Perspective on Colorado's Snowpack: Is There A Downward Trend?
Matt Makens is a KWGN Pinpoint Meteorologist and occasional contributor to Weather5280 from Denver's Pinpoint weather team. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- It's the time of year when we look at the snowpack numbers to climb, and hopefully stay near to above average for water resources, fire danger, and the economy; so far, so good. Here is the average snowpack chart for Colorado showing a nearly normal curve until th
El Niño
A Return of the Monsoon for August? La Niña Check, Winter Analogs, and That Pesky PDO
In a good year, August can be one of the wetter months of the year for many of us in Colorado. Right on schedule, we've had a recent surge of monsoon moisture. This is always a good thing, especially when the amount of flash flooding we've seen of late has been relatively low. Below is a look at rainfall totals for the past three weeks. Overall, a pretty good look for the state. Northwest Colorado is hurting the most, with those of us living along the northern I-25 urban corridor also missing o
Updated JAMSTEC Model and Beyond El Niño
JAMSTEC Update It has been a while since we have chatted about the JAMSTEC model and its forecast for the next several months. There is a reason for this. During the past several months, it has been forecasting colder than normal temperatures for Eastern Colorado. We've lamented in the past about why we didn't think this would happen (current strong El Niño and positive PDO), but figure the model was worth a look again. Why? Because some of what the model has been spitting out may be spot on...
Long-range forecast
Winter Forecast Update: Analogs and Models
I am not going to spend much time on the main drivers with this update. We have talked about them at length in previous posts , and I think you pretty much know what they are. We've touched on analogs in previous posts too, but not in a lengthy fashion. The main reason for that is that there really isn't a "perfect" analog when it comes to referencing the next several months. Of the analogs chosen, those years with a strong El Niño, a positive PDO, and a positive AMO
Long-range forecast
El Niño Update and CPC Constructed Analog Forecast
It's time for an update on our long-range outlook which now takes us through winter and on into spring. We'll tackle our thoughts around this upcoming snowfall season over a series of posts. Today we'll focus on the Climate Prediction Center's constructed analog forecasts, as we like the overall look of these forecasts as compared to our analog set. This will give us a nice launching point to dig deeper into the details over the coming weeks. First, let's take a brief look at what this El Niño
A Closer look at What El Niño Means for Rain and Snow in Colorado
There has been a great deal of interest in El Niño recently, following multiple authoritative statements that it is on track to be "a significant event ". This conjures up memories of 1997 , which was a significant year for El Niño . This was the year Chris Farley performed his famous El
Long-range forecast
Subtle Differences to Previous El Niños Key to Winter Forecast, And Why the PDO Matters
There are a lot of comparisons to the El Niño of 1997 taking place right now, and while certainly an analog to this year, there are some differences to keep an eye on before jumping head-first into the repeat boat. Each El Niño is its own animal. When looking at analog years, it's important to remember that what's happening in Niño regions isn't the only factor to weigh. It's important to also consider things like: where the Niño is occurring within the greater long-term cycle; is it in its fir
Colorado Weather
El Niño Continues to Strengthen; Stage Set for Active Monsoon
Summer Forecast Update For the past several months we've been calling for the pattern to stay wet and generally cooler than normal for the foreseeable future. From our past posts, you know that this is largely attributed to the ongoing and strengthening El Niño , and to a lesser extent the "cooler" / less positive Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation. The map below shows the current sea surface temperature anomalies: The red i
Long-range forecast
El Niño Update and Forecast
We all remember what happened last year at this time. There was a lot of talk about a Super El Niño getting ready to occur. That certainly didn't come to pass, and we talked a lot about why we didn't think that would happen here at Weather5280. Here we are again a year later, and the same talk is occurring. I am not ready to completely sign off on a strong event, or even a moderate event occurring. However, I am more intrigued by the set
March Ended Unusually Warm and Dry, Fitting the Long-term Pattern
March was Colorado's 6th warmest and 20th driest since 1895. Further, this year is on pace to be the 4th warmest for Colorado in 120 years. We'll need a good shift in the pattern over the rest of the year to change this. Last week we saw some good rain and snow for some across northern Colorado, and while our latest system this week brought much needed rain and snow to California it unfortunately missed Colorado by and large. The pattern has been an a
PDO Breaks Record for Highest Positive for Month of December
The Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO) index broke the record for highest positive ever recorded during the month of December in 2014. At 2.51, this is also the highest value since August of 1997 according to NWS Albuquerque . Below is a chart of all December PDO indices since 1900, this past one well above any other (far right). As Brian Bledsoe has discussed a lot over the last year, the PDO remains a big
Long-range forecast
Flashback: Remember that Super El Niño Talk?
Today, NOAA dropped the likelihood of an El Niño episode to 58% (see here ). This percentage has continued to fall since the spring, when it was suggested that an El Niño episode was 80% likely. In fact, according to some forecasters in the spring, a Super El Niño was likely to occur. When I wrote this article [
When it Comes to Drought Relief, El Niño isn't the Only Player
We have addressed El Niño in previous posts , and what it could potentially mean or not mean, in the coming months. While El Niño gets all the publicity, there are other forces at work that act to drive our weather and climate. Two of those such forces are the Pacific Decadal Oscillation and the Atlantic Multi-decadal Oscillation. These are long term oscillations (they change phase about every 25-35 years) that will many times govern wheth