlook: May - July 2012

La Niña over, and a mild start to winter for New Zealand [NIWA]
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Interesting video looking at possible explanations for some recent weather trends.

Weird winter, mad March.

The focus is the US, but the discussion of blocking and the jet stream is relevant to recent weather in the Alps and Europe.

Like all discussions of climate change the causes of any change or even the existence of change is something people argue about, but worth a look.
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Thought I'd stick these somewhere easy to find on the front page.

Here are some ensembles.



Les Deux Alpes.

Chamonix.

The Arlberg.

Hintertux.

Bad Gastein.

Sestriere.

Folgaria.

Zermatt.

Cairngorm.

Hemsedal.

Eastern Pyrenees.

Colder than average temperatures continue in north west Europe, whilst the Alps have seen some very warm and sunny weather. Scotland is likely to see further snowfall in the next week, but mixed with thaws and strong winds at time. So pick your time carefully if you are heading there.
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Well at least I know it looks like rain if we head down there next week. Very undecided, so we may as well stay here.
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Ok. Remember that this is really just a bit of fun. And that the people who produce these models make very clear their limitations. Remember also that it's not about forecasting the weather. Obviously that is not possible months in advance. What may, perhaps, become clear over time are some trends. Or they may not.

CFS updated their model this year and CFSv2 is in place and CFSv1 disappears at the end of the month.

At present you can just see the outer limits of late autumn, early winter. And given that these are three month periods you would anticipate considerable variability within that even in terms of trends (so October anomalies could still look very different from December for example)

CFS three monthly z700 anomalies

There's a suggestion here that we might see a positive NAO as we head for winter. This would not necessarily be especially cold, but could see autumn and early winter storms heading on a northern track hitting the UK and the Alps. Which wouldn't be a bad thing.

CFS three monthly precipitation anomalies

And that's consistent with the precipitation which would see wetter than normal conditions over much of the Alps.

CFS three monthly temperature anomalies

And temperatures in line with seasonal norms.

Again that it very likely to change. So I wouldn't take it that seriously, but that's how CFS sees it for now on a cool Saturday evening in May.

[Edited for updates to CFS charts]


Last edited by After all it is free Go on u know u want to! on Tue 15-05-12 7:49; edited 1 time in total
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nozawaonsen wrote:
Thought I'd stick these somewhere easy to find on the front page.

Here are some ensembles...

(A) Excellent idea.
(B) Very funny.
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You can see the ENSO figure slipping into positive (neutral) on this chart from BOM.

NINO 3.4 SST Index +0.08

NOAA suggesting "ENSO-neutral is expected to continue through Northern Hemisphere summer 2012" but flagging that a number of models suggest "El Niño conditions during the second half of 2012." Which currently looks like it would be a weak El Nino if it did take place.

Here's a good article from offpistemag.com by Leigh Jones and Wendy Wagner on the impact or not of ENSO in the US.

Demystifying ENSO

"In the Pacific Northwest, British Columbia, and the Intermountain North, an El Niño winter has a greater chance to be
drier and warmer than average, and vice versa for a La Niña winter. For California and the Southwest, El Niño winters have a greater chance to be wetter than average, and vice versa for La Niña. Furthermore, the stronger the El Niño or La Niña, the greater the chance of seeing an out- of-the-norm winter. But don’t kid yourself – it’s way more complicated than just that.

The dirty little secret that gets drowned out in the hype is that any one climate signal doesn’t necessarily guarantee that your snow season is going to be a boom or a bust. Some regions in the West experience La Niña more strongly than El Niño (the Pacific Northwest and British Columbia). For some regions, the opposite is true. Some regions won’t typically see impacts from El Niño or La Niña when the signal is weak, but only when it is moderate-to-strong (the Sierra Nevada). Some regions may experience large variability within a season, where the early or late season may be more heavily weighted (Colorado). And if you ski Utah’s Wasatch, the surprising truth is that there’s just no reliable correlation between ENSO and the “Greatest Snow on Earth.”"


But as they say... it's more complicated than that...
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A late blast of wintery weather across the Eastern Alps this morning with snowfall down to 1000m.

