NOAA 2018-19 Winter Outlook: Another Mild Winter

Guest essay by Eric Worrall

As late as last October NOAA’s climate models were predicting a milder than normal winter.

Another mild winter? NOAA’s 2018-19 winter outlook

Author: Mike Halpert
October 22, 2018

The air is starting to feel crisp, the leaves are changing, and the aroma of pumpkin spice lattes are filling your favorite coffee shops.  This can only mean one thing – it’s time for my annual post on NOAA’s expectations for the upcoming winter!  And once again, one of the key players is found in the tropical Pacific.  In contrast with the last two years, when we were looking at potential La Niña development, this year we’re waiting to see if El Niño will arrive in time to impact winter.  Without further ado, let’s take a look at NOAA’s 2018-19 Winter Temperature and Precipitation Outlook and see how ENSO has affected this forecast.

As usual: Outlooks are probabilistic, so no guarantees
Wait, just one more thing before jumping to the outlooks.  I again remind readers (if this seems repetitive, well, it is) that these forecasts are provided in terms of probabilities (% chance) for below, near, or above average outcomes with the maps showing only the most likely outcome (1).  Because the probabilities on these and all CPC outlook maps are less than 100%, there is no guarantee you will see temperature or precipitation departures from normal that match the color on the map.  As we’ve explained in earlier blog posts, even when one outcome is more likely than another, there is still always a chance that a less favored outcome will occur.  And in fact, for the forecasts to be reliable (a critical part of a probabilistic forecast), less likely outcomes MUST happen from time to time.

Outlook for 2018/19 winter
Finally, the outlooks!  Both the temperature and precipitation outlooks depend to a certain extent on typical El Niño impacts, but forecasters think a weak El Niño event is most likely. This means that despite the potential for El Niño, confidence in this outlook is less than we had than during recent strong events like in the winter of 2015/16 (more on confidence below).

This lower confidence is reflected in fairly modest probabilities for the temperature outlook, with the largest probabilities only between 50-60% for above normal temperatures in Hawaii, Alaska, and parts of the Pacific Northwest and northern Rockies.  The other shaded regions on the map indicate probabilities between 33-50%, meaning that the forecast only tilts modestly towards above normal temperatures.  And while no areas of the country are favored to have below normal temperatures, it certainly wouldn’t be surprising for some areas to experience below normal temperatures this winter.  This would be most likely in the white areas labeled EC (more on that later).

Places where the forecast odds favor a much colder than usual winter (blue colors) or much warmer than usual winter (red), or where the probability of a cold winter, a warm winter, or a near-normal winter are all equal (white). The darker the color, the stronger the chance of that outcome (not the bigger the departure from average). NOAA Climate.gov map, based on data from NOAA CPC.

Read more: https://www.climate.gov/news-features/blogs/enso/another-mild-winter-noaa’s-2018-19-winter-outlook (PDF here)

Now that the observed conditions are a little colder than their October mild winter forecast, NOAA seem to be blaming global warming and warmer oceans for the deep freeze.

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185 thoughts on “NOAA 2018-19 Winter Outlook: Another Mild Winter

    • God must have a sense of humor. Predicting climate is not for humans especially the humans that threaten normal people that do not agree with them.

      • Hadn’t we a British Met Office forecast for a mild winter years ago and England ws hidden under snow and ice ?

        . In September 2008, it forecast a trend of mild winters: the following winter turned out to be the coldest for a decade. Then its notorious promise of a ‘barbecue summer’ was followed by unrelenting rain. Last year, it forecast a ‘drier than average’ spring — before another historic deluge that was accompanied by the coldest temperatures for 50 years. Never has the Met Office had more scientists and computing power at its disposal — yet never has it seemed so baffled by the British weather.

        Source

      • Prognosticators of all sorts without doxastic comittment, Damocles’ Sword of Truth hanging over their head, are to be ignored as ignorant touts.

    • NOAA is blaming the greenhouse effect. Weird greenhouse. NOAA ought to have its budget cut 50%. This isn’t the first forecast that they totally botched. Weirdly, always predicting warmer winter rather than colder. Weird.

      • You can count on it every year….NOAA is solidly in the global warming bag

        They predict a warmer winter….the liberal media runs with it….it’s global warming

        ….they do not give one flying damn about accurate predictions..it’s all agenda and feed the story line

      • More like irresponsible. People’s livelihood and lives depend on long and short range forecasts to be accurate. What a scam climatology is. Voodoo at best. Not sure why there isn’t a consequence for their ineptness. Seems to be the new norm. The more inept, the more entrenched and safe the employment is. Other than politicians, these lack luster zero producers of substance get paid year in and year out for their garbage. Rant off. lol

        • They get paid tospout what their employers want them to spout, thye have no responibility whatsoever!

        • If my livelihood depended on weather forecasts I would subscribe to Weather Bell or other commercial forecasters. Bastardi had a useful winter forecast starting in August of last year. His analog sources predicted this while NOAA models were predicting a warm winter 2 months later. Some are claiming winter is over. Bastardi is saying to enjoy the warmup. Bitter cold will return and last perhaps into April.

      • The predictions and reaction to reality is similar to what has folks starving in NK, for one.

        A book, “A river in darkness” is an autobiographical account of a man who escaped North Korea as a n adult after living there most of his life. (https://www.kirkusreviews.com/book-reviews/masaji-ishikawa/a-river-in-darkness/) A harrowing account.

        In it, he describes how the centrally planned farming system “operated.” The party decided when to plant and how to plant, all of it plainly wrong to the peasants who were doing the actual farming. Anyone contradicting their direction was shot. As the farmers knew it would be, the resulting crop was bad. They were roaming the countryside looking for anything that could be eaten, even slightly. Beyond horrific. But the all knowing party kept doing it that way, since they couldn’t be wrong – Kim would have had the ‘experts’ shot.

  1. I’ll bet $100 that there is no follow-up story in the MSM on the prior story comparing the Farmers Almanac prediction (brutal cold) vs. the Old Farmers Almanac (warm). In fact they dug up the Old Farmers version to counter the other one when it came out.

    • MSM: Main Stream Motto “Propagnada wouldn’t be if it were true. Never back down, never give an inch, never admit mistakes, never fall off the narrative even in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary.”

