# Tuesday, November 09, 2010

AHPS Precipitation (Percent of Normal) for 30 Days Ending November 1. Click
AHPS Precipitation (Percent of Normal)
For 30 Days Ending November 1, 2010.

October was an unusually wet month in coastal Southern California. Many areas recorded more than an inch above normal rainfall, and some as much as 3 inches above normal. In a month where around 0.5 inch is considered normal, some areas received several times the normal amount of rainfall.

Most of October's rain resulted from two energetic upper lows, and a relatively strong trough/front that swept through the area October 30th. The front produced a new precipitation record for the date of 1.09 inches at Santa Barbara Airport Here's an archived NWS Public Information Statement with some rainfall totals for that storm.

Last week, an approaching Pacific trough pumped up a thick high pressure ridge over California, sending temperatures soaring and breaking temperature records across the area. November 3rd Long Beach Airport set a new high temperature record for the date of 100°F, and Downtown Los Angeles set a new record of 97°F. November 4th temps were once again in high 90s and several stations broke or tied high temperature records. Here are archived copies of the NWS Record Event reports for November 3 and November 4.

The southern part of the Pacific trough that produced our record high temps cut-off into a small upper low as it approached the coast, and moved onshore north of the Los Angeles basin on Saturday. The remainder of the trough and its associated front moved through the area Sunday evening into Monday. The front held together a little better than expected, and rainfall totals in the Los Angeles basin and valleys generally ranged from about 0.10 inch to 0.30 inch. Here's an archived NWS Public Information Statement with some rainfall totals from around the area..

The latest round of rainfall leaves many areas of Southern California way ahead on rainfall totals for the water year. Downtown Los Angeles (USC) missed out on a couple of the systems, and as of close of business yesterday has recorded 1.10 inch for the water year, which is only 0.06 inch above normal. By comparison, Los Angeles Airport is 0.85 inch above normal, and Camarillo/Oxnard is 0.97 inch above normal. This headstart on the rain season should help keep our rainfall totals a little closer to normal as our La Nina influenced rain season continues.

Speaking of La Nina, the September/October value of the Multivariate ENSO Index (MEI) increased slightly by 0.079 sigma, ending the record plunge from El Nino conditions earlier this year. In the past 30 days there was some decrease in the magnitude of negative SST anomalies in the east-central equatorial Pacific, but subsurface temperatures remain quite cool. Computer models are split on whether Nino 3.4 SST anomalies will continue to decline in magnitude during the Northern Hemisphere winter, but nearly all models indicate decreasing anomalies in early 2011. We'll see!

More information concerning Southern California weather can be found using our WEATHER LINKS page.

Tuesday, November 09, 2010 10:21:12 AM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)  #    Disclaimer  |   | 
# Saturday, October 23, 2010

RAMDIS GOES-11 Water Vapor Image October 19, 2010 at 2:30 p.m. Click
RAMDIS GOES-11 Water Vapor Image
October 19, 2010 at 2:30 p.m.

Sunday evening through Wednesday afternoon, another energetic cutoff upper level low spun showers and thunderstorms into Southern California, increasing water year rainfall totals for many stations to near or above normal. Precipitation amounts varied widely, with some stations recording a few hundredths of an inch or less, and some as much as an inch or more. As was the case with the upper low at the end of September, this system produced a number of strong thunderstorms. A severe thunderstorm warning was issued as a result of a cluster of strong thunderstorms in the Antelope Valley Tuesday evening.

Downtown Los Angeles (USC) was one of those stations that didn't have its rain bucket in the right place. The station recorded only 0.08 inch from Sunday evening to Wednesday afternoon, bringing its water year rainfall total to 0.51 inch, which is about 0.16 below normal. Here is an archived Public Information Statement (PDF) from the NWS with some rainfall totals from around the area.

The Aug/Sep value of the Multivariate ENSO Index (MEI), released October 6, dropped another 0.18 sigma to -1.99. This is the lowest value of the MEI since Jul/Aug of 1955, and ranks the current La Nina as the strongest in the MEI record for the Aug/Sep season. Equatorial SST have continued to cool, and this plot of 5-day TAO/TRITON SST shows anomalies of -2.0°C or greater extending west to nearly the dateline.

