Thursday, January 3, 2013

GFS Weather Model Eyes Super Arctic Outbreak

How much value is there in weather models, particularly one notoriously nicknamed "Good For Shit," that predict temperatures more than a week out? We're about to find out.

Two recent entries in blogs by the Twin Cities' "weather Pauls" noted that the GFS model predicts some mighty cold temperatures arriving in the middle of the month.

The Updraft MPR weather blog, authored by Paul Huttner, included this depiction of the GFS forecast in its edition yesterday (Wednesday) morning. Note the model includes a full week of all-day sub-zero temperatures with a low of -31F on Wednesday, January 16.


For more complete context, including Paul's thoughts on how likely it is that the arctic cold will materialize, refer to the full blog entry here.

This Thursday morning, Paul Douglas's Star Tribune weather blog included this GFS capture:

It's interesting to note the considerable difference in the GFS in just 24 hours. The coldest sub-zero temperature forecast is "only" 12 below compared to the 31 below in the previous day's forecast. Daytime high temperatures are similarly warmer in the GFS forecast from this morning.

As an interested but essentially uninformed weather enthusiast, I'd like to know how accurate the GFS model is for a forecast that many days out. While temperatures undoubtedly flip flop, does the overall trend remain? Or is it a case of the long-range GFS and $3 will get you a beer?

Your thoughts, dear Minnesota weather enthusiasts?

82 comments:

  1. Coming from a guy that flew drones for a while, then watches the weather daily mostly from the NWS website: I can't trust anything more than five days out. Why worry about the 15th when it's the 3rd? I ran the Polar Dash 5k when it was -4 and I was okay.

    I'll revisit this blog entry about the 11th or 12th when the NWS forecast, or any regular forecast gets much closer to the actual date.

    Yes, the acronym for the GFS is mostly correct. I can't look that far out. #abide

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  2. Many people aren't using the models to nail down specifics for weeks out but to gauge trends of possible changes in the weather down the road.

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  3. Check out the latest GFS. It's gone back to some very cold temps especially on 1/18 and 1/19. It has us colder than -10 for at least 48 hours. It's predicting a *high* of -18 (!) on 1/18.

    The ALL-TIME record cold daily maximum is -19 on 1/11/1912 and 2/8/1899.

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  4. While those numbers will likely fluctuate a bit, or perhaps be delayed this could be the first effects of the strat warm event mentioned a little ways back. Honestly, that cold could be the first in several waves of cold but really it's too far away to say for certain. I really hope those temps do moderate as that time frame gets closer because that is just brutal cold. For the most part though, the long range is looking to pan out as initially thought. We'll be watching that cut off low that gets ejected up this way next week and see what it does. Does it go east, does it go west, rain, snow, both, nothing? We'll see :)

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  5. I was hum-ho on it put we're starting to move into the Euros range and it shows some major toughing in the entire US. High of -20 might be pushing it but it looks like some serious cold is possible.

    Euro at 240 hours - 500 mb Anomolies

    [IMG]http://i44.photobucket.com/albums/f38/RL3AO/ecm_z500_anom_conus_11.png[/IMG]

    Basically the entire country has below average heights.

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  6. Just can't buy into 12z GFS....totally dry and not even cold

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  7. Another non-issue storm for Thursday,going south of us again.People don't respect Paul Douglas that much but he has been telling us for months storms will detour south and east of us and the drought will continue,maybe we should start to listen,instead of listening to mets who jump on one model run that brings us heavy snow just to see it disappear a day or two later.

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    1. it does not take Paul Douglas. Anybody who followed the trends over the past few years would know very well that save a few exceptions, snowstorms always detour south and east of MSP. It has always happen and it will continue to happen.
      The big misunderstanding here is that people over and over again think of the Twin Cities as a very snowy place and therefore get disappointed when it does not snow as often.
      Let me state this again: the Twin Cities in relation to its latitude is not a very snowy place. It has actually a very unlucky position: too much south for northern storms, too much north for southern storms, too far away from the great lakes to get lake effect.
      So really, no need for Paul Douglas. It is just common sense.
      I agree that most local mets, so eager for attention grabbing headlines do not have enough of it.

