Winter Olympics forecast: near-record warmth

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 3:28 PM GMT on February 15, 2010

Share this Blog
2
+

Under sunny skies and warm southwest winds the temperature in Vancouver, British Columbia climbed to 54°F (12.4°C) yesterday, just missing the record of 12.9°C (55°F) for the date, set in 1991 (records in Vancouver go back to 1937). That was marvelous weather for all the joggers that were out in t-shirts and shorts in Vancouver yesterday, but is lousy weather if you're trying to hold a Winter Olympics. The men's downhill was postponed yesterday and rescheduled for today, because of rain and bad snow. The women's combined, originally scheduled to run Saturday, has been postponed until Thursday. The mountain has been getting snow at the top, a mix of snow and rain along the middle section, and rain at the bottom, making for very difficult skiing conditions. Practice runs have been mostly been canceled. In West Vancouver, where the moguls competition was held yesterday, snow had to be trucked and helicoptered in because there wasn't enough on the ground. The snow-making machines weren't any help, because it was too warm to make snow. Too bad Philadelphia or Washington D.C. didn't make a bid for the Winter Olympics! It's an upside-down winter when Canada has trouble getting snow, and Washington D.C. gets five feet.

As we can see from a plot of the temperature departure from average for the month of January (Figure 1), most of Canada has seen very unusual warmth, with temperatures over 5°C (9°F) covering large swathes of the country.


Figure 1. Departure of January temperature from average for the strong to moderate strength El Niño year of 2010 (left), and a composite of the last five years that had a moderate to strong El Niño (right). Note that typically, an El Niño event brings much warmer than average temperatures to Vancouver, and cooler than average conditions to Florida. This year has seen an extreme amplification of this pattern. The impact of the Arctic Oscillation (AO) is evident over eastern Canada and Greenland, where exceptionally warm temperatures were recorded. Image credit: NOAA/ESRL.

Why all the warmth in Vancouver? El Niño partly to blame
So, what's going on? The average high temperature in Vancouver this time of year is typically 8°C (46°F). Vancouver has seen above-average temperatures every day this month, and tied one daily record so far. This unusual February warmth follows a record warm month of January, which averaged 3°C (5.4°F) above average, beating the previous record set in 2006 by a pretty significant margin, 0.9°C (1.6°F). Nearby Seattle, Washington had its warmest January in 120 years of record keeping, and both Oregon and Washington recorded their 4th warmest January. As we can see from a plot of the temperature departure from average for the month of January (Figure 1), most of Canada saw very unusual warmth, with temperature anomalies over 5°C (9°F) covering large swathes of the country. Record warm January temperatures were observed not only over British Columbia, but also over Manitoba and over much of Quebec, where half of the province's twelve largest cities experienced their warmest or second warmest January on record. Unusual Canadian warmth is to be expected during a moderate to strong El Niño episode, which is what we've had this winter in the Eastern Pacific Ocean. The pattern we've seen during the previous five moderate to strong El Niños dating back to 1987 (Figure 1, right) shows this trend, and also the trend towards colder than average conditions in Florida. However, the pattern for January 2010 shows an extreme amplification of this El Niño pattern. We had record warmth over much of Canada, and Florida got socked with its 10th coldest January on record. The extreme amplification of the January temperature pattern was due in part to the influence of the Arctic Oscillation/North Atlantic Oscillation, a natural wind pattern over the North Atlantic measured by the difference in pressure between Iceland and ocean areas to the south. That difference in pressure was remarkably small in the first half of January, leading to the weakest Arctic Oscillation pattern in 60 years of record keeping. This allowed cold air to spill southwards into Florida, and helped bring very warm temperatures to Greenland and Eastern Canada. El Niño, combined with the Arctic Oscillation, all superimposed upon exceptionally warm global temperatures, is probably the best explanation for the record January warmth in Canada. Globally, January 2010 was the 4th warmest January on record, with global ocean temperatures the 2nd warmest on record, according to NOAA.