  2. Here’s a better link.

    https://www.noaa.gov/media-release/winter-outlook-favors-warmer-temperatures-for-much-of-us

    With these bullet points:

    -Warmer-than-normal conditions are anticipated across much of the northern and western U.S., with the greatest likelihood in Alaska and from the Pacific Northwest to the Northern Plains.

    -The Southeast, Tennessee Valley, Ohio Valley and Mid-Atlantic all have equal chances for below-, near- or above-average temperatures.

    -No part of the U.S. is favored to have below-average temperatures.

    • Perhaps the best use for this NOAA Report is as a FIRE starter for residents of the Midwest. I suggest crumpling-up hard copies of the report placed under dry kindling to keep from FREEZING to DEATH this “mild” winter

    • Well, the last bullet point is one they got away with.

      However, to correct @Bill above, we don’t need to cut the NOAA budget by 50%. We should cut it down to $0.06. One cent for the coin to flip, and a nickel for the “scientist’s” time…

    • Uh, gee, why would they think that?

      Are most people shupid? Think of how stupid the average person is, and then realize that half of them are stupider than that.

      • They assume correctly that MSM will not publish any articles or comments that mention their erroneous forecast, but will jump on their ex-post explanation of how global warming caused the extreme cold. As an economist I learned early that journalists would always remember my forecasts and be quick to point out my misses. Climate “scientists“ are not subject to thee same scrutiny. Indeed, is there any other field where “experts” can make one forecast (global warming will mean less snow in the Northeast) and when that fails forecast more snow without retracting the original forecast.

        • ““experts” can make one forecast (global warming will mean less snow in the Northeast) and when that fails forecast more snow without retracting the original forecast.”

          That’s why

          Naomi Oreskes invented “the merchants of doubt”.

          When they’re always wrong then there is no truth at all and they’re always RIGHT!

      • That’s humorous but not certain. Consider 100 people where 98 are of the stupid average intelligence and 1 each are smarter and stupider than the stupid average. In that case only 1% is stupider than stupid average.

    • John is in Washington, still preaching his desire to put sterilization drugs into other peoples water systems.

      Cheers,

      Speed

  3. And in fact, for the forecasts to be reliable (a critical part of a probabilistic forecast), less likely outcomes MUST happen from time to time.
    so I guess if your predictions are wrong 97% of the time, your MODELS are doing REALLY good

    • “… less likely outcomes MUST happen from time to time” for the probabilistic forecast model to be considered reasonable; but there is a big difference between reasonable and reliable. The forecast can only be reliable if it is useful … so far it has not been.

      (AND if analysis shows that the less likely outcome consistently shows up on only one side of the forecast (as cold) you can be pretty sure that the forecast is somehow biased.)

    • +1! If their seasonal forecasts were good most of the time with some occasional failure, that would be a good excuse. But the truth is the opposite. Their most likely outcomes are the ones that ONLY happen from time to time.

  4. Thanks for this post, it is nice to go to bed with a smile and a chuckle. Of course warmist will shrug it off and just push harder about how the models accurately predicts that we all will be using the oceans as hot tubs by 2100.

  5. Oops! And they expect us to believe that forecasts 81 years out will be accurate, when they cannot do three months accurately?

    • Tom Halla

      Ah! But what they will say is that this is weather, which is unpredictable. What they are forecasting 81 years out is climate, which is entirely predictable.

      Yes I know, it cracks me up every time I hear it, which sends them apoplectic.

    • Ask AI about the future of AI.

      – if AI where ( artificial ) intelligent it would answere ‘wait for the future’ –

    • Joe Bastardi and Joe d’Aleo of Weatherbell are the best in the business. Their long-range winter forecast is looking good to date. NOAA and the NWS have a history of failed long-range winter forecasts – their warm bias has failed them repeatedly. This failure of the NWS is not new – see below.

      https://wattsupwiththat.com/2019/01/29/polar-vortex-will-have-nearly-90-percent-of-us-below-freezing/#comment-2608985
      [excerpt]

      Now THAT’S the weather map I’ve been predicting! I think the way to cure people of Global Warming Hysteria Syndrome is to freeze the bejaysus out of them – essentially get them to cool off, emotionally AND physically. It is impossible to say “global warming” when your teeth are chattering so hard it sounds like a jackhammer inside your head.

      Below is the history of my “cold Curse” that I called down upon the Northeast USA and eastern Canada back in November. The Dept. of Homeland Security should understand that I really don’t create the weather, I just hang out with very competent weather forecasters.

      Joe d’Aleo and I did this once before, prior to the brutal NE winter of 2014-15, We contacted the Energy Information Administration (EIA), which used Joe’s detailed Winter forecast to revise their total winter energy demand (based on the NWS winter forecast) upwards by 11%. Joe turned out to be correct, and we may have prevented considerable suffering. That is a huge amount of energy.

    • Holy crap that had better be one HOT month, but make that 2 months by my reckoning (spring doesn’t begin until March 21st).
      Are we to expect the Tropical Vortex?

      With all these vortices whirling about one can only determine that their logic is truly dizzying.

      • Meteorological winter is a three month period that runs from Dec 1st to the end of February.

        December was pretty warm in the Twin Cities.

          • Last spring White Bear Lake tied the record late ice out date (back to the 20s). In 2016 it set the all time early ice out record.

            See the pattern? Me either.

        • I stand corrected.
          I hadn’t read the time frame…EGADS they only have one month to make up the shortfall.
          This reminds me of the Southpark episode about global warming:
          “Its going to happen two days before the day after tomorrow.”

    • How do you know that? The groundhog has not yet stuck his head out. So you can’t possibly know.

  6. Well I guess that guy put in a few caveats and maybes as any weather forecaster would , and you can’t get it right every time so my sympathies to the NOAA guy
    We have a weatherman in England who made his reputation in 1987 by ruling out a hurricane 6 hours before it hit with massive damage as the worst storm for 300 years
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=82hBNQSfros
    However if you have global circulation models that infallibly underwrite the wisdom of blowing trillions of bucks on weather amelioration in 2100 then maybe they should be capable of building in a Jetstream wiggle or two over a 3 month period because don’t forget “THE SCIENCE IS SETTLED!!”

