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Raindance Weather

Winter 2017-18 Outlook

Albuquerque & NM Weather Focus

USA Weather Overview

The Big Question: Is it 1932?

BOM (MJO/SOI), Raindance Research, Raindance Models, Wikipedia, Xuru Regression software.
Winter Driver Expectations
Weak/Moderate La Nina
Low Sunspots
La Nina after La Nina
Winter after Wet Monsoon
Modoki Negative / Modoki La Nina
Warm Atlantic (AMO+), cooler than 2016-17
Neutral Pacific (PDO=, i.e. near 0)
Weather Bingo
Winter Analog Approaches
Similar Summer Weather Filtered by ENSO Conditions
(Nino 3.4)
Best skill early
Has correctly picked snowiest month in ABQ for 2013-14, 2014-15,
2015-16, 2016-17.

Ocean & Solar Conditions

Blend of ONI, AMO, Solar, Modoki, ONIp (ONI prior winter), PDO,
Monsoon conditions.
Best skill later in Winter & Spring
Ocean Temperature Changes: Y/Y
Ocean Anomalies: Aug (L) & Oct (R)
Ocean Overview
The Atlantic Multi-Decadal Oscillation (AMO) & Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO)
were closer to average in Summer & early Fall 2017 in comparison to Summer 2016.

Arctic Sea Ice Extent minimum values, mostly controlled by air temperatures and
the AMO, were above 2007-2008, 2010-2012, 2015-2016 in mid-September 2017.

The Tropical Pacific began quickly cooling in late July 2017, after warming from
Winter to Summer, but remained warmer than in 2016 from July through September.

A developing La Nina, with a Modoki signature looks likely for winter 2017-18. The
Modoki signature in 2016-17 included very warm waters by South America (Nino 1.2)
despite the La Nina, this winter, the Modoki should see cooler waters by South

Is it 1932? The AMO, PDO, Solar, Modoki, Monsoon & Tropical Pacific SST values
are remarkably similar to 1932 in 2017 with a category four hurricane hitting Texas
& Puerto Rico in both years - the first for Puerto Rico since 1932. Mexico also had a
big earthquake in 1932, as it did this year. The question for winter is whether 2017
will also see a big volcanic eruption, as 1932 did. The Tropical Pacific also warmed
from Winter to Summer in 1932, before cooling again in winter. Hurricane Nate in
October 2017 took an almost identical path, Caribbean Sea to LA/MS as Tropical
Storm 11 in October 1932. Irma & the FL/AL hurricane both hit SW FL in September.

BOTTOM LINE: These changes support more cold air in the US for the winter than
2016-17, which was a very warm winter outside the Northwest, but less moisture for
the Southwest.
Key Factors in Winter
51.5F is the Key Number for Snow
In winters with a mean high below 51.5F, there is historically a 52% chance,
34 of 65 years, that snow in Albuquerque will top the long term average of
9.6 from October to May.
In winters with a mean high of 51.5F or above, there is historically a 10%
chance, 2 in 20 years, that snow in Albuquerque will top the long term
average of 9.6 from October to May.
The change in snowy season frequency at/above 51.5F and below 51.5F is
statistically significant it is unlikely (p<0.01) to be a fluke or due to chance.
ABQ Snow Jackpot Odds
Metro Snow by Elevation
All seasonal snow data for Albuquerque is based on the Sunport records, at
~5350 feet above sea level. By correlating seasonal snow data for the
Foothills (23 years) to the Sunport, we can see how higher elevation
impacts snow totals. By correlating seasonal snow data for the Valley (25
years) to the Sunport, we can see how lower elevation impacts snow totals.
La Nina Winters in ABQ
Limits in La Nina Precipitation
La Nina Winters Are Variable I
Neutral & El Nino winter highs respond strongly to annualized sunspot
activity. La Nina winters do not.