The forecast: near-record warmth for Vancouver
The forecast for Vancouver for the remainder of the week calls for temperatures above 10°C (50°F) each day. Today's forecast high of 10°C (50°F) will approach the record high for the date of 12.6°C (55°F). The long range forecast through the remainder of the Winter Olympics promises continued near-record warmth, as the jet stream is projected to stay in its current El Niño-type pattern. In this configuration, a strong ridge of high pressure stays anchored over the Pacific coast, allowing plenty of warm air from the southwest into British Columbia. Unfortunately for the winter games, I expect that Vancouver will end up experiencing its 1st or 2nd warmest February on record.

No major snowstorms in sight
Today's snowstorm for the mid-Atlantic has shifted northwards, meaning the that the maximum 4 - 8 inches of snow from this storm will pass north of snow-weary Philadelphia, Washington D.C., and Baltimore. The computer models are showing that this will be the last significant snow storm to affect the eastern half of the U.S. for at least a week, and residents of the Mid-Atlantic can look forward to a slow but steady melting of their huge piles of snow. This is exactly what is needed to avoid a serious flooding situation--a rapid thaw or large rainstorm would have been a major problem.

Next post
I'll have a new post on Wednesday at the latest. I did an interview with the Washington Post weather blog by the "Capital Weather Gang", for those interested.

Jeff Masters

2010 Winter Olympic Torch Relay (galeao)
The Olympic Torch Relay departing Mackin Park in Coquitlam, BC. Crowds lined the streets and braved the Vancouver rain to cheer on the torchbearers as they continued on to the city of Burnaby. Just one more day before the Olympic Cauldron will be lit in Vancouver on February 12, 2010.
2010 Winter Olympic Torch Relay
Ballet Of Light (galeao)
The 'Ballet Of Light', formally known as artist Rafael Lozano-Hemmer's art project Vectorial Elevation, consists of 20 robotically controlled, 10,000-watt Zenon lights that have been installed at Vanier Park and Sunset Beach in Vancouver. Beginning on February 5, they will be lighting the sky over English Bay every night until dawn, right up to the last day of the 2010 Winter Olympics on February 28. The pattern of the lights changes every 10 seconds in response to geometric designs submitted from the public via the Internet. It is quite a sight but works best with low clouds like this evening. View with the Inukshuk at the southern end of English Bay Beach.
Ballet Of Light

Reader Comments

Comments will take a few seconds to appear.

Post Your Comments

Please sign in to post comments.

or Join

Not only will you be able to leave comments on this blog, but you'll also have the ability to upload and share your photos in our Wunder Photos section.

Display: 0, 50, 100, 200 Sort: Newest First - Order Posted

Viewing: 235 - 185

Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9Blog Index

235. severstorm
1:07 PM GMT on February 16, 2010
I heard this morning that new england states were going to get 6-10 inches out of this storm.
Member Since: November 25, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 956
234. all4hurricanes
1:06 PM GMT on February 16, 2010
First school day since the 4th in Fairfax
Member Since: March 29, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 2369
233. mikester
12:57 PM GMT on February 16, 2010
Boy winter is coming to an end fast. No major storms on the horizon forecasted.
Member Since: April 4, 2005 Posts: 1 Comments: 134
232. mikester
12:54 PM GMT on February 16, 2010
Yep same here. Started out as a winter storm watch and now a winter advisory with only 1-3" by days end. Man this truly sucks for snow this year. Ohwell there is always next year.
Member Since: April 4, 2005 Posts: 1 Comments: 134
231. CycloneOz
12:51 PM GMT on February 16, 2010
Has everyone seen how boring Ida was? LOL...it was fun hanging out with PensacolaDoug, though..
Member Since: August 26, 2006 Posts: 10 Comments: 3622
230. IKE
12:37 PM GMT on February 16, 2010
Quoting severstorm:
So it was a big bust for your snow event yesterday. We had just a couple of sprinkles here.


I've been under a winter storm warning and a winter weather advisory, in the last 4 days, and had a trace of measurable snow.

