Disclaimer: not a climatologist so this is a real shot in the dark, for fun and almost certain future embarrassment
Disclaimer: outside of strong ENSO signals, I'm iffy on the usefulness of analogs as a predictor of seasonal temperature anomalies
Disclaimer: you could have a warmer than normal month with an epic snowstorm (and the opposite is true), so don't get too caught up in monthly anomalies
Disclaimer: these views are purely my own and not affiliated with any other person(s)
Now that THAT'S out of the way, let's get to the good stuff.
Now that we're at the edge of our fall season, I decided to look at previous autumns to see if there was a correlation between a fall progression and an upcoming winter pattern.
I know that there are a lot of variables to consider for a seasonal forecast, from ENSO to solar activity to numerous other teleconnections. Although I remained cognizant of the ENSO mode and solar activity, the main driver of this "forecast" is to look at temperature anomalies for the Sep/Oct/Nov period and see what we can find!
First, let me start off by saying it's been a warm past 12 months across the continent:
And we know from November that the situation hasn't changed much.
But I have noticed a certain trend -- take a look at this crappy GIF I put together:
You'll notice that since the summer, the "blob" of warm anomalies (pun intended) have slowly shifted westward. Does that mean a winter hotbox for the pro-pot west?
Let's look at November thus far:
November.png 31.12KB 0 downloads
It does continue the trend of a westward progression of warm anomalies. But I don't think it's going to continue into December. Stay tuned.
I've looked through numerous fall seasons and have chosen the following analogs to be a "best fit" to the Fall of 2016:
Here's a composite of the above 5 seasons:
And how does it measure up to the Fall of 2016?
Note that November couldn't be added to the above map, but we know that the warm anomalies were further west, so I would expect the warmest anomalies to shift slightly west. Not a perfect match, but pretty close.
I chose autumns that not only had very similar September to October to November progressions as in 2016, but also had weaker ENSO signals or years during quick transitions from Nino to Nina. I also noticed that a wet fall season was experienced in the PNW for most of these years, matching 2016.
Now the real question -- what does this tell us for the upcoming winter?
Take a look at December:
Quite the reversal. Going through many of the fall seasons, balmy falls almost always were followed by a cold December across the continent. I found that to be very interesting.
However, it's not all fun and games. Here's January:
And there's not a lot of confidence with February either:
This would go against my general prediction of a cooler winter overall, particularly with the core of cold being the upper central plains. Again, not a fan of analogs, but I thought it was interesting and wanted to share and discuss!