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    2. Here, take a look at this map:

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:United_states_average_annual_snowfall.jpg


      This map contradicts what you say.

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    3. that map actually confirms what i was saying. if you compare all places with the same latitude as the twin cities (and remember to do in on a curved surface and not on a plain, for example the twin cities are slighly north than Portland , Maine) you will see that the average snowfall is one of the lowest.
      if you mean we are a snowy place as compared to los angeles, then yes, we cerainly are, but that is not what i was saying

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    4. To be fair, Anonymous, you started your comment talking about storms "...save a few exceptions...always detour south and east of MSP." The map somewhat contradicts that statement.

      The climate information I researched a few weeks ago is also somewhat contradictory. Typically, MSP has more storms of varying degrees than, say, Madison. But in the last 10 years, Madison is rather significantly above their long-term average of large storms. I won't repost. It can be found in the comments on the slop storm from before Christmas.

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  8. Not playing anyone model for next weekend, Jan 12/13 time frame, but it looks like most are starting to pick up on some snow for us. The question is how much if it will happen, but my confidence is growing, say around a 5 in 10 chance.

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  9. I would agree about the Twin Cities being a snow underperformer given the latitude. If there's a statistic such as inches of snow per zero degree reading/frequency, MSP would show to be a cold place with relatively minimal snow. If someone could move the Atlantic Ocean to a position over Chicago, we'd be rockin.

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  10. Replies
    1. @Disco.....warmer but snowy,since usually heavier snows fall just inland of the east coast

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    2. I think I'd rather have a large lake to our NW....like Buffalo, NY. Once upon a time, of course, Glacial Lake Agassiz would have sufficed.

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  11. The blow torch is just around the corner,those of you who enjoy the snowy outdoor fun needs to take advantage of it today because as we move thru this week,temps can climb over 32 for 5 straight days and even top 40 by Thur/Fri with even liquid precip possible,the only thing that snowlovers can hang their hat on is the potential for snow over the weekend,which at this point is nothing near certain.......not looking forward to seeing bare ground again!

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  12. I had been cautiously optimistic this past week about the pending thaw. Most forecast outlets over the past few days had been calling for temperatures no higher than the 30-34 degree range for 3-4 days, then followed by much colder air. I became very disheartened this morning after reading the NWS discussion about dreaded winter rain, 40 degree temperatures and ice/snow melt (heat indexes, UV ratings and surf temperatures)...in mid-January in Minnesota! Ok, maybe I exaggerated ever so slightly, but I swear that moving to central Alaska is looking better and better all the time.

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  13. Holy Cow,Batman!...if the GFS that PD is showing on his blog this morning verifies Disco80 will be moving further south then Chicago,maybe more like Miami,FL.
    The GFS on the blog has a 5 day stretch of below zero from 1/17 to 1/22,with the lowest low being -32 and the lowest "high" being -22.It seems that this cold is consistently there on the models but gets pushed back abit,its going to get damn cold again,question is how cold and for how long?,stay tuned.
    He does also mention the potential for a significant winter storm before the brutal air settles in,our boring winter weather maybe waking up abit!

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  14. Sudden Stratospheric warming is under way. Look at the sudden warming at 10mb of pressure, the reds showed up suddenly.

    http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/products/stratosphere/strat-trop/gif_files/time_pres_TEMP_ANOM_JFM_NH_2013.gif

    Question is this Will the cold come down or not. My guess is that it will, we may even get into a cross polar flow.

    And yes, the chance for a significant snow event is getting stronger with just about all the model runs. I would feel even more strongly if this signal persists through Wednesdays model runs.

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  15. Here's the link I'm using to view the GFS:

    http://wxweb.meteostar.com/sample/sample.shtml?text=KMSP

    Right now I'm looking at the 01/07/2013 12Z run. The GFS has been doing some serious flip-flopping lately, as Paul Douglas said. It's now saying that the coldest temp will be around -12.

    Why the inconsistency? And should we even be discussing a model that is so wildly inconsistent?

    FWIW, the Euro and the GFS are 8 degrees apart for the temps on 1/16.