BUT La Nina winters see increased winter high variability with low solar
activity. Very warm (1933, 1942, 1995, 2005, 2008) and very cold winters
(1974, 1984) occur near the solar minimum in La Nina years.
Variability in low-solar La Nina winters is ~9F historically, ~46F to ~55F,
but only ~7F in high-solar La Nina winters is ~47F to ~54F.

La Nina winters are somewhat warm and dry in Albuquerque and much of
the Southwest. The warm/dry signal peaks in Spring.

For the 27 La Nina winters between 1931-32 and 2016-17, there is no

statistically significant trend in winter high temperatures or winter
La Nina Winters Are Variable II
La Nina winters, like Neutral & El Nino winters, respond to Atlantic
Ocean temperature (AMO) changes. Cooler AMO values correspond to
cooler winters in La Ninas at levels near statistical significance.

The AMO will be lower in 2017-18 than 2016-17, due to increased sea
ice and cold water upwelling after several long-lived major hurricanes
in the Western Atlantic.

Wet La Nina winters are more common when the PDO is positive
1938, 1984, 2016 were wet La Ninas, with 1933, 1983, and 1995 dry,
despite the positive PDO. The PDO is NOT expected to be positive in

La Nina winters after a La Nina winter - such as this one - are

somewhat colder in November & December than La Nina winters after
an El Nino. This tends to lead to more snow in December see next
ABQ Snow by La Nina Order
La Nina Winters Are Variable III

Historically, La Nina winters are warm (>=51.5F) only 11% (1/9) of the time when
following >=90 days at >=87F. La Nina winters are warm (>=51.5F) 61% (11/18) of the
time when following <90 days at 87F. This is a statistically significant difference (p=0.01).
Monsoon + La Nina ABQ Snow

ABQ had >5 inches of rain for the 2017 monsoon, suggesting light snow into March.
Summer Conditions Analogs

Summer Condition maps are used to try to get the winter pattern
without guessing ocean and solar variables.
Summer Conditions have a good track record for identifying the
snowiest month in Albuquerque.
Summer Conditions are not the final forecast. The final forecast, at the
end of the PowerPoint is a blend of long-term trends, ocean/solar
conditions, and Summer Conditions.
Understanding The Maps
Maps are meant to show departures in anomalous highs only.
Maps are centered on the analog year mean to try to forecast high temperature
anomalies against 1951-2010.
Final map is hand drawn to show standardized seasonal expectations, taking
into account highly variable regional precipitation values.
Maps are meant to show anomaly trends. Areas marked cold or warm will often
exceed the 2F departure from the base period.

How Accurate Are the Maps?

Initial Summer Condition Winter Maps have matched the US high

temperature pattern at 20-65% for 2006-2016 when tested.
The Ocean & Sun spatial regression maps are very accurate (55-85% for
2006-2016) with correct inputs. 1931 was identified as the best high
temperature match to 2016, at about a 65% match nationally.
Summer Conditions: Winter Maps
Basis: Hot June. Mild July/August/September. Wet Monsoon. La Nina
Wet Monsoon La Nina, 2 years since Oct-May snow >9.6.
Summer Conditions: Winter Idea
Summer conditions indicate a Western trough alternating with a trough in
the Upper Midwest, but with less consistent heat in the Southern US.
New Mexico would see a cooler, drier winter, with highs within 1F of
normal, instead of 2-3F above normal. The Southeast ridge would be much
weaker, with highs in the Southeast 0-3F above normal, instead of 4-7F
above normal as in 2016-17.
Snowfall would be less in the mountains than 2016-17, but higher in the
valleys (<6500 feet) with colder temperatures offsetting the precipitation
None of the years in the blend produced above average snow in
Albuquerque from October to May, but most produced more snow than
Southern New Mexico, particularly near TX, will be the warmest area in the
state relative to place specific means.
Summer Conditions & Snow Ideas

