Winter Olympics forecast: near-record warmth

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

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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

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435. wunderkidcayman
2:51 PM GMT on February 17, 2010
NEW BLOG NEWBLOG NEW BLOG NEW BLOG NEW BLOG
Member Since: June 13, 2009 Posts: 2 Comments: 11201
434. AwakeInMaryland
2:50 PM GMT on February 17, 2010
FYI, BTW... NEW BLOG!
Member Since: August 19, 2008 Posts: 32 Comments: 1918
433. Skyepony (Mod)
2:41 PM GMT on February 17, 2010
A glitch for every gold
Neither athletes nor fans spared
Member Since: August 10, 2005 Posts: 161 Comments: 37444
432. CycloneOz
2:40 PM GMT on February 17, 2010
NEW BLOG!
Member Since: August 26, 2006 Posts: 10 Comments: 3620
431. AussieStorm
2:25 PM GMT on February 17, 2010
Evening all
Member Since: September 30, 2007 Posts: 9 Comments: 15932
430. Orcasystems
2:11 PM GMT on February 17, 2010


AOI

AOI

AOI

AOI

Humor in Comments
Member Since: October 1, 2007 Posts: 81 Comments: 26511
429. nrtiwlnvragn
1:16 PM GMT on February 17, 2010
DISTURBANCE INVEST (CP902010) 20100217 1200 UTC

...INITIAL CONDITIONS...
LATCUR = 2.5N LONCUR = 164.5W DIRCUR = 85DEG SPDCUR = 3KT
LATM12 = 2.5N LONM12 = 165.6W DIRM12 = 72DEG SPDM12 = 2KT
LATM24 = 2.3N LONM24 = 165.5W
WNDCUR = 25KT RMAXWD = 0NM WNDM12 = 25KT
CENPRS = 1004MB OUTPRS = 1008MB OUTRAD = 150NM SDEPTH = M
RD34NE = 0NM RD34SE = 0NM RD34SW = 0NM RD34NW = 0NM


12Z SHIPS text
Member Since: September 23, 2005 Posts: 14 Comments: 10918
428. biff4ugo
1:16 PM GMT on February 17, 2010
Thanks Jeff.
Advanced potential is helpful to know.
AP Highschoolers are pretty good.
Member Since: December 28, 2006 Posts: 114 Comments: 1555
426. bassis
12:42 PM GMT on February 17, 2010
12 in. in Dover NH
Member Since: September 8, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 423
425. unf97
12:39 PM GMT on February 17, 2010
Good morning!

Heading off to work, but I have a chilly 27.4 degrees this morning at my north Jax, FL home.

A beautiful, crisp winter day is in store today as the max temp is expected to rise into the low 50s.

Another freeze tonight with lows in the upper 20s. A slow warm-up by this weekend.

Have a great day!

Member Since: September 25, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 1193
424. PensacolaDoug
12:24 PM GMT on February 17, 2010
Member Since: July 25, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 553
423. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
12:22 PM GMT on February 17, 2010
iam even surprize its an invest be so close to 0n mark figured they would have waited till at least 5 n
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 169 Comments: 53296
422. nrtiwlnvragn
12:15 PM GMT on February 17, 2010
Unusual, but not unprecendented


Member Since: September 23, 2005 Posts: 14 Comments: 10918
421. IKE
12:11 PM GMT on February 17, 2010
Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:
strange to have anything out there at all


True.....

Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37858
420. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
12:04 PM GMT on February 17, 2010
strange to have anything out there at all
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 169 Comments: 53296
419. IKE
12:00 PM GMT on February 17, 2010
At 2.4N? LOL....

103 days...
18 hours...
and the Atlantic season starts.
Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37858
418. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
11:59 AM GMT on February 17, 2010
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 169 Comments: 53296
417. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
11:56 AM GMT on February 17, 2010
x
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 169 Comments: 53296
416. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
11:56 AM GMT on February 17, 2010
625

WHXX01 KMIA 170700

CHGE77

TROPICAL CYCLONE GUIDANCE MESSAGE

NWS CENTRAL PACIFIC HURRICANE CENTER HONOLULU HI

0700 UTC WED FEB 17 2010



DISCLAIMER...NUMERICAL MODELS ARE SUBJECT TO LARGE ERRORS.