Cooling of SSTs in the Central Pacific appears to have been enhanced by strong 850mb easterly winds associated with an MJO which propagated into the Western Pacific over the past 2 weeks and slowly diminished in amplitude. Divergence aloft associated with the MJO appears to have enhanced typhoon and tropical storm development in the Indian Ocean and Western Pacific. CIRA TPW loops show a lot of tropical moisture being injected into an extending Pacific jet. This could amplify rainfall amounts along the west coast of the U.S. the next few days.

There's been some drizzle and light rain in the Los Angeles area this morning. BUFKIT analysis of 12z NAM data for Van Nuys and LAX generates about 0.1 inch of rain late Sunday afternoon and evening. The bulk of the precipitation is forecast to occur in the northern two-thirds of California and into the Pacific Northwest. We'll see!

More information concerning Southern California weather can be found using our WEATHER LINKS page.

 

Saturday, October 23, 2010 10:26:24 AM (Pacific Daylight Time, UTC-07:00)  #    Disclaimer  |   | 
# Thursday, October 07, 2010

AHPS Precipitation Totals For the 7-day Period Ending 10/07/10 12z Click
AHPS Precipitation Totals
For the 7-day Period Ending 10/07/10 12z

Just a week after Downtown Los Angeles (USC) set a new all time temperature record of 113°F, an unseasonably strong cutoff upper level low set up shop over Southern California, cooling temperatures and producing record rainfall over much of the area. Precipitation was recorded in many locations Monday and Tuesday, but Wednesday was the record setting day.

According to the NWS Los Angeles/Oxnard, rainfall records for the date were set at numerous locations. Downtown Los Angeles (USC) recorded 0.30 inch, breaking the record of 0.22 inch back in 1916. Just a few miles away, LAX recorded 0.62 inch, smashing the old record of 0.16 set in 1945. Here's a preliminary record report (PDF) from the NWS.

Cumulative rainfall totals recorded over the three days varied widely, ranging from 0.10 inch in Lancaster to over 2.0 inches at some locations in Ventura county. Downtown Los Angeles (USC) recorded 0.40 inch for the storm. This is slightly above the October monthly norm, but because July, August and September had no measurable rain, Los Angeles remains 0.12 inch below normal for the water year. Here is a Public Information Statement (PDF) from the NWS with some rainfall totals from around the area.

The 12z NAM and GFS show temperatures rebounding quickly, with highs reaching the 80's and 90's across much of Southern California by Sunday. Next week the GFS projects a gradual cooling trend. We'll see!

More information concerning Southern California weather can be found using our WEATHER LINKS page.

Thursday, October 07, 2010 12:10:13 PM (Pacific Daylight Time, UTC-07:00)  #    Disclaimer  |   | 
# Thursday, September 30, 2010


Composite Precipitation for Eight Moderate to Strong Transitional La Ninas
(Mouse Over Image is Composite Precipitation for 16 La Ninas)

Updated October 6, 2010. Replaced 1975 with 2007 in composite of climate division precipitation for eight transitional moderate to strong La Ninas, and other revisions.

Monday at 12:15 p.m. PDT the temperature at Downtown Los Angeles (USC) reached 113°F (45°C). This is the highest temperature recorded downtown since weather recordkeeping began in 1877. All-time and daily records were broken at several location. Here's an archived NWS Public Information Statement with a list of the records that were broken.

A moist south to southeasterly flow associated with a high over the Great Basin and an upper low off the coast resulted in some thundershowers (and rainbows) in the Los Angeles area yesterday, and there's a chance of more thundershowers today. According to the NWS zone forecasts, a chance of thunderstorms will continue in the mountains through Saturday evening. (See update below.)

Since the peak of last Winter's El Nino, there has been an unprecedented drop in the Multivariate ENSO Index (MEI). MEI bimonthly (e.g. Sep/Oct) seasonal ranks range from 1 to the total number of years for the season in the record, currently 60 or 61. A rank of 1 represents the strongest La Nina for the season, and a rank of 60 or 61 the strongest El Nino. Based on MEI seasonal ranks, in six months ENSO conditions switched from the fifth strongest El Nino for the Feb/Mar season to the second strongest La Nina for the Jul/Aug season. As Klaus Wolter pointed out in his September 3rd MEI discussion, the only stronger La Nina in the MEI record for the Jul/Aug season was in 1955, and the last time the MEI was lower in any season was 1975.