    • ALASTAIR GRAY

      Michael Fish. He still maintains he didn’t say what he said, or something like that.

      The fact is the Met office missed it by a country mile.

      And that would be Britain, not just England.

      • I remember that night very well. Pointless refusing it Michael. But to be fair to The Met Office, and Michael, of the time, they were criticised for over-stating potential risk in a bad weather forecasts, so they downplayed that storm a tad. Now everything is over-stated, worst evah etc, and now, not much happens.

  7. “And in fact, for the forecasts to be reliable …….. less likely outcomes MUST happen from time to time.”

    ……..yep, that’ll work

    ]

  8. “Do you trust a five-day forecast?”
    —the late Dr. Reid Bryson, December 2006 (and no doubt 10,000 other times.)

    • “It seems to me that no soothsayer should be able to look another soothsayer without laughing.”
      – Cicero

  9. Here in New England, things have been very mild, with temps very moderate and a notable lack of snow. The polar vortex which has hit the Midwest so hard is just now getting to us and is pulling the temps all the way down to just about average for mid-winter.
    If this keeps up for Feb, we will have a mild and lucky winter indeed.

    We have been around these parts long enough to know better than to count on anything. But we can hope.
    (Hope is not a Plan.)

    • Yes rather mild winter so far, as predicted on the map above. Will be 20ºF above average in Boston on Mon/Tue.

    • I seem to remember something about some of the ski areas in VT and/or NH having a record early open this year? The mid-atlantic has been very cold, then mild, then cold , now a bit mild, so by no means warm overall and right in line with the Weatherbell prediction.

  10. Well I guess that guy put in a few caveats and maybes as any weather forecaster would , and you can’t get it right every time so my sympathies to the NOAA guy
    We have a weatherman in England who made his reputation by ruling out a hurricane 6 hours before it hit with massive damage as the worst storm for 300 years
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=82hBNQSfros
    However if you have global circulation models that infallibly underwrite the wisdom of blowing trillions of bucks on weather amelioration in 2100 then maybe they should be capable of building in a Jetstream wiggle or two over a 3 month period because don’t forget “THE SCIENCE IS SETTLED!!”

  11. I suspect the winter forecast was based on another forecast … for El Nino. It held for a couple of months and has now started to fade. So, in reality they got two forecasts wrong.

  12. And you can bet your A..s the British propaganda broadcasting co can be relied up to come up with a brilliant anal-ysis…. (it’s the bit before the “ysis” that sums it up so well).

    “So, it can be very cold where you live but the world as a whole could still be getting warmer.
    And be in no doubt, says Tim Woolings, the world is continuing to warm.

    As Chicago freezes, wildfires are raging in Australia which is in the grip of yet another blistering summer.
    Image caption:- Fires burning dangerously close can be seen from a lodge in Miena, Australia

    The 20 warmest years on record have all been in the past 22 years, with 2015 to 2018 making up the top four, according to the World Meteorological Organization.
    And if that does not persuade you, check out these seven charts……

    This will be cold comfort for those of you shivering in the Midwest but, says Tim Woolings, the icy air that engulfed you this week WOULD HAVE BEEN at least a degree colder had it not been for the warming that has already raised average winter temperatures in the arctic.”

    do we get the Dad’s army song….
    “Who do think you are kidding Mr Hitler”

    • “The 20 warmest years on record …… Lets remember the hiatus in there. These records are based on 0.01C with an error of +/- 0.05C. Until 2012 1935 was the warmest in NA.

      • One of the reported record readings came from a weyaher station that had been operational for about a year. I wouldn’t put too much store by the Australian BOM’s temperature record management.

        • i put almost zero trust in Boms forecasts or now fiddled beyond funny past records
          i look at their charts 5day fcast and radar/sat maps
          every one of them is different for the same damned day! on the same webpage

          im looking gratefully at the enso chart here dropping toward neutral again and hoping it stays that way or lower

          medias all over the hottest ever clims today…

      • And until the early 1970’s they were ESTIMATED to the nearest 1/10 deg F (or C depending on where you were). ESTIMATED, meaning that the true temperature was somewhere within .2 to .3 degrees of what was recorded. To take data that sloppy and say the current global temperature is even 0.1 degrees higher than ever is pure dung. I know how it worked because I took observations in that era.

    • Of course recent years are the warmest, in general, as the Earth coming out of the Little Ice Age circa 1700 has been slowly warming these last 200-300 years, with some shorter term cooling cycles superimposed.

      What is at issue is whether the rising CO2 will lead to catastrophe vs being a net neutral or benign process. (eg. longer growing cycles plus CO2 as plant food will likely help feed the world)—-overall a good for the whole biosphere.

      Time will tell. So far so good.

  13. If someone claimed the ability to reduce the effects of the Polar Vortex, he’d be laughed out of town. But if he promised to alter the temperature of the entire planet over the next 100 years, he’d be given a grant.

  14. Everybody (well, at least 97% of everybody) knows it is much easier to predict the climate 80 years from now than the weather three months from now.

  15. The ‘warmer oceans produce more snow’ garbage is what sends me screaming. Warmer oceans may produce more moisture, but what produces the intense cold? Hint to NOAA: not warmer oceans.

  16. Rest assured, in 20 years time this winter will be revised up and become one of the warmest winters evah!

        • A very cold november for the places that got it, mild from then until mid-january, super-cold late january, and below normal for most places in the US until mid-march. He has a free daily update on the Weatherbell site which is quite educational.

  17. Well translating the NOAA weather forecast we have.
    The Winter will be mild, unless it turns out to be not mild.
    Our forecast is accurate but could be wrong if variations that happen from time to time make predictions pointless.
    Whatever the weather this winter it will be entirely due to Global Warming causing Climate Change due to man made CO2 emissions.
    We at NOAA hope this very precise projection, justifies the proposed budget of $4.5 billions for 2019 and would like to remind taxpayers, that is a snip, as it is $1 billion less than 2018.