Years that see heat fade against long term averages from June to July to
August are usually (8/14) snowy (>9.6 Oct-May)but most arent La Ninas!
Summer Conditions Overall
5.4 snow Oct-May is analog mean for Albuquerque.
Mean High Dec-Feb: 49.4F (-0.2F v. 1931-32 to 2016-17 mean high)
One big snow month favored likely 3-5 inches of snow. Summers
that have cooling anomalies from June to July to August have all had
at least one big snow month (>3.5 in all cases).
Snowiest month most likely in January.
Drier winter 1.35 precipitation
First snow mean: December 1st.
Days with >=0.1 Snow in Oct-May: 7
Analogs individually had 3-9 inches of snow in Albuquerque
Cool Oct-Nov, with slightly above normal Dec-Jan, followed by a cold
February. Spring resumes as slightly above normal.
0-1 inches of snow in Fall & Spring for Albuquerque.
Oceans & Sun Analogs

Data, Maps, and Projections from this section are from the means of
analogs that have similar conditions to 2017 on known predictive

At the end of the PowerPoint, these projections are then adjusted in line
with the Summer Conditions ideas, and long-term trends for snow,
precipitation and temperatures into the Final Forecast.
Oceans & Sun Expectations I

The La Nina for winter looks more traditional than 2016-17, with Box B expected to
be much colder than last year, along with a colder AMO & PDO signature.
Oceans & Sun Expectations II

The Canadian Model forecasts similar sea surface temperature anomalies to the
analogs in the upcoming winter.
Winter Analogs: Oceans & Sun I
Ocean & Sun Analog I-II slides are Albuquerque specific. Slide III has other sites.

The third table is the snow regression table - factors from the analogs that predict snow
well. This blend has more snow than the analogs, with January favored as snowiest.
Winter Analogs: Oceans & Sun II
Winter of consistent cold shots & storms, without unusual moisture or
15 Days with a high of <=40F expected from Oct-May (analogs trend adjusted)
60 Days with a high of <=50F expected from Oct-May (analogs trend adjusted)
92 Days with a low of <=32F expected from Oct-May (analogs trend adjusted)

April looks cold, 2-3F below the 1932-2017 mean high in Albuquerque.
December looks slightly wetter than average. November & March look
warmer than normal. Winter & Spring look somewhat drier than average.

Coldest temperature of Oct-May? 12F (analog trend adjusted)

Oct-May nights at or below 32F were very common in these analogs. But
they are becoming less common due to the Urban Heat Island effect and
rapid March warming. But even taking this into consideration, by taking out
19 days from the pure analogs, 92 days with a low of 32F or less are
Winter Analogs: Oceans & Sun III

High elevation sites in NW New Mexico

performed best in the analog package for
snowfall. Statewide, the months of January,
but especially April saw the greatest signal
for anomalously high snowfall.

Numbers for some sites were not available

in all analog years, so only years that were
available were used at those sites. Overall,
analogs have near normal snow north, with
below normal south and valleys.

Blue means >=1.2x mean snow, pink <=0.8x

mean snow.
Oceans & Sun Composite Map
Oceans & Sun Composite Dec
Oceans & Sun Composite Jan
Oceans & Sun Composite Feb
Heat & Cold Evenly Matched in NM

In New Mexico, the analogs favor both big heat waves and major cold snaps
thus mean winter high temperatures will come in near the long term average.
Final Forecast: National Map
Final Forecast: Albuquerque
Dec-Feb high at 49.6F, +/- 2.2F at 95% certainty using regression of
87F days, Nov-Apr AMO, & annual solar conditions in a La Nina.
More valley snow than last year, less mountain snow.
Another dry Spring, except April. Snow in March! Summer data
indicates January will be snowiest, then February, then March.
Monthly precipitation expected to verify within 20% of listed values.
In Winter 2016-17, only ~0.2 of precipitation (2.8/13)/(1.9) fell as
snow in Albuquerque. In Winter 2017-18, 0.35-0.55 precipitation
will be snow, with drier snow, with more hours below 32F.
Snow totals were increased 5% from the Ocean & Sun regression
with winters getting wetter & since Summers that see falling heat
anomalies June->July->Aug tend to see a good snow month.
Any Hidden Extremes in ABQ?