In all 11 cases since 1950 in which the MEI was -1.0 or less in the Jul/Aug season, La Nina conditions persisted through the Nov/Dec season. In all but two cases, 1950 and 1964, the MEI remained below -1.0 from the Jul/Aug season through the Nov/Dec season. Most ENSO assessments project that La Nina conditions will persist through at least the end of 2010.

As they say, past performance does not guarantee future results, but in the cases of well established La Ninas and El Ninos, historical composites can provide some insight into what is likely. CPC's ENSO Temperature & Precipitation Composites page now includes composites which incorporate recent precipitation trends. Frequency of occurrence maps are also included for each composite. These composites indicate coastal Southern California has been trending drier in the rain season during the past 15 years. The composite plus trend plot for Jan-Feb-Mar precipitation anomaly is particularly dry in coastal Southern California, indicating negative anomalies in excess of 3 inches, with a high frequency of occurrence.

To get an idea of how US precipitation anomalies might differ in a strong La Nina versus the more general La Nina case, the ESRL/PSD US Climate Division Dataset Mapping Page was used to construct maps of US composite precipitation anomalies. The two cases can be compared by moving the mouse cursor over the image. The initial image is a composite based on eight moderate to strong La Nina years which were preceded by El Nino or neutral conditions. The "mouse over" image is a composite of 16 cases* in which the MEI was in the lower 30%-tile of MEI ranks.

Another consideration in assessing potential ENSO impacts is the likelihood that a La Nina (or El Nino) will result in either extremely dry or extremely wet conditions. Here are maps showing the risk of precipitation extremes for the periods Nov-Dec-Jan, Dec-Jan-Feb and Jan-Feb-Mar during La Nina. These were generated using the ESRL/PSD page Risk of Seasonal Climate Extremes in the U.S. Related to ENSO. According to these maps, Southern California isn't likely to have an extremely dry 2010-2011 rain season, although CPC ENSO composites suggest there is at least some possibility of a dry rain season, particularly in the period Jan-Feb-Mar.

CPC's current operational precipitation outlook for Nov-Dec-Jan, issued September 16, 2010, shows roughly equal probabilities of above average, near average, or below average precipitation in the Coastal Southern California climate division. As the rain season progresses, these probabilities become more skewed toward below normal precipitation. In the period Jan-Feb-Mar the probability of below normal precipitation is calculated to be about 40%, while the chances of above normal drop to around 25%. The skew become slightly more pronounced in the period Feb-Mar-Apr.

All of this suggests below average precipitation in the Coastal Southern California climate division for the period November 2010 through March 2011. How much below average? Perhaps on the order of 3 to 6 inches. Over the 16 years used in the La Nina climate division composite, rainfall at Downtown Los Angeles (USC) has ranged from 7.17" (1971) to 16.00" (1955), with an average value of 10.95". This is about 72% of the normal 15.14". If only the lowest 8 MEI ranked (strongest La Nina) years are included, the average rainfall for Los Angeles works out to 11.08", or about 73% of normal.

Although it appears unlikely, average to above average seasonal rainfall could occur. Also, damaging storms with heavy or prolonged precipitation are still a possibility.

*The 16 years in the La Nina composite were taken from the 19 lowest MEI ranks for Sep/Oct. This includes 1950, 1954, 1955, 1956, 1961, 1962, 1964, 1967, 1970, 1971, 1973, 1974, 1975, 1988, 1995, 1998, 1999, 2007 and 2008. The marginal La Nina years of 1961, 1967 and 1995 were excluded in the 16 year set. An Oceanic Niño Index (ONI) based selection of cold episodes for SON would include 1984 and 2000, and exclude 1961, 1967 and 2008.

Update October 1, 2010. Intellicast.com composite radar shows some strong thunderstorms in Southern California this afternoon, with hail reported, and tops indicated at 35,000 to 40,000 ft. The moist subtropical flow is forecast to continue through Sunday, and along with it, a chance of showers and thunderstorms.

More information concerning Southern California weather can be found using our WEATHER LINKS page.

