Wild swings of spring 2016


I can thank this tweet for the little push necessary to put the blog machine back in motion.  While I have no background on the person behind the twitter handle, I had to wonder if he was just a skier wishing for WNY spring turns or possibly a golfer looking to get out on the greens earlier than average.  I decided that the 140 character limit prohibited me from actually answering this viewer with any coherent response and after such a mild winter it seemed tough to follow him down the rabbit hole of cynicism.

The most recent winter into spring has been a very dramatic one when you take the larger picture into perspective as we have been watching a record El Nino fade into spring with the forecasters at CPC/NCEP figuring that we have about a 75% chance of trending right into the opposing La Nina phase by late summer into fall of this year. Of course few things in the atmosphere transition smoothly and this fading El Nino signal has been characterized locally by delivering a few separate cold outbreaks, the most recent of which led to a trace of snow this past weekend (May 15th @ KBUF).  The multiple shots of cold air that coincided with negative phases of the Arctic Oscillation (AO) and North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) also helped to break an 8 month long streak of above average monthly temperatures in Buffalo that officially ended when April came in -2.8° F below average.  Globally the hot streak has been much more impressive as April 2016 was the 12th consecutive month that the monthly global temperature record was broken.  According the Climate Central this has been the longest such streak in NOAA’s 137 years of record keeping. If it is warm spring weather that my twitter follower is hoping for, then odds are in his favor going forward with the current climate trajectory in mind. (graph below credit: Climate Central 1880-2015 compared yearly to 137 year average)


For those who follow Judah Cohen, it will come as no surprise that models are beginning to favor another of these negative (generally colder for WNY) AO and NAO phases in the coming week.  This time around though they are only looking to trend slightly negative and the geographical area that will feel the brunt of the cooler air is extending mainly to our east. Thankfully this will be barely noticed here in WNY due to a lack of persistent cloud cover, the sun angle this time of year, and transient nature of the cooler airmass.  This fits well with the output from the European (ECMWF) 51 member ensemble forecast as the latest model run as I write this is favoring negative to near neutral signals from the NAO and AO from early next week through the first week of June.  Patterns aside, much of next week looks good for highs well into the 70’s.

From my perspective spring in our slice of the Eastern Great Lakes is ideal for someone interested in the active mood swings of mother nature.   I will do my best to keep this blog going strong and while I will only refer to it unofficially as the Moustache Legacy Blog (MLB), it is an excellent place to store the meteorological musings that the consultants would chase me out of TV for attempting to mention in a newscast.


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