Special update: The Extraordinary California Drought of 2013-2014: Character, Context, and the Role of Climate Change

Filed in Uncategorized by on September 29, 2014 695 Comments

A note from the author

This special update is a little different from what I typically post on the California Weather Blog. In the paragraphs below, I discuss results from and context for a study that my colleagues and I recently published in a special issue of the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society (Swain et al. 2014).

The Ridiculously Resilient Ridge at its peak during January 2014. (Daniel Swain)

The Ridiculously Resilient Ridge at its peak during January 2014. (Daniel Swain)

Unlike the majority of content on this blog, this report has undergone scientific peer review—an important distinction to make in the science blogosphere—and claims made on the basis of our peer-reviewed findings are marked with an asterisk (*) throughout this post. A reference list is provided at the end of the post, and the full BAMS report is available here.  I would like to thank my co-authors—Michael Tsiang, Matz Haugen, Deepti Singh, Allison Charland, Bala Rajaratnam, and Noah Diffenbaugh—all of whom played critical roles in bringing this paper together.

 

The really short version 

In 2013 and 2014, a vast region of persistently high atmospheric pressure over the northeastern Pacific Ocean–known as the “Ridiculously Resilient Ridge”–prevented typical winter storms from reaching California, bringing record-low precipitation and record-high temperatures. These extremely dry and warm conditions have culminated in California’s worst drought in living memory, and likely the worst in over 100 years. Human-caused climate change has increased the likelihood of extremely high atmospheric pressure over the North Pacific Ocean, which suggests an increased risk of atmospheric patterns conducive to drought in California.

The 12-month Modified Palmer Drought Severity Index for California. The current value is by far the lowest in more than 100 years of record, and is part of a century-long downward trend. (NOAA/NCDC)

The 12-month Modified Palmer Drought Severity Index for California. The current value is the lowest in more than 100 years, and is part of a century-long downward trend. (NOAA/NCDC)


What are the effects of the ongoing extreme drought in California?

The impacts of the drought are wide-ranging, and continue to intensify with each passing month. Curtailment of state and federal water project deliveries for agricultural irrigation have already resulted multi-billion dollar losses as thousands of acres of farmland are fallowed. Small communities in some regions have started to run out of water entirely, and increasingly stringent urban conservation measures have been enacted over the summer as reservoir storage drops to critically low levels. Thousands of new water wells have been constructed on an emergency basis over the past year, and skyrocketing rates of groundwater pumping have led to rapid land subsidence in the San Joaquin Valley. Not to be outdone, snowpack in the Sierra Nevada Mountains was almost nonexistent for much of 2013-2014, and at least one of California’s major rivers is no longer reaching the Pacific Ocean.

Explosive pyrocumulus cloud development atop the King Fire as it burned through the thick high-elevation forest in the SIerra Nevada in September 2014 (looking west from Lake Tahoe). Photo courtesy of Dr. Steve Ellsworth, Professor at Sierra Nevada College.

Explosive pyrocumulus cloud development atop the King Fire as it burned through thick high-elevation forest in the Sierra Nevada in September 2014 (looking west from Lake Tahoe). Photo courtesy of Steve Ellsworth, Professor at Sierra Nevada College.

The severity of California’s drought is so great that it is starting to change the physical geography of the state. The Sierra Nevada’s mountain peaks have risen measurably since 2012 as the Earth’s crust rebounds from the net loss of 63 trillion gallons of water—an amount equivalent to the entire annual ice melt of the Greenland Ice Sheet. Intense, destructive wildfires are burning throughout the state, and while September and October are the peak of the typical fire season in California, the number of fires exhibiting extreme behavior and “dangerous” rates of spread has been far higher than usual due to the ubiquity of tinder-dry, drought-cured brush and trees. Conditions have been so warm and dry that at least one glacial outburst flood has occurred on the slopes of Mt. Shasta as winter ice accumulation decreases and summer melt accelerates. The overall visibility and severity of these impacts have brought the drought to the forefront of California politics: landmark legislation regarding the regulation of groundwater recently was recently passed by the state legislature and has now been signed by the governor, and a “water bond” will feature prominently as Proposition 1 on the California ballot this November.

 

Just how severe is the current drought relative to others in California’s past?

A smooth 12-month average of California precipitation shows that the current drought ecompasses the driest year on record in California. (Swain et al. 2014)

A smooth 12-month average of California precipitation shows that the current drought ecompasses the driest year on record in California. (Swain et al. 2014)

California is currently experiencing its third consecutive year of unusually dry conditions, but the intensity of California’s long-term drought has increased dramatically over the past 18 months. 2013 was the driest calendar year in at least 119 years of record keeping—but even more impressively, the current drought now encompasses the driest consecutive 12-month period since at least 1895.* This means that the maximum 12-month magnitude of the precipitation deficits in California during the current drought have exceeded those during all previous droughts in living memory—including both the 1976-1977 and 1987-1992 events.* As of September 2014, 3-year precipitation deficits now exceed average annual precipitation across most of California, and most these anomalies stem from the exceptional dryness during 2013 and early 2014. For many practical purposes, 2013 was a “year without rain” in California—an extraordinary occurrence in a region with a traditionally very well defined winter rainy season.

2014 has thus far been California's warmest year on record, part of a long-term warming trend. (NOAA/NCDC)

2014 has thus far been California’s warmest year on record, part of a long-term warming trend. (NOAA/NCDC)

In addition to extremely low precipitation, California has also been experiencing exceptional warmth over much of the past year. 2014 is currently California’s record warmest year to date by a wide margin—meaning that it has been warmer during the current drought than during any previous drought since at least the 1800s. Warm temperatures increase the rate of evaporation from parched soils and critically dry rivers, lakes, and streams—exacerbating the impacts of existing precipitation deficits. In fact, primary metrics of overall drought severity—including the widely-used Palmer Drought Severity Index (PDSI)—have now reached their lowest levels since at least the 1800s. All of this evidence points consistently toward an increasingly inescapable reality: that the 2013-2014 drought in California is the worst in living memory, and likely in well over a century.

 

What’s causing these incredibly warm and dry conditions in California?

The atmospheric pattern over much of North America has been exhibiting a remarkable degree of persistence over the past 12-18 months. This very unusual atmospheric configuration—in which the large-scale atmospheric wave pattern appears to be largely “stuck” in place—has been characterized by a seemingly ever-present West Coast ridge and a similarly stubborn trough over central and eastern United States (commonly referred to in media coverage as the “Polar Vortex,” though this terminology is arguably problematic). This so-called “North American dipole” (highlighted by Wang et al., 2014) has resulted in persistent warm/dry anomalies along the West Coast and persistent cool/wet anomalies over the Midwest and Eastern Seaboard.

The white region on this map plot depicts the areas where 500mb geopotential heights during 2013 were higher than any previous value since at least 1948. (Swain et al. 2014)

The white region on this map plot depicts the areas where 500mb geopotential heights during 2013 were unprecedented (higher than any previous value since at least 1948). Note that much of this region corresponds to the location of the Triple R.  (Swain et al. 2014)

Because of the extraordinary persistence and strength of the western half of this wave pattern and its conspicuous impacts in California, I started referring to this anomaly as the “Ridiculously Resilient Ridge” (or “Triple R”) in December 2013. Since that time, the Triple R has waxed and waned—and for a brief period during February and March 2014, faded away almost entirely. But the anomalous Ridge returned during the spring months, and has continued to be a notable feature of the large-scale pattern through summer 2014.

It’s important to note that the Triple R is not a feature that has necessarily been present every single day for the entire duration of the California drought. The “resilience” of the Triple R is key to its significance: despite occasional, transient disruptions of the persistent high pressure on daily to weekly timescales, the much-maligned Triple R has been in place more often than not since early January 2013. Averaged over multiple months (and now up to a year or more), the Ridge pops out as a strikingly prominent feature in map plots of the large-scale atmosphere.* In fact, the region of historically unprecedented (since at least 1948) annual-scale geopotential height anomalies associated with the Triple R extend over a truly vast geographic region—from central California westward across the entire North Pacific to the Kamchatka Peninsula in the Russian Far East.* Extremely high geopotential heights (a vertically aggregated measure of atmospheric temperature) over the northeastern Pacific Ocean are historically linked to very low precipitation in California.* This is consistent with previous work by other researchers, and highlights the fact that such extreme values are usually linked to a northward shift in the storm track, which directs storms away from California.

Top: zonal (west-to-east) wind anomalies at 250mb during 2013. Bottom: same as top, but for meridional (south-north) winds. Note that the westerly winds associated with the Pacific storm track are shifted well to the north. (Swain et al. 2014)

Top: zonal (west-to-east) wind anomalies at 250mb during 2013. Bottom: same as top, but for meridional (south-north) winds. Note that the westerly winds associated with the Pacific storm track are shifted well to the north. (Swain et al. 2014)

Over these many months—and especially during the second half of the 2012-2013 rainy season during January 2013-May 2013 and the first half of the 2013-2014 rainy season during October 2013-January 2014—the Triple R induced persistent shifts in the large-scale wind patterns near and west of California.* During California’s rainy season, which typically runs from late October through early May, winter storms approach California from the west and northwest, bringing Pacific moisture to the region in the form of periodic rainfall and mountain snowfall. The latitude of the “storm track” along the West Coast—largely defined by the position of the jet stream—varies from day-to-day, month-to-month, and even year-to-year. During the 2013-2014 California drought, however, the Triple R pushed the jet stream well to the north of California (and, for much of that period, even north of Oregon and Washington).* This northward deflection of the storm track prevented precipitation-bearing low pressure systems from reaching California for large portions of two consecutive rainy seasons, ultimately resulting in the lowest 12-month precipitation on record in California.*

In addition to causing extremely low precipitation in California, the Triple R is also largely responsible for California’s record warmth over the past 9 months. During the cool season, the Ridge brought long stretches of cloudless days, which caused daytime temperatures during winter to be well above average (and, at the same time, the position of the ridge also prevented major cold air outbreaks from occurring after December 2013). During the warm season, the Ridge has helped to shut down the typical northwesterly prevailing winds along the coast (and thus the upwelling) that are responsible for northern and central California’s legendarily cold ocean surface temperatures. This combination of endless clear skies and far warmer than usual near-shore ocean temperatures have allowed California’s air temperatures thus far in 2014 to be the warmest on record since at least 1895–and by a considerable margin.

Why has the North Pacific/West Coast ridge been so “ridiculously resilient?” Has climate change increased the risk of events like the 2013-2014 California drought? Click here to read more on the next page!

 

 

 

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  • Phil Johnson

    Pretty well-documented, thoughtful, but grismal synopsis. Should be required reading for all oligarchical Luddites – and the rest of those of us who care about the theorem that Nature bats last.
    aures lupi

    • Zepp

      It is my intent to steal “grismal” and “Nature bats last”! Beautifully phrased!

      • Phil Johnson

        my ex-wife is the original source of “grismal” and I cite Thomas
        Van Dyck’s “(W)e are actually going to have to react prior to
        experiencing the full consequences of [climate change]. But we must remember, nature bats last. And we have to react before that happens.” So, feel free to use. I collect these well-crafted items to enhance otherwise dull writing.

  • Zepp

    Good work.
    There has been mention in other papers of the increasing amplitude and decreasing frequency of the Rossby Waves, which would suggest more protracted and extreme weather “swings” (aka “spells” which I would informally posit to mean prevailing weather over a period between a week and several months). This would suggest that California will eventually get a “wet spell” of one or two winters were precipitation could be 150% of normal.
    The bugger, factor, of course, is the Blog and the RRR. As long as they both are in place, it doesn’t matter too much what the Rossbys are doing, at least from California’s perspective.

    • SlashTurn

      I know this may be a stretch, but could the lack of these “waves” be cause/effect from lack of sun spots? (solar wind)

      I’ve heard this theory before but never have seen it mentioned on this blog/thread…

      • Zepp

        I’m sure there’s a dozen people here better qualified to answer that than I, but I would note that Venus and all the gas giants, plus several planetary moons, have atmospheres and rotate, and thus have Rossby waves of their own, and the fastest way to test any correlation between solar irradience and the frequency and amplitude of the waves would be simply to measure the waves’ progressions on the other planets.
        I’ll note further that even though this is one of the quietest solar maximums we’ve seen in a century, it is, nonetheless, a solar maximum, and solar activity is above that of a normal minimum. We haven’t seen a slowing of the waves like this during prior minimums.
        So my best answer is that no, it doesn’t have a significant effect.

  • Utrex

    The blob looks just as warm as the rest of the Pacific…
    http://www.ospo.noaa.gov/data/sst/anomaly/2014/anomnight.9.29.2014.gif

    Nice analysis. The drought looks really striking when you know everything it’s done!

    • Sierrajeff

      This shows temp anamolies, not actual temperatures. i.e., the northern Pacific is warmer than normal, by the same amount that the central Pacific is warmer than normal, but they are not the same temperature.