Arlberghaus webcam in Zürs


Last edited by snowHeads are a friendly bunch. on Thu 17-05-12 7:51; edited 1 time in total
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nozawaonsen, it was snowing down to 5/600 metres this morning here in the Munich area!
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Fantastic wintery views in parts of the Alps this morning as the sun comes out (see the link above). Being late spring (and five weeks to the summer solstice) it won't last of course, but if you are heading to the glaciers (say Hintertux) it looks like there is a good amount of snowfall possible early next week above 1800m in the eastern Alps.

ENSO has risen to +0.14 and casting a brief glance at CFS which has updated to include November December January there is a continuing weak signal in the three month anomalies for a positive NAO in early winter which is currently suggesting snowfall would be weaker in the southern Alps with storms tracking to the north, but obviously I wouldn't exactly take that seriously seven months out!

Further recent snowfall in the Scottish mountains, but worth noting a fairly consistent signal for warmer than average temperatures for late May establishing themselves from the start of next week.
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Looks like 10-30cm of snow heading for the Alps between this evening and midweek. Snowline around 2000m in the west and 2300m in the east.

Good for those glaciers which are open and will keep things topped up for those that aren't.
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Down under... "The Grasshopper" has put out some updates.

SNOW SEASON OUTLOOK 2012 New Zealand UPDATE

- Nice shot of Mount Hutt this morning.
- "On the upside, we're still expecting close to average precipitation, and there's nothing to indicate we won't get our fair share of snow-bearing cold fronts this year. But on the downside, we're expecting a warmer than average winter, and this means it's possible the snowline will take a bit longer to descend than normal."

SNOW SEASON OUTLOOK 2012 Australia UPDATE

- "An unspectacular start to the season, but at least it now looks like it will be a bit cooler than normal and not too bad for snow-making."
- "The first big 30cm+ storm to occur in late June/early July (assuming the low this weekend doesn't throw up a big surprise)."
- "Spencer's Creek snow depth to break one metre by mid-to-late July, and to top out at 201cm."
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JAMSTEC has put out a May update.

JAMSTEC Seasonal Outlook.

Broadly speaking this suggests a warmer and wetter than average December to February in the Alps. With drier anomalies to the south of the Alps. Obviously that doesn't exactly amount to much seven months out. What might be worth noting is that this would be broadly in line with the positive NAO suggestions which CFS has been toying with on and off.
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ENSO index has slipped a little to -0.05, the current consensus is suggesting later this year we'll see a positive neutral to weak El Nino.

Some very warm weather over the UK in the next week should get the BBQs going.


http://youtube.com/v/tMjK511x-14

Generally average or warmer than average in the Alps although potentially quite wet as we go into June.
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Here's a piece from Wasatch Weather Weenies looking at the 2011/12 season in comparison to the previous one.

A Lesson in Weather and Climate Variability

The SNOTEL says it all.

On the subject of sketchy lifts in Japan and deep snow. Here's a smashing example from Myoko on Honshu.

Surfing the Chair
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After the tricky season in parts of the US, Mountain Creek ski resort in New Jersey is suing it's insurer after they refused to pay on a weather policy (it comes down to a dispute over temperatures).

"Mountain Creek sues Everest after warm-weather insurance doesn't pay off"

Some slightly cooler than average temperatures look likely as June starts which could see some snow for parts of the Alps. Hintertux and Kitzsteinhorn should get some fresh snow.
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An update from BOM on ENSO.

Neutral conditions persist in the tropical Pacific
Issued on Tuesday 22 May

"Climate models surveyed by the Bureau of Meteorology indicate that the tropical Pacific Ocean is likely to warm further over the next six months. All seven models surveyed indicate conditions are likely to approach, or possibly exceed, El Niño thresholds during the second half of the year. This suggests an enhanced risk of El Niño conditions developing during 2012. No climate models favour a return to La Niña."
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It continues to look like the start of summer time (Friday 01 June) will be met with an echo from the end of winter 2011/12.

Cooler weather and snow down to the high valleys (eg Hintertux) looks possible in the eastern Alps Friday into Saturday.
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Some snow down in Las Lenas in Argentina.

Las Lenas Camera 1
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And some snow in La Parva and Portillo in Chile too.

And also in the south.

Grasshopper on NZ extended outlook.

"A big low is forming off the NSW coast on the weekend and it looks likely to truck across the Tasman early next week bringing perhaps 30 to 40mm of heavy rain to Ruapehu before laying down about 10cm of snow. On upper slopes the odds will be a little more in favour of snow, but they too are likely to get a dose of rain first."