PLEASE REFER TO CPHC OFFICIAL FORECASTS FOR TROPICAL CYCLONE

AND SUBTROPICAL CYCLONE INFORMATION.



CENTRAL PACIFIC OBJECTIVE AIDS FOR



DISTURBANCE INVEST (CP902010) 20100217 0600 UTC



...00 HRS... ...12 HRS... ...24 HRS. .. ...36 HRS...

100217 0600 100217 1800 100218 0600 100218 1800



LAT LON LAT LON LAT LON LAT LON

BAMS 2.4N 165.6W 4.0N 165.8W 4.3N 166.0W 3.5N 166.2W

BAMD 2.4N 165.6W 4.6N 165.8W 5.9N 165.4W 6.5N 164.0W

BAMM 2.4N 165.6W 4.3N 165.5W 5.1N 164.9W 5.0N 163.8W

SHIP 25KTS 33KTS 39KTS 41KTS

DSHP 25KTS 33KTS 39KTS 41KTS



...48 HRS... ...72 HRS... ...96 HRS. .. ..120 HRS...

100219 0600 100220 0600 100221 0600 100222 0600



LAT LON LAT LON LAT LON LAT LON

BAMS 2.1N 165.7W .4N 167.2W .9N 168.0W .8N 168.4W

BAMD 6.9N 161.9W 9.2N 158.4W 13.3N 154.9W 15.4N 148.9W

BAMM 4.3N 162.0W 4.2N 159.1W 6.0N 159.1W 7.5N 160.4W

SHIP 40KTS 32KTS 33KTS 30KTS

DSHP 40KTS 32KTS 33KTS 30KTS



...INITIAL CONDITIONS...

LATCUR = 2.4N LONCUR = 165.6W DIRCUR = 315DEG SPDCUR = 0KT

LATM12 = 2.4N LONM12 = 165.5W DIRM12 = 333DEG SPDM12 = 1KT

LATM24 = 2.3N LONM24 = 165.4W

WNDCUR = 25KT RMAXWD = 0NM WNDM12 = 25KT

CENPRS = 1006MB OUTPRS = 1008MB OUTRAD = 150NM SDEPTH = M

RD34NE = 0NM RD34SE = 0NM RD34SW = 0NM RD34NW = 0NM



$$

NNNN
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 169 Comments: 53296
415. nrtiwlnvragn
11:38 AM GMT on February 17, 2010
SHIPS text for 90C. Shear ramps up after 24 hours.
Member Since: September 23, 2005 Posts: 14 Comments: 10918
414. IKE
11:32 AM GMT on February 17, 2010
In February? WTH?

Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37858
413. nrtiwlnvragn
11:27 AM GMT on February 17, 2010
000
WHXX01 KMIA 170700
CHGE77
TROPICAL CYCLONE GUIDANCE MESSAGE
NWS CENTRAL PACIFIC HURRICANE CENTER HONOLULU HI
0700 UTC WED FEB 17 2010

DISCLAIMER...NUMERICAL MODELS ARE SUBJECT TO LARGE ERRORS.
PLEASE REFER TO CPHC OFFICIAL FORECASTS FOR TROPICAL CYCLONE
AND SUBTROPICAL CYCLONE INFORMATION.