      • Utrex

        I know. What we have looked at though is at the anomalies but now the blob looks much cooler than before that it’s as “above average” as the rest of the North Pacific.

        • Dan the Weatherman

          Maybe there has been more upwelling in that region due to increased storminess in recent days.

    • It’s more prominent on the weekly/monthly/seasonal products. That recent storm might have mixed things up a little, too…

  • Thanks for the update!

  • Xerophobe

    Thanks this great! The animation of the RRR at top of page is better than staring at my lava lamp! Seriously great update and also the wind direction anomalies (S/N and W/E). and explanations. Learned a lot today. My understanding and “loose canon” knowledge is on overload. Looking at forecasts and various meteorological sites has occupied too much of my time. I don’t care. Thanks again.

  • Sublimesl

    Thanks for the good work. Denialism is a strong and natural human tendency. Filtering out biases and coming face to face with admittedly unpleasant scientific facts is the only way forward.

  • I am going to print this, underline all that is new and try to understand. Thank you so much!!

  • xeren

    thanks WW!

    side note, it looks like the automated weather reports via NOAA are dropping the temps of the heat wave in my area of socal a bit, and shortening its length, so that’s something, i guess – only 2 days supposed to be at 89

  • rob b

    Daniel’s research lead the KGO 6pm news tonight. Great job! http://abc7news.com/science/cause-of-california-drought-linked-to-climate-change/329866/

    • redlands

      I saw the brief video — was cool. Explains whats going on. How long has this been going on — just the last 2-3 yrs. Its climate change. Has the RRR only been around for short time.

  • craig matthews

    I wish I had a printer so I could take this extraordinary study and report up to my house and read it over and over again. A part of me is very intrigued by this report and these findings, and another part of me feels like crying.

  • dylan

    Great update! I have my fingers crossed that this ‘RRR’ will not dominate this winter.. Otherwise we’ll be in serious trouble!

    • redlands

      Correct me if am wrong— This RRR has always been there however because of climate change/warming – it has been more persistent and widespread — staying longer. Because of climate change/warming we will experience more extremes — real dry to real wet. Is this correct. Have other areas received the opposite of what were getting ???? Thoughts

    • I hope the RRR will go away this winter. But as of right now, it’s here to stay in the near future. Computer models are really bringing out the ridge in the longer run.

  • Bandini

    Thanks for the detailed post, though I’m feeling a little depressed about the potential for another dismal winter. But as we all know, anything can happen. Either way I’m planning a trip for Jackson Hole this December in hopes for actually finding cold/snowy weather if it we don’t get enough here. Those NOAA extended forecasts continue to plaster California in ugly oranges and browns in all of their daily updates. I’ll remain optimistic and hope for a big or even average winter. Something has got to give!!

    • Dan the Weatherman

      It seems that every 6-10 and 8-14 Day Outlook from NOAA has looked the same all year: western ridge, Midwestern / eastern trough. A pattern that has been this stuck since the beginning of 2013 is nothing short of abnormal in my opinion.

      • That’s been the case recently.

        • Dan the Weatherman

          Even the Pacific Northwest has had quite a warm and dry year with the exception being from Seattle northward in which precip has been closer to normal or even a bit above normal overall.

      • Bandini

        Save a few wet spells, December 2012 comes to mind, those 6-10 and 8-14 day outlooks have been orange and brown to much!

    • inclinejj

      Baldini

      we always planned an escape from a lack of snow trip when I lived in Reno and Tahoe.

      • Bandini

        I cancelled our Wyoming trip last year which was scheduled for Dec. 26 – Jan. 2 and boy did I mess up. Jackson Hole got over 4 feet while we were dry as a bone here.

        • inclinejj

          Bandini, Good Luck to your Angels!

          • Bandini

            Thanks! Man what a game last night between Oakland and the Royals.

          • inclinejj

            The Royals were more hungry and wanted it more. I thought it was a done deal when it was 7-3. The kid was sitting watching it screaming her head off!

          • inclinejj

            Oh Please don’t mention the trades Billy Beane made, I am not quite over that yet. Ha!

  • C M

    Well; is the PDO still positive? Is there a possibility we could have still have the RRR for part of the winter but a few REALLY strong storms (multiple storms like the one at the end of February 2014) in order to still get above normal rainfall?

    • Dan the Weatherman

      As of the August update, the PDO was still positive with the PDO index at +0.67, even though it has come down from earlier in the year. The September update will probably come out in a week or two.

  • So, both 18 and 00 GFS are showing some rain in CA. Any reason to believe this would actually work out? There is also something around day 9ish…

    • I noticed a small trough in the longer range. But that is in fantasy land at the current moment.

      • I know. It comes and goes and tortures us. It completely disappeared at 6UTC, and then came back smaller than before in 12. This is killing me, LoL.

        • Yeah. The flipping of the models really irritates me. Apparently it did the same thing last winter which concerns me.

  • Utrex

    A strong WWB is forecasted in the near-future. Any thoughts?

    • Utrex

      A strong WWB is forecasted in the near-future. Any thoughts?

      (I have no clue what happened but next I’ll try to keep one image)

  • NPR in Santa Monica today did a brief story on the CA drought from WW. Hopefully the next story is about how El Nino clears it up.

  • Bob G
  • Kamau40

    Read Howard Schectner’s latest thoughts about the Fall and upcoming Winter season. Also, as I have pointed out many times on this blog, we do not necessarily have to have an El Nino to have a wet winter in Ca. There will be other global tele-connections that will also play a major role.
    http://mammothweather.com/

  • sjm42

    And all of that is because of “Human-caused climate change”??
    That’s a bit of a reach..Don’t you think?

    • First of all, I’m pretty sure that no one has claimed that climate change is the sole contributor to the California drought. I’m certain that neither myself nor my colleagues have! But that’s precisely why we conducted this research in the first place–to quantify the effect.

      • Xerophobe

        I sure don’t want the blog to turn into an AGW rant.

        • BlackRoseML

          There’s ThinkProgress’ blog for that… while, it is nice to have a “frank and open” discussion on AGW, those discussions tend to attract the wrong type of people, such as ideologues on both sides.

          Enough tone trolling for me (although I just do not want the comment section here to degenerate into the ThinkProgress blog where it often attracts deniers)… and BTW, do believe there is enough historical and theoretical evidence that strongly suggests that increased greenhouse gas emissions affect climate.

    • Kamau40

      I’m glad to see that I’m not the only person on this blog to challenge the whole issue of “Human-caused climate change” because in reality it does not exist. I have always believed and told people for the last two decades that it is indeed the biggest deception and fraud in modern history. It is sad that millions of people for the last 3 decades have taken the bait, hook line and sinker. But, the truth always eventually comes out in the end. Yet, I am always accused of being a “human-caused climate change” denier which I very much welcome it.

      • Boiio

        You’re right. It’s all a big conspiracy by Socialist-ecco terrorists who are trying to redistribute the worlds wealth and bring capitalism to its knees. Climate scientists from around the globe gather en masse to coordinate their deception, all in an effort to secure more funding from their respective governments. We’ve all been duped. Now if only everyone would wake up and realize that the moon landings were a fraud too…..

        • Kamau40

          You’re absolutely correct. Although, not everyone has been duped. More people including Meteorologists, Scientists have been finally waking up to Truth and that trend will likely to continue.

          • xeren

            hah

          • Boiio

            This guy wasn’t duped….

      • xeren

        oh, are you a climate scientist?

        • Kamau40

          I’ve seen this video before. None of these guys are real scientists. They are only commentators who supports the conformity of “man-made” climate change and have absolutely no credibility regarding science.

          • xeren

            you obviously haven’t watched the video, so i’ll sum it up for you- the nonscientist commentators simply point out that there is overwhelming consensus in the scientific community regarding the cause of climate change. the science is not “still out” on climate change

          • Kamau40

            What is the “overwhelming consensus” in the scientific community? There is none. Simply put, it is only amongst those like the ones in the video who have sadly believed the biggest hoax ever!

          • xeren

            sigh…i’m done with you now. i knew this discussion wouldn’t change any minds, i just didn’t want your original post to hang out there unanswered.

          • Kamau40

            I’m glad you answered the post. But, the question is did you carefully read the whole entire article piece written by Richard Lindzen? He wrote this back in 1992 and he accurately showed the origin or birth of the discussion on human induced climate back in the mid 1980s which I remember myself very well. He precisely predicted where the whole “man-made” climate change discussion was going and just carefully take a look at where we are today.

          • xeren

            i’ll be honest, i didn’t read it, but only because when i googled his name, one of the first few results was a quote by quote rebuttal of everything he has ever said regarding climate change. maybe you should read that.

            and please don’t reply to this, as I said, i’m done talking about this with you. if you want to talk about the weather, i’m all ears (or eyes. in this case)

        • Kamau40

          Does one have to be a climate scientist to ask the real hard hitting questions? We all have the right to ask questions on challenging issues, right?

          • xeren

            no, i only listen to the evidence of climate scientists when it comes to climate science, though. i tend to avoid listening to internet strangers about subjects they know nothing about, especially given the overwhelming scientific consensus in the other direction on the subject

          • Kamau40

            Well, so do I. I always listen to Scientists like Richard Lindzen, who has far more credibility than all of us combined. He has actually worked in all areas of Physics, Geology, Meteorology, Atmospheric Science and done real legitimate research to show that human induced climate change does not exist period! He has even discussed this topic among the big guns in science at the IPCC during the 1990s and non of the folks who sat at the panels could prove him wrong about his research debunking the whole “man-made” climate change theory.

          • xeren

            97%

      • I don’t really see how it’s possible to accept some of the empirical observations in the above post (the existence of a big ridge, for example, or the fact that the past 1-2 years were dry and warm in California) but not others (the fact that California (and the world) have warmed considerably and that drought intensity is increasing). Those are both observations, clear and simple.

        If one wants to argue that the entire global multi-platform inter-governmental meteorological observation network is a subject of a century-long conspiracy to fabricate biased data, well…this is not the forum for that discussion.

        • Kamau40

          All right, can you prove and show where he is wrong based upon his observations, evidence and facts? The fact is droughts, floods, cool and warm periods and cycles have always existed for thousands of years all over the planet. We live in a semi arid climate and the West Coast has always been prone to natural dry spells. Wet winters also occur in natural cycles and periods. Therefore, there is no way any of us can find a quick silver bullet answer as to why we are in this serious drought period. There has been droughts that has been much more severe than this hundreds and even thousands of years ago lasting much longer periods than history. What seems to be extreme to us in regards to temperatures and precipitation today is nothing out of the ordinary when you look at the big picture of time because they have happened before and they will certainly happen in the future. There is nothing new under the sun.

          • BlackRoseML

            Well, your null hypothesis is that the current drought is caused by natural variance. The question then, is what is representative of “natural variance”, and whether the current conditions fall within, say, two standard deviations, from what would be expected naturally.

            Of course, the climate scientists have models of natural variance, and are careful not to ascribe any particular phenomenon to the alternative hypothesis of AGW.

          • Kamau40

            Well, if my “null hypothesis” is wrong, how do you explain the fact that the planet was much warmer than today during the 1500s or even thousands of years ago? And that there were droughts that were much more severe and longer in duration than today?” I remind you that this was long before there were any invention of fossil fuels or greenhouse emissions?

          • Two quick points: the planet was cooler in the 1500s than it is today. But even if it had been warmer, it’s not clear to me how the existence of natural climate variations (which obviously occur) excludes the possibility of unnatural ones. At one point in the past, the Earth’s surface consisted of a sea of molten lava, so I suppose there has been some pretty substantial global cooling since then… 🙂
            http://www.skepticalscience.com/medieval-warm-period-intermediate.htm

            But again, this discussion risks derailing the main purpose of this blog and comments section–which is to discuss things relevant to California weather and climate.

          • Kamau40

            First of all, the problem with the link above is that it is not supported amongst real scientists. None of these people ask the tough questions regarding climate. The support the “man-made” climate change band as if they are in a choir. Secondly, the Medieval Period which was from 900AD-1300AD, the planet was much warmer than today’s temperatures. Did you know that? Thirdly, are you familiar with the Heidelberg Appeal? As of 2012, over 4,000 scientists, including 72 Nobel Prize winners have signed it. Here is the link below:
            http://heartland.org/sites/default/files/sjmc24e00.pdf

    • alanstorm

      From what I gathered, that’s not what he said at all. Its one of the main ingredients in the drought-cake California is currently having to eat. Or maybe its the oven baking the ingredients….Whatever. I’m less concerned with how we got on this ride and more concerned where its going next.