In the Alps the threat of a cold plunge seems to have faded, but there is still a possibility of heavy rain on Sunday which could bring snow to the glaciers.

And ENSO has popped back up to +0.03.
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Sensibly sceptical piece from aussieskier.com

"2012 is set to be a bumper season" - cowdoo!

http://aussieskier.com/featured/2012-is-set-to-be-a-bumper-season-cowdoo/
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nozawaonsen wrote:
Sensibly sceptical piece from aussieskier.com

"2012 is set to be a bumper season" - cowdoo!

http://aussieskier.com/featured/2012-is-set-to-be-a-bumper-season-cowdoo/


Glad you liked it Wink
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link no worky for me.....suspect word b*llsh*t is being changed to cowdoo hence breaking the link!
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And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
Try this: http://wp.me/pXBmg-Ln
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So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
Yeah just replace "cowdoo" with the appropriate word in the link and it works fine...
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You know it makes sense.
Anyway back to the serious business of making long term predictions about next winter's weather!

Here's a good piece by Gavin P from TWO on the relationship between May SST's and the winter NAO.

NAO Forecast For Winter 2012/2013

The key point here being that it's just one indicator and not one that guarantees the outcome. Nevertheless it is another piece of the puzzle and this one suggests a possible positive NAO this coming winter. That doesn't mean we'll get the same set up all winter. Even if it did turn out to be predominantly positive we could still see a negative spell (this is exactly what we had this season with a short sharp negative NAO in February as cold weather poured across Europe).

Generally a positive NAO comes about with milder and wetter weather pushing in from the Atlantic (but that can still mean a huge variation when it comes to the actual weather). We had a very strongly positive NAO for much of early winter this year, December and January in particular saw big snow storms pummeling the northern Alps.

But at this stage it is obviously nothing more than idle speculation and a roll of the dice.

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Winter is starting to reach into New Zealand and Australia.

But it isn't necessarily going to be smooth sailing.

Here's the Grasshopper's latest.

Australian Alps Detailed Forecast

"... gale force winds for East Gippsland and the Aussie Alps. Don't under-estimate the dangers from a southerly of 50 to 70km/h gusting over 100km/h folks. Ugly."

Heavy rain will accompany this with rain turning to snow. But...

"... it's still incredibly hard to call when the transition from rain to snow will occur..."

But...

"With some snow on Tuesday and all that cold air for the rest of this week the groomers are going to have plenty of opportunity to get things looking great for the start of Season 2012."

Here's that system on GFS +18

South Island Detailed Forecast

"Mt Hutt is signed up for 30cm or more of snow from about 6pm Tuesday to 3am Wednesday".

In the Alps snow overnight should arrive in Hintertux into tomorrow possibly 20-30cm down to 2000m.
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Here's SLF's outlook from yesterday on the overnight snowfall in the Alps.

Significant increase in avalanche danger, especially in high alpine regions

"During the night on Sunday, 3 June heavy precipitation is expected widespread. The precipitation will then rapidly slacken off during the course of the day on Monday, 4 June, giving rise to bright spells in western and southern regions. The snowfall level will swiftly descend during Sunday night from over 3000 m down to about 2200 m. By Monday midday above 3000 m, the following amounts of new fallen snow are expected: Bernese Oberland, central and eastern parts of the northern flank of the Alps, Ticino and Grisons, 40 to 70 cm; Vaud and Fribourg Alps as well as Valais, 15 to 30 cm. From place to place, the amounts of fresh fallen snow may turn out to be significantly greater, particularly in Ticino, as the snowfall occurs with thunderstorms"
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Looks like the unsettled start to June is set to continue for a little while yet, with more rain in the Alps looking heavy this Friday and even more so at the start of next week. This will again put some reasonable snow on the glaciers. Though freezing levels currently look to be in the region of 2750m so it's only going to be snow at the top.

Taking a glance at CFS it's not showing any consistent picture over the last few weeks and I would hardly expect it to, but it has been tending to show wetter than average anomalies over the Alps, especially the northern Alps, as we approach winter which would again be broadly consistent with a positive NAO. So maybe something to watch for and see if this pattern starts to gather strength.