  18. Is there anybody out there that doubts that when our climate masters are done crunching the data that they’ll list this winter as the fourth or fifth coldest winter on record? Meanwhile, look at natural gas storage numbers in the US and hope the winter moderates a bit to get us through it with enough to get by. Isn’t Europe getting hammered pretty good also?

    • How do you understand “mild winter” ?
      I see a normal one beside the snow records in the northern Alps

      • Very true. It is normal. Just as every extreme weather event is normal but perhaps different than any you remember. Just as global warming, global cooling, and climate change is normal for the planet. Just as varying levels of CO2 is normal.

    • Another feature of the broken NOAA prediction clock it will be right twice a day briefly.
      I am impressed you managed to deduce they predicted Western Europe would have a mild winter though. From what I have seen they have hedged their forecast with about as much flexibility as Old Moore’s almanac.
      The principle concept is if you cover all bases you will be right somewhere sometime.

    • Not so mild for Portugal! We have been consistently 5-6C COOLER since the end of October. A mild winter here is high teens to 20sC, and this is more usual than not. The past two winters have been noticeably cooler and summer 2018 was cooler too, to the point that locals were complaining about how COLD it was in August, when most of the population takes off on holiday down the shore!

      11ishC right now with winds gusting out of the NNW at 20 to 35 mph, with intermittent showers. It would be spring if it was a few degrees C warmer….

  19. Sorry Hotscot I am a touchy Jock too. I remember the day vividly It was a stinker of a day and I had been visiting the National Oceonographic Research centre at Bentley. Playfully I asked one of their computer whizzes about their Planetary7 Engineering Simulator . The guy replied “no we don’t have any computers big enough to do that you must speak to the Met Office” . The weather just got progressively worse and I heard Mr Fish say it Bollocks I thought.
    It was Englands worst storm. Scotland had its 300 year storm 20 years prior to that when a hurtricane ripped through Glasgow . We always tent to keep ahead of thje Sassenach

  20. Contrary to popular belief, experts aren’t good at predicting. Philip E. Tetlock demonstrated that expert forecasting is usually worse than basic extrapolation algorithms, and that there is a perverse inverse relationship between fame and accuracy in forecasting.
    Tetlock, P. E. 2005. Expert Political Judgment: How Good Is It? How Can We Know? Princeton University Press.

    Not being an expert I am safe from that curse. I anticipate that the worst winter of the decade should be the 2020-2021 winter. The Quasi-Biennial Oscillation just turned West at 30 hPa a couple of months ago, so next year shouldn’t be East or moderately so, But in two years time it has a good chance of being strongly East. Solar activity should still be quite low and in fact about a year after the minimum the solar effect on weather is maximum, as it happened in 2010. Then in late 2020 a strong La Niña should be developing.

    Unless a strong equatorial or northern hemisphere volcanic eruption injects sufficient sulfate in the stratosphere to spoil the party, what should happen should amount to the worst northern hemisphere winter in a decade. I am giving two years warning so you all northern people get enough wood.

    Starting around December-January the temperature at the North Polar stratosphere (30 hPa) will jump by 20°C winter average. That’s right, 20°C warmer on average with peaks of +50°C above average. The polar vortex will simply vanish, releasing wave after wave of polar, dense masses of bitter cold air towards North America, Northern Europe, and Siberia, while Greenland temperatures shoot up.

    Global surface average temperature might fall by 0.2°C that winter, and will have trouble recovering afterwards due to the Niña conditions.

    Save this message and if in two years time it is not as I have told it bring it to my attention and put me to shame. If it is then I should get 1% of what NOAA gets for their failed predictions.

    • Saved, I think that you are wrong though on 2020/21. The next winter should be colder than this one. The one after that should see warmer temps. It is after that when we will find out imo, if a deeper cold spell is in the cards. Nothing wrong with attempting to decipher what will occur next. It is like betting on sports, it can sharpen one’s thoughts on the subject.

    • I’ve been following David of Adapt 2030 on YouTube for awhile and he’s been predicting a cooling in the next few decades. He has a decent number of followers. Do any of you weather/climate types have an opinion of his forecasts? Here is an example video.

      • 36 seconds is enough. It is based on faulty science. Abdussamatov’s prediction of a 21st century solar grand minimum is bonkers. We already know solar cycle 25 will not be less active than 24.

        Apocalyptic predictions are more interesting, and thus preferred by charlatans. No warming or slight cooling for the next decade or two is possible, a big freeze is not.

        I recommend you stop listening to this charlatan.

  21. Outlook for 2018/19 winter
    Do I assume that their definition of winter is 3 months beginning with the winter solstice on Dec 21?

    • No. Climatological and meteorological winter corresponds to the complete months of December-January-February.

      A lot of monthly data is used and it is bothersome to split it at the 21st or 22nd, whenever the astronomical solstice/equinox happens to fall.

      • It isn’t because it is more convenient, it is because of temperature lag. Just as the warmest temperatures during the day are not at noon but several hours after noon, the warmest and coldest days of the years lag the solstices by several weeks. Thus the warmest temperatures are mid-July and the coldest temperatures are mid-January. Mid-January is right in the middle of the three-month stretch beginning 1st December and ending 28/29 February.

        • it is because of temperature lag.

          I suppose that is your opinion, or do you actually have any evidence that the meteorological seasons are based on a temperature lag?

          From NOAA:
          “Because Earth actually travels around the sun in 365.24 days, an extra day is needed every fourth year, creating what we know as Leap Year. This also causes the exact date of the solstices and equinoxes to vary. Additionally, the elliptical shape of Earth’s orbit around the sun causes the lengths of the astronomical seasons to vary between 89 and 93 days. These variations in season length and season start would make it very difficult to consistently compare climatological statistics for a particular season from one year to the next. Thus, the meteorological seasons were born.”

          Don’t you think that if the meteorological seasons were based on a lag they would start after and not before the astronomical seasons?

          It was convenience and not temperature what prompted the meteorological seasons.

          • I suppose that is your opinion, or do you actually have any evidence that the meteorological seasons are based on a temperature lag?

            You don’t have to be snippy about it. It’s called Meteorology 101. I no longer have my text book (they generally don’t last 40 years) but here are some sample climate graphs to show you. Chicago: http://tinyurl.com/ya3pnp56 Seattle Washington: http://tinyurl.com/y8ewtb7s Buffalo NY: http://tinyurl.com/ya7dv2nb. Buffalo temperature lag in the winter is more than a month, (probably because the Lakes have to warm up first). But you will find a similar effect world wide.