    • Utrex

      Here’s an interesting timelapse of surface air temperatures from 1880 to 2012. Conclude.
      http://svs.gsfc.nasa.gov/cgi-bin/details.cgi?aid=4030

  • Kamau40

    Here is an excellent report by Richard Lindzen, a well renowned Atmospheric Scientist and Geologist, who discussed and rightly challenged the alleged consensus on Anthropogenic Climate change for decades:
    http://object.cato.org/sites/cato.org/files/serials/files/regulation/1992/4/v15n2-9.pdf

    • xeren

    • Andee Clark

      Excellent research and I am very hopeful there is more to come. WUWT even featured(mocked) the paper. It’s a sad state of affairs when critical thinking isn’t exactly prevailing. The average commenter skeptic on WUWT is stating that it’s a non-existent threat made up to control people and money. Ironically, the very few scientists who are allowed to post on the climate blogs all generally state the opposite: that the greenhouse effect is in fact, real and will cause changes the Earth’s atmosphere and oceans. They just say it won’t be fast or worth limiting carbon. Virtually all claims as why they think so is based on what has transpired in the last 30 years. Look at ice core data and try to see how tiny 30 years truly is.

      Simply look at the history of climate change research and you can quickly see how overwhelming the scientific literature is in stating that CO2 will warm the planet. Just think, Gilbert Plass in 1956 had no idea that ice cores would demonstrate the link between temperature and CO2. But he published a paper stating as such.

      This is all about time. There’s an assumption in western culture regarding the economic imperatives for the immediate future. But how will our descendants centuries in the future feel about abandoning Florida, huge chunks of the East Coast or California’s central valley because people who live hundreds of years earlier thought limiting CO2 was too expensive?
      I can’t eat more that one fish a week caught out of pristine looking Sierra Nevada rivers and creeks because of Mercury dumped there over 100 years ago. Stupid and shortsighted practices must be eliminated from our collective culture.

  • Xerophobe

    Daniel, Is this the same representation as is on your first page of your update regarding zonal and meridonal wind anomaly? Were there any other global anomalies that went into this relational model? http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/

  • alanstorm

    Wow! That about sums it up. I do like the part about “big swings in Ca precipitation”, maybe we can get stuck in an extremely wet pattern this winter…..

  • Cliff Collipriest

    I think I will come back when the site is not dominated by fruit cake deniers.

  • A reminder: let’s keep this discussion on-topic and constructive, please. The comments here have historically been uncommonly relevant and civil (on the internet? what??), so let’s keep it that way. Thanks!!

    • Yes, this is a fun, informative site to stop by and hope it stays that way!

    • Kamau40

      We can have constructive discussions and criticism(s) and we shouldn’t all agree on everything. We don’t know and will never know everything with absolute answers. It is about learning and not stopping to learn and asking rational and challenging questions.

  • Archeron

    Do any of the models predict any level of precipitation for California at the end of October? I know its a ways off, but was curious as to whether anything is pointing in that direction at all.

    • Bob G

      It appears October is going to be dry. I am not so concerned with October as I am with November

      • Dan the Weatherman

        If October turns out to be dry, that isn’t too much of a concern because October is the tail end of the dry season, but if remains much drier than average from November onward, then that would be cause for concern.

        • Bob G

          I agree Dan. If we were at normal precipitation levels coming into winter, I would not be that concerned about November either since the bulk of precipitation comes in Dec, Jan, and Feb. But I would hate to see us start from another hole this year and trying to play catchup again when we are entering this winter from a three year drought.

        • rob b

          Have to agree with you Dan, I’d love to see a wet Oct but overall that doesn’t seem to mean either a wet or dry winter. I can remember many dry and hot Octobers and also many wet Octobers. It seems sometime between Oct 20-to Halloween tends to be when we start to see the cooler and wetter weather start to come in.

          I know many ski resorts target the end of Oct to open but it’s usually just Boreal and one or two other resorts. Their real target date is usually Thanksgiving.

          • Dan the Weatherman

            It is usually after a significant Santa Ana sometime in October or early November when the weather does begin to turn at least somewhat wetter. Here in Socal, the rains don’t usually begin in earnest until December or even January, even though we do have wet Octobers and/or Novembers on occasion.

  • Jason Gillespie

    I agree with Dan’s sentiment – this blog has largely been a bastion of sanity when it comes to the topic of anthropogenic global warming.

    My perspective is that human beings in general have a blind spot when it comes to the impact of their actions on the planet. The planet is just too big: we couldn’t possibly hunt the California grizzly to extinction, we couldn’t possibly dissolve a hole in the ozone layer with man-made chemicals, we could never dump enough mercury into our watersheds to poison our food supply.

    My parents are smart people; I turn to them for advice about many different things, and I love them both dearly. Both of them ardently deny that human activity could be impacting global temperatures. They treat me civilly enough when we’re together, but I expect that they’re praying for me when we’re apart. Equally likely: they’re talking with like-minded friends about their poor, gullible son who’s fallen prey to the global conspiracy.

    It becomes a religion to *both* sides of the debate. I know that, in my heart, I’ve come to view those who disbelieve the scientific consensus on AGW as my enemy. I believe that their refusal to accept that human activity could be pushing the planet towards global catastrophe is impeding our ability to explore and implement what solutions we can. I feel angry about what I perceive to be willful ignorance.

    I’m sure that Kamao40 can articulate this more clearly than I can, but those of us who accept the scientific consensus on AGW feel the hate rising from the opposite side of the debate. We have either been fooled by the grand conspiracy, or we are part of it. They believe that our refusal to reject AGW could be pushing the planet towards a New World Order – totalitarianism at the best, total economic collapse and anarchy at the worst. Our very way of life is being threatened, and those selling AGW are responsible for it.

    I’ve never seen anyone change sides – I’ve never seen anyone swayed by the evidence one way or the other. It bothers me – a lot – to see hard-working, well-intentioned scientists like Dan @ Weatherwest being accused of intellectual and academic fraud for his efforts. I think one of the reasons that this blog is so successful is that he simply allows the abuse to roll off his back. My own perspective, as I’ve stated before, is that you’d have to have a pretty thick skin to be involved in climate sciences at this point in history, regardless of your perspective.

    The good news (or bad, depending on your take) is that – as Kamau40 said – the truth will out, eventually, for better for worse. Maybe not in our lifetimes, but definitely in the lifetimes of our children.

    Minds will never be changed through name-calling or posting pictures of people wearing tin-foil hats. It’s my sense that this blog is uniquely poised to educate and influence a lot of people. Let’s not screw it up.

    • BlackRoseML

      Makes you wonder if the global warming denialists believe that: (1) the academic and scientific AGW proponents, while earnest and sincere, are just being mislead by a Kuhnian paradigm (AGW) with a tenuous theoretical edifice (such as luminferous ether or caloric); or (2) it is a nefarious plot to undermine capitalism and bring on the New World Order.

      We have either been fooled by the grand conspiracy, or we are part of
      it. They believe that our refusal to reject AGW could be pushing the
      planet towards a New World Order – totalitarianism at the best, total
      economic collapse and anarchy at the worst. Our very way of life is
      being threatened, and those selling AGW are responsible for it.

      It seems like AGW is discussed almost in religious, apocalyptic terms.

      The language you used, makes it seem like later is the case. In the case of (1), it would require a climate skeptic who is scientifically competent to point out the specious scientific reasoning and dubious theoretical assumptions used by climate scientists to reach the general conclusion that greenhouse emissions causes AGW, But, the onus is on the skeptic to demonstrate scientific competent in the domain of climate science AND rigorously evince the specious reasoning and faulty theoretical models used by the major of climate science.

      (2) I can easily dismiss them as deluded. There clearly have no scientific case against AGW as they are motivated by ideology.

      I am actually interested in this debate as someone interested in the philosophy of science, not to mention as a human that can be detrimentally affected by global warming. To what extent is the theory of anthropogenic global warming, or for that matter, any other credible body of scientific knowledge, “socially constructed”?

      • Jason Gillespie

        I hear more of #2 than of #1 from the people with whom I talk about AGW. Very rarely do I hear the suggestion that proponents of AGW are well-intentioned, knowledgable individuals who have been misled or even pressured into shaping their data to meet a grand liberal agenda. What I hear is much darker in tone: that we are either liars, conspirators, or just plain stupid.

        To be fair, the same accusations are hurled back across the fence.

    • Bob G

      At least since I have been following this site, there has been minimal exchanges regarding global warming and man-made climate change. I much prefer that to what is going on today. I am interested in El Nino, the Atmosphere, and the weather for this coming winter.

      • Jason Gillespie

        I agree…and frequent this blog with the same interests at heart. The complication arises from the fact that Daniel just posted his own substantive, peer-reviewed research linking all three of these concerns to AGW. I sometimes worry that we (meaning the community here) get by just fine as long as we don’t look too deeply. It’s like saying that we can all be friends when we talk about emphysema and lung cancer, but bring up asbestos exposure or cigarette smoking and all hell breaks loose. 😉

        It would be nice if we, as a community, could talk about El Niño, the atmosphere, the exceptional state of drought and our hopes for the upcoming winter in the context of all contributory factors, including climate change / AGW. Where we don’t agree, I would hope that we could do so agreeably rather than pretend that the issue doesn’t exist.

  • lightning10

    Once I saw the words climate Change I knew it was going to turn into summer slam up in here.

    Anyways if you look at that 18Z and you like hot and dry weather you are in for quite a treat.

    • BlackRoseML

      Cue the wailing and gnashing of teeth.

      10 days out is scary. A 5850 meters in north British Columbia! That ridge just doesn’t disappear, but at least there is a trough.

      http://www.tropicaltidbits.com/analysis/models/gfs/2014093018/gfs_z500a_namer_37.png

      • GFS goes nuts with the West Coast ridge (in fact, this would be a true “block,” with actual easterly flow over California). ECMWF less aggressive, but neither scenario suggests either rain or cool conditions in California.

        • C M

          Any hopes of one of those Western Pacific Typhoons bringing rain to California later in the month like it did in October of 2009? October may not officially be the “rainy season” but the average amount of rainfall in the Bay Area is far from negligible. Even downtown San Jose, the driest weather station gets an average of 0.8 inches in October and all the others average more an an inch so if we get no rain til Halloween, I’m gonna start to worry. Last October had no rain (even though we got triple normal rainfall in September) and you KNOW how the winter turned out.

  • SoCalWXwatcher

    Thank you Mr Swain for the excellent blog post. A lot of good information to digest!

    It is indeed sad that the topic of AGW more often than not generates heated debate and rancor, and it’s refreshing to see the discussion take place here in a more civilized tone. Terms like “Alarmist” or “Denier” really have no place in a thoughtful discussion. While a solid majority of Climatologists do agree on the role that C02 emitted from human activity plays in Climate Change, there are some Climatologists and Atmospheric physicists whom I respect that are indeed skeptics when it comes to just *how much* of a role C02 from human civilization plays – such as Dr. Judith Curry, Dr. Edwin Berry, and Dr John Christy, to name a few.

    It is unfortunate that those in the field with dissenting views are often derided and attacked as heretics in the media. I recall several years ago Dr Heidi Cullen once suggested that the AMS should strip meteorologists of the AMS seal of approval if they are found to be skeptics of AGW. I find the tendency of some in the Scientific Community to try to “police” a consensus quite disturbing, and ultimately bad for science. Unfortunately, political agendas have attached themselves to all sides of the discussion, and as a layman lacking the expertise of a Climatologist, I value blogs like WeatherWest where I can read information posted from a researcher firsthand, without it being “filtered” by the various media and their biases.

    • BlackRoseML

      There is a political dimension to dissent (or whatever you want to call it not to trigger the tone trolls) to AGW. One should not be derided because one disbelieves the scientific consensus of global warming if that person is speaking on his/her domain of competence, but if that person has not demonstrated scientific competence within the domain of climate. in addition, to promoting the interest of commercial and ideological deniers>

      I used to be interested in creation-evolution controversy, but I figured it was a waste of time, (fortunately, since the creationists and IDers have been defeated in court and they cannot use the public school system to inculcate their dogma to impressionable young minds with the imprimatur of the state) except for occasions of amusement. Would anyone here who has competence in the biological sciences endorse a statement that switches the term “AGW” with “evolution” (and with similar replacement of terms)? Do you think the National Academy of Science is “policing” the consensus and “filtering” the information, in regards to evolution and intelligent design?

      • Intellectual honesty is key, and I don’t think “banishing” anyone is particularly constructive. However, that’s not the same as saying that everything that everyone says has equal weight. Assertions are not facts, and facts are what matter. Just saying that something is true does not make it so. That’s why a “demonstration of competence” is a decent heuristic, but it’s sometimes not enough–specific claims really do need to be evaluated on the basis of factual merit.

        • SlashTurn

          There is no truth, only perception.

          • BlackRoseML

            I used the term “demonstration of competence” because I am a scientific antirealist/instrumentalist, as its thesis is that successful scientific theories do not necessarily reveal anything “true” about the world or have any alethic content. In order to critique a scientific theory, one must understand its theoretical underpinnings and the body of evidence adduced in support of the theory. In the case of climate science, one must understand the models and forensic historical data that argue that extant models are woefully inadequate models of the global climate. Are the partial differential equations, which are based on fundamental physics, fluid dynamics, and chemistry, insufficient to model the Earth’s climate? Swain et al said the influence of greenhouse emissions increased the likelihood of the dreaded RRR pattern three times relative to a climate not influenced by greenhouse emissions. Now, one could criticize the model or statistical inferences, but that requires some expertise.