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  16. I believe these sudden pattern shifts are really causing issues among the models, as it did earlier in the season. Pretty much all of the major models have yet to really lock in on a solution for this weekend. Last nights runs actually all looked fairly decent. They all had a similar track to the low, and showed good potential for some accumulating snow. Now, this morning, they are all showing something different again. This is just a waiting game until we can get more data into the models on these upcoming systems. It certainly bears watching. As far as the cold air goes, I would focus more on the fact that they have been pretty consistent with bringing in a much colder air mass at some point over the next couple of weeks. I still think the brunt of the cold is going to hold off until we get into the end of January and the start of February. The amount of blocking that is going to happen over the north pole is going to force that polar vortex to the south, and the cold air along with it. I really think we are to the point where it's not a matter of if, but when.

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  17. @ Bill...
    interesting situation shaping up:

    From Novak's tweet this morning: "Strong Winter Storm still on the way for Upper MIdwest FRI & SAT:.

    From the latest NWS discussion:

    THE THIRD SYSTEM IS STARTING TO LOOK MORE AND MORE LIKE A NULL
    EVENT...BUT COULD LEAD TO LIGHT SNOW ACCUMULATIONS ACROSS PORTIONS OF THE AREA...

    Comments anybody?

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  18. Novak seems to be on something or onto something with this "storm" for the weekend. what are others thinking?

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  19. I'm just a guy who checks multiple sites daily as the weather has a direct impact on my job (lawn/snow). I pay attention to all news sites, PD, PH, this blog, and NWS... and I've got to say (only anecdotal evidence, no stats) that while they were late to the party (like most) on the big accumulations of the first go round, the NWS has been outstanding since then. From the rain that followed, to the next near miss, and on through failed clippers and the most recent accumulation between Christmas and New Years... They're not afraid to change it up as they see things change, instead of some who try to nail it early and hold it hoping to say they were right 6 days out. Like I said, I listen/read most everything, but when the chips are down I put my faith in NWS first and PD second.

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  20. Novak is correct, but right now the center of the low pressure will pass over MSP with the heaviest snows lining up from Lac qui Parle county to just nw of ST Cloud to Duluth. The problem for MSP is the location of the SE US Ridge. A sub 1000mb low forms over the NE/CO border and interact with a 50-60 knt low level jet (LLJ.) The problem is the LLJ originates over the desert SW and it is very dry. As the surface low weakens and moves to MSP an upper level low will form over the Dakota's, because of where the surface and upper level low locate the system will provide it's own lift causing precip to fall. AS this system interacts with the waters of lake Superior it is likely to strengthen.

    For MSP, if the eastern ridge would back off say by 300 miles or so, the system would track over a more favorable area for MSP, as well as pick up some gulf moisture. As a matter of fact there are some of the GFS ensemble members that show that happening. So this is something that needs to be watched.

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  21. Plymouth Weather LoverJanuary 8, 2013 at 12:01 PM

    I also read all of the blogs/forecasts and watch every broadcast, often flipping back and forth. I really put a lot of stock in Novak, as he is pretty darn accurate. Regarding the snow.....Bring it!

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  22. Plymouth Weather LoverJanuary 8, 2013 at 12:03 PM

    By the way, Novak was one of the few who nailed the forecast when we got that foot of snow. He stated it from the beginning.

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  23. Looking grimm, but got to keep my fingers crossed.

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  24. All of the models have been very disorganized in handling this system for several days, and I don't think they were giving it enough credit. This should end up being a pretty potent Colorado low, with gulf moisture working into very cold air making it an efficient snow maker. Unfortunately due to the orientation of the deep trough in the west, it will be difficult to get the surface low to track far enough to the south and east to put the metro in the heaviest snow band. I think this will produce a solid 8-12" but mainly over North and South Dakota, and northern Minnesota. Still plenty of time for things to change, but I think chances are low that this type of system will be able to produce heavy snows over the Twin Cities.

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  25. Amazing how GFS has just lost the bitter arctic air for next week

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    1. Weather channel has us in the 20's and teens all week next. No Rtic air anywhere near us. Interesting for the model forecasters.

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    2. It's gonna break Huttner's heart.