            Don’t you think that if the meteorological seasons were based on a lag they would start after and not before the astronomical seasons?

            No. In the northern hemisphere the minimum average daily temperatures generally come in the middle of the three month period Dec-Feb, and the maximum average daily temperatures generally come in the middle of the three month period June-August, making it convenient to break out the meteorological seasons that way.
            By the way, before you get snitty again

            is that your opinion?

            how many years have you spent either as a certified weather observer or Forecaster? I have 30 years combined.

          • how many years have you spent either as a certified weather observer or Forecaster? I have 30 years combined.

            I couldn’t care less about your certifications. I only care about what you say, and it is wrong.

            The astronomical division of seasons is a millennial tradition, but the calendar division is a lot more recent. Obviously first we needed the Gregorian calendar. The Societas Meteorologica Palatina, established in 1781 in Mannheim by the Elector was the first international meteorological institution receiving data from 37 stations in different countries.

            The data was gathered, compared, abstracted and published in Quarterly Ephemerides and Annual Reports. That was the origin of the meteorological seasons tied to full months instead of astronomical seasons. They were tied to the Gregorian calendar for convenience, not for any temperature lag. Sweden and Finland use a different system and are the ones that in fact use temperature criteria to define the seasons. Winter begins when the average temperature falls below 0°C for seven consecutive days.

            It stands to reason that if the seasons are tied to the calendar, which is a human construct, it is for convenience, and not for temperature reasons.

            Your 30 years experience does not mean you are correct. Many climatologists with >40 years experience defend that global warming is due to CO2. Should we believe them on account of their experience? Argumentum ab auctoritate is a fallacy in science.

          • I didn’t say it wasn’t for convenience. I said that the minimum and maximum daily temperatures of the year conveniently fall (for most stations) in the middle of those three month periods, therefore that is the reason for the Meteorological seasons. Not for any other convoluted reason. I am calling you out because you claimed that a verified phenomenon is my opinion and has no basis in fact. It is textbook Meteorology 101. I just cited my experience to ask you why you, without any experience in meteorology, claim my experience is just opinion. I am no longer going to respond to you on this question since you appear to have such a great opinion of yourself that you would tell the captain of a ship how to pull into port based on what you find on the internet.

          • I wouldn’t be snippy if you hadn’t said I was wrong without providing the evidence for it.

            And your experience is irrelevant in a matter, the meteorological seasons, that was established long before you were born.

            All you have provided is evidence that the planet has thermal inertia with regard to insolation. That is so basic that is known by almost anybody with a passing interest in climate and weather. And is unrelated to the origin of the meteorological seasons that were established in the late 18th century and tied to the Gregorian calendar changing months out of convenience.

            Watch out that you don’t run your ship aground, captain. Francesco Schettino was also an experienced captain.

        • Now boys, get a grip. It is summer than starts on 1 December and we do that in Australia because it is the right thing to do. All this blathering about winter makes about as much sense as a March Hare – and the bloody hares are as confused as you are, because March is the start of autumn. We just had the hottest January in the history of the universe, if BoM is to be believed, which it isn’t. So cool off.

  22. “And in fact, for the forecasts to be reliable (a critical part of a probabilistic forecast), less likely outcomes MUST happen from time to time.”
    Beautiful just beautiful.
    So 50-60% probability doesn’t really mean 50-60% probability?
    It doesn’t really mean anything?
    WTF

  23. While currently chilly here in NYC, the winter to date has in fact been quite mild.
    We have had very little snow, apart from the November storm that delivered about 6″.
    So at least for our area, the overall forecast for the winter may still validate, even with the current record cold snap.

    The real lesson, at least imho, is that seasonal forecasts across a continent are pretty silly. The models have insufficient skill to forecast more than a few days at best, even locally. Getting the solution right for a larger area is thus far beyond human reach. Of course, that also raises doubts about the larger AGW claims…

    • Here in NE Ohio, it’s been extremely mild until this spell of freezing temps. Day after tomorrow is forecast to be almost back to short-sleeve temps (about 50F – short sleeve for Cleveland natives), then almost as warm most of the week.
      So how does one decide whether it’s a freezing winter or a mild one? If it’s always either significantly above average or below average, does that mean an average winter? In this case I’d say that mild is a better descriptor.
      Agreed that a seasonal forecast is pretty useless with these conditions.

      (Of course, my father mentioned the record heat in Australia and record cold here, and told me that was exactly what NatGeo predicted 10 years ago – more extremes. Sigh. He’s hard of hearing, so I’m not arguing with him…..)

  24. Regarding “Now that the observed conditions are a little colder than their October mild winter forecast, NOAA seem to be blaming global warming and warmer oceans for the deep freeze.”: I didn’t see anything in the included link blaming the deep freeze on global warming or warming oceans. What I saw was statements that the deep freeze does not disprove global warming, and a cartoon copied from a March 2015 NOAA post blaming increased snowstorms, not deep freezes, on warming oceans.

  25. The long range forecasts would have been compiled on the anticipation of the ENSO cycle (an El Nino was expected).
    Turned out to have barely occurred …. and the wild card was the SSW event at the turn of the year (Sudden Stratospheric warming).
    LR forecasts can only be made on the basis of likely probabilities – unlikely ones, though always possible, would not get forecast by a responsible Met organisation. There needs to be a reasonable prob of success, else it’s just speculation, and anyone can do that … as indeed they do in regards to “Exacta Weather” and Piers Corbyn in the UK.
    Which is why you get certain f”Foecsters” doing so year after year re (coldest winter for 10 years coming” type “forecasts” that the tabloids print t seel newsprint.
    Worst than useless – possible yes but

    • The SSW started on Dec 18th. The 2 warmest points were on Dec 23rd and 24th. The SSW ended on Jan 10th.

  26. “Now that the observed conditions are a little colder than their October mild winter forecast”

    The forecast was for a three month average. The US was warmer than average in December. January average is not in, but there was a cold snap late in the month. And February still unknown. It’s a bit early to say the forecast was wrong.