            “Demonstration of competence” is a useful heuristic to rule out those who are adamant and sincere, as one can be sincerely wrong.

      • SoCalWXwatcher

        Are you saying that Dr Judith Curry (Professor and former Chair of the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at the Georgia Institute of Technology), Dr John Christy (Distinguished Professor of Atmospheric Science and Director of the Earth System Science Center at the University of Alabama in Huntsville), Dr Pat Michaels, Dr Fred Singer, and so on,…etc, are all dissenters in one way or another due to purely political motivations? They are equivalent to “Creationists”? in your book? Or they are all on the take from “Big Oil” or Multinational Conglomerates and their views are disingenuous?

        If you view dissent from Climatologists under this prism then I feel you may have the same lack of objectivity as those on the opposite side of the issue who claim AGW is a “hoax” perpetrated by radicals seeking to shake down corporations with carbon taxes, etc..

        I’m convinced that within the field of Climatology, those who promote the AGW theory and those who are unconvinced “dissenters” are both genuinely pursuing the answers and are genuinely convinced of their positions.

        That is not to say that there isn’t a “political dimension” to the dissenting side of this issue in the Body Politic, but in looking at some of the banners that were unfurled at the recent Climate March in New York, it is clearly apparent that there’s also political dimension to the AGW side of the issue as well. This unfortunately contaminates reasoned discussion on this debate, and is probably why this is going to be my last post on the topic, as I’m sure most of the regular readers of this blog want to get back to discussing the upcoming rainy season & El Nino. (Myself included)

      • BlackRoseML

        It is pretty obvious that any of the pro-AGW are politically influenced too. They just adhere to it because it has scientific support and their political confreres endorse it.

        A more interesting question to me, most certainly beyond the scope of this blog, is the extent that the scientific consensus of global warming (or evolution) is socially constructed. Even as an antirealist, I do think modern scientific enterprise is rather rigorous and robust enough not to be crippled by sociological influences.

  • craig matthews

    So, is ridging favored directly overhead of an area(like a large blob) of above average sea surface temperatures in the ocean, or is ridging favored downstream, of an area of above average sea surface temperatures? I am still confused about how the warm SSTAs in the Gulf of Alaska favor an atmospheric ridge over that area. Sorry to keep bringing this up. You probably have answered this, but I still do not understand how that works scientifically. Links will suffice.

  • alanstorm

    In regards to the “Blob”, back in January when I asked the chicken or the egg question as to it’s possible symbiotic relationship to the Triple R, I didn’t receive as much as a cluck, so I was left to believe that Godzilla would arise from the GOA to eat Seattle.(hopefully while the Seahawks were in town) So now its a fact that they were self-reinforcing. Now I have a few more AM (armchair meteorologist) Blob questions: Is there some sort of abnormal eddying effect going on that could be induced by radically changed ocean currents or a building El Nino? Also, when lows move over the blob towards the west coast, shouldn’t this help to juice up a storm’s precip potential similar to when hurricanes move over warm water?

    • C M

      That’s what I was thinking; I was thinking we’d have above normal temperatures this winter with fewer rainy days than average but the systems that would come would be big ones yielding above normal rainfall totals due to the warmer than normal SST (or even a mega storm if we get a Gulf of Alaska Low to meet with the pinapple express). However, those systems would have very high snow levels resulting in a below normal snowpack (unfortunately) unless you’re talking about the highest elevations of the Sierras. Atmospheric River events can produce snow levels above 8,000 feet even in the peak of winter. Also systems that come in spring or fall naturally have much higher snow levels than in mid winter even if they are cold fronts (just like Thursday’s sytem brought rain rather than snow to Tahoe).

      • alanstorm

        Making lemonade from lemons, so to speak. The Blob can be our friend. Last week’s first storm of the year came thru the Gulf quite loaded with precip. Some areas near Eureka broke rainfall records for that date, near 3″ in spots. Could be a sign of things to come if the jetstream would stop meandering.

    • The origin of The Blob is not entirely clear. There does appear to be a link to the RRR, and it’s possible that it has essentially been “caused” by the persistent ridging. We then go down the chain of causality in asking what caused the RRR in the first place, and that remains unclear at the moment (though there are hints that the warm West Pacific had something to do with it).

      Warmer water can definitely add more moisture to existing storms, but whether or not the warm waters can increase extratropical cyclone intensity depends on how the SST gradients are oriented. Lately, we’ve had so much warm water that SSTs have actually been rather uniform from north to south–a low-gradient situation not favorable for an enhanced storm track. Our best bet is for this SST gradient to strengthen at some point–perhaps due to ENSO, or the PDO, or something else. Eventually it will happen, but we don’t know if it’ll be this winter.

  • Ian Alan

    I’m sticking with my pendulum analogy and after this gnarly heatwave / dry spell we will receive statewide rain between the 15-20th of October. 😀

    • Kamau40

      I would not necessarily count it. Historically and statistically speaking, Oct is usually a mostly dry and warm month in the state.

      • Ian Alan

        I’m certainly not “counting on it!” 🙂

      • C M

        Average rainfall in October: around an inch or more for most parts of the Bay Area and around half an inch to an inch for most parts of the L.A. Basin. Compared to our summer months which average no rain at all, October is very significant. In fact, the largest single day rainfall total in San Jose in my lifetime happened in October, NOT January or February. October 13, 2009= 2.33 inches.
        http://www.wunderground.com/history/airport/KSJC/2009/10/13/DailyHistory.html?req_city=NA&req_state=NA&req_statename=NA

        • Dan the Weatherman

          That must have been the storm containing the remnants of Typhoon Melor that brought all that rain to your region. I received almost a half inch of rain here in Orange from that storm and I remember it feeling muggy during and toward the end of that event.

        • Kamau40

          Yes, I remember that storm which did contain the remnants of Typhoon Melor. Much of Nor.Cal received a good soaking rainfall. We also had a similar weather pattern set-up during the month of Oct ’04, particularly toward the end.

        • October precip in NorCal is a great real-world example of the difference between the “mean” and “median.” Occasionally October can be quite wet–often in the form of 1-2 very wet systems of either regional convective or West Pacific tropical remnant origin (i.e. former Supertyphoon Melor). Most Octobers, though, are fairly dry, and some are nearly rainless.

          Thus, mean October rainfall in NorCal is not negligible–on the order of an inch or two across much of NorCal. On the other hand, the median rainfall–the most likely value–is quite a bit lower (it’s brought down by all those very dry Octobers).

          In other words, October can be an interesting month, weather-wise, but it would not be that unusual to see little precip. On the other hand, California needs continuously above-average precip for many months to make progress on our drought deficits, so a dry October would not be a particularly auspicious start to the rainy season (especially since the CFS is projecting a very dry November at the moment).

  • Ian Alan

    Long range looks eerily and depressingly familiar though – west coast ridging and a cold wet storm diving straight down the midest.

    • Certainly does. At least parts of NorCal got some meaningful precip last week..that’s going to be it for a while. Fire season is definitely not over yet…

  • Cachagua1

    Thank you Weather West( Daniel Swain). I read this to my family tonight after dinner. We have 3 generations of ranchers here to tell you the ground truth something has been out of whack with our weather, and it hasn’t been just in the last few years. This goes back to the late 1990’s that seams like our winters have become progressively more dry. I have read the PDO is the reason why the change in our weather in the late 1990’s, but its more then that, as you have documented in your research report. The visual effects of the high pressure across the northern pacific ocean is mind blowing. Has there ever been a high pressure ridge as big and persistent as the one we have observed in the pacific in the last few years, stretching at times from California to almost Russia?

    • I actually have a pretty direct answer to that: look at the 6th image in the post. That big white area on the map plot is the region in which 12-month average 500mb geopotential heights were higher than during any previous year since at least 1948, which is the year in which the NCEP reanalysis begins. This means that the entire region described–from California to Russia (it actually extends further west than the map boundary)–experienced observationally-unprecedented persistently high GPH in 2013.

      • Cachagua1

        Thanks. We noticed that in the fine print. Goes to show this pattern really is unusual.

  • Will-It-Rain

    First time post, long time reader. I’m an avid weather fan but I have no education in the field. I love this blog. A question as I plow through internet sites in search of hope! When I searched El Niño 2014 this was one of the first sites up. This guy makes it sound as though the heavens will open up this year in SoCal…. Is this purely his “educated guess” or is there merit to this guys page? Just curious from those of you who probably know the site. Thanks.

    http://www.liveweatherblogs.com/index.php/community/groups/viewdiscussion/215-el-el-nino-watch-update-2014-2015-it-could-be-big-real-big?groupid=6

    • There is no evidence that this will be a wet year in California. There may be very modest signals for slightly elevated chances of near-to-above normal precip in the far southern part of the state (just due to the long-term correlation between precip/ENSO in far SoCal), but right now there’s no clear signal for the all-important Jan-Feb-Mar period. The fall, if anything, looks drier than usual.

  • Computer models now erasing the trough coming through replacing it with more significant ridging 10+ days out. The same ridge here and the deep trough on the otherside of the country. I am not worried yet since we are only in October. Come late November, I will start worrying. There is no reason for this ridge to persist in one spot for this large amount of time. I have never seen this happen since I started researching weather/climate when I was 8 years old. I am 24 now.

    • Archeron

      ….Sigh. I thought I heard it mentioned that ridging is common this time of year. So I guess that its just now hoping it doesn’t become persistent yes?

    • Archeron

      Can you send the link to some of the models? I am fairly new to this and so am not sure exactly where to look or what to look for.

  • BlueSkyLA

    As a strictly amateur weather geek, I have been wondering if the northern detours of the jet stream have not also contributed to the more frequent and intense offshore events in Southern California. For the last two years of so we’ve also been seeing true offshore (Santa Ana) events late into the spring, when normally they end by late February or early March at the latest. These events are reinforced if not triggered by the dry “inside slider” lows that pull cold air into the Great Basin.

    • Yes! This is a great observation. The highly amplified pattern has allowed cold airmasses to dive deeply southward into the Great Basin and Rocky Mountain states more frequently than usual, allowing strong pressure gradients and offshore winds to occur at unusual times of year. The persistent trough to our east is just as much to blame as the ridge itself, though it’s all part of a fairly coherent large-scale pattern.

      • BlueSkyLA

        The NWS appears to be well behind the curve on this. I think it was in May this year when we had what seemed (to my amateur observation) to be a very unseasonable significant Santa Ana event. The NWS-LOX office posted the usual notice of it to their Facebook page, to which I commented that I thought this was a highly unusual event that seemed to becoming more common in recent years. Their response was that “it can happen any time of the year.” When I asked when they’d seen another at this time of year, I got no reply, suggesting to me that they don’t keep statistics on offshore events. Considering how important these conditions are to life in Southern California, I figure this counts as a swing and a miss in a clutch situation.

        • Dan the Weatherman

          Inside slider fall patterns have definitely been more common in the spring in recent years, and we had two Santa Ana events this spring, one at the end of April and the other sometime in the first half of May. The April event was one of the strongest wind events that I have seen here in Orange in quite some time and rivaled many of our traditional fall Santa Ana events, and it blew over some of my potted plants that have not been blown over for quite some time.
          I can’t believe the NWS actually responded to your comment saying Santa Anas can “happen at any time of year”. They never happen from June until mid September, because the jet stream retreats to the north around the Canadian border or even more northward and storm systems followed by cold air surface highs (the cold air that instigates a Santa Ana) don’t drop into the Great Basin during that time period. As a matter of fact, the deserts heat up to such an extreme that a thermal low forms over the lower deserts during the summer, that increases the sea breeze (onshore flow) west of the mountains, keeping the coastal zones from having the most intense heat.

          • BlueSkyLA

            That’s what they said. I was surprised too, if only on the basis of my experience as an avid weather observer living in Southern California for some decades. (I also have to share my personal pet NWS peeve: The LOX office often characterizes offshore events as “Chamber of Commerce” weather in the Forecast Discussions.)

          • Dan the Weatherman

            Warm dry conditions shouldn’t be referred to as “Chamber of Commerce” weather when we are in the midst of a terrible drought. I have seen that term used on their AFDs in the past and I certainly hope they don’t use it this fall or winter when referring to warm and sunny weather!

          • BlueSkyLA

            One of the staffers in particular at LOX seems to think he’s Johnny Mountain, often editorializing instead of just forecasting. I got so annoyed by his gushy AFDs during an offshore evident I submitted a comment through the web site. The very next day in the AFD they added asterisks around Chamber of Commerce Weather just to show me how little they cared.

  • lightning10

    I have said it before and I will say it again. You want a big winter in So Cal you want rain in October. Looking at it its not going to take place. Every time we have had an above average rainy season October is the month that you need.

    If we get a lot of rain in November (I think we will) and a cold snap that almost always means a bad season.