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    3. I guess I was referring to a certain love able Facebook, and twitter model forecaster that can read a weather model 3 weeks out and declare it gospel according too.....
      Forecasting off a model is jr high weather. Maybe it's confusing when you throw in faux climate change

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    4. Faux climate change eh? 2012 blows away the next warmest year by a full degree and it's "faux?"

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    5. I wish I had the knowledge, capability, etc., to evaluate the accuracy of the GFS. I seriously wonder if it's better to expect the opposite of what it says. I think it's very risky for forecasters to express with such seeming certainty that a MAJOR cold snap is coming based on long-term models. Yes, we intrinsically know that long-term forecasts are more likely to be inaccurate, but there was talk about the arctic surge with more conviction than usual. Craig Edwards, who is sitting for Paul Huttner while he's gone, wrote in a recent blog post: "As a rather old school meteorologist I'm tentative with predictions beyond five days." He may be a smart guy.

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    6. Well, I think it's pretty easy to evaluate it for ourselves. We can simply look at past model runs and then look at what really happened.

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  26. Yes, no snow, no arctic air, only rain and thaw, even in January.
    Another winter that finished before even starting.
    Very depressing.
    It is time to seriously consider moving somewhere else like Marquette, Michigan. They are in a snow drought as well but at least their below avarage winters are still around 100 inches of snow, which is more than enough to make a snow lover like me happy.

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  27. Unfortunately, today there is nothing but more bad news for us winter fans here in southern MN/western WI. Barring another miracle like we saw in December when the heavy snow shield shifted south over us at the last minute, the snowstorm this weekend is very likely to miss us (again!). Also, it now appears that the well advertised big arctic chill will not be so big after all and it will be brief (2-3 days) before the warm air again starts flowing back into town. I wasn't rooting for brutally cold air. I was just hoping that the forecasts were correct in that a nice consistent cold air regime would kick into gear so we wouldn't have those quick couple of chilly days that are then followed by another warm-up. At any rate, we get the pleasure of topping off all of this nonsense with Rain and 40 degrees tomorrow and Friday! Whoo!! Hoo!! To summer fans that is analogous to 60 degrees and rain in late July. So we get to "enjoy" a warm-up so it can rain, and then when most, if not all, of the moisture is gone it will get cold enough for snow. Bill, does that dismal sequence sound like the classic mid-Atlantic "winter" scenario or what?!! One of the main reasons why I was attracted to this part of the country was to escape that very scenario. We are officially sitting at 16.8 inches of snow for the season. There was high hope amongst many of us that we would be able to enjoy snowfall totals this season that are more closer to average, and that the snow drought and blast furnace "winter" of 2011-2012 was moving towards being nothing more than a distant nightmare. Granted, it is chillier this season in comparison to last season, but the drought continues. Now, even though it is not quite mid-January, the snow forecast is so bleak that it appears we must look to February to pull us out of the snowless nosedive. The first couple of weeks in March could bring snow, but by that time who really wants it? Spring would literally be right around the corner. Winter fans want snow through the season so they can enjoy it, not at the tail end of the season with Spring knocking on the door. The fact is that if February fails to produce copious amounts of snow, we will have to adopt the Cubs' motto "there's always next year". Ho hum

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    1. Definitely sounds like a mid-Atlantic scenario. Nothing was worse than a streak of days where it was cold enough to snow, only to watch it warm up with rain, though it sometimes started with freezing rain, which made for good school closing threats if not the same fun as snow.

      As for adopting the Cubs' motto... sounds weird, but may be quite true!

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  28. Is this storm really coming from Texas? And it's too warm for snow...again?!

    I will join with the others in lamenting the passing of Winter (capital W) in Minnesota.

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  29. I know this sounds technical, but once again, just like last year with regards to Sudden Stratospheric Warming events, it appears like the models have a poor depiction of how to interpret a important teleconnection called the MJO. All of the traditional teleconnections have pointed to a strong signal that cold air will pour down from the arctic. Four days ago the models were showing the MJO index would enter phase 8 which would mean a cold pattern for us, or go into the circle of death, which means that the signal would be weak enough to be inconsequential. Now they are hinting the signal will be strongly in the phase of 6 and 7 which is a very warm signal. The MJO has to do with convection along the equatorial areas and how it affects our weather. If it is to strong it could and often does trump everything else.