Thursday, September 30, 2010 2:33:23 PM (Pacific Daylight Time, UTC-07:00)  #    Disclaimer  |   | 
# Wednesday, August 25, 2010

BUFKIT GFS Temperature Forecast August 24, 2010 12z Click
GFS Temperature Forecast for Van Nuys
August 24, 2010 12z

This year it wasn't until July 14th that Downtown Los Angeles topped the 90°F mark, and Woodland Hills the 100°F mark. Through mid August we'd had only one short (four day) heatwave. But it's Southern California, and you knew sooner or later temps would soar.

Since the middle of the month temperatures have been above seasonal norms, and particularly so the last couple of days. Monday and Tuesday, Downtown Los Angeles recorded highs of 98°F and 94°F, and Pierce College in Woodland Hills hit 104°F and then a scorching 111°F. This afternoon temperatures downtown have been a few degrees cooler than yesterday, but at Pierce College temps have been just about as hot as yesterday. The good news is an upper level trough is forecast to move onshore in the western U.S. this weekend. In Southern California this will result in a deeper marine layer, and dramatically cooler temperatures.

Intellicast composite radar shows some strong thunderstorm activity in Southern California this afternoon. In some cases hail is indicated, with tops reaching 50,000 ft.

The rapid cooling of equatorial Pacific SSTs took a bit of a breather at the the beginning of August, with SST departures leveling out in Nino regions 3.4 and 4, and even warming somewhat in Nino regions 1+2 and 3. But subsurface temperatures remained cool, and in the last ten days surface temperatures have once again been on the decrease. Here is a comparison of TAO 5-day SST anomalies for August 14 and August 24. TAO data from August 24 shows SST anomalies of -2°C, or greater, extending from 95°W, nearly to the dateline.

Update 08/27/10. Thursday the high at Downtown Los Angeles (USC) was 87°F. Pierce College in Woodland Hills topped out at 107°F. In the 9:00 hour this morning Pierce College temps are running 11°F to 12°F cooler than yesterday.

Update 08/26/10. Wednesday the high at Downtown Los Angeles (USC) was 90°F. Pierce College in Woodland Hills topped out at 109°F. Today's temps should be a near repeat of yesterday's. Big cool down kicks in on Friday, and continues into Sunday. Looks like inland highs will drop around 10°F (give or take) each day. A warming trend is forecast for next week.

More information concerning Southern California weather can be found using our WEATHER LINKS page.

 

Wednesday, August 25, 2010 3:38:44 PM (Pacific Daylight Time, UTC-07:00)  #    Disclaimer  |   | 
# Saturday, July 17, 2010

Click
TAO/TRITON SST & SST Anomaly
July 17, 2010

Following a 26 day stretch in which the temperature at Downtown Los Angeles was below normal 25 of the days, and several lowest maximum temperature records were set around the area, temperatures have soared, and record high temperatures for the date have been recorded at several locations.

On June 30, Downtown Los Angeles ended the water year about 8% above normal. Some stations in the Los Angeles area recorded more than this and some less. There was a wide range of values. For example, Long Beach Airport was about 20% above normal and Santa Barbara Airport about 23% above; but Camarillo Airport reported 31% below normal rainfall. Here's an AHPS graphic showing the percent of normal precipitation in California and the Southwest for the year ending July 1 at 12z.

Equatorial Pacific SSTs have generally continued to cool. According to the CPC's Weekly ENSO Update, issued July 12, the latest weekly SST departures were -1.3°C (Niño1+2), -1.0°C (Niño 3), -0.8°C (Niño 3.4), and -0.4°C (Niño 4). According to the CPC, La Niña conditions occur "when the monthly Niño3.4 OISST departures meet or exceed -0.5°C along with consistent atmospheric features. These anomalies must also be forecasted to persist for 3 consecutive months."

Reflecting the transition from El Nino to La Nina conditions, the Multivariate ENSO Index (MEI) for May-June experienced an unprecedented drop for the time of year, decreasing nearly 1 standard deviation to a value of -0.41. In addition, the Global Wind Oscillation (GWO) has orbited about -2 SD down on the La Nina side of the phase space plot, and with the atmosphere in a generally low momentum state, may be in that neighborhood for a while.