    • The Chicago cold snap has been noted here. But according to WeatherUnderground, the average max for January was 27F, 4F below average. And the average for December was 40F, 5F above average. So far for the winter, modestly above normal, as predicted.

      • The attention that dangerously-cold and historic cold weather is getting seems to really be burning you up, Nick.

          • “The ACT also had its hottest January ever. The BOM’s Canberra airport site had a record run of four days above 40C.”

            Airports again Nick? It’s really sloppy siting on the part of the BoM.

          • What record? The last 50, 100, or 200 years? Now there’s a record to rely on. last summer was the hottest on record. Record started last year.

          • Hi Nick,
            I see that in the article that you cite they say:

            BOM senior climatologist Andrew Watkins said there were a few factors at play in the unprecedented heat.
            “The main contributor to this heat was a persistent high-pressure system in the Tasman sea which was blocking any cold fronts and cooler air from impacting the south of the country.”

            Of course, another unmentioned big driver is that the most severely affected areas in Oz have also been in severe drought, that being another ‘weather thingy’ of ‘poorly understood’ predictability.
            And, you must know that in the Earth’s total energy budget, the scientifically established greatest heat loss from the surface by far, as reported notably by Trenberth and the IPCC is from evapotranspiration. By definition that cooling is greatly reduced during drought, resulting in higher surface T’s on land. Reminiscent of the 1930’s dustbowl in the USA? How about the oceans covering over 70% of the surface? How are they going?
            Are you able to indicate if there is any explanation for these ‘weather events’ in Australia (predominantly in the southeast subjected to a predominantly north-westerly airflow across the hot centre) that can be described as caused by a small increase in the CO2 level in the atmosphere?

          • Incidentally Nick,
            I notice that in terms of WUWT blog-time it was still only January 31, 2019 at 6:25 pm when you cited the hottest ever January for Oz, as was reported astonishingly early online by the national Australian Broadcasting Corporation in much detail.

            I wonder if everyone had been so very quick to get the news out with such remarkable speed if it had been a disappointingly unusually cool month such as in January 2018? (The ninth coolest in maxima since 1932, or February the twenty-third coolest since 1914)

            Incidentally, what are your thoughts on the BoM’s ACORN-SAT version 2 recently silently replacing the former ACORN-SAT version 1 which was formerly described as amongst ‘World’s best practice’?
            Might it have had an influence on the latest data trends?

          • The hottest temperature in January was recorded at Port Augusta Aero, that site has only been operating since 2001.
            Apparently it was also the hottest January in Canberra “ever”, as represented by the Canberra Airport weather station that has been operating since ………. 2008.

            It’s impossible to tell what exactly it means to have the “hottest January” across Australia, or the states that are mentioned in the article, since they don’t actually tell you what stations are used to arrive at this metric. As we see above, some of these “all-time” records are for locations that have only recently been added to the network.
            Claiming that these “records” for large areas of the country are representing the period back to 1910 seems rather optimistic, given how few of Australia’s weather stations have a continuous history of operation back to 1910.

          • Tsk. Resorting to regional records, Nick?
            GSAT has been on a downward trend since February 2016. Global records are safe.

          • “Canberra Airport weather station that has been operating since ………. 2008”

            Just not true. Canberra is the national capital, and the weather station is located on a historic RAAF base. It is also an ACORN site, and has daily records back to 1939. NOAA 2015 datasheet here.

            Port Augusta has records since 1957, at least. The site started at the post office, then to the power station, then to a site called Port Augusta arid lands, and finally the airport.

          • The record at Canberra was recorded here:
            Station: Canberra Airport Number: 70351 Opened: 2008 Now: Open
            It only has temp data back to 2008.
            If another site exists that has longer records, that’s really nice, however irrelevant to the long term records since they are difference sites.

            It’s also lovely that Port Augusta has such long records.
            However the record was at Port Augusta Aero:
            Station: Port Augusta Aero Number: 18201 Opened: 2001 Now: Open

            The 1957 data is for the post office, 1.1km away, which recorded temps for around 5 years. After that the recordings are for the Port August Power Station, which is 4.6km away, it stopped recording in the mid 1990s when it moved to the Port Augusta Land Titles office for a few years (3.2km away).

            Claiming “all time records” based on a site that is many kilometres away from the bulk of the historical data isn’t very “sciency” is it Nick?

          • I looked up the Canberra data, since it intrigued me. It seems your “continuous” record from 1939 is made up of combining the Canberra Airport Comparison site and the new Canberra airport site.
            They are very proximate:
            Canberra Airport Comparison Number: 70014 Opened: 1939 Now: Closed 03 Dec 2010
            Lat: 35.30° S Lon: 149.20° E Elevation: 578 m

            Canberra Airport Number: 70351 Opened: 2008 Now: Open
            Lat: 35.31° S Lon: 149.20° E Elevation: 577 m

            Looking at the years that the 2 ran in parallel, the new station seems to be running at least .2C hot on average with max temps more than .5 higher compared to the prior station.
            2009 New Airport Site Jan average 31.3 highest daily max 38.7
            2009 Comparison Site Jan average 31.0 highest daily max 38.2
            2010 New Airport Site Jan average 31.8 highest daily max 38.8
            2010 Comparison Site Jan average 31.6 highest daily max 38.1

            Your supplied link is for the Canberra Airport Comparison station, which is why the image you linked to has no data after 2010.

          • Here is something that strikes me as being underhanded about all of the “hot” reporting about Australia. First Australia has always been known for extremes. Secondly, has anyone ever thought about why we are not hearing any “hot” claims for South America or South Africa?

            Media acts as if Australia is the only land mass in the SH. Well, I keep daily watch, and neither of the SA’s are experiencing a hot summer, or any notable hotspots.

      • And there is the rub:
        “The forecast was for a three month average”

        In the end it may turn out that despite the coldwave the three month average will still be milder that normal; all statistically and methodologically correct, sure.

        But in practice, I think people are right to expect that a statistically-milder winter will NOT include a record-breaking cold snap of historic proportions. Isn’t that a legit request?

        That’s one of the problems, the gap between what is mathematically and methodologically correct and what matters in practice.