CENTRAL PACIFIC OBJECTIVE AIDS FOR

DISTURBANCE INVEST (CP902010) 20100217 0600 UTC


...INITIAL CONDITIONS...
LATCUR = 2.4N LONCUR = 165.6W DIRCUR = 315DEG SPDCUR = 0KT
LATM12 = 2.4N LONM12 = 165.5W DIRM12 = 333DEG SPDM12 = 1KT
LATM24 = 2.3N LONM24 = 165.4W
WNDCUR = 25KT RMAXWD = 0NM WNDM12 = 25KT
CENPRS = 1006MB OUTPRS = 1008MB OUTRAD = 150NM SDEPTH = M
RD34NE = 0NM RD34SE = 0NM RD34SW = 0NM RD34NW = 0NM
Member Since: September 23, 2005 Posts: 14 Comments: 10918
412. severstorm
11:26 AM GMT on February 17, 2010
Morning, leftovers i agree with you on the commercials. The olympics are great.
.
Member Since: November 25, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 956
410. HadesGodWyvern (Mod)
8:21 AM GMT on February 17, 2010
Mauritius Meteorological Services
Tropical Cyclone Advisory Number NINE
CYCLONE TROPICAL GELANE (12-20092010)
10:00 AM Réunion February 16 2010
=================================

At 6:00 AM UTC, Tropical Cyclone Gelane (960 hPa) located at 13.5S 61.3E has 10 minute sustained winds of 75 knots with gusts of 105 knots. The cyclone is reported moving south southeast at 6 knots.

Dvorak Intensity: T5.0/5.0/D1.0/12 HRS

Hurricane Force Winds
=====================
15 NM from the center

Storm Force Winds
================
25 NM from the center

Gale-Force Winds
================
60 NM from the center extending up to 90 NM in the southern semi circle

Near Gale-Force Winds
=======================
100 NM from the center extending up to 160 NM in the southeastern quadrant

Forecast and Intensity
======================
12 HRS: 14.0S 61.4E - 90 knots (CYCLONE Tropical Intense)
24 HRS: 14.7S 61.7E - 100 knots (CYCLONE Tropical Intense)
48 HRS: 15.9S 61.7E - 110 knots (CYCLONE Tropical Intense)
72 HRS: 17.5S 61.2E - 90 knots (CYCLONE Tropical Intense)

Additional Information
========================
An eye is now visible on satellite imagery.

Equatorward upper level outflow is weakening and a poleward one is building closed to a westerly subtropical jet wind shear is not expected to strengthen significantly before 72 hours.

Environment should therefore remain rather favorable and then degrade progressively as an upper level trough is coming from the west. GELANE is expected to keep on slowly tracking south southeast then southward over the next 48 hours then recurving southwestward undergoing the mid level subtropical ridge steering influence. Available numerical weather prediction models show yet variations about chronology, but they all suggest a southward then southwestward track. Present forecast remain in the philosophy of previous advisories and is close to the tracks followed by this models.
Member Since: May 24, 2006 Posts: 50 Comments: 44856
409. Tazmanian
5:01 AM GMT on February 17, 2010
i like geting my mode runs from here

Link



all so i noted at the end of the run the cold air go way way N may parts of the midwest may see there 1st 60s and 70s
Member Since: May 21, 2006 Posts: 5091 Comments: 114769
405. Bordonaro
4:04 AM GMT on February 17, 2010
Look at the C PAC 90C and the feed from the Sub Tropical Jet. It will be interesting if that moisture is tapped and thrown into the CONUS next week!
Member Since: August 25, 2009 Posts: 20 Comments: 6785
404. Bordonaro
3:57 AM GMT on February 17, 2010
The GFS 00Z run for 2-17-10 is running currently up to 54 hrs, it will be interesting to see what this shows for this weekend into next week.
Member Since: August 25, 2009 Posts: 20 Comments: 6785
403. Bordonaro
3:44 AM GMT on February 17, 2010
Quoting AstroHurricane001:


Notice the blob to the south-southwest of Hawaii. Looks like a tropical disturbance trying to form, and it's north of Rene's surrounding tropical moisture.