    • BlackRoseML

      I don’t remember getting a lot of rain last November, but, of course, I am denying the antecedent.

      Still, I do not see how a good November means a bad rainy season.

      • Ian Alan

        November was dry and warm in the mountains a few spits of snow but that’s it. Only mentionable precip was mid February when we had 7″ rain in less than 24hrs accompanied by very strong sustained winds.

        • Dan the Weatherman

          November was the “wettest” of the fall months last year here in Orange with a few small storms that came through. Last fall as a whole was definitely a dud.

  • Mike Stephenson

    Is there any other mechanism that could cause a drought in CA other than the RRR? CA has had many droughts in the past, were they not from another RRR deflecting storms? Have previous droughts been during warm periods?
    http://www.mercurynews.com/science/ci_24993601/california-drought-past-dry-periods-have-lasted-more

    • As far as I’m aware, that’s pretty much the only kind of mechanism in place when California sees major droughts. Almost all of our precip comes from winter storms, so something has to disrupt that–and almost by definition that comes in the form of anomalous ridging.

      • Bob G

        Daniel,
        Last year, were the lack of large lows capable of dislodging the ridge also a factor? If I recall last year, there were also times when the storm door was open but there were not strong storms coming out of the Pacific.

        • Xerophobe

          Bob G, I think it was the very low number of high pressure systems. The RRR being the dominant force and unfortunately for us kept us dry. Here’s something that may help regarding highs and lows. http://www.weatherworksinc.com/high-low-pressure

        • Ian Alan

          Maybe that’s the ‘dumb luck’ factor – we had windows but at the time the windows were open nothing was flying in. Close the windows and then the storms hit and are forced to go up and around….sounds like dumb random luck to me.

          • craig matthews

            Yep. Last winter, every time the ridge moved up toward Alaska, the jet stream was either not positioned right, or not strong enough to undercut the ridge to bring storms to California. But when the jet stream strengthened or was in the right position, the ridge was also moved into the right position to deflect the jet stream away from CA. Just seams like every feature out in the pacific was(and maybe still “is”)working together to keep us dry.

          • Dan the Weatherman

            I think it could have been the combination of -PDO, +AMO, and ENSO neutral conditions last year and the year before that led to a very weak or nonexistent subtropical jet, so we didn’t have undercutting of the ridge. I believe we also had a subtropical high poking further north than normal due to the enlarged Hadley Cells as of late. This year with a +PDO along with El Nino of some strength, I think there is a better chance of having an undercutting pattern this time around with the warmer SSTs in the tropical Pacific, as long as we aren’t blocked by a large subtropical high. A ridge centered as far north as the Gulf of Alaska should be able to be undercut if the conditions are more favorable elsewhere.

          • craig matthews

            Right. You made a great observation a while back too. About the 2 winters: 1976-77 and 1977-78, when the PDO switched to positive during that period while both winters were weak positive ENSO. It seamed as though it took about a year for the atmosphere to fully respond(or I think you said something to that effect). And it could be the reason why 1976-77 was dry and 1977-78 was wet. This year, the PDO switched to positive in January. Maybe the atmosphere will show the switch over this winter, similar to as it did in 1977-78. Though the ocean/atmosphere flow patterns are different now from any year we have seen and not saying this winter should be just like 1977-78. As you have shared, the PDO/AMO and ENSO have a noticeable impact on California precip.

    • And it’s important to realize that these “megadroughts” do not actually entail consecutive years with truly zero rain–just many consecutive years with precip below/well below normal. There were mostly RRR-like features present for large portions of historical “megadroughts,” but as always it’s important to keep in mind our timescale of human reference, which is quite short relative to the geological record.

  • Kamau40

    The pattern looks very dry and warm for about the next 10 days or so. Again, this time of year though, long range model guidance(s) can be unreliable as Oct is typically a transitional month. Nevertheless, both Bryan/Howard are hinting at a possible pattern change along with a storm by mid month for the West Coast. I think it is something worth watching over the next week.
    https://opensnow.com/dailysnow/tahoe
    http://mammothweather.com/

    • xeren

      yep, and GFS has something in the fantasy period as well. i’m sure it will go back and forth, but this is the first run i’ve seen with a storm from the west hitting socal in a while

      http://i.imgur.com/T9dQPNI.gif

      • Ian Alan

        A few days ago it showed it out at 384 3x runs in a row before (12/18/00z) before dropping it to the ridge of death aka RRR lol

        Looks like it’s back as the models decide or rather try to decipher which way the pendulum will swing….

      • Kamau40

        Yep, I see this too. Interestingly, I noticed now the Canadian model is starting to show a nice long wave trough developing in the GOA which is exactly where the persistent ridge has been parked for the last couple of years.

      • SoCalWXwatcher

        Ah yes, the GFS’ 384hr tease is back. 😉
        The models do struggle during the transition to Boreal Fall/Winter don’t they?

    • Brett

      I know it’s a ways into the future (thus not extremely reliable) however, I noticed this morning that my Accuweather app has four days of rain predicted for Folsom from the 12th to the 15th. One can hope!

  • Matthew Brewer

    I am troubled by what I find in the paper Swain et al. 2014. You say in this post:

    “Using these climate model simulations, we found that the human emission of greenhouse gases has very likely tripled the likelihood of experiencing large-scale atmospheric conditions similar to those observed in 2013.”

    However, to have an extreme geopotential height event that causes droughts etc, the height values need to be extreme relative to either side spatially, rather than extreme relative to the Pre-Industrial run with lower mean GHT. It appears that the increase in the mean GHT likely explains your result. Seems like you guys recognized this in the paper, so how can you say that human emission have tripled the likelihood of producing this blocking pattern, when really human emission have just increased the GHT mean everywhere?

    • The GPH gradient certainly matters! What we’ve most directly analyzed here are instances of extreme GPH in a particular geographic area. Thus, our specific claim is that instances of extreme GPH have increased.

      However, we also demonstrate that the instances of extreme simulated GPH that we identify are indeed associated with relative ridging (both in reanalysis and climate models). I’ve attached a screenshot of the relevant figure from the paper showing composite maps of the GPH pattern (and of associated circulation/precip anomalies). Here we are looking at a extreme events specifically, rather than the mean change in GPH over time.

      We’ve also demonstrated that (in a statistical sense) California precipitation is strongly linked to the actual GPH in our geographic region of interest. This is largely because extreme values of GPH in this region are almost always coincident with a local maximum (i.e. a ridge), rather than a broader maximum across a wide area, so there’s a coherent circulation anomaly associated with extreme GPH events.

      Wang et al. (2014) from earlier this year addresses the gradient question a little more explicitly, while Wang and Schubert (2014) find a signature of anomalous northeastern Pacific ridging in their analysis. There’s certainly room for more work on this, and we’re currently working on more comprehensive ways of characterize changes in circulation associated with extreme events.

      • Also from the paper.

      • Matthew Brewer

        You say your specific claim is that instances of extreme GPH have increased. However, the specific claim you make in your paper, blog, and that is getting the headlines is that “human emission of greenhouse gases has very likely tripled the likelihood of experiencing large-scale atmospheric conditions similar to those observed in 2013.” However, to make such a hugely important claim, you must prove that the change in the mean is not the sole reason for the increase in extreme GPT events. As far as I can tell, you did not.
        Also, the Wang et al. (2014) paper has serious issues. His results are based off of just one ensemble member from just one climate model. I don’t like the basis for his dipole index, but even if that idea roughly works, there is no trend in the strength of the dipole index (fig 1a). Yet he says that “the dipole is projected to intensify, which implies that the periodic and inevitable droughts California will experience will exhibit more severity.” But he never projected anything! There is also no trend in the 20CR in fig 4a after 1950 when all the AGW warming has occurred. I suppose it is mildly interesting that the variance of the dipole index shows an increase, but that result could very well mean that the frequency and intensity of ridges stays the same, but that there will be more frequent and more intense toughing over the west coast….we can’t discern what is happening from just the variance. His work would be more interesting had he utilized the full suite of GCMs from CMIP5.

  • Zepp

    Just came across this. Is this normal?

    • Weatherwatcher

      I might be wrong but looks like a high pressure system forming over australia where hot air starts to rise and they basically get super dry hot weather.

      • raindog

        Is that Australia, or Antarctica at the bottom with the big red blob? I thought is was Antarctica with melting ice caps possibly causing the red signals down there but I could be wrong as well. Crazy either way, huh.

        • Kunder

          That’s Antarctica. Is that really showing 20 C above average, or am I reading it wrong?

          • Zepp

            Yeah, and it’s mostly over West Antarctica. I’m wondering how much of it is equinoctal flux–the continent doesn’t get much in the way of weather (most of it gets less than 1″ precip per year) but this time of year, when there are distinct day/night periods, the normal polar high pressure degrades. What really struck me about the image though were the quadrilateral cold anomalies–some of which were 20 degrees below normal.

        • SoCalWXwatcher

          Some interesting stratospheric warming going on near Antarctica as well.

          http://theweathercentre.blogspot.com/2014/09/weak-stratospheric-warmings-suggest.html

  • mycoholic

    Daniel, I wonder what you make of this recent post by Michael Ventrice (WSI blog)

    that forecasts that we might see a drop off in western pacific cyclone activity around the middle of October and thereby a shift such that the east Pacific becomes the main source for atmospheric forcing for a period. Although his post focuses on the consequences for the interior West and East, he suggests that this condition favors the development of troughs in the GOA, which I assume would be a positive development for a weakening of the RRR and diminishment of “the blob” if not necessarily rainfall within CA? http://www.wsi.com/blog/energy/sub-seasonal-u-s-temperature-forecast-bearish-outlook-continues/

  • Cachagua1

    Someone is already making T shirts “I survived the drought of 2012- . I realized there was no number at the end. Don’t know if these people are waiting for the drought to end to sell them, or they actually meant to leave the number at the end out. So I am sure someone else will come out with a T shirt “I survived The Blob”.

    • Lol. I must get one!

      • Cachagua1

        I tried to get one but thyer not for sail yet. This was at crafts festival down near SLO last weekend of all places. Trying to find it online but no go yet. I might buy “I survived The Blob” for a conversation striker maybe getting closet weather freaks like me to come out of the closet.

  • Utrex
    • Weatherwatcher

      Ill be doing the santa ana wind dance to make them go away..

    • Stereolab

      Ugh. There should be a rule on this blog against posting GFS forecasts beyond 10 days out.

  • SlashTurn

    So will there be any kind of significant Santa Ana event for SoCal with this current feature? I’ve seen temps on the coast forecasted in the low 80s this weekend, so there should be some kind of easterly counterpart?

    • Cliff Collipriest

      There is here in the Santa Maria area. Temp right now is 90 with north/northeast winds. Hotter tomorrow.

      • craig matthews

        Here too in Big Sur. Woke up to the sound of wind blowing leaves on my east facing window. Temp rose from 49 to 71 before sunrise early this morning. Temp now 87. Winds are continuing this afternoon, just as strong as this morning, which is a little strange for this area because usually offshore winds subside in this region after about noon.

      • Ian Alan

        It must have been the late 80’s I remember Santa Maria recording, at the time, it’s record high of 108 and that was mid October or so, lately the pattern has been disrupted but I remember enjoying those hot October days after a long cold drizzly summer.

        More recently Santa Maria recorded was it 113? Nuts!!

        I missed out on the record rainfal day of – 3.92″? – in 24hrs, it’s hard to ever get more than 2″ a day there!

  • craig matthews

    A weak cyclonic circulation/ or very weak upper level low forecast to be almost directly under the ridge axis by late this weekend/early next week(looks a little strange). 12zGFS

    • Kamau40

      Looks like another cut-off low pressure maybe developing underneath the high. It does seem strange, but we are in the right time of year for cut-off lows.

      • craig matthews

        Yeah. There have been a few times over this last year when a weak upper level low has developed almost right underneath the ridge axis off our coast. I don’t remember seeing this occur last year, do you? I am wondering if the reason these weak upper lows are developing underneath the ridge axis is because there is a stronger westerly flow in the upper levels of the atmosphere across the lower mid latitudes of the North Pacific south of the latitude of the ridge axis, that is causing these weak lows to spin up underneath the ridge axis in the northeast pacific. It will be interesting to see, as we head into the winter season, if this will ultimately bring storms in from the west underneath the ridge, as a weak spot develops under the ridge and favors an undercutting jet stream. That is, if the westerlies are in fact stronger and located at a further south latitude across the pacific.

        • Dan the Weatherman

          That may be an early sign of undercutting of the ridge, and I do think that the possibility of undercutting may be better this time around with the El Nino conditions and a +PDO this time around.

          • craig matthews

            It is still way to early to tell, but who knows. I hope the SSTA gradients turn in our favor across the pacific as well.

          • Kamau40

            It does seem to me that there are early signs of possible undercutting of the ridge. With the developing El Nino conditions and a +PDO, I think conditions are much more favorable now for that to happen compared to the last 3yrs.