The most recent IRI ENSO Update, released July 15, projects "an approximately 80% probability for continuing La Niña conditions, and a 20% probability for returning neutral ENSO conditions. "

More information concerning Southern California weather can be found using our WEATHER LINKS page.

 

Saturday, July 17, 2010 7:53:54 PM (Pacific Daylight Time, UTC-07:00)  #    Disclaimer  |   | 
# Friday, June 25, 2010

Global Wind Oscillation (GWO) April 1, 2010 - June 23, 2010 Click
Global Wind Oscillation (GWO)
April 1, 2010 - June 23, 2010

Equatorial Pacific SSTs have continued to cool and TAO/TRITON data shows -1.0°C or greater anomalies extending from 95°W to beyond 150°W. According to the CPC's Weekly ENSO Update, issued June 21, the latest weekly SST departures were -0.7°C (Niño1+2), -0.6°C (Niño 3), -0.5°C (Niño 3.4), and 0.0°C (Niño 4). An anomaly of -0.5°C in the Niño 3.4 region is the threshold for La Nina conditions.

The Global Wind Oscillation (GWO) has spiraled well into La Niña territory. The global relative atmospheric angular momentum anomaly is at its lowest value since March 2008, during the La Niña of 2007-2008.

Based on equatorial Pacific SSTs, section plots, tradewinds and cloudiness; and the GWO and AAM; a transition to La Nina conditions appears to be underway.

It looks like Downtown Los Angeles (USC) will likely end the July 1 - June 30 water year having recorded 16.36 inches of rain. This is more than an inch above the 1971-2000 annual climate norm of 15.14 inches.

More information concerning Southern California weather can be found using our WEATHER LINKS page.

 

Friday, June 25, 2010 3:42:31 PM (Pacific Daylight Time, UTC-07:00)  #    Disclaimer  |   | 
# Saturday, June 05, 2010

Click
Niño Region SST Anomalies

Woodland Hills (Pierce College) topped the 90° mark for the first time this year Memorial Day weekend, and after cooling a few degrees during the week, temperatures are back into the 90's this afternoon. A quick look at temps around the area shows temps near 70 on the coast; 80's to 90's in the valleys, and triple digits in the deserts.

Reflecting the transition to ENSO neutral conditions, the Multivariate ENSO Index (MEI) for April-May declined to 0.54. According to the CPC's Weekly ENSO Update, issued June 1, the latest weekly SST departures are -0.6°C (Niño1+2), -0.4°C (Niño 3), -0.2°C (Niño 3.4), and 0.4°C (Niño 4).

In his May 2010 MEI discussion Klaus Wolter projected the probability of a La Nina event emerging by the end of 2010 at roughly 50%. In it's May 2010 ENSO Quick Look, the International Research Institute for Climate and Society (IRI) put the probability of La Nina conditions from the August-October season through the remainder of 2010 at 42%. We'll see!

Downtown Los Angeles (USC) has recorded 16.36 inches of rain since the water year began July 1. This is more than an inch above the 1971-2000 annual climate norm of 15.14 inches. The water year ends June 30. Climatology and current forecasts suggest it is unlikely that this total will change by more than a hundredth or two before the end of the month.

More information concerning Southern California weather can be found using our WEATHER LINKS page.

 

Saturday, June 05, 2010 4:22:40 PM (Pacific Daylight Time, UTC-07:00)  #    Disclaimer  |   | 
# Friday, May 14, 2010

Click
TAO 5-Day Average SST and Anomaly
Period Ending May 14, 2010

During the last month the 2009-10 El Niño has essentially transitioned to ENSO neutral conditions. Over the course of the event, the Multivariate ENSO Index (MEI) peaked in JAN/FEB at 1.5, and the Oceanic Nino Index (ONI) peaked in NDJ at 1.8. The mean 5-day averaged November 1 to March 31 relative AAM anomaly was 0.304. The strongest El Niño forcing appeared to have occurred in late January after the active phase of the Madden-Julian Oscillation (MJO) enhanced El Nino convection in the equatorial Pacific. Here's a chart comparing the 2009-10 El Niño to 17 other warm ENSO episodes that have occurred since 1950.