That looks like the end of the snow chances this winter. Warmer weather is on the way by this weekend:)
Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37858
229. severstorm
12:34 PM GMT on February 16, 2010
So it was a big bust for your snow event yesterday. We had just a couple of sprinkles here.
Member Since: November 25, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 956
228. IKE
12:33 PM GMT on February 16, 2010
Low was 28.6...sun up now.

Good morning.
Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37858
227. severstorm
12:26 PM GMT on February 16, 2010

Morning Ike, You got me on the lows this morning.
Member Since: November 25, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 956
226. IKE
12:23 PM GMT on February 16, 2010
I'll go with....

13
7
4......
Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37858
225. CycloneOz
12:21 PM GMT on February 16, 2010
Quoting leftovers:
anyone got there pre season #'s for the upcoming season pretty much a crap shoot in my opinion it all depends on this nino 10 but a blockbuster s. florida hit


I'm rooting for 1-1-1
Member Since: August 26, 2006 Posts: 10 Comments: 3622
223. IKE
11:59 AM GMT on February 16, 2010
Quoting CycloneOz:


This is "BUST DAY"...snow forecast, release of Hurricane Ida video...

I'm going to HOOTERS!


Enjoy...down to 28.9 for a low. Excellent radiational cooling.
Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37858
222. CycloneOz
11:51 AM GMT on February 16, 2010
Quoting IKE:
29.3 here this morning...low so far.

Boy, that sure was a busted snow forecast yesterday morning by the pro's at the NWS.


This is "BUST DAY"...snow forecast, release of Hurricane Ida video...

I'm going to HOOTERS!
Member Since: August 26, 2006 Posts: 10 Comments: 3622
221. IKE
11:45 AM GMT on February 16, 2010
29.3 here this morning...low so far.

Boy, that sure was a busted snow forecast yesterday morning by the pro's at the NWS.
Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37858
220. drg0dOwnCountry
11:43 AM GMT on February 16, 2010
Daily Mangle
— group @ 15 February 2010

Yesterday, the Daily Mail of the UK published a predictably inaccurate article entitled “Climategate U-turn as scientist at centre of row admits: There has been no global warming since 1995″.

The title itself is a distortion of what Jones actually said in an interview with the BBC. What Jones actually said is that, while the globe has nominally warmed since 1995, it is difficult to establish the statistical significance of that warming given the short nature of the time interval (1995-present) involved. The warming trend consequently doesn’t quite achieve statistical significance. But it is extremely difficult to establish a statistically significant trend over a time interval as short as 15 years–a point we have made countless times at RealClimate. It is also worth noting that the CRU record indicates slightly less warming than other global temperature estimates such as the GISS record.

The article also incorrectly equates instrumental surface temperature data that Jones and CRU have assembled to estimate the modern surface temperature trends with paleoclimate data used to estimate temperatures in past centuries, falsely asserting that the former “has been used to produce the ‘hockey stick graph’”.

Finally, the article intentionally distorts comments that Jones made about the so-called “Medieval Warm Period”. Jones stated in his BBC interview that “There is much debate over whether the Medieval Warm Period was global in extent or not. The MWP is most clearly expressed in parts of North America, the North Atlantic and Europe and parts of Asia” and that “For it to be global in extent, the MWP would need to be seen clearly in more records from the tropical regions and the Southern hemisphere. There are very few palaeoclimatic records for these latter two regions.”

These are statements with which we entirely agree, and they are moreover fully consistent with the conclusions of the most recent IPCC report, and the numerous peer-reviewed publications on this issue since. Those conclusions are that recent Northern Hemisphere warming is likely unprecedented in at least a millennium (at least 1300 years, in fact), and that evidence in the Southern Hemisphere is currently too sparse for confident conclusions. Mann et al in fact drew those same conclusions in their most recent work on this problem (PNAS, 2008).