    The MJO signal has been widely to blame for so many busted forecasts for the winter 2011/2012, and it looks like it could be the same for this year as far as cold air getting into lower 48. AS a matter of full disclosure, I was calling for the average temp for Dec through Feb to be around -2° compared to climatology, even with the warm start to Dec....Looks like the MJO may have busted my forecast.

    Links to the MJO:

    The model forecast:

    http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/products/precip/CWlink/MJO/CLIVAR/clivar_wh.shtml

    And what each phase means for temps. Please look at the 3 month period that shows Jan being in the middle month.

    http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/products/precip/CWlink/MJO/Composites/Temperature/

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  30. @randinchamplin..
    I really like your explanation..but I think what I am struggling with is not so much why the models are inaccurate as much what is happening to our winters?

    This is likely to be the second 'non-winter' in a row, with probably significant below average snowfall. Storms coming from Texas in January should be cold enough for snow. This is the second time this year we get a storm which is warm, in a period that climatologically should be the coldest of the season.
    I never remember worrying until the rain-snow line until March sloppy snow-storm. It seems to have become the new normal even in December and January.
    SO, I don't know if it is global warming or whatever, but there is something new at play that is clearly 'altering' our winters.
    We need to know what that is, otherwise people like DD that predict 61" of snow for the winter look ridicolous and frankly sound incompetent.

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  31. The GFS is not always so dead wrong on longer-range forecasts. The 01/01/2013 00Z run predicted yesterday's high to be 29, and it turned out to be 35. It was only six degrees off on a nine-day forecast.

    So maybe the GFS is taking into account what randyinchamplin is talking about -- that there was recently a big shift in fundamentals, not necessarily that the GFS is just spitting out random numbers.

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    1. So I sort of agree with anonymous and others. Maybe the problem isn't that the models are a little shaky, it's the meteorologists who put too much faith in them, especially when the models show what the person wants to see. Huttner wants a cold snap, and when the GFS gave him a cold snap, he went with it.

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    2. I think it's also motivated by marketing. Extreme weather does sell, and when the models suggest that, even far off, they'll scoop it up.

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  32. Plymouth Weather LoverJanuary 10, 2013 at 3:56 PM

    Boooorrrrrriiiiiiinnnnnnnnggggggggg!!!!

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  33. Rain, rain go away. Please turn to SNOW today!!

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  34. 48 in International Falls yesterday,on January 10th.If that's not a sign of global warming then I don't know what is.

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    1. I guess only idiots or those blinded by ideology can still deny global warming.
      It is like denying the earth is round.
      I think at this point the evidence is overwhelming.
      Unfortunately idiots abound in the Homo Sapiens species.

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  35. That or the people who believe in global warming are shortsighted and only remember what's happening in the U.S or in their short term memory, and not the extreme cold that has been and currently is happening across other parts of the world.

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  36. I am afraid I was right.
    I am the same anonymous who a few months ago had predicted a significantly below average snowfall winter, pointing out that there would not be any moisture when the temperature profile would be favorable, and that in the 'few' cases that storms were able to make it here, they would send a shield of warm air that would make most of the precipitation liquid.
    That is exactly what has happened, and I think will continue to happen for the rest of the winter.
    A few days, maybe a week of cold and then rest assured that when the next storm comes by it will be once again 'too warm aloft' for all snow, to quote Paul Douglas' favorite statement.

    After all you do not need that much of meteorological training, just some common sense and intelligence to recognize that something of a dramatic shift is happening in Minnesota climate.
    And before somebody mentions it: yes the 2010-2011 was just an exception that confirms the rule. Based on my time series anlyses, I expect the next above average snowfall winter to happen in 2016-2017.

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  37. Wow, it's only January 11th and people are throwing in the towel when it comes to this winter? We still have half of Jan and all of Feb left. I personally haven't lost hope yet because I know how things can change on a dime around here. I'm sticking with close to 50 inches of snow once everything is said and done, as I mentioned before winter began. Something else I don't understand is why is it that anytime we get above average for temps during the winter that people start talking about global warming? January thaws happen more times than people think, but then we just cool right back down again. When we end up near 0 for highs, will people be saying it's because of global cooling? Check out some articles by Joe Bastardi in regards to his thoughts on this issue. He actually looks in depth at things, and will tell you it's all a bunch of B.S. Yes, Australia is warm...downright hot. It's summer there. In the meantime, have you seen the video and pictures out of parts of Europe? Big time cold going on there, and things will be getting colder yet again. That's all I'm really going to say on that issue, because I would rather avoid any arguing. I'm staying strong with late Jan/early Feb being quite cold for us around here and I'm sure nature has a few more big storms in store for us before all is said and done.