Dynamical and statistical ENSO model forecasts suggest the possibility that equatorial Pacific SSTs will continue to decline, leading to weak to moderate La Niña conditions by late Summer or Fall. A return to El Niño conditions does not appear likely, but cannot be ruled out. In his May MEI discussion, Klaus Wolter points out that the 1957-1958 El Nino, an analog to the 2009-2010 El Niño, rebounded after dropping into neutral territory.

Downtown Los Angeles (USC) has recorded 16.31 inches of rain since the water year began July 1. This is more than an inch above the 1971-2000 annual climate norm of 15.14 inches. Recent runs of the GFS and ECMWF show a negatively tilted trough deepening and moving onshore early next week. At this point it looks like there's a pretty good chance of showers north of Pt. Conception, but only a slight chance down here. We'll see!

Update 05/18/10. Stations in the Los Angeles area generally recorded under a tenth of an inch from this system. Some isolated totals of about 0.25 inch were recorded in Ventura and Santa Barbara county, and Rocky Butte in San Luis Obispo recorded 0.48 inch. Here is an archived copy of a NWS Public Information Statement with some rainfall totals from around the area.

More information concerning Southern California weather can be found using our WEATHER LINKS page.

 

Friday, May 14, 2010 7:46:45 PM (Pacific Daylight Time, UTC-07:00)  #    Disclaimer  |   | 
# Tuesday, April 13, 2010

RAMDIS GOES-11 IR Satellite Animation. Period Ending April 12, 2010, 6:30 a.m. PDT Click
RAMDIS GOES-11 IR Satellite Animation
Period Ending April 12, 2010, 6:30 a.m. PDT

A classic cold front associated with a cold upper level low and Pacific trough pushed through Southern California overnight Sunday, producing rain at the lower elevations and snow at the higher elevations. Scattered convective showers and isolated thunderstorms followed in the wake of the front as the low and trough slowly moved onshore. TV news reports showed marble sized hail produced by a strong cell in the eastern San Fernando Valley.

Downtown Los Angeles (USC) recorded 0.91 inch of rain for the storm, bringing the water year total to 16.17 inches, which is more than an inch above the 1971-2000 annual climate norm of 15.14 inches*. Here's an archived copy of a NWS Public Information Statement with some rainfall totals from around the area.

The additional rainfall puts Downtown Los Angeles at 1.51 inches for the month of April, well above the climate normal of 0.83 inches. The normal amount of precipitation for May is 0.31 inches, and for June is 0.06 inches. Although the current El Nino appears to be in decline, convection is still enhanced in a broad area of the western and central equatorial Pacific, and the GWO, MEI, and ONI all indicate the continued presence of El Nino. This could result in more active Spring weather than usual. We'll see!

More information concerning Southern California weather can be found using our WEATHER LINKS page.

*The average annual rainfall for Los Angeles of 15.14 inches is computed on a calendar year basis for the 30 year period 1971-2000. Technically it is not a water year average, but by convention it is used as a reference for water year rainfall. For details about how normal temperature and precipitation values are computed, see CLIMATOGRAPHY OF THE U.S. NO. 81 - Monthly Station Normals.

 

Tuesday, April 13, 2010 10:24:45 AM (Pacific Daylight Time, UTC-07:00)  #    Disclaimer  |   | 
# Tuesday, April 06, 2010

NRL Day/Night Visible Satellite Image - April 4, 2010 - 9:00 a.m. PDT Click
NRL Day/Night Visible Satellite Image
April 4, 2010 - 9:00 a.m. PDT

This week's Pacific system produced more rain in Southern California than recent similar troughs. The front associated with the system stalled as it approached the Los Angeles basin, and the low level inflow and jet dynamics helped sustain rain rates as the front dissipated.

Downtown Los Angeles (USC) recorded 0.60 inch of rain, bringing the water year total to 15.26 inches, which is above the 1971-2000 annual climate norm of 15.14 inches*. Here's an archived copy of a NWS Public Information Statement with some rainfall totals from around the area.

The water year ends June 30, so we still have a few weeks to add to our rainfall total. Los Angeles rainfall was below normal for the month of March, but we're already above normal month to date for April and it looks like more wet weather could be on the way. Recent runs of the GFS and ECMWF have been suggesting another system will affect Southern California the Sunday evening to Monday timeframe, and also project the possibility of another system midweek. We'll see!