          • Fair enough, statistically that’s correct.

            But in practice it means this accurate prediction has close to none utility.

          • “But in practice it means this accurate prediction has close to none utility.”

            No it doesn’t.
            If you are planning for a seasonal effect eg winter energy requirements.
            Weather Forecasting attempts to do what is possible.
            Should they not bother, just because the detail down to individual months cannot be achieved?

          • Agree with Nick, I suppose, Flavio, that you also think that such a winter shouldn’t include a record high either? Such as happened, for example, in Boston on Dec 21st.

          • I can’t shake the feeling we’re talking of different things. As somebody pointed out, in average everybody has roughly one testicle and roughly one ovary.

            And even if you want to discuss energy requirements, is a season with unusually warm periods and an extreme cold spike the same as one with a limited temperature swings?
            It may be or it may not, it’s on you to explain.

  27. History repeats.

    The cold temperatures are from gradually lower solar activity since the end of SC24 TSI peak in 2015, since March 2016 when daily TSI fell below my solar ocean warming threshold, leading to a current deficit in incoming solar energy, and since Feb 2017, when 2017-2018 Greenland ice growth commenced in earnest as my long-term F10.7cm running average fell below my warming/cooling 120 sfu/day threshold. The cold is spreading fast as the low TSI sun quiets even more.

    The bluer this image gets, the lower the TSI goes, and the colder it gets:

    https://sdo.gsfc.nasa.gov/assets/img/latest/latest_512_211193171.jpg

    TSI has down-trended during the last few solar rotations. The current bright sunspot, with F10.7cm of 70, bumped up TSI very slightly but not much. It, with the photospheric plasma in the sun’s RH quadrant, will roll out of sight early next week leaving a much bluer dimmer sun in this image, taking TSI down with it, and along with that more spreading and deepening cold, snow and ice.

    TSI has downtrended in January and will go lower from this deep blue sun, while F10.7cm today is 72 sfu.

    https://www.dropbox.com/s/3am61bm4vud26c7/coolclimateinfo_header.JPG?dl=0

  28. Actually, the worst winter season I see on tap will be the Winter of 2021-2022, which will rival the 2014 polar vortex winter I forecasted back in 2009.

    That winter will begin in early November 2021 and will not end until early May 2022. It will feature heavy snowfall, ice storms, and blocking patterns with longer lasting polar vortex incursions sticking around longer (weeks) than the brief polar vortex of late January 2019.

    The winter season this year really begins now in fact and will last until April 2019. I consider the month of March to be mid-winter with a late spring on tap.

    All of this is due to the Sun’s emerging quiescent phase, which I long forecasted along with the arrival of global cooling, which precedes the Sun’s Grand Minimum.

    We are already a year into this new climate regime of global cooling which will last throughout the 2020s, 2030s and 2040s into the early 2050s. It will comprise three (3) deep solar minimums consisting of solar cycles #25, #26 and #27.

    As for NOAA’s 2018-2019 Outlook,

    NOAA does not do seasonal climate/weather forecasts very well at all and they know it too; hence their 50/50 probabilities each year.

    However, the winter of 2019 will see the extremes of weather due to the radical temperature fluctuations and irregular seasons which is a trademark of the climate global cooling.

    In fact, we are about to witness a sharp contrast of temperatures into early February as the jet stream retreats from its mid-latitude meridional flow to a more zonal pattern flow which allows southerlies to greatly raise temperatures across the very same regions that has seen hundreds of low temperature weather records broken during the polar vortex incursion.

    Winter 2019 is far from over. We have February, March and April to go with spring late this year by about 45 days. Many people will see a condensed spring season, as climate conditions will appear to go from a waning winter straight into summer this year.

    And our northern hemispheric summer will have above-average temperatures while the southern hemisphere will experience below average temperatures.

  29. percent probability of 60 to 65 %, what is a casino % again? 3%? 5? Rolling a dice gets closer results than these “experts” It is a good thing that they don”t have their wages at risk.

  30. here in the PNW, we are having a warmer than normal winter. Temps are barely freezing overnight lows for a coat of frost. sometimes. and frankly – after the last two winters of unrelenting rain, where even I, a native – was sick of the rain! . . . . . I’m going to ENJOY IT!!!

  31. Standby, we are supposed to be getting a refresher on what snow looks like by Monday. I was convinced that we were going to get a winter without even a snowflake.

  32. Of course, for Northeastern America this polar vortex at month end was a harsh surprise. See Chicago for January:

    https://www.accuweather.com/en/us/chicago-il/60608/january-weather/348308?monyr=1/1/2019

    But the quality of the winter forecasts we will first be able to see when the data from all stations will have become available.

    Please remember all that in January 1977, Chicago experienced a month 11 °C below the 1981-2010 average, with not less than eight days below -20 °C (I mean here the daily averages, and not their minima).

  33. At least some meteorologists got it correct
    “By KAT HOPPS
    19:29, Fri, Oct 19, 2018 | UPDATED: 19:46, Fri, Oct 19, 2018
    UK long range weather forecast: Winter 2018 to be COLDEST for years as El Nino hits
    METEOROLOGISTS say an “imminent” El Nino event is on its way, meaning winter could be bleaker, weeks after long range weather forecasts revealed we may facing the coldest winter of 10 years in the UK – here is what you need to know.”
    https://www.express.co.uk/news/weather/1034009/uk-long-range-weather-forecast-winter-2018-el-nino-snow-cold-world-meterological

    • We are still waiting for El Niño. That 70% chance of El Niño by late 2018 did not pan out. So if it is cold in the UK it is not because of El Niño. Right for the wrong reasons?

      On a religious tone, El Niño did not come December the 25th. Christmas has been delayed. For those that don’t know, El Niño refers to baby Jesus Christ, as it usually hits Peruvian fishermen (who named it) by Christmas. La Niña is harder to explain in religious terms. The opposite of Jesus Christ is the devil, but better not get into that.

    • “At least some meteorologists got it correct… Winter 2018 to be COLDEST for years as El Nino hits…”

      Could you please explain how that fits to the only 35 daily records for UK below -20 °C found in the GHCN daily database for the period till Dec 31, 2018 ?

