Saturday, June 06, 2009

New, or No “Bull” Atmosphere?

The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of the National Weather Service.”

Please keep in mind the ESRL/PSD GSDM web link, below, while reading this discussion. Also, part-1 of a paper detailing the WB (2009) measure of the GWO has been published in MWR. See Appendix to download a copy.

The following are links for SST details. Loosely, positive SST anomalies dominate all equatorial ocean basins, with magnitudes ~1-2C. The warmest tropical waters are across the west central and northwest Pacific, as well as portions of the central Indian Ocean, where totals are in excess of 30C. The equatorial basin from ~140E to the west coast of South America is slightly warmer than climatology; however, per latest TAO buoy data not continuously greater than plus 0.5C. Roughly plus 1-3C anomalies were observed at depth along the less than normal sloped equatorial Pacific Ocean thermocline.

The causes for the observed warming across the Nino regions since about last March are complicated and subtle, and require additional careful detailed rigorous scientific analysis. In any case, I again remind the readers that ENSO is a global phenomenon involving all tropical ocean basins as part of the coupled ocean-land-atmosphere dynamical system. For instance, an argument could be made for an equatorial Atlantic Ocean basin-wide warm event during the past few months. A similar situation played a significant role during early 2008, perhaps reinforcing the on-going strong La-Nina at that time. During boreal autumn 2006, an exceptionally warm Indian Ocean contributed not only to shutting down El-Nino, but tilting the weather-climate system toward La-Nina.

As discussed below, the weather-climate system is tipping toward El-Nino. However, serious scientific issues are present (most cannot be addressed here), and the “truth may be told” during the upcoming boreal autumn. Maybe we need a “Rottweiler watch”! (note the initial projection) (link 19)

For the time being, the wind and convective signals are generally in sync. Full disk satellite imagery presents a large region of moist tropical forcing centered ~15N/120-140E, extending from about southern India into the west central Pacific Ocean. Contributing to this rainfall has been some re-invigoration of the regional monsoon systems. Various animations and Hovmoller plots show there has been a coherent eastward shift of the tropical forcing with the circulation for about the last couple of weeks. Prior to that a lot of complicated “high frequency stuff” related to the two “stochastically (GWO) driven MJOs” dominated (see past discussions).

Anomalous twin upper tropospheric anticyclones dominate the west Pacific Ocean centered ~140E, and well defined Rossby wave energy dispersions (RWDs) arc from these features into both hemispheres. For example, keeping in mind seasonal issues, anomalous extratropical ridges are currently present in the higher latitudes near the coasts of both Americas. There is reasonable symmetry between the Northern and Southern Hemispheres, including anomalous zonal mean easterly wind flow propagating poleward well into the extratropics (supporting higher latitude ridges) while westerlies shift into the subtropics. In some sense, a negative phase of a Branstator (2002) circumglobal teleconnection of anomalous subtropical and midlatitude cyclones is present, not seen in quite a while.

Through 5 June with/without the interannual component, there is a good 1 sigma projection of the MJO in octant 6 of WH (2004) phase space, after yet another “loop”. Regardless of the details and the large circuit this past April, there has been a decided tendency for the MJO signal to be shifted toward octants 6-8, approximately the El-Nino attractor. Looping and recent weak projections understood, the same can also be said for the WB (2009) measure of the GWO. This is all in sharp contrast to a year ago. A general superposition of MJO phases 6-7 with GWO phases 8-1 of the snr 250mb psi composite anomaly plots represents the global atmosphere. The GWO phases do a much better job of capturing the role of the extratropical response to tropical forcing, in addition to the AAM transport and topographic dynamics.

Updated through 4 June tropospheric global relative AAM is greater than 1 sigma above the R1 data climatology, the highest since last boreal autumn. Putting aside important details (meteorologically and financially), I continue to find it rather intriguing how “close” the trends of the time series for both global AAM and the DJIA are! Unlike hopefully for the financial markets, is this latest “bull run of AAM” done? I suspect this AAM peak is going to be checked by the oncoming GWO 8-1 transition (correction?).

The anomalous subtropical zonal mean westerly wind flows shifting into the midlatitudes per above are coming down to the surface, leading to a negative global frictional torque of ~10 Hadleys. A negative global mountain torque may soon follow. This may/may not contribute to a large negative global AAM tendency (for reasons); however, the notion of a GWO 8-1 evolution is reasonable for the next 1-2 weeks. Per snr composites, the likely synoptic response for the USA is western and central states troughs as part of an active west-southwest flow storm track across the Plains. In fact, working with the MJO, this situation has been expected for at least the past 3 weeks.

More generally, latest animations and other tools suggest to me the interannual component, eastward shifted from the boreal 2008-09 cold season, may be starting to dominate the weather-climate system. That is, going into summer I think the global circulation may (confidence continues low) persist in a situation shown by a superposition of phases 6-7 for both the GWO and MJO snr 250mb psi composite anomaly plots centered on 15 July, while relatively rapid GWO 8-1 “corrections” occur. This is different than what I was writing 1-2 months ago, thinking at that time a weakening La-Nina base state, as opposed to a shift toward an El-Nino, was probable. Again, the jury is still out whether this trend will amplify going into northern winter.