More information concerning Southern California weather can be found using our WEATHER LINKS page.

*The average annual rainfall for Los Angeles of 15.14 inches is computed on a calendar year basis for the 30 year period 1971-2000. Technically it is not a water year average, but by convention it is used as a reference for water year rainfall. For details about how normal temperature and precipitation values are computed, see CLIMATOGRAPHY OF THE U.S. NO. 81 - Monthly Station Normals.

 

Tuesday, April 06, 2010 8:39:27 AM (Pacific Daylight Time, UTC-07:00)  #    Disclaimer  |   | 
# Friday, March 26, 2010

Global Wind Oscillation (GWO) November 1, 2009 - March 24, 2010 Click
Global Wind Oscillation (GWO)
November 1, 2009 - March 24, 2010

After peaking at a standardized relative AAM anomaly of 2.21 around February 5, 2010, the Global Wind Oscillation (GWO) has plunged 3 SD in relative AAM to a value of -0.90. This is the lowest value of relative AAM anomaly since mid October, 2009. Much of the loss in AAM was from the mid latitudes of the NH. From the week of February 22-28 to March 19-25, 7-day averaged 250 mb Zonal Mean Zonal Winds decreased from about 43 m/s at 30°N to 33 m/s at 30°N-45°N. The decrease in relative AAM reduced the likelihood of an extended and southward displaced North Pacific Ocean jet, and associated Southern California El Nino impacts.

In fact, there has been no measurable precipitation at Downtown Los Angeles (USC) since March 6, 2010. Los Angeles rainfall is now 2.23 inches below normal for the month of March, and only 1.15 inches above the water year norm for the date.

In the last week there has been an increase in relative AAM from about 40°N to 50°N. The GWO and AAM appears to have bottomed out and cyclical subseasonal processes may be working to revitalize Western Pacific convection and El Nino related forcing. If the GWO continues its current orbit, relative AAM would be expected to increase in the 6-10 day period.

The GFS and ECMWF have been showing a strong Pacific jet and trough affecting the West Coast next week. There are significant differences in the GFS and ECMWF model solutions, and although 5-day model performance has been good recently, performance often suffers during seasonal transitions. This morning's 12z GFS puts the initial focus of the event in the Pacific Northwest early in the week. Precipitation is forecast to spread into Northern and Central California, and finally Southern California, as the week progresses, and the trough deepens and moves onshore.

It's way too early to say how this system will affect Southern California. Many processes are in play that could affect the amount of precipitation here, pro or con. Yesterday afternoon's 00z ECMWF appeared to project a wetter solution for Southern California than this morning's 12z GFS, with the upper low and trough evolving a little more to the west. It does look like there is the potential for heavy snow in the Sierra. We'll see!

Update 04/03/10. The frontal band and upper low associated with the trough that moved through the area overnight Wednesday into Thursday produced some showers and some spectacular clouds in the Los Angeles area. The bulk of the precipitation occurred from Central California north into the Pacific Northwest. The upper low stayed offshore as it moved down the coast and past the Los Angeles basin. Avalon and some mountain locations recorded more than 0.1 inch of precipitation, but generally amounts south of Pt. Conception ranged from a trace to few hundredths. Here's an archived copy of a NWS Public Information Statement with some rainfall totals from around the area. A similar system is forecast to produce some rain in Los Angeles area Sunday night. BUFKIT analysis of 18z NAM data for Van Nuys projects about 0.4 inch of precipitation. The 09z SREF shows a high probability of measurable rain, but a sharp decrease in the probability of more than 0.1 inch/day south of Pt. Conception. We'll see!

There was an interesting lenticular wave train northwest of Los Angeles earlier this month. The situation was peculiar because the wind at nearly all levels at that time was from the northwest, and the wind forming the wave clouds appeared to be from the north-northeast. The tops of the wave clouds were being sheared by winds blowing from the northwest (left to right). An ARL NAM-12 based wind profile for the area on March 10 for 06z, shows a possible source of the winds that produced the waves, as well as the shear. Here's an animated series of NRL satellite photos showing the complex wind and wave pattern at the time.

More information concerning Southern California weather can be found using our WEATHER LINKS page.

 

Friday, March 26, 2010 9:44:05 AM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)  #    Disclaimer  |   |