Sometimes calendar months miss a long cold or warm stretch. In 2015-16 ABQ
highs were very cold from December 16th to January 15th (41.7F, -4.3F), despite a
somewhat warmer than average winter. There does not appear to be much hidden
heat or cold in this analog set. The mid-Dec to mid-Jan month is interesting all the
analogs were very warm or very cold, none were between 44-48F, or w/in 2F of
normal. This implies a wild, but near normal month for temperatures.

The mid-March to mid-April and mid-April to mid-May months look cooler than
normal, but March accounts for half of all warming in Albuquerque since 1931 so
the second period is more believable. The mid-February to mid-March period is also
expected to verify somewhat warmer than the number shown.
Final Forecast Context
The forecast winter mean high of 49.6F would be coldest winter by this metric in
ABQ since 2012-13, but exactly average against 1931-32 to 2016-17. It is a warmer
value than 2012-13 though.

Forecast of 15 Days with a high 40F or colder from Oct-May would be coolest
season by this metric since 2015-16. It is fewer days at 40F or colder than the 2015-
16 season though.

Forecast of 60 Days with a high 50F or colder from Oct-May would be coolest
season by this metric since 2009-10. It is fewer days at 50F or colder than the 2009-
2010 season though.

Forecast of 92 Days with a low of 32F or colder from Oct-May would be coolest
season by this metric since 2012-2013. It is fewer days at 32F or below than the
2012-2013 season though.

Other expectations: The 1932-33 analog had major cold snaps, with low
temperatures falling below 0F in January. There is an outside chance the city drops
below 0F this January. Snow after April 7th is also about four times more likely than
usual (30% v. 7%) if low solar activity continues as expected.

High temperatures are expected to be near normal in October, January and May,
with a cooler than normal December and April. High temperatures are expected to
be above normal in November, February and March. The trend from last year overall
is drier and colder.
Things to Watch This Winter
It is quite rare historically to have more than three wetter than normal winters in
a row in Albuquerque. The winters of 2014-15, 2015-16, and 2016-17 were all
above the long-term average of 1.30 precipitation.

Albuquerque has had a run of pretty warm winters, and we may be due for a
cold winter. The last winter with cooler than normal highs was 2012-13.

February & March have both been very warm in conjunction for several years,
which is unusual one or both months is due to cool to at least near average
sometime soon. The analogs imply a cool & very warm half for each this year.

March is way overdue for meaningful precipitation in Albuquerque. It has been

over a decade since March finished above the long-term mean for precipitation.

Mount Agung in Indonesia may erupt. This volcano is in the tropics, and has
at least two known VEI 5 eruptions 1843 and most recently in 1963. The winter
that followed the 1963 eruption in Albuquerque was the coldest winter on record,
since 1892-93, for the city. Big volcanic eruptions in the tropics can lower the
temperature of the entire Earth by up to 1-2F for months to years. The analogs
try to account for Agung by including 1932-33 at low weight, which had a similar
hurricane season and a major volcanic eruption before winter began.
What Can Bust The Forecast?
Volcanic activity in the tropics can lead to unpredictable and unusual weather
patterns once the aerosols from the volcano circle the Earth, Agung may erupt
in time to disrupt the weather pattern for winter.

The Atlantic may warm or cool more than expected, increased temperatures will
favor a warmer winter, decreased temperatures a cooler winter.

The PDO may revert back to its positive phase this would favor more wetness
in the winter.

The La Nina can come in stronger than expected. This would favor a
drier/warmer Spring, and a somewhat drier/warmer Winter.

Years with similar conditions outside the Tropical Pacific were actually very cold
so if the La Nina fades by winter, it could be colder than forecast.