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    1. Unless you are completely and totally uneducated, you must understand that climate change is GLOBAL. It is LONG-TERM, and it does not necessarily imply that everywhere will experience hotter temperatures than they did yesterday.

      If you refuse to believe that the *global* climate is warming, nevermind the cause, then there isn't much to discuss.

      I'm going with uneducated.

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    2. Am I uneducated when it comes to this stuff. Yes I am, and I have made that point in several previous posts. So kudos for the call out there. I never implied that I was educated when it comes to this topic, but there are others out there who are educated (which is why I pointed people in the direction of Mr. Bastardi). He will tell you, and have proof that the global climate is actually cooling, rather than warming. Honestly, I don't believe anybody in this blog is really educated enough to provide a completely educated answer to what this planet is doing. If someone out there wants to do the work, and research back the last hundred to two hundred years or more, and see how things have been trending on a global scale, then be my guest. And yes, I realize climate change is GLOBAL and LONG-TERM. Yet people seem to think that because our local temps get warm, that global warming exists. I guess I wasn't clear enough in the last post. The global aspect is exactly the point I was trying to make. People can't look at the temp in International Falls, or Fargo, or Tower, and see it is warm there and ring the warming bell. Seriously though, look at Joe Bastardi's research. He is the educated one, and they are normally pretty good articles.

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  38. Something that has bothered me for awhile with meteorologists (and I'm hoping some of you can help me here, I'd love to hear your thoughts) is that they use the word "normal" instead of "average." "We're 3 degrees above normal," I hear a lot, or something to that effect. But are these not very different terms? Aren't meteorologists intending "average"? And conversely, isn't it then "normal" to NOT be right on average all the time because averages are determined by the averaging of extremes, right? In other words, it's normal not to be normal, to a degree anyway. I talk about this a lot with my buddies who are professional statisticians and they share my frustration.

    The reason it bothers me is because using the word "normal" makes for more compelling news, when it isn't news at all. It's simply not a big deal when we're 2 or 3 degrees above or below average. That's totally NORMAL!

    Furthermore, I hear a lot: "We're two degrees higher than we SHOULD be today." SHOULD be? Does mother nature or God or whoever owe it to us to be a certain temperature each day? Or even these past 100 years? Why is it some big cosmic mistake that the temperature is higher or lower than average?

    Maybe I'm totally missing something here, but wanted to pass this on to others who read weather blogs to see what you think...

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  39. I wouldn't call someone who disagrees with you uneducated. Everyone is entitled to an opinion, and global warming is one of the most polarizing topics out there. Disco is right, it is supposed to be GLOBAL warming not US warming. Did you look at the temperatures for the globe last year? The two hot spots were the north pole, and the continental US, with the warmest temperatures centered over Minnesota. Alaska, Europe, a large portion of Asia, southern Africa, and South America were all below normal and is some cases well below normal. Antarctica had record ice. Yes, Australia is hot now, but they were below normal all of last year. China is having its coldest winter in 30 years, and southern Siberia is even colder. Did you see the pictures of snow covered palm trees in Jerusalem the other day?

    There's no doubt we have been warm over the last 30 years, but for snow lover's that's a good thing. We've averaged 10" more of snow over the last 30 years compared to the previous 30. Our warm temperatures are still not close to the extreme heat of the 1930s. The all time record highs at MSP for the months of May, June, July, August, and September were all set in the 30s.

    As for winter, MSP had two years in a row, 1958 - 21.2" and 1959 - 19.1" with less snow than we had last year. After the very warm winter of 2006, we had 4 winters in a row of below normal temperatures, and then one of our snowiest winters ever in 2010-2011. Now we've had a warm winter and a half. Duane is right, this year's winter is not over, and it will definitely get cold, and snow again.