Unfortunately, these kinds of distortions are all too common in the press nowadays and so we must all be prepared to respond to those journalists and editors who confuse the public with such inaccuracies.
http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2010/02/daily-mangle/
Member Since: September 22, 2005 Posts: 11 Comments: 2032
219. drg0dOwnCountry
11:19 AM GMT on February 16, 2010
Quoting Skyepony:
Rate of ocean acidification the fastest in 65 million years

Press release issued 14 February 2010

A paper published in Nature Geoscience

A new model, capable of assessing the rate at which the oceans are acidifying, suggests that changes in the carbonate chemistry of the deep ocean may exceed anything seen in the past 65 million years.

The model also predicts much higher rates of environmental change at the ocean’s surface in the future than have occurred in the past, potentially exceeding the rate at which plankton can adapt.

The research, from the University of Bristol, is reported in this week's issue of Nature Geoscience.

The team applied a model that compared current rates of ocean acidification with the greenhouse event at the Paleocene-Eocene boundary, about 55 million years ago when surface ocean temperatures rose by around 5-6°C over a few thousand years. During this event, no catastrophe is seen in surface ecosystems, such as plankton, yet bottom-dwelling organisms in the deep ocean experienced a major extinction..

it goes on..

Member Since: September 22, 2005 Posts: 11 Comments: 2032
217. CycloneOz
10:46 AM GMT on February 16, 2010


XtremeHurricanes.com has produced another video of a storm that made landfall along the Gulf Coast of the United States. On November 8, 2009, a freak November hurricane, Hurricane Ida, was positioned in the central Gulf as a Category 2 hurricane. Within 24 hours, it weakened into a tropical storm. Hurricane Chasers Brian Osburn and Doug Morrison intercepted the storm and captured its most intense moments as it made landfall in the early morning hours of November 10th. It's wind strength was enough to defoliate the trees of Pensacola, Florida from dead leaves, leaving the city beautiful and bright green the following morning. Yes, it was not much of a storm, but XtremeHurricanes.com did the best that could be done in capturing it.
Member Since: August 26, 2006 Posts: 10 Comments: 3622
216. winter123
8:12 AM GMT on February 16, 2010
Quoting Ossqss:
Interesting tid bit.. :)

Lake Erie now frozen over
241-mile stretch all ice for 1st time since 1995-96


What about lake ontario? That is what I'm near.
Member Since: July 29, 2006 Posts: 28 Comments: 1784
215. winter123
8:09 AM GMT on February 16, 2010
Quoting CycloneOz:
Good News!

I have just completed XtremeHurricanes.com latest production, Experience Hurricane Ida.

It is uploading now to YouTube.

Hurricane Ida was the freak November storm of 2009 that formed in the southwest Caribbean Sea and moved north into the Gulf of Mexico as a Category 2 hurricane on November 8th. Within 24 hours, it had weakened into a tropical storm due to wind shear and cool Gulf waters.

Although it was a yawner of a storm, we did our best to at least give you a glimpse into the storm anyway, better than any other chaser team was able to do.

I'll be back later when it's fully composed and ready to be viewed in HD.

Oz---


I would like to see this, please get it up soon! I loved tracking that storm, it just would not die!
Member Since: July 29, 2006 Posts: 28 Comments: 1784
214. wunderkidcayman
7:06 AM GMT on February 16, 2010
ok good night
Member Since: June 13, 2009 Posts: 2 Comments: 11678
213. wunderkidcayman
6:04 AM GMT on February 16, 2010
hello any one here
Member Since: June 13, 2009 Posts: 2 Comments: 11678
212. mikester
5:32 AM GMT on February 16, 2010
Boy the nor-easterner up here just died out. Go figure.
Member Since: April 4, 2005 Posts: 1 Comments: 134
211. wunderkidcayman
4:57 AM GMT on February 16, 2010
Hi guys what is the possiblity for future quakes in the cayman area in the next 4-8 weeks?
Member Since: June 13, 2009 Posts: 2 Comments: 11678
210. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
4:56 AM GMT on February 16, 2010
iam out till morn see ya all then
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 170 Comments: 53471
209. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
4:54 AM GMT on February 16, 2010
we need an artic outflow that would be real good
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 170 Comments: 53471
208. Skyepony (Mod)
4:38 AM GMT on February 16, 2010
Lets hope it heads to the Olympics..
Member Since: August 10, 2005 Posts: 162 Comments: 37782
207. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
4:34 AM GMT on February 16, 2010


here is another view
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 170 Comments: 53471
206. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
4:25 AM GMT on February 16, 2010


latest GFS-MRF shows some deep cold air building in the nw lets see where this goes
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 170 Comments: 53471
205. PcolaDan
4:19 AM GMT on February 16, 2010
Quoting stillwaiting:
going up to NYC Feb 23-28th any 10 day models showing any snowfall???


