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Monday, March 07, 2016

Interesting Weather Article

Alaska has had 3 extremely warm winters in a row, and this has had me worried that 'no winter' is the new normal.  So I was heartened to see this opinion column in the Anchorage Daily News that basically says that even with climate change these have been abnormal winters.

But it is a 'cup-half-full' kind of thing because it also talks about how this sort of thing is going to happen far more commonly in the future, and that sometime in our children's lifetime it will be the new normal - Just not yet.

The article correlated the recent warm winters with a 'blob' of warm water in the North Pacific that has been slowly moving from west to east.  I had heard about the 'blob' before, but what I found interesting is that the changing position of the blob has made each winter's weather different. When it was furthest west 2 winters ago it pushed warm and wet weather directly up into Alaska.  Then last winter, having moved further east, the warm air hit the west coast mountains before deflecting back into Alaska - this made for warm and dry.  And finally this winter, with the blob the furthest to the east, the warm air has set up an 'el nino' pattern and coupled with unusual warmth in the high arctic the weather has been warm but stable.  This means that there is a sharp snowline on the mountains - with lots of snow up high and no snow down low.  And that is exactly what I have noticed on Kodiak.  Only, it-has-to-be-said, Kodiak seems to have been warm and extremely wet of late whereas Anchorage has been warm and dry.

It's an interesting article and well worth the read - I only hope it is right and that the 'new normal' has not already arrived.

And yet another blast of warm weather headed our way from the North Pacific

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