        • Kamau40

          Yep, I think you are on target. The flow pattern seems to be much different now compared to the last few yrs.

      • SlashTurn

        Would that scenario increase on shore flow? Or at least battle the offshore gradients?

  • Weatherwatcher

    Uh oh santa ana winds forcasted this weeknd. Looking at the may fire and how horrendous those were and how much drier it is now. Fires are sure to come just where they will happen os the question.

    • SoCalWXwatcher

      So far, they’re forecasting gusts of about 35mph which aren’t too bad as far as Santa Anas go. This is my least favorite time of year in Southern California and I hope we get through this relatively unscathed.

      http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-heat-wave-brings-fire-conditions-20141001-story.html

      • Weatherwatcher

        Wind gusts are expected to reach 45-50 mph along the foothills add to that humidity in the teens and tempatures 95-105 in inland foothills and valleys and that is a recipe for fires. We can just hope for the best and for people to not be stupid and have illegal campfires or purposely set them like what happened last time.. dont know how they think burning 1000s of acres is funny. They go to juvy but people are still suffering from the loss of their homes in those fires including the fire in carlsbad where i live. Was worse inland though.

  • raindog

    The RRR and the blob are sustaining each other through a self reinforcing feedback loop. That sounds contradictory. In warmer areas of the ocean there is more convection, rising air. Yet over the blob is found sinking air?? Huh? All I thought I knew about weather just went out the door.

    • SlashTurn

      I believe its more than simple SSTs influencing anti cyclone in that region. Since I started really paying attention to the atmosphere in the eastern Pacific, I to was under the impression that warm pools under certain regions where the Polar Jet crosses would intensify low pressure. I was stumped as well…

      Teleconnections from varying oscillations around the western hemisphere seem to be the main shaper of variability…I assume?

      • raindog

        I am just beginning to learn here. Your comment is very helpful. There are obviously a lot of factors to consider. More info to chew on for days to come. Thank you.

    • Mike Stephenson

      I think when you say “warmer” its relative to what it usually is. The “warmer” water is still really really really cold alaskan water compared to near the equator. There is a major difference in water temps. Even though its “warmer” than usual is probably far from being humid and convective

    • RSpringbok

      By Feb 2014 surface air temp anomaly hit +13 F over the entire Arctic. The Blob was +7 F. This is a massive amount of heat energy… I can’t see how it wouldn’t disrupt “normal” circulation mechanisms at mid to high latitudes, and I wouldn’t dismiss the possibility of new circulation patterns never seen before.

    • Xerophobe

      Hudson Bay is a prime example of warmer water rising because surrounding land gets colder faster. ergo “Hudson Bay low”. The Aleutian low is also an example. It seems our drought years are always marked with a high pressure system parked in a place that blocks and prevents lows from forming. When a high moves away there can then be the convection as well as the Aleutian low which is where storms are “born” for west coast. Hopefully those hitch a ride on the jet down to us.

      • Kamau40

        It seems like there have been more low pressure cells that has developed over the GOA during the past month. For example, the storm that brought some much needed precipitation including snow in the higher elevations of the Sierra’s originated from the Aleutions. Hence, in years past, almost always, when it snows or if there is even a dusting of snow in the mountains by the end of Sep from a system like last week is often followed by a wet Winter/Spring. I’m not saying that will be the case for certain this winter because no one knows, but it is something to keep in the back of our minds. Let’s certainly hope that will be the case for this upcoming winter season.

      • Weatherwatcher

        Hopefully the RRR doesn’t troll us this year. It’s like a semi-truck stealing your parking space.

        • Xerophobe

          I like that. Or like a semi stalled in your frwy off ramp.

  • Bandini

    Well I’ve enjoyed a week of fall weather, now time for the heat I guess. It was 26 degrees on my way into work this morning with a high of 62 today. Still a good amount of snow on top of Freel peak which is impressive. I’m outta here until we’re talking about storms again.

    Go Angels.

    • raindog

      Interesting, I got 26 as a low on my digit themo for last night too. Lassen still has decent snow patches on northeast slope from my vantage point. I was able to see Mt Shasta in the distant northwest today and man it is white! The air hasn’t been this clear in a long time. No smoke! Hopefully we can talk about storms sooner then later Bandini.

  • JimmySD

    My electric bill for this past August was $171.

    My previous highest ever electric bill was about $80.

    My normal electric bill is less than 40 bucks. I live by the beach. Climate control isn’t usually needed.

    I’m also paying a muthreffing fortune for food. In fact, my food bill is several times bigger than my electric bill.

    Global warming is costing me an eff ton of money. I’m getting sick of it.

    • Canyon

      Turn off your AC? I live by the beach myself, my electric bill was the same as last summer, $32.

      • xeren

        oh, i never thought to turn off my A/C! thanks!

    • Weatherwatcher

      Ya i live on the coast and dont even have an ac. Even though the buildings in front of my hous block any possible ocean breeze. And i live across the street from beach..

  • Just finished watching “The Day After Tomorrow”. It really reminded me of the weather in the MidWest and East Coast this past winter. The Canadian Sliders or Polar Vortexes. Whatever you want to call them. Lol

  • David Thomas

    i really wish are high would this go a way all ready but i think this is all so normal for this time of year has we do not really get in too are wet season in tell mid too late OCT but i think the way am looking at this year it could be end up be dry but at times we could be looking at a few good low snow events take 2007 and 2008 they where dry years but we had a lot of low snow events and cold snaps

    • Xerophobe

      At least it’s not progged to stay around for a week like what can happen in summer. I’m looking forward to it ‘cuz I live on the coast, but hope it doesn’t put some of my non-native deciduous trees into leaf burn-out like a couple did last year when there was a spike in temps around mid-October. They never turned color just died on the tree and didn’t fall off.

      Some years rain doesn’t come often or heavy until mid-December or even January. The models have been pretty consistent with this type of late start scenario. Who knows? November’s CFSv2 model forecast for DJF might be what we will get.

      • Kamau40

        Very true.

  • Xerophobe

    Found a cool link this morning while looking into ITCZ. It may be too Wx 101 for some here, but it’s right up my alley for a lot of ‘stuff’. 🙂

    http://www.srh.weather.gov/jetstream/matrix.htm

    • craig matthews

      Xerophobe, not too wx 101 for me. Its perfect! Explanations of heat transfer in the ocean and atmosphere nicely laid out. And much much more!

      • Xerophobe

        My brain is scrambled so it’s all 101 for me.

  • lightning10

    I read that it been a sad season for pumpkin loves in California. Water restrictions and the lack of rain have made for a poor season.

  • Dan the Weatherman

    It is currently 96.6 in Orange right now. Fortunately, the Santa Ana winds have been weak, so it has just been breezy here, but the humidity is very low. That is significant because my area is very prone to strong Santa Ana winds due to being close to Santa Ana Canyon and the Santa Ana Mountains.

    • xeren

      i lived near santa ana growing up, and as a kid always thought that santa ana winds came from that city for some reason 🙂

    • Weatherwatcher

      Wasnt very bad today. I prefer dry heat over even 80 degrees and muggy. And here in north county sd coast not even offshore wind. Just west winds went to vista and still no offshore einds. Which is a good sign for fires. Might pick up tomorrow but looks to be pretty moderate/isolated to valleys and slopes.

  • David Thomas

    the 1.5 ecw has a big pattern chages come around the 27 of OCT and it stays like this in NOV the 1.5 ECW comes out once a week normly around this time it would be some in too see if the long ranges GFS can start picking this up next week has the GFS is now heading in too late OCT it will all so be some in if other mode runs can start picking this up

    I wounder if the ECW is picking up on this wish is now TD 19W

    • SoCalWXwatcher

      If that verifies we’d be in for a wet Halloween. It would be great news for California, but there’d be a lot of unhappy goblins.

    • C M

      I am skeptical of any science behind day to day forecasts beyond 10 days. However, I do recall that 2012 had a strong early October heat wave which was followed by some rain around mid month. Some parts of the Bay Area got thunderstorms as well but didn’t get any in South San Jose. Same in 2010, a sharp heat wave in late September/early October lead to some rain in October and some thunderstorms in November.

      Despite our rainfall sharply peaking in January/February, the few memories I have of thunderstorms have been either in fall or spring. Is it due to the nature of the systems that come during the shoulder season as opposed to mid-winter or is it the warmer air temperatures themselves?

    • Fantasy Land. We all know the forecasted rain will turn into a RRR pattern. I hate being pessimistic, but history does not amuse me.

  • craig matthews

    GFS doesn’t let up on the big ridge off our north America west coast/Northeast Pacific way out beyond 10 days. Insane!

    • Kamau40

      Craig-
      This is a massive ridge if this verifies. We are, however, in a transitional seasonal period so this could also change; therefore, I wouldn’t put to much trust into any models, especially the GFS at this time. Just a side note, in years past, when we see a weather pattern of this magnitude, during this time of year, it often would last for about 2-3 weeks before finally breaking down with some sort of undercutting jet or that the ridge would move East. Still though overall, Oct is typically a warm and dry month for Ca

      • craig matthews

        Yeah. This being in fantasy land I hope we see a change in the next run. Like how these models change when they forecast a storm off our coast.

    • It does show a pretty extreme ridging scenario, although with the coming injection of supertyphoon remnants into the Westerlies early next week there could be some increased variability in the pattern (I suppose this could also be the cause of the extremely amplified ridging in the first place).

    • That’s it!!! I am making a “I survived the RRR” Shirt. Lol

      • RSpringbok

        If the RRR returns this winter: “I survived the RRR but my lawn didn’t.”

      • xeren

        it’s not over- you haven’t survived it yet!

  • thunderstorm98

    Record high for Santa Maria, 100 degrees!

  • inclinejj

    93.3 degrees in Pacifica today!

    • Kamau40

      That is hot for Pacifica. But, it can get that hot during this time of year or during the month of Oct at the beaches, nothing unusual. I have lived there for many years.

  • big_oil

    as a long-time reader of your enjoyable blog, long-time Human-Caused Climate Change Denier and long-time geologist who believes that the current N. Pacific water temps could be related to higher-than-average, widespread heat flow from the mantle/crust upward to that region’s ocean waters, I read this article hoping to find substantiation of – or at least further comment on – your short version statement “Human-caused climate change has increased the likelihood of extremely high atmospheric pressure over the North Pacific Ocean, which suggests…”…but there was nothing…please comment as to why this statement was made…thanx !

    • Skeptical Science has a nice piece on this very topic:
      http://www.skepticalscience.com/heatflow.html

      To put things in perspective, the upward heat flux from the Earth’s interior is on the order of thousands of times smaller than the downward heat flux from the sun.

      The statement regarding the increased likelihood of extreme high pressure stems from our recently published study, which I discuss on the second page of the blog post: http://weatherwest.com/archives/1797/2 .

      Interestingly, one of the other papers I discuss above (Funk et al. 2014) finds that the record-warm North Pacific SSTs you mention were extremely unlikely to have occurred without greenhouse warming.

      • big_oil

        good link…the article appears to discuss TOTAL earth energy (both upward and solar) flows, which spread kind of uniformly over the planet …what i’m talking about is instead a (relatively speaking) point source of mantle-derived heat off the coast of western Canada, which lines up pretty well with the current area of high ocean temps in the Gulf of Alaska…thanx for the discussion and keep up the good work !

        • xeren

          do you have a link that talks about this point of heat west of canada? as WW said, heating from inside the earth is miniscule compared to the amount of energy that comes from the sun

        • big_oil: Can you point to evidence of what would have to be a truly monumental and suddenly appearing “point source of mantle driven heat?” Or are you just making this up? 😉

          • big_oil

            my bad…I was using “point source” as comparison to the diffuse energy arriving from the sun…of course I should instead have been precise and just said “Juan de Fuca Ridge and Aleutian Trench”…sorry…my whole point is that there are potentially these two “local” heat sources available to explain the warm Gulf of Alaska waters (rather than struggle to explain how solar energy could somehow come to be focused on the Gulf of Alaska)

          • And do you now understand why that cannot be the case here? And will you make that case to those who promote this as an explanation? As a “geologist,” whose credibility might appear to be worth trusting when it comes to matters such as quantifying the effect of geological processes on the oceans and climate, I’m sure you understand the importance of pursuing the facts wherever they lead and correcting those who incorrectly attribute ocean warming to this source.