Someone at Blizzrd92 Blog may be able to help you. He's good and a lot of winter weather geeks hang there. (said in a good way) :)
Member Since: August 22, 2008 Posts: 12 Comments: 6010
204. Ossqss
4:14 AM GMT on February 16, 2010
Interesting tid bit.. :)

Lake Erie now frozen over
241-mile stretch all ice for 1st time since 1995-96
Member Since: June 12, 2005 Posts: 6 Comments: 8186
203. stillwaiting
3:52 AM GMT on February 16, 2010
going up to NYC Feb 23-28th any 10 day models showing any snowfall???
Member Since: October 5, 2007 Posts: 20 Comments: 4970
Wow, echo, echo.

Since the blog is a bit slow, I figured, why not put up a good article on something related to Helioseismology. Somebody please check my spelling :)

The Rhythm of Our Star
Member Since: June 12, 2005 Posts: 6 Comments: 8186
Snowing in Alabama confirmed by radar and surface observations:



Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Patrap:
Mardi Gras or Fat Tuesday is tomorrow here.

nola.com



We gonna Party Lombardi Gras this Year


Lets not leave out "Fat Tuesday" here in Mobile
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Good News!

I have just completed XtremeHurricanes.com latest production, Experience Hurricane Ida.

It is uploading now to YouTube.

Hurricane Ida was the freak November storm of 2009 that formed in the southwest Caribbean Sea and moved north into the Gulf of Mexico as a Category 2 hurricane on November 8th. Within 24 hours, it had weakened into a tropical storm due to wind shear and cool Gulf waters.

Although it was a yawner of a storm, we did our best to at least give you a glimpse into the storm anyway, better than any other chaser team was able to do.

I'll be back later when it's fully composed and ready to be viewed in HD.

Oz---
Member Since: August 26, 2006 Posts: 10 Comments: 3622
Mardi Gras or Fat Tuesday is tomorrow here.

nola.com



We gonna Party Lombardi Gras this Year
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Bordonaro:
Concerning our WU blogs, we can wishcast & try to forecast severe weather, snow/blizzwrd events, TS and hurricanes, there does not seem to be any problem. EVeryone has an idea or opinion they share. Some of us a right, others are way off.

However, when it comes to climate change, GW, AGW, it is amazing how much negative attacks occur. When the topics are concerning climate change, I disappear!
Your the right man.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting PcolaDan:


They now exactly what I'm talking about. If I remember correctly debris landed in Burkburnett and a piece of a big golf ball display from, a driving range?, landed in Oklahoma.


i did hear about the debris landing in burk.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J5LLownBp4c

Can't embed it for some reason, good video on the Jarrell, TX damage.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
192. HadesGodWyvern (Mod)


St Brandon near the forecast path of 12R..
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting WaterWitch11:


i have a couple that pretty much adopted me as their 3rd daughter. I hear every once in a while the stories of this. They have been in Burkburnett since they were kids.


They know exactly what I'm talking about. If I remember correctly debris landed in Burkburnett and a piece of a big golf ball display from, a driving range?, landed in Oklahoma.
Member Since: August 22, 2008 Posts: 12 Comments: 6010
190. HadesGodWyvern (Mod)
Mauritius Meteorological Services
Tropical Cyclone Advisory Number FOUR
DEPRESSION TROPICALE 12-20092010
4:00 AM Réunion February 16 2010
=================================

At 0:00 AM UTC, Tropical Depression 12R (999 hPa) located at 11.1S 59.4E has 10 minute sustained winds of 30 knots with gusts of 45 knots. The depression is reported moving southeast at 10 knots.