    My whole point is weather is cyclical. It almost always evens itself out. Sometimes it is over a short period of time, and sometimes it's over a much longer period of time. Where there's extreme heat one place, there will be extreme cold another place. MSP is going to get a perfect 55" of snow and normal temperatures every winter. The warm/dry winters have happened before and will happen again. The same thing goes for the cold and snowy winters.

    No one really knows what's going to happen over the next 5,10,20 years, only time will tell. Don't let a few warm winters sway you into thinking this is how it will always be. Look at the data and what is happening globally, and what has happened in the past. Temperatures could stay warm, but I'd bet we are nearing the end of another 30 year cycle, and temperatures will go back down. That's just my opinion and I know plenty of people will disagree.

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    1. Thank you Randy! Very well put, and good research!

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    2. Great stuff! Love these quality contributions.

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    3. Thanks! Correction above: MSP is 'not' going to get a perfect 55" of snow...

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  40. Nice post! got to say there is a lot of truth to it.

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  41. "Our warm temperatures are still not close to the extreme heat of the 1930s. The all time record highs at MSP for the months of May, June, July, August, and September were all set in the 30s."

    That proves nothing. We just tied the annual temperature record without unusual summer heat. If you really want to look at rising temps, look at daily minimums. 6 of the 10 warmest annual minimums have happened since 1998. But we've had seriously few 100 degree daily maximums.

    Is this proof of anything? No. But it is the current trend.

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  42. More information

    Warmest Mean

    January - 2006
    February - 1931
    March - 2012
    April - 1915
    May - 1934
    June - 1933
    July - 1936
    August - 1947
    September - 1931
    October - 1947
    November - 2001
    December - 1877

    Warmest Minimum

    January - 2006
    February - 1998
    March - 2012
    April - 1915
    May - 1934
    June - 1933
    July - 2012
    August - 1937
    September - 1931
    October - 1947
    November - 2001
    December - 1877

    So...for the monthly Mean, 4 different years from the 30s and 3 different years since 1998. For the monthly Minimum,
    it's 4 & 4.

    I'm not sure your statement above is correct.

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  43. True, but how much of an effect does the urban heat island effect now have compared to what it was in the 1930s? It's hard to tell exactly what that is, but there is no doubt MSP is much larger and filled with more concrete and buildings that absorb heat then it was in the 30s. This is a huge factor in keeping daily minimums warm. Just compare MSP to Airlake in Lakeville on a nightly basis.

    Even if it is close now to what it was in the 30s, that just brings up another good point. Our temperatures eventually went back down when they took a dive during the 50s and 60s. Why couldn't that happen again?

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    1. I speculate the reason of this trend is because of the clouds. If you look at the data, cloudiness has increased greatly over the last 30 or so years. We all know what clouds do- they prevent the sun from heating the air- and they trap the heat from escaping at night.

      This trend is also verifiable by another fact- the difference of the daily maximum and the minimum. this number has, over the past years, declined, Indicating that there is less of a change in the two figures. This is caused by clouds.

      I have never really thought about up until a couple of weeks ago, when my biology teacher was speculating about it in class. It got me thinking, so I did some of my own reasearch on it. Sure enough, the facts seem to support such a conclusion.

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    2. The monthly records are, with little exception, the same for Eau Claire. I doubt they would have the same heat island increase as MSP.

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    3. Correct Joel. Since I live in EC, we don't have the heat island effect here. We have a river that runs right through the middle of town, but no heat island. :)

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    4. Plus, Eau Claire (where I grew up) is in a valley. It always felt pretty much the coldest place in the world in the winter :)

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  44. I didn't know I was going to create a firestorm of discussion with my comment on International Falls,I know its ' a global' event,and International Falls is part of the global world,alll cities should be looked at equally,what's more amazing is they had 9 inches of snow on the ground when they warmed to 48.
    I will leave you with one more info nugget,for all of you who mention all the parts of the world that are cold and in a deep freeze,then please explain to me how the GLOBAL temperature has not had one month colder then average in 27 years!

