# 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  |   | 
# Monday, March 08, 2010

Click
GOES-11 IR Satellite Image
March 6, 2010 - 3:00 p.m. PST

As forecast, an energetic upper low skirted the Los Angeles area yesterday on its way south into northern Baja, Mexico. As the low moved south, a vorticity lobe spinning around the low arced into the Southern California coast, producing rain, thunderstorms, waterspouts, and blustery winds.

Rain amounts were variable, generally ranging from about 0.25 inch to 0.75 inch around the Los Angeles area. Indicative of the convective nature of the precipitation, Downtown Los Angeles (USC) recorded 0.42 inch, while a few miles away LAX recorded only 0.18 inch for the storm. The water year total for Downtown Los Angeles now stands at 14.66 inches -- only 0.48 inch less than the annual norm of 15.14 inches. Here is an archived copy of NWS Public Information Statement with some more rainfall amounts for this rain event.

Reflecting the enhancement of El Niño by the MJO at the end of January, the Multivariate ENSO Index (MEI) for January-February has increased to 1.5. As discussed by Klaus Wolter, MEI originator, this is the highest value of the Jan-Feb MEI since the strong El Niño of 1997-1998, and the fifth highest MEI value for Jan-Feb since 1950. This places the El Nino of 2009-10 in the top 10% of MEI rankings for the season since 1950, and above the "strong" El Niño threshold, as measured by the MEI. Here is a chart comparing the current El Niño to others since 1950.

The increase in the MEI corresponds to the increase in relative AAM since mid January and underscores the potential role of the Global Wind Oscillation (GWO) in assessing the response of the atmosphere to El Niño. It also reinforces the notion that the El Niño phenomena is more than just warm SSTs in the central equatorial Pacific. As we've seen several times in recent years, warm SST anomalies in the Niño 3.4 region alone are not sufficient for evaluating an El Niño and its potential impacts.

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

 

Monday, March 08, 2010 9:05:26 AM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)  #    Disclaimer  |   | 
# Thursday, March 04, 2010

AHPS 24 Hour Precipitation for the 24 hours ending March 4, 2010 - 4:00 a.m. PST Click
AHPS 24 Hour Precipitation
Ending March 4, 2010 - 4:00 a.m. PST

Tuesday's trough was even more feeble than expected south of Santa Barbara, barely managing to wet the streets and generate an official "trace" of rain in the Los Angeles area. Wednesday's upper low dug a little further south than expected, resulting in some moderate showers. Rainfall amounts were variable, generally ranging from a few hundredths in the basin to 0.25 inch or so at some mountain locations . Here are archived copies of NWS Public Information Statements with some rainfall amounts for Tuesday's trough and Wednesday's upper low.

Downtown Los Angeles (USC) recorded 0.06 inch of rain Wednesday, bringing the water year total (July 1-June 30) to 14.24 inches, which is 3.05 inches above normal for the date.

Another finicky upper low may produce some rain in Southern California this weekend. Just how much depends on the behavior of the low and it's proximity to the Southern California coast. If the low track is too far offshore, rainfall amounts could be dramatically reduced. This is well illustrated by 09z SREF plot showing the forecast probability that precipitation will exceed 0.1 inch for the 24 hr. period ending Saturday at 7:00 p.m. BUFKIT analyses of today's 18z NAM data for Santa Barbara, Van Nuys and LAX all produce about 0.3 inch of rain, mostly on Saturday.

Update 03/05/10 8:00 a.m. The models continue to have difficulty with the timing and precipitation amounts for this weekend's storm. This isn't surprising since small changes in the track of the upper low, the amount of moisture entrained, and other factors could have a big effect on the amount of rain in a particular region. Yesterday afternoon's run of the NAM generated nearly an inch of rain at Van Nuys, but this morning's 12z run of the NAM is back down to the neighborhood of 0.3 inch. Today's 09z SREF suggests the highest precipitation amounts may occur to the south of Los Angeles. Here's an SREF plot of the probability that precipitation will exceed 0.25 inch for the 24 hr. period ending 10:00 a.m. Sunday. We'll see!

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

 

Thursday, March 04, 2010 2:13:37 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)  #    Disclaimer  |   | 
# Monday, March 01, 2010

NEXRAD Regional Radar (NCAR) February 27, 2010 - 3:00 a.m. PST Click
NEXRAD Regional Radar (NCAR)
February 27, 2010 - 3:00 a.m. PST

A primary frontal band, secondary frontal band, and upper low associated with a strong Pacific storm system produced periods of heavy rain in Southern California on Saturday. Rainfall totals for the system generally ranged from about 1.0 to 2.0 inches, with somewhat higher amounts recorded at a few mountain locations. Here is an archived copy of a NWS Public Information Statement with some precipitation totals from around the area.

Downtown Los Angeles (USC) recorded 0.80 inch of rain for the storm, bringing the water year total (Jul 1-Jun 30) to 14.18 inches, which is 3.25 inches above normal. Saturday, Burbank set a new rainfall record for the date of 1.6 inches.

The weather forecast for the Los Angeles area this week looks like a near repeat of last week, with a chance of showers mid-week, and then a possibility of a somewhat stronger storm for the weekend.

Just 24 hours before a trough is forecast to produce a chance of showers in the Los Angeles area, the models are still having difficulty with the forecast. The nature of the system is the culprit -- the evolution of the trough and precise track of a following upper low is far from certain. Today's 09z SREF suggest a high probability (70%-90%) of very light rain (>0.01 inch) for the 24 hr. period ending 7:00 a.m. Wednesday morning, but south of Pt. Conception there is a rapid decrease of the probability of more than 0.1 inch of precipitation over the same period.

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

 

Monday, March 01, 2010 3:22:51 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)  #    Disclaimer  |   |