Dvorak Intensity: 2.5/2.5/D0.5/18HRS

Near Gale-Force Winds
=======================
100 NM from the center

Forecast and Intensity
======================
12 HRS: 12.2S 59.5E - 40 knots (Tempête Tropicale Moderée)
24 HRS: 13.3S 59.6E - 50 knots (Forte Tempête Tropicale)
48 HRS: 14.5S 59.8E - 70 knots (CYCLONE Tropical)
72 HRS: 15.6S 60.2E - 80 knots (CYCLONE Tropical)

Additional Information
========================
Convection organization has improved during the recent 6 hrs. System shows a curved band pattern now. According to the last ASCAT winds data (1712z), the windfield pattern is still asymmetric with stronger winds east of the low level circulation center.

Environmental conditions are favorable for regular intensification within the next 3 days. Beyond a northwesterly wind shear constraint is forecasted to build in the west ahead of a tropical upper tropospheric trough. System is expected to track south southeast under the influence of the mid tropospheric ridge in its northeast. Beyond, system should undergo the steering influence of the subtropical ridge as it shifts southward and is therefore expected to recurve southwestward. Last available numerical weather prediction models are in better agreement for the south southeast track, system is expected to slow down around 72 hrs, as the steering flow will change
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
We had a F-2 tornado pass about 1/2 mile from my house in Port Charlotte a few years back. It was moving from NE to SW, very weird. I was right on the inflow channel for the storm, you could see it sucking the tree branches upward. Scary stuff.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting PcolaDan:
This is the one in Wichita Falls Texas that I referred to last night that I was there for.



Here is a link to another. This one got my heart pumping seeing the cars under the bridge. People died that way.

Link


i have a couple that pretty much adopted me as their 3rd daughter. I hear every once in a while the stories of this. They have been in Burkburnett since they were kids.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
From HISTORY.COM:

A tornado in Jarrell, Texas, destroys the town and kills nearly 30 people on this day in 1997. This F5 tornado—a rating indicating it had winds of more than 260 miles per hour--was unusual in that it traveled south along the ground; nearly all tornadoes in North America move northeast.
The storm formed just north of the capital city of Austin, Texas, in the afternoon. A cold front from the northwest collided with warm air from the Gulf of Mexico, creating a supercell, a large storm cloud formation, and towering cumulus clouds. These conditions produced 22 recorded tornadoes, beginning with one in Waco at 1:37 p.m. The Waco tornado then moved south to Lake Belton, where it demolished the marina and sank many boats.
Moving through rural Texas, the Jarrell tornado hit at 3:50 p.m., just as many students were heading home from school. The twister, almost 800 feet wide, picked up so much soil that it caused a powerful mud storm. Roofs were torn off storm shelters and water was sucked out of deep wells. There were even reports of shafts of wheat impaling cattle, and other cows being picked up, their hides stripped by the winds, before being slammed to the ground.
The tornado then slowed, becoming nearly stationary as it hit the Double Creek home development. Cars in the subdivision were reduced to rubble and homes were picked up right off their foundations. The twister simply obliterated everything in its direct path, leaving no recognizable remains. The only structure to survive was a family’s homemade shelter under their house’s foundation. One item from the neighborhood was found 100 miles away. About three quarters of the residents of Double Creek were killed. One survivor reported that she had been carried off with her house as she lay in the bathtub.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:


This is the tornado at it's peak. Jarrell, TX (3/4 of a mile wide)
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Tazmanian:
hey guys what is a Keyboard Filter and where do i go too turn it off or re move it and what are the words am looking for?


Taz, I think it has to do with your upgrade to Windows 7. See if this link helps. Link
Member Since: August 22, 2008 Posts: 12 Comments: 6010

Viewing: 235 - 185

Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9Blog Index

Top of Page

About

Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.

Local Weather

Overcast
74 °F
Overcast