Please see the composites for weather impacts. Generally, during JJA for the lower 48 states, cooler than normal temperatures may focus on the west coast and northern Plains/Upper Mississippi Valley at times while anomalous heat extends from the southern Plains into portions of the Deep South periodically. There may also be episodes of exceptional MCS activity concentrated on the north central into the central Plains states. Notice that our composites also suggest the continuation of an increased risk for low pressure/cyclonic systems in the region of the Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean. This implies that hybrid systems as opposed to true tropical cyclones may become a bigger issue during at least this summer in those areas and adjacent locations.


All presentations from the 24 February 2009 GWO workshop are available via anonymous ftp. If you have not received information on how to retrieve these, let me know. There was excellent attendance at this day-long event, and feedback was strongly positive. We are working VERY HARD to mainstream this effort. The support is very much appreciated!

Links to CPC and PSD ENSO discussions, and a new experimental forecast technique involving a coupled LIM (3rd link below):

The following are links to information about the stratosphere and other nice monitoring tools:

The following is a link to NCEP model verifications (surf around for lots more):

The following is a link discussing recent global weather and related events:

These are probabilistic statements. We are working on an opportunity to arise for us soon to allow our dedicated GSDM web page effort to mature, expediting objectively and accountability. This web page effort will hopefully include an objective predictive scheme for the GWO with hindcast measures.

The WB (2007) paper on the GSDM has been published in the February issue of MWR. The first of a two-part paper, where WB formally introduces the GWO (WB (2009)), is now published in the May issue of MWR, and be can be downloaded from the following link:

In addition to the subseasonal snr composite anomaly plots, we would like near real-time discussions with “weather maps” to become a routine part of the ESRL/PSD GSDM web site sometime soon. Part-2 of our GWO paper will discuss the latter. We want to emphasize notions such as global-zonal mean-regional scale linkages as well as forcing-response-feedback (with subsequent interactions) relationships. An important purpose is to provide a dynamical weather-climate linkage framework to evaluate the numerical models in a sophisticated manner as part of a complete subseasonal (and any time scale) forecast process, in addition to a climate service for all users. Relying on the numerical models alone is a cookbook, extremely unscientific, and makes Rex the Rottweiler VERY angry! My next complete discussion will not be until the weekend of 26-28 June. Hopefully I will be able to post brief updates in the interim.

Ed Berry


Greg said...

Hello Ed,

At the rate things are going, you might want to think about researching climate-weather-financial linkage.

A lot of what you are talking about is lining up well. This week Vortex 2 will be enjoying their strongest MCS activity yet, and we've already had a hybrid system develop in the Gulf of Mexico. However, the next one indicated by numerical models appears to be purely tropical.

Thank you for the updates. Here's hoping we get El-Nino this coming winter (preferably weak).

Ed Berry said...

Hello Greg,

Thank you for the comment. We will have to keep monitoring to see how this ENSO situation works out.


Erl said...

Hi Ed,
Thank you for your updates and all the resources you link to.

You may care to take a look at another very new but powerful system for predicting the course of ENSO and temperature in the tropics up to a year or two ahead. Find it at

If you have a comment I would be of course, delighted.

Captain Climate said...

Screeeeeeeechhhhhhh!!!! I can hear the sound of the atmosphere slamming on the brakes. Daily SOI is down to -36 which means that braking is underway or shall be in earnest.

Interestingly enough in 2008 Days 137 to 143 featured a negative SOI surge which was followed by lasting amplification in the East (very cool then terrible heat!!!). Source:

It will be interesting to see what the peak will be this year as we emerge from the valley. Could be short-term evidence of a true evolution to a new pattern ...or...not.

What do you think about a cool Eastern Seaboard around or shortly after June 25th?

Ed Berry said...

Hello Erl and Captain Climate,

Thank you for the comments. Erl, there are a lot of proposed ideas out there, and I would have to spend a bit of time reading what you sent. I can only offer what I hope is correct scientifically.

Captain Climate, I have been watching that daily SOI for quite a while. The recent low values are a response to the dynamics linked to an ongoing WWB forced by the MJO across the WPAC. The latter can contribute to an "El-Nino like" behavior, which also equates to adding global westerly wind flow at some point. This is analogous to stepping on the gas pedal, not braking. We will see how far east the ridge/heat expands weeks 2-3. See snr 2m temperature plots for phases 8-1 of the MJO/GWO.


Take care,

Captain Climate said...

Hello Ed;

I reread my post and apologize for being misleading. My 'braking' sound is in anticipation of a move into MJO Phases 8-1 as the current -SOI troughs and turns upward. The screech is an anticipation of a brief but rapid rise after the -36 and -49 of recent days and a brake out of the looping weather pattern.

It will be interesting to see if the peak gets into positive territory + how high ... or somewhere in MJO Phase 1 the SOI dailies begin another descent toward a new trough.

Thanks for your reply. I will take care to avoid a misunderstanding next time.


Ed Berry said...

No problem, Captain Climate. We will see what happens!