      One (!) record from a year past 2000.

      Between -20 ° C and -10 °C, only two records of 3755 are from 2018 (-10.3 °C).

      And an 2019 also doesn’t look like what I understand by COLDEST (-10.3 °C at LEEMING station on Jan 28 was the lowest temperature).

      Last not least: this good old El Nino horse stopped hitting a while ago, see Ric Werme’s ENSOmeter.

      Daily & Sunday Express? Hmmmh.

    • “At least some meteorologists got it correct”
      Again, people say this stuff without looking at what actually happened. Here is the MO summary for December
      “The provisional UK mean temperature was 5.8 °C, which is 1.9 °C above the 1981-2010 long-term average. Mean maximum temperatures were generally 2 °C above average in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, and 1.5 °C above in Scotland. Mean minimum temperatures ranged from 3 °C above average in parts of Wales and south-west England to less than 1.5 °C above in the north and east of Scotland and parts of north-east England. “
      A very warm month. The January summary is not out yet, but the individual numbers are on CLIMAT here. For example, Heathrow mean max 7.4°C, 0.3 above average. Mean Min 2.3, 0.9 above average. Eskdalemuir max 5°C, 0.5 above average. Etc, almost everywhere above average in Jan after that very warm December.

      There is still February to go, but it looks like the Mail/Express forecast was very wrong indeed.

  34. On the Jo Nova blog a year or so ago there was a graphic with the weather bureau predictions for rainfall for a period (less rain/dryer of course) and below it was the same graphic with actuals . In was almost exactly opposite. As a testy young journo who had to do the weather report once said “its a prediction, not a promise”

  35. The weather “models” are written to be politically correct. High CO2 warming effects & all other effects minimized or discounted.

  36. These outlooks are for the overall winter as an average. One severe cold snap and everyone starts complaining and pointing fingers on who to blame. I still think they were right on par as far as “average” goes. One severe cold snap doesn’t make up for months of above average temperatures. When it’s all said and done and the numbers are compiled, this winter will still go down as one of the more “milder” winters.

      • Wrong too, genius Nr 2.

        And while no areas of the country are favored to have below normal temperatures, it certainly wouldn’t be surprising for some areas to experience below normal temperatures this winter. This would be most likely in the white areas labeled EC (more on that later).

        We will see at the beginning of March how e.g. the Chicago average for DJF really will be.

        • Wrong yerself, blindanddumb. The original NOAA “forecast” was for a warm winter across the WHOLE of Canada and the US — way above avg. Legitimate forecasters like Joe Bastardi said that forecast was ridiculous as the actual signals suggested much different. As colder weather occurred, NOAA’s forecast continually changed to get closer & closer to Bastardi’s. IOW, NOAA’s “forecasts” are not real forecasts, but Texas sharpshooter fallacies.

          • Thanks for insulting me, beng135.

            Mais j’en ai l’habitude, croyez-moi.

            You write, in clear opposition to what was written in the head post:

            The original NOAA “forecast” was for a warm winter across the WHOLE of Canada and the US — way above avg.

            Can you show us the source of what you pretend?

  37. Former NOAA meteorologist David Dilley has been kicking his former employer’s butt for years now with hurricane and weather predictions.

  38. Next winter should be even colder based on solar minimum and further AMO downturn. The EU debate-has-ended crowd will get their turn in spades.

  39. It’s been a pretty mild winter here in North Carolina. As a snow lover, I really hate it. But yeah, very mild.

  40. Admitted. Not all US have a cold snap, but how can they predict 20 year out, when they can not predict even a week?

  41. When our Met experts are able to give us a reasonably accurate weather forecast beyond the usual 3 days, I might start to believe that they know what they are doing.

    So before the Politicians are so “Free ” with our money, lets have a few “Test runs”.

    Say ask them for a accurate forecast for two weeks, then a month, then a year.

    But all we get are something way out, like 2100, way beyond their and our life scans.

    Its the classic case of “Kick the can a bit further down the road”. Or “Widden the goal posts”

    MJE

  42. Nothing further to me than to downplay this incredible cold snap in North America!

    Nearly -50 ° C At the end of January and beginning of February in Cotton, Minnesota speak a sufficiently clear language.

    This seems to contradict the NOAA forecast of a mild winter – at first sight.

    I want to use the example of Chicago to show that it is not that easy. (This Chicago example came to my mind when I read Roy Spencer’s warning in his blog about a cold wave expected to go below -30 ° C in Illinois.)

    For example, in the NOAA database “GHCN daily” you will find at this address:
    ftp://ftp.ncdc.noaa.gov/pub/data/ghcn/daily/all/USW00004808.dly

    the data of the station “IL CHICAGO AURORA MUNI AP”.

    And in fact, looking back, it reads that the station measured a temperature of -35.5 ° C on January 31st. This is the second lowest temperature ever recorded after January 16, 2009. The other stations in Chicago also reported temperatures well below -30 ° C.

    However, if you average the Chicago temperatures throughout the whole of January, you suddenly come to “only” -5.3° C despite these days with -30 ° C!

    And suddenly you can see that January 2019 is in the ascending list of months – from -11.5 ° C in 1977 to +2.2 ° C in 1933 – not in 2nd, but in 34th position.

    And nobody would believe that the departure from the 1981 to 2010 averaging for January 2019 in Chicago therefore is not less than -0.9 ° ​​C below average. Everybody would cry: “Nonsense! You go bonkers!”.

    December was already warmer than usual at +2.72 ° C, following a strange November with 3.7 °C below average.

    So we should really wait for March before looking back to see how right or wrong the NOAA forecast was.

    Anyway, here in Berlin / Germany (there are some in the USA), it was exactly right – just like last year. Wonderful!

    I love it warm(er).

  43. I and a bunch of know-nothing weather laymen will listen to Gregory Wrighstone’s presentation on the benefits of climate change before the end of February. When GW’s impending presentation was leaked, one non-member started throwing shrill verbal “rocks” at the organizers for the foolishness of the presentation and presenter. I was aghast! My experience had been that qualified scientists welcomed debate. Only those who are uncertain as to the validity of their hypotheses scream “Heresy” and “Heretic”, and vilify the debaters. Live and learn.

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