Thursday, November 1, 2012

Death to the Ridge!

OK folks, this is getting serious.  We had a crappy ski season last year, and we don't want another.

During 2012, the persistence of mean ridging over our part of the world has been quite remarkable.  The images below show a series of 90-day 500-mb height anomalies (i.e., departures from climatology) going back to the beginning of the year.  The warm colors indicate positive height anomalies and are indicative of ridging.  Although the pattern has shifted around somewhat, Utah has been under the influence of what meteorologists call a "time-mean ridge" for the entire year.

So, to paraphrase Jeff Spicoli, "what Steenburgh is saying is that this ridge is bogus, and if we don't get a cool pattern – pronto – this ski season will be bogus too. Get it?"  Death to the ridge!

Note: This is not a forecast of a bad ski season, but merely discussion of the fact that we have had a ridge-dominated pattern for some time and we need that to change.


  1. Thanks for the explanation. Is ridging responsible for the lack of moisture, AND the warm temps?

    1. Pretty much. Unfortunately, if the ridge dominates during winter, however, it will mean we'll be dealing with the inversion.

  2. I am from Seattle and I for one an sick of the benign weather the past year! The NWS was hinting at a pattern change for next Thursday, I really hope this pattern breaks up, I like stormy weather!

  3. This fall has been one of the best! Perfect temps. Definitely makes up for one of the worst summers... I'll take three more weeks of high pressure and great riding conditions!

  4. The GFS shows a trough digging into the west coast next weekend, but not much Pacific moisture ahead of it.