Betcha the Sub Tropical Jet will tap that moisture later this week into next week, adding an additional kick to that big L in the C Pac that will be moving towards the W CONUS.
Member Since: August 25, 2009 Posts: 20 Comments: 6785
402. AstroHurricane001
3:42 AM GMT on February 17, 2010
If this invest in the Central Pacific remains stationary for much longer, it is going to strengthen El Nino slightly as it circulates warm water to the east and cool water to the Central Western Pacific from the north.
Member Since: August 30, 2008 Posts: 8 Comments: 2835
401. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
3:14 AM GMT on February 17, 2010
Quoting Jeff9641:


I'm not talking about the low itself, I'm referring to the moisture from this system being injected into the southern jet this weekend as a trough sets up in the eastern US.


not getting much on models
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 169 Comments: 53296
399. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
3:03 AM GMT on February 17, 2010
Quoting Jeff9641:


Notice the moisture getting pulled NE toward Mexico.

that area is still far from mex at that point
the model only goes out 72 hrs
after that it starts to be a little less reliable
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 169 Comments: 53296
398. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
2:56 AM GMT on February 17, 2010
785

ACPN50 PHFO 170151

TWOCP



TROPICAL WEATHER OUTLOOK

NWS CENTRAL PACIFIC HURRICANE CENTER HONOLULU HI

400 PM HST TUE FEB 16 2010



FOR THE CENTRAL NORTH PACIFIC...BETWEEN 140W AND 180



1. AN AREA OF THUNDERSTORMS IS LOCATED 1335 MILES SSW OF HONOLULU

AND IS NEARLY STATIONARY. THUNDERSTORM COVERAGE IN THIS AREA HAS

MAINTAINED PERSISTENT STRENGTH OF THE PAST COUPLE OF DAYS. SLOW

DEVELOPMENT OF THIS SYSTEM IS POSSIBLE OVER THE NEXT TWO DAYS.



ELSEWHERE...NO TROPICAL CYCLONES ARE EXPECTED THROUGH THURSDAY

AFTERNOON.



$$



FOSTER


Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 169 Comments: 53296
395. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
2:45 AM GMT on February 17, 2010
GFS GLOBAL MODEL RUN
MARK AREA
5N/165W



Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 169 Comments: 53296
393. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
2:30 AM GMT on February 17, 2010
Central Pacific
90C.INVEST


Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 169 Comments: 53296
391. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
2:23 AM GMT on February 17, 2010
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 169 Comments: 53296
390. nrtiwlnvragn
2:19 AM GMT on February 17, 2010
CP 90 2010021618 BEST 0 35N 1662W 25 1009 DB
CP 90 2010021700 BEST 0 37N 1664W 25 1009 DB
Member Since: September 23, 2005 Posts: 14 Comments: 10918
389. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
2:15 AM GMT on February 17, 2010


MARK NEAR
7N/165W

well this is interesting
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 169 Comments: 53296
388. AussieStorm
1:59 AM GMT on February 17, 2010
Quoting all4hurricanes:

Sorry for being rude but the track map shows cat 4 status and the timeline shows cat 5 what's your stance?

That was my exact point. Cat 4 SSHS, Cat 5 BOM.
Link
Member Since: September 30, 2007 Posts: 9 Comments: 15932
387. AstroHurricane001
1:59 AM GMT on February 17, 2010
Quoting wunderkidcayman:
hey guys is it true the first invest for the cent. Pac.


Is it usual to have a tropical cyclone or invest to form this early in the season?

Quoting all4hurricanes:

Sorry for being rude but the track map shows cat 4 status and the timeline shows cat 5 what's your stance?


It's category 5 on the Australian scale, but category 4 on the SSHS. No debate required.
Member Since: August 30, 2008 Posts: 8 Comments: 2835
386. JRRP
1:55 AM GMT on February 17, 2010
hello!!!!

my preliminary prediction is
15
9
4
Member Since: August 16, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 5482
385. all4hurricanes
1:46 AM GMT on February 17, 2010
Quoting AussieStorm:

Pardon???

Sorry for being rude but the track map shows cat 4 status and the timeline shows cat 5 what's your stance?
Member Since: March 29, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 2353

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

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