          • big_oil

            no, I don’t “understand why that cannot be the case”…[neither do I understand why this has become a personal issue requiring you to lecture me on the fundamentals of science…I could lecture you back about the history of science and why good scientists never rule anything out – but won’t stoop that low…enough already, i’m done with this back and forth]

          • 😉

        • Kamau40

          Here are a couple of great highly important articles regarding earth and climate I highly recommend for review. Now, this is clearly out of the box thinking based on facts not one’s assertions or biased opinions on how our climate system works.
          http://object.cato.org/sites/cato.org/files/serials/files/regulation/1992/4/v15n2-9.pdf
          http://people.duke.edu/~ns2002/pdf/EARTH_1890.pdf

          • big_oil

            Kamau, thanx for the links…let me be quick to say that I never wanted this to become a global warming discussion; only that I was disappointed to see nothing further after Weather West made a sweeping (and I continue to think unsubstantiated) statement about a link between so-called human-caused global warming and the current CA drought…instead, my main point is that the juxtaposition of currently higher-than-normal Gulf of Alaska water temps with mantle/crustal heat leakage points, such as the Juan de Fuca Ridge and Aleutian Trench, merits more credibility than the notion that solar energy has somehow, mysteriously focussed solar-derived heat in that particular region of the oceans…Occam’s Razor would suggest we look instead for local point (or perhaps, better said, sub-linear crustal fracture) sources, such as the two mentioned above…thanx again

    • geopower

      One geologist to another, here are a few quick logic checks on the crustal heat flow hypothesis as far as the SST anomaly:
      * Daniel actually understated the difference between solar and geothermal incident energy. It’s on the order of tens of thousands of times different. Average crustal heat flow in oceanic crust is about 0.1 watts/m2. Average solar radiation is more than 1300 watts/m2.
      * As we all know from using the stove, heating water from the bottom does not just create a warm pool at the top of a pot. Heating by conduction is very slow, and creates density instabilities in fluids, which set up convection cells. If there were something on the bottom of the ocean providing enough heat to raise surface temperatures that much you’d see some pretty crazy upwellings, and disturbances to the vertical zoning of the water column, which haven’t been happening.
      * When they do happen these “hydrothermal mega plumes” don’t make it to the surface. They collapse as they cool and are notable mostly for their interesting water chemistry. If they ever did make it to surface, the unique water chemistry would be very notable and apparent to oceanographers.
      * Any point source of heat on the order of what you are proposing would require massive undersea eruptions (think Deccan Traps) which we’d pretty well know about.
      *There’s no pool of warm water sitting over the Mid Atlantic Ridge, nor over Loihi the undersea volcano at Hawaii, two of today’s most active sites of undersea volcanism. It’s because the heat they put out is too little, too deep, and too easily dissipated.

      Some good papers of hydrothermal plumes from spreading centers are: Murton et al., 2006, on the Carlsbad ridge; Baker et al., 1995, on the Juan de Fuca ridge; and Bemis et al., 1993, on the Juan de Fuca. I’m sorry they don’t seem to be available free online, so I can’t post links. They give a sense of the total scale of heat release from these events, and it’s many orders of magnitude less than needed to heat all that water in the Gulf of Alaska.

      • big_oil

        great reply…and good to see more geological (i.e, ULTRA long-term and “downward – looking”) input to the current climate debate – even if you disagree with me…hundreds of well logs I’ve seen show constant sea level and climate change for hundreds of millions of years, so i’m always amused (shocked, actually) by climatologists pointing to the “greatest XYZ changes of the last one hundred years” and believing that anything they have to say has any statistical significance whatsoever…it’s like standing at the rim of the Grand Canyon and saying that the 1/8″ of dirt under your boots tells you something of importance about earth history…and of course that’s either because climatologists aren’t trained to think about what’s down below or because they’ve never been to the Grand Canyon or considered its implications…as for your ruling out sub-sea heat for the Gulf of Alaska: I completely agree that heat generated mid-ocean (e.g., Hawaii) would dissipate – but the Gulf is at the end of the Pacific cul-de-sac and any heated water would have nowhere else to go…would it be in sufficient quantity to result in the observed heat anomaly ?…probably not – but I’m thinking that there’s no logical mechanism for solar heat to be concentrated there either…so i’d look for a “local” heat source rather than call upon one from afar…thanx for the discussion !

  • Utrex

    The reason I think for the extreme high pressure was the La Ninã atmosphere and deep -AO. The La Ninã established blocking over CA and the deep -AO swings made the jet stream very weak and hardly scratching the surface of the high. Eventually the jet strengthened as the AO went positive and the ridge began amplifying where a low pressure system cut the ridge in half.

    • Kamau40

      Very Interesting observation regarding La Niña & the deep -AO. The last strong La Niña episode was during the 2010-11 season which was our last banner precipitation year. I do like how you linked the jet stream and the two global tele-connections together. You may very well be onto something which makes a lot sense. More research should be done on that possibility. Thanks for your intelligent and insightful input.

  • Utrex

    Strong WWB burst forecasted next week! (click on the image due to loading error)

    • Brett

      What does a WWB burst portend?

      • Utrex

        Trade winds (easterly winds coming from the east) are bad for an El Niño since they push warm water eastward. Westerly winds (coming from the west) push warmer water eastward and helping strengthen the El Niño ocean. The atmosphere is already in a sure El Niño state with more westerly winds. The ocean just needs to catch up. A westerly wind burst or a WWB is a stronger push of westerly winds that can even induce a Kelvin Wave.

        • Utrex

          I meant to say “bad for an El Niño since they push warm water westward.” fixed it.

        • xeren

          I think you meant to say “Westerly winds (coming from the west) push warmer water eastward and help strengthen the El Niño ocean.”

          • Utrex

            Fixed

        • Suggested edit: “Westerly winds (coming from the west) push warmer water EASTWARD and help strengthen the El Niño ocean.”

  • Bob G

    A couple of the most recent long term weather forecasts I’ve read stated beyond ten days the high pressure ridge is going to shift north to the Gulf of Alaska and allow storms to come directly into California. I know how inaccurate these are but I am hoping this one comes to fruition

    • BlackRoseML

      The GFS actually shows the high pressure up to its maximum range. It is there on the 168, which is in the “horizon of credibility” and persists until the end.

      • Archeron

        Fortunately what is different though this time around is the low pressure systems that have been forming in the GOA in addition. We can hope that those are enough to help make a difference this year as far as storm systems making it through to us.

      • Utrex

        Gfs has been far more inaccurate than the Euro these past few months.

    • Xerophobe

      for DJF

      The warm SST’s in GOA and possibly between 40 to 60 degrees North Lat. and dateline East to NA, IMHO is the wild card -IF- the ridge shifts north of GOA this winter. (Or shifts anywhere north, NE or NW 1000-1500 miles). Or we could be dry (not as) if it resets to last year’s position. I’m looking forward to the November seasonals. I still feel the CFSv2 is inflated somehow for SSTA, Precip and Temp. Hope not for precip, of course.

      • Utrex

        I don’t think this year will be a repeat of last year.
        I’m still expecting a very wet mid-october to late november. Note that the PDO is positive, the El Niño atmosphere has begun to respond, and, well, the MJO is active this year. AMO is dropping and wading around negative. AO is being neutral so far except for a dip to negative for the week. SOI is being negative for a pretty long time. IOD has starting going positive.

        • tomocean

          Yes. I would say that the indicators are pointing towards a more active rainy season. The law of averages would seem to be in our favor as well.

        • Xerophobe

          I don’t think so, either, I have a hunch on the wet side but I don’t want to jinx anything. I’m looking at some reanalysis and still need to look at actual indexes to see if my “rank amateur guess” comes to fruition. .I am hoping for a -AO and -NAO, too. The SOI was progged to bump up a little this week and then is forecast to trend lower..all good signs. I don’t understand the QBO switch, can you point me somewhere or explain it?

    • I don’t see any evidence of this–in fact, the long-range models are showing some really consistent and strong ridging days 10-16. Lots of West Pacific typhoon energy, though, and these high-amplitude patterns can change fast.

  • Weatherwatcher

    Saw a big plume of smoke eatluer to the north east. Looked it up and its showing a fire in la but how would you be able too see that from north county sd?
    Edit: was fire in camp pedelton but that isnt to the north east.

  • 100 degrees in San Jose right now. Crazy!

    • craig matthews

      Wow! You getting any breeze up there? I am right next to the ocean and it has been calm all afternoon. Temp in the low 90’s. No sign of a marine layer as far as the eye can see.

      • No breeze. Just very warm and dry. Looks like we will be stuck in a heat wave for a while.

  • Lycanthus

    An hour before sunset and still 93F in northern Marin county. The breeze, when it does blow from the east, feels more like the desert southwest where I grew up, than somewhere coastal.

  • Ian Alan

    High of 71 after a low of 53 – I bet Santa Maria did or got close to a record again today?

  • craig matthews

    Potential another typhoon developing west north west of the dateline. Good spot to initiate a good WWB. Might jiggle up this wavy pattern a bit too.

    • C M

      How often do the remains of such typhoon bring rain directly to California? Also is it possible for the remains of Hurricane Simon to bring some shower activity to Southern California?

      • craig matthews

        I don’t know exactly how often. But from what I know, typhoon remains are more often drawn into the westerlies and are merged into storm systems that develop in the north pacific/Gulf of Alaska. October 12, 2009, remains of a WP typhoon was picked up by a fast moving jet coming out of Asia across the central Pacific. The remains then merged with a Low that developed in the gulf of Alaska, which together brought record rain to atleast the northern half of CA, and also the Pacific Northwest. Also, check out “Columbus Day Storm, 1962”. A similar weather event where remains of a WP typhoon merged with a powerful Gulf of Alaska Low. There are probably others, don’t remember.

        • Mike Stephenson

          December 2010: A Cat 5 typhoon made its way up and around the jet stream and was the seed for a powerful storm that anchored itself in the gulf of alaska for a week straight giving us a pineapple express in all of CA. It rained for about a week straight, I was there for the corona airport flood. The storm finally dropped down the coast and gave us a bit of serve weather also. It was a mess, i was riding my jet ski into peoples hangars and helping them save their equipment. There were entire planes underwater. I also helped save this guys nice new truck that was outta town while his hangar was flooding, water inches from going in the cab. If the pic didn’t show up :

          (Not actually my hangar, just found the pic online, but my work had a storage hangar below the pic where it was deeper, we saved a lot of stuff but couldn’t get it all out, we lost thousands in parts that were ruined by silt and water damage.)

        • Kamau40

          In more recent years, the yrs in which we got substantial precipitation from a Western Typhoon that got entrained into the westerlies from the Pacific are as follows:
          Oct ’92, Oct ’97, Oct ’04, Oct ’09. The fact the western Pacific is getting more active, the potential is there for us to get something sometime before the end of the month.

          • Dan the Weatherman

            All four of those years led to wet winters in CA, or at least in Socal. We need a storm sometime later this month to affect the region that contains the remnants of a Westpac typhoon!

          • Kamau40

            Yes, I do remember all of those years very well. In fact, I remember prior to the winter of those years, I predicted and told people that it would be wet and it all played out. The Western Pacific including the Polar jet stream was also very active during the early Fall season of those years much like now. Also, with the exception of ’92, all were weak El Nino years with a +PDO. But, 1997 which was of course the strongest El Nino year of the century that brought record precipitation to the state.

  • Kamau40

    Drought update. The current Ca drought is continuing to have significant impact on the state’s lakes, rivers and reservoirs and the fact is the numbers tell the whole story. We are finally approaching the start of the rainy season here in the West. While Oct is one of our warmest and sometimes driest months of the year, historically speaking, the polar jet stream starts to slowly sag south with some storms hitting Washington, Oregon and far North-Western Ca until about mid Nov and the subsequent weeks following, things should start turning wetter for us. Let’s hope that will be the pattern we will start to see developing over the next six weeks.
    http://www.wunderground.com/blog/weatherhistorian/comment.html?entrynum=309

    • craig matthews

      I can’t imagine another dry winter. Aside from the economy, that would be catastrophic to the landscape. If a region, that receives a plentiful wet season, suddenly receives wet seasons more equivalent to death valley, the landscape will no doubt start to look like death valley after a while. California native plant/tree species are so stressed already. How much more of this dryness can the natural vegetation take? Statistically we should have wetter winters ahead. But that doesn’t mean we will in the nearer future.

      • Kamau40

        True!

        • Mike Stephenson

          I think this winter will be a test, since there will likely be a light to moderate el nino and other conditions different, we will see if the RRR returns or not. Lets not get our panties in a bunch too early!

          • That would be horrible! Another dry year and it will be a disaster. Major dams will most likely have their flows cut off.

    • alanstorm

      Eel river (3rd largest watershed entirely in Calif 3000+ sq mi) is running DRY at its mouth. (Under gravel) This is unprecedented for such a huge, wild river draining rainforest-like ecosystems.. Major salmon die-off occurring in other big wild rivers up here. Very depressing. Not sure what I’ll do if the friggin RRR blows up in January again….
      What’s the status of El Nino?

      • Kamau40

        SOI has been in negative territory for quite a while now since the end of July. Another strong WWBs maybe developing about at the same time when yet another potential major typhoon developing in the Western Pacific over the next few days. There are a couple of nice healthy looking kelvin waves moving east along the equator and surfacing. All of these conditions could very well help favor up to at least a weak “possibly” up to moderate strength El Nino by late Fall. See latest kelvin wave below:
        http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/products/analysis_monitoring/enso_update/wkxzteq.shtml

  • Guest

    I was bored and I put this picture together.

