Winter Weather 2023 23 – The US GFS model simulates cooler than average temperatures in the eastern US. in the next two weeks. (Weatherbell)
By mid-February, air temperatures 10 to 30 miles above the North Pole had risen by as much as 50 degrees, setting off a chain reaction process that is already affecting North American weather. The sudden warming of the stratosphere – the second layer of Earth’s atmosphere – known as ‘stratospheric warming’, disrupted the polar vortex and led to its demise.
Winter Weather 2023 23
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Since that episode three weeks ago, a domino fell that changed the weather in North America. Now it appears that parts of the eastern United States – until now largely hidden from the wrath of Old Man Winter – will experience frost and an increased risk of winter storms.
Right now, high pressure building in Greenland – a textbook example of a polar vortex disruption – is helping to remove cold air from the Arctic and move it south. The Arctic has suddenly become unusually mild in many areas as temperatures dip below average in the eastern United States while a pair of winter storms prepare to march from the upper Midwest into the inland Northeast and the mid-Atlantic.
It comes as the calendar gets closer to astronomical spring, but winter may not be quite ready to loosen its grip just yet. Experts believe the disruption of the polar vortex is already taking its toll – and the last hurray of winter could be dramatic.
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Season from the life of the polar vortex: December 1, 2022 – mid-March 2023 balanced air of 10 hPa. #PolarVortex #ECMWF #MODES More levels at https://t.co/H5jIxXlHOZ pic.twitter.com/jsGwZq4dEg — Nedjeljka Žagar (@NedjeljkaZ) March 8, 2023
A stratospheric polar vortex is like a wild atmospheric vortex that is at double or triple the altitude at which commercial airplanes fly. The very cold temperatures above the North Pole, caused by the lack of sunlight, cause the air columns to become denser and condense toward the ground. This creates a void in the upper atmosphere that produces a vacuum-like effect inside. As the surrounding air in the vortex spins counterclockwise, it also cools, repeating the same process.
The stronger the vortex, the faster it swirls. This keeps the high-latitude Arctic cold. But if something happens to weaken the vortex or disrupt its circulation, icy lobes of air could be swept into the mid-latitudes.
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This takes weeks, but after any disruption of the polar vortex or sudden warming of the stratosphere, the effects can manifest in the lower atmosphere.
“It is very typical that there is a long delay between its onset and its maximum apparent impact on the weather,” Simon Lee, an atmospheric scientist at Columbia University, wrote in an email.
Lee said the sudden stratospheric warming occurred in two streams: an initial wind reversal in the stratospheric polar vortex in February. 16 and then redouble the faith, which becomes weaker in the second part of the month.
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“[The February 16 event] was initially too short and high-profile to have much impact, but once it was amplified, things changed,” Lee wrote.
Researchers point to several signs that the sudden warming of the stratosphere is beginning to shape the weather in the mid-latitudes.
First, the weakening of the polar vortex helped push the AO, or Arctic Oscillation, into a negative state. When the AO is positive, very cold air tends to fill the Arctic surface because the polar vortex is strong and stable. But when AO is negative, it means the vortex has been disrupted and the floodgates are open to allow arctic air to flow south.
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Judah Cohen, an atmospheric scientist at Atmospheric and Environmental Research, likens the polar vortex’s gradual effect on mid-latitude weather to a “drop of paint,” with each drop marking the start of cold air and possible winter. He said northeastern North America was already being hit, writing in a direct message on Twitter that the models “also show a new drop or downside for about a week, [suggesting] there may be more.”
Secondly, the “Greenland Bloc” was established. One of the symptoms of a classic sudden stratospheric warming is often the establishment of this block, a stationary high-pressure dome near Greenland. This deflects the jet stream southward over eastern North America, allowing cold air from the Arctic to flow south.
Although much of the eastern United States has been experiencing record-breaking heat since the December holidays, cooler weather is beginning to appear. For the next six to 10 days, the National Weather Service’s Climate Prediction Center emphasizes that an easterly wind is a “likely” possibility. temperatures below average and calling for cooler than average weather through early April.
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Additionally, the presence of a stalled high-pressure system can create a type of atmospheric congestion that keeps the weather on the East Coast above-average stormy. While that hasn’t happened yet, the signs are that a rough patch will happen over the next one to two weeks. Forecast models show the potential for a mix of rain and snow from opposing storm systems in parts of the Mid-Atlantic and the Northeast late this week and early next week.
In a phone call, Cohen explained that the effects of the vortex disruption likely began at least a week ago.
“I think we are already seeing the effects,” he said. “We had a closed low-pressure system over western Russia and eastern Europe. It was quite cold and snowing. We also saw a closed low attempt to form in the Canadian Maritimes. Boston, New York and DC they haven’t seen much snow, but the ski resorts in New England have.”
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He attributed the snowpack in northern New England to a sudden shock in late February following an actual disruption of the polar vortex itself.
“Portland, Maine, is near normal [snowfall] for the season,” he said. “I think it’s a faster effect of the polar vortex disruption.
That said, one thing certainly works against snowfall, much to the chagrin of winter enthusiasts: time. The days grow longer, the angle of the sun increases, and the whispers of spring begin to appear in the atmosphere.
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“The clock must strike midnight,” Cohen said. “After a week or two, the polar vortex effect may weaken or disappear… but that’s still a question mark.” A first look at the forecast for winter 2022/2023 shows the clear influence of the third year of the La Nina phase. This will change the pattern of the jet stream over North America and the Pacific Ocean and expand its reach to the rest of the world. But a new ocean anomaly is emerging that will also play a role.
To try to understand the winter season, we must realize that there are many “drivers” of the season. Global weather is a very complex system with many large and small climate influences. First we investigate what this La Nina actually is and what influence it has on the 2022/2023 winter season.
Below we have the progression of the 10/11 La Nina winter pressure. Blocking high pressure over Greenland and the North Pacific Ocean as low pressure and cooler air moves from the United States to Europe. This is what every winter fan in Europe and the United States looks forward to every winter. But we’ll see if we can find similar trends in the first forecast for winter 2022/2023.
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Oceans cover more than 70% of the Earth’s surface and play an important role in Earth’s climate system. You can see the air-sea interaction in the image below. It’s quite complex, but you see a two-way system with many small and large factors.
The key here is the word “bidirectional”. For example, sometimes we look at ocean anomalies and how they can affect our weather in the long term, because weather also affects ocean anomalies.
Tropical trade winds form an important link between oceans and weather. They can mix the surface layers of the ocean and change surface currents and ocean temperatures. This can lead to changes in precipitation and pressure distribution.
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But what are trade winds? The trade winds are strong and persistent and blow towards (and with) the equator in both hemispheres. In the image below you can see the prevailing global winds, with the trade winds highlighted in yellow and red.
So it’s very important to remember that while the oceans can play a direct role in climate, they also change as a result of the weather.
Some ocean areas around the world are important in some way. Monthly, seasonal or decadal anomalies can occur in the oceans. Sometimes they can tell us a small part of what will happen in the future.
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Looking at the latest anomalies in the oceans, we have identified two key global regions that we are currently monitoring for developments in winter 2022/2023. Each has its own role and importance in different places and timescales.
At the center is the El Nino Southern Oscillation, or ENSO. This is one of the most famous