Meanwhile according to BOM's ENSO round up:

"All seven models surveyed indicate conditions are likely to approach, or possibly exceed, El Niño thresholds during the late winter to early spring period."


(which would be the end of European summer and start of autumn).

Whilst NOAA suggests:

"ENSO-neutral is favored through the Northern Hemisphere summer, with approximately equal chances of neutral or El Niño conditions during the fall and winter."
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Some nicely timed snow for Mount Hutt.

"The perfect storm has arrived with 40cm of fresh snow falling in the base area and up to 50cm at the summit during the last 8 hours. It is still snowing and our snowmaking team is capitalising on the sub-freezing temps and ramping up to full flow. The forecast suggests a further 10 to 20cm of snow may fall over the next 6 hours and staff training will be in full swing today as we gear up for opening as scheduled this Saturday 9th June" [Mount Hutt Facebook]

Meanwhile over in Australia the weather turned rough.

The morning after the night before: Sydney wakes up to a mess

The same storm will have brought some snow to the mountains, but strong winds and fluctuating freezing levels make it sound like it will have been mixed.
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ENSO up to +0.17.

An interesting graph from SLF from their fortnightly update.

"Du 16 au 31 mai 2012: D’abord chutes de neige jusqu’à basse altitude avec une nette augmentation du danger d'avalanche, puis un temps de plus en plus marqué par une évolution en cours de journée et prédominance de conditions avalancheuses favorables."

This shows the Snow Water Equivalent or schneewasseräquivalent (SWE) for the Swiss Alps over the last season.



A very slow start to November and December, followed by the rapid accumulation which pushed it well above the recent recorded variability until it dropped back in March.

The SLF report also includes an interesting graph from Weissfluhjoch which shows the snowfall (in blue at the bottom) through the season which makes clear the influence of about five big snowfalls in December and January.

More heavy rain in the Alps falling as snow on the glaciers tomorrow into Saturday, though freezing levels look like being around 3000m, before further heavy rain and snow down to 2300m Monday into Tuesday.
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NOAA/CPC has issued an El Niño watch.

"ENSO Alert System Status: El Niño Watch

Synopsis: There is a 50% chance that El Niño conditions will develop during the second half of 2012."
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Unsettled weather continuing in the eastern Alps again bringing snow to the glaciers, Hintertux in particular should see 20-30cms down to 2500m in the next few days. After that it looks like a plume of much warmer air is going to push up from North Africa bringing warm and sunny weather by next weekend.

Looking back at last season Meteo France has produced some interesting charts to illustrate their Saison 2011-2012 : bilan de l'enneigement sur les massifs français

Here's one showing snow heights around Alpe d'Huez.



Again showing clearly how the motor of the December and January snowfall produced exceptional snow heights for winter, but by spring actually dropped quite steeply below average with the lack of new snow, or at least large quantities, in February and March.
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Update from SLF on the current unsettled conditions in the Alps.

Snowfall down to the treeline, heightened avalanche danger in some regions

"Between Friday, 8 June, and Monday, 11 June, there was repeated and widespread snowfall, mixed with thunderstorms in some regions and dappled intermittently with bright intervals. The precipitation was heaviest in Ticino and Grisons. Above approximately 3000 m on the Main Alpine Ridge from northern Ticino over the Rheinwaldhorn into the Bernina region, there was 30 to 60 cm of new fallen snow"

"By Wednesday evening, the following amounts of fresh fallen snow are expected above 2500 m: Ticino and Grisons, 20 to 50 cm; central and eastern parts of the northern flank of the Alps, about 20 cm, elsewhere less."
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Week and a half to the summer solstice and the nights start drawing in...

ENSO has crept all the way up to +0.18 from +0.17.

There's been a fair amount of snowfall on the glaciers in the first half of June and often accompanied by quite cool temperatures. The second half is looking generally above average temperature wise.
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Some really warm conditions heading for the Alps over the next week with temperatures 10C over seasonal means.

Down South snow falling in Las Lenas.

For what it's worth (not a lot), CFS still has a signal for wetter than average conditions across the Alps for winter, particularly the northern Alps.

CFSv2 plus six month precipitation anomaly
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The solstice is next sunday... But as of this morning the mornings start drawing in with this morning being the earliest sun rise.
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