Friday, March 4, 2016

No-Change Forecast and Arctic Sea-Ice Record

No-Change Forecast

Not much change in the forecast from yesterday to today.  The models are still calling for a front to move through northern Utah on Sunday.  Most of the NAEFS ensemble members, for example,  are calling for a significant event, although I think the totals might be a bit overdone (e.g., Alta below).

After that, most (but not all) of the NAEFS ensemble members are keeping us mainly dry with only a few snow showers here or there through the middle of next week.  The European has a similar solution.  After that I'm not speculating.

Arctic Sea-Ice Record

As most of you know, globally average surface temperatures have really jumped through the roof over the past several months due to the combination of long-term global warming with a strong El Nino event.  Much of the focus has been on the tropical Pacific and projections of impacts on the western U.S., but this has also been a remarkably warm winter in the Arctic.  This warmth, along with other factors, has contributed to the lowest average February sea-ice extent in the satellite record.

Source: NSIDC
Further discussion this record minimum is available from the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC).


  1. Is the first graph say model averages call for 3" of water (not snow) at Alta? Anywhere in that ballpark would be fantastic. Half that would be good. Yay!

    1. Each thin green or light green line is a forecast for water equivalent (not snow) produced after we have "downscaled" an ensemble member. The downscaling takes the low-resolution forecast and attempts to build in topographic effects. The thick green line is the mean.

  2. Stupid question: is "0Z" midnight here or Greenwich? I've never seen that mentioned.

    1. These time zone issues drive me nuts. I try to use both UTC and MST (or MDT depending on the time of year), but sometimes I forget.

      UTC=GMT="Z" Time. This is universal time that is the same all over the world, making it much easier for meteorologists.


      When we are on MST, as is the case now, 0Z is 5 PM local time. When we are on MDT, 0Z is 6 PM local time.


  3. Hi Jim,

    So any updated thoughts? We are all jonesing, but as I look at the water vapor track & some other elements, I suspect we're maybe not going to see as much as the NAM & GFS project. Worse, I suspect rain here in Park City, at least for much of the event. Please tell me I'm wrong..

    Best regards, Garry Beckett