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  45. Wow, nice discussion's everyone. As far as climate and global warming/cooling I'm on the fence with this one. I know almost nothing about the science behind either point of view. But just a couple of observations. If I remember right, those that think the globe is cooling are looking at surface temps around the world since the satellite era has commenced (about the mid 1970's), and they may have a point there. On the other hand why is the polar ice cap melting at record rates during the warm season's? And to boot, there is evidence of severe glacier retreat not only here but in Iceland and the Himalaya range, since the satellite era began, is this because of warming or cooling? I have no idea, but this is a good read:

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/sep/25/climate-change-himalayas-glaciers-melting

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  46. Has anyone noticed that a Winter Weather Advisory has been posted for points just west of the metro? It really didn't surprise me as I thought some snow would fall close to the metro and with the tight pressure gradient anything that did fall would cause some visibility issues. Actually I'm kind of surprised it doesn't come right up the western edge of Hennepin county as there is plenty of open spaces out there.

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  47. People can argue over the causes of climate change, but we cannot argue over the fact that the climate IS changing.

    It's not about disagreeing; opinions in science DON'T COUNT. Your gut doesn't count either. We're all here because find weather prediction interesting. That makes us scientists in some regard. Therefore, I believe we should be objective and trust the science, not preconceived notions.

    If you want to talk local, Paul Douglas had a couple interesting graphs on his blog today. One was concerning heating degree days. The seven-year moving average at the end of the 2011/2012 winter was approximately 7200. That's about 1000 fewer than its peak in the early 1970s and about 500 fewer than the 20th-century average.

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    1. I'll agree that it has been warming over the last 30 years, that is a fact. But it has also been this warm and even warmer for a longer period of time before. You can't just look at the last 30 years and say this is what has happened, and now it will always be this way. The Earth has gone through obvious warming and cooling patterns before. It is a fact that temperatures cooled after the extreme heat in the 1930s. Based on history beyond the last 30 years, we will cool again. What no one knows is how long this warm cycle will continue. Forecasts are just opinions based on what you see happening, a lot of times based on what happened previously. My opinion is that it will cool again, sooner than later, because this has happened before.

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  48. Regarding the title of this thread, how cold could it get here in the Upper Mississippi Valley? My best guess by these amateur eyes, says it will go below normal through the end of January as Duane eluded to earlier. The question is how cold? Looking at the MJO forecast that the models put out on 01/11 it looks like the signal will stay in Phase 6-7 and avoid the Circle of Death. In other words it will stay strong enough to effect the pattern as we go forward. The very bitter arctic air should pool just north of the border and a bit to our north east. I don't see much of chance at this time for us to see record breaking lows, although a couple of nights could see lows approaching -15° F, more likely around -10. So where will the cold air go? It will move into the west to east flow, but more oriented from nw to se until it gets to the far NE CONUS, at which point it time it will find a blocking ridge east of Greenland and dump into Europe. That area of the globe will stay bitter cold.

    So the next question is snowfall chances. Yes we will see chances of clippers during this time frame, but for big time storms, I think they are likely to impact the area from the Quad Cities of IA to Madison and Milwaukee WI and possibility further to the SE including the OH Valley. My thinking right now is that Feb 15 through March 15 could be very interesting us as the baroclinic zone should be very near us.

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  49. Plymouth Weather LoverJanuary 12, 2013 at 9:43 AM

    Randyinchamplin: I have to wait until Feb 15 to wet my pants again? Yikes!!

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  50. For those who think we get ripped off in terms of snow production, check the latest post: http://www.minnesotaforecaster.com/2013/01/when-it-comes-to-snow-efficiency-twin.html

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    1. Uhh Bill, the link is not working. When I tried to access the site this morning, all I got was a headline with nothing on it: not explanation, no place to put comments. This thread dissapered, and it took me a roudabout way to get here to tell you that the thread was not working. It might be my computer, but I don't think so.

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    2. Works for me with no problem...

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    3. Hey Bill,I have the same problem as Bemaki when accessing on my cell phone,but it worked on my home computer,that's how I left a comment on the newest thread.......but looking at only 5 comments left for the whole weekend I'm thinking others are having the same issue.

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  51. Love this list! There is a Wrinkle in Time graphic novel out now, you know. :) You're welcome: printing pennsylvania .

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