  • I made this picture earlier to represent what is going on.

    • craig matthews

      The picture of the pond in the reservoir; where is that?

      • It’s the Chesbro Dam in Morgan Hill. It’s a dead pool right now. At 0.6% of capacity.

        • craig matthews

          I was up there a couple a years ago. Must have been after 2011 because it was up toward the top.

          • Yep. The good old days. Unfortunately that is not the case as of right now. I have never seen anything like this…

          • craig matthews

            Do you ever get up to Henry Coe State Park? Lots of nice bass ponds up there. Or, there use to be ponds up there. San Antonio Lake 4 percent of capacity in south Monterey Co. The fish that are left down there are going belly up with the water temp over 88 degrees! Gonna take years to recover when it fills up again.

          • I haven’t been up there yet. I might try it. But I think I will be disappointed.

        • craig matthews

          Maybe the fishing is better when they have to consolidate to a downsizing reserve of water like that. Might help catch the big one like your photo. Ha!

          • I might have to give that a try soon. Thanks for the idea!

          • William_D

            Tom Stienstra of the SF Chronicle addressed that idea earlier this year in one of his columns. His point, based on his extensive experience and contacts, is that with the greatly reduced habitat under these conditions the fish populations take a really hard hit. No, fishing is not better, and when the reservoir finally fills again things are a lot worse than before.

          • I am expecting the fish to die soon due to lack of oxygen. We have lost a lot of fish during this year. I haven’t fished in months. Everywhere is just depressing. I actually feel bad for the fish.

        • Xerophobe

          How do they measure capacity to tenths of a percent now? Or is it 6%. In 76-77 I remember seeing the list of south county dams and their volumes and I think Coyote, Anderson and Vasona (which isn’t more than a pond anyway) as the only ones with water.

          • I’m not sure. Thy measure it in Acre-Feet which Chesbro is at 50 Acre-Feet.

          • Xerophobe

            LOL ….of course…do the math! 🙂

  • lightning10

    Interesting Temperature inversion tonight. Some parts of Whittier hills are stuck in the low 80s tonight! at 3 AM

  • Xerophobe

    91 yesterday out on the MRY peninsula 1/2 mile from the surf. It cools off here in the evening but had off shore flow yesterday evening. How hot was it in Cachagua? Cachagua1?

    • Cachagua1

      That is hot for your spot. 91 at my house yesterday. Now its already 91 at 11am now so I think its hotter today. I’m headed up to the swimming hole below L.P dam. Get in a couple of swims before the chill.

      • Xerophobe

        Any thoughts on dredging before it turns into mud puddle?
        I understand it’s really dry up there. Do you have any comparison to 75-77 years?

        Temp differences as you know tend to flatten out this time of year. Thought you might have hit 100 or even a couple higher. Like Craig mentioned in another post it can be warmest ’till late morning, then onshore flow is like flipping the A/C on.

        • Cachagua1

          The lake level is higher now then this time last year. CalAm not releasing as much water with the San Clemente Dam removal project downstream. Fish n Game doing a big steelhead release soon below the dam. I hope I can watch. Just hope the Carmel River makes the big push this winter, so these fish survive. Nobody out here remembers it being this dry, even in the mid 1970’s. Live oaks are taking the hit the worst. Don’t know if that’s insects or disease or both, with the drought to kill so many trees like this. Never been seen before. Glad to see other folks in the area on this blog too, over the hill n big sur and you and another somebody in Moss Landing?? While you guys cool off it gets hotter out here. 99 degrees today! Stay cool my friend!

          • Kunder

            Most of the live oaks here have sparse and yellowish foliage, and some have turned completely brown. The blue oaks haven’t been hit as bad, and I know they regrow even if they lose all their leaves. Not sure about the live oaks.

          • Cachagua1

            Valley oaks are doing the same thing where I am at. Just like your area. We have some blue oaks and black oaks up higher that have browned out too. Not to worried about the deciduous trees. They go to sleep while the live oaks appear to stay awake, which might be to their demise. Local arborists are saying its a combo of insects, disease, and the bad drought. The latest heat is really doing damage. I have noticed trees browning out just in the last week!

          • Xerophobe

            Let us (me) know when if you find out in advance about the steelhead. BTW most live oaks on my property are suffering big time. Thanks for the 70’s update. The ‘zero’ rain sandwiched between two seasons is doing the number here too, but nothing like where you are.

          • Cachagua1

            I got a friend on the inside who supposedly will let me know about the next steelhead release, which might be by helicopter(rumor). They might have already done one. 101 degrees right now(2pm Sunday).

  • Kamau40

    Something to keep in mind, Oct is usually the peak of the warmest time of the year. What I have observed in years past, when we start getting string of very hot days like we currently have going, usually there will eventually be a significant synoptic weather pattern change at some point down the road.

    • craig matthews

      Long range computers are hinting at a change after mid month. Which I know is fantasy land, but it somewhat goes with the pattern of late. If we are still stuck in the same weather pattern as last winter, which was about 1 storm a month at best. Then we’d expect one storm just before Halloween, and the next storm around Thanksgiving. Fortunately, the key oscillations that affect CA precip have switched in our favor over this last year. Don’t know what that really means, and SSTAs are still high across almost the entire north pacific. But it seams like the changes in those key oscillations should cause a change to the weather pattern in the eastern north pacific at some point. There is more typically a delayed response to changes in oscillations taking place upstream(or downstream too) of western North America. Which could mean we might have to wait a while longer for that weather pattern change we are hoping to bring back the wet weather pattern to CA. And the wet weather pattern would consist of a series of storms off and on over a longer period of time, not just one or two storms a month. I still think we are not going to see a major weather pattern change off the west coast until around or after Christmas, as much as I and lots more would rather see it happen sooner. You already know all of this. Just throwing my 2 cents in there. Thanks

      • I hope you are correct!

        • craig matthews

          Yeah, we shall see. CFS still shows some semblance to a wet December January February. This model will be right someday. Would be nice if its right this time around.

      • Kamau40

        Craig-
        I agree with the scope of your well thought out observations and analysis, which is what I have also been witnessing the key oscillations changes throughout the course of this year. We maybe in a similar weather pattern like what we saw during the Fall of 1992-93 season, which was right at the end of the long almost 7 yr. Ca drought at that time. Most of Oct of ’92 was very dry and warm until right before Holloween we finally got our first real beneficial Pacific storm of the year and it was nice drenching soaking rain and heavy snowfall in the Sierra’s for Nor.Cal and even made it all the down to So.Cal. When we entered into Nov. the whole month was very warm with record dry weather. At that time I remember being nervous of having another bone dry year. But, when we got into the first week in Dec ’92, the undercutting of the southern jet stream began and we got prolonged heavy storms, especially during the month of Jan ’93 that continued well into the Spring months of the same year with record rain/snowfall that of course ended the long severe drought at that time. Due to the severity of this current drought and the huge deficits, I doubt that we will get enough precipitation to end the drought this year without the devastating consequences of having catastrophic floods in the state. It is certainly not impossible for this to happen, especially if we get a couple of serious atmospheric river events, but it is unlikely. Otherwise, expect that it will take a good 2 to possibly even 3 good rainy seasons to get us out of this hole. If we do get a similar weather pattern like what we witnessed during the 1992-93 season, we could be well our way which would put at least a dent in the drought. Let’s keep hoping and praying for a great season ahead.

        • Dan the Weatherman

          It would certainly be nice to get a 1992-93 repeat, as that was very wet here in Socal as well. As I have been seeing mentioned in the dialogue above, the ocean oscillation patterns have definitely changed from the last couple of years to a pattern more favorable for us. The September index updates have not come out yet, but the +PDO is certainly more favorable for us, despite that the AMO index was more positive last month. It doesn’t really seem to matter what the AMO is when the PDO is positive, as opposed to the opposite when the PDO is negative, then the AMO appears to have more bearing on our weather patterns. With the Atlantic hurricane season being so quiet, I am wondering if the AMO may beginning to trend more negative, but the more immediate cause of the inactivity is likely westerly upper level wind shear in portions of the tropical Atlantic along with a lot of Saharan dust (Saharan Air Layer (SAL)).

    • Archeron

      I know there is nothing scientific about it, but usually before major weather changes my joints ache alot. They have been since yesterday….maybe im being overly optimistic.

    • rob b

      Sure hope you’re correct Kamu40… As I look out at my thermometer here in the Diablo Valley it shows over 100 currently. Hopefully we see that change around mid/late October. I remember many warm/hot Oct that flipped quickly to a cooler rainier pattern towards the end of the month.

  • craig matthews

    Sea breeze kicking in earlier in Monterey. Temp was 85 at 10am, now 76 at 12pm according to station site report. Same goes in Big Sur. Overnight low of 81, and now its 79 at noon! Strange temp spread, but it feels great!

  • hermit crab

    I think we here in the Santa Barbara area should collaborate on a tv drama called Ninetysomething.

    • SlashTurn

      Ya I’m over it… My low temp up on San Marcos rd last night was 84!! Low humidity has made it somewhat bearable…

      • Dan the Weatherman

        Were you getting a warm offshore Santa Ana breeze last night that kept the temperature elevated?

        • SlashTurn

          Yes but very subtle, maybe a 25mph gust here and there, but consistent.

          I live on a southern aspect spur ridge In the SY range (Santa Barbara/Goleta) right in the sweet spot for NNE sundowner winds almost year round so im pretty used to warm nights, but this is ridiculous…

          • Zepp

            I’ve got kin just below you near Cathedral Oaks, and they tell me that it was 104 today. Nasty. 91 up here on Shasta. Light winds here, and we did get 4 inches of rain about ten days ago, so conditions aren’t nearly as terrifying as they are for you.

          • Dan the Weatherman

            84 degrees is definitely hot for a night in Socal, especially in your location being as close to the ocean as it is being above the Santa Barbara / Goleta area, unless you are further inland than I think.

  • Sunchaser

    My new friend ” Simon ” unfortunately not going to impact us here in So Cal bu there is light at the end of the tunnel from what I have been reading today

    http://weather.unisys.com/hurricane/e_pacific/2014/SIMON/sat_ir_s.gif

  • Kamau40

    Today was another very hot day and tomorrow looks to be even a bit hotter than today. San Francisco set a new record for to date 100 degrees. There have been quite a few places that has broken records of 100 degree temperatures. According to the SF AFD, here are some records highs for Nor Cal all the way down to Monterey county today:

    Climate…record high temperatures for Saturday (10/4)
    along with the date(s) it occurred.

    San Francisco Bay area
    location……………..10/4…
    Kentfield…………….99/1987/1933
    San Rafael…………..100/1980
    Napa………………..100/1987
    San Francisco………..100/1987
    sfo Airport…………..95/1987
    Oakland (downtown)…….92/1987/1985
    Oakland Airport……….90/1953
    Richmond……………..99/1987
    Livermore……………106/1980
    Moffett field…………94/1987
    San Jose……………..96/1987
    Gilroy………………103/1980

    Monterey Bay area
    location……………..10/4…
    Monterey……………..94/1953
    Santa Cruz…………..101/1987
    Salinas………………98/1987
    Salinas Airport………100/1987
    King City……………106/1933

  • Kamau40

    In the longer range beyond 10 days, there are still some subtle hints that the very strong high pressure system currently over the West Coast will eventually shift north toward the Gulf of Alaska and may allow the storm door to begin opening up. Something to continue to watch.Tahoe Weather Geek
    Forecast summaries for Tahoe residents and Sierra-bound travelers

    Oct 2, 2014

    A ridge of high pressure over the western US will keep Tahoe dry for at least the next week to 10 days, with warmer than normal temperatures through the weekend.

    Highs through Sunday will be in the low 70s around the Lake and even at the mountain passes above the Tahoe Basin.

    The high pressure is expected to weaken a bit at the beginning of next week, allowing a weak flow to move in from the Pacific as an area of low pressure slides into Southern California. That change is likely to bring slightly cooler temperatures to Tahoe but no precipitation for Northern California.

    The longer range outlook shows the ridge shifting north toward the Gulf of Alaska during the second week of October, which would at least open the storm door to weather coming our way from the Pacific.

    We will keep our eye on that scenario and keep you posted about any expected changes in our weather.

    • Bob G

      This looks like yhe forecast from the Tahoe Weather Queek blog

      • Kamau40

        Yes that is exactly where the above discussion is from. I have discovered they are usually very accurate too in their mid to long range forecasting. They are very much in the same league as with Bryan Allegretto and Howard Schectner. Both are excellent weather teams I highly recommend to follow.

        • Bob G

          I have been following that site for over a year. I like the forcasts. The site was not active during the summer when I checked. It apear it is mostly a wet season blog. I follow Howard too and Richard Stolee.

          • Dan the Weatherman

            Howard Scechter’s blog is the only one of the the three that are active year-round. The other two, Brian Allegretto and Tahoe Weather Geek are mainly active in the fall, winter, and spring when the winter storms with snow come through.

  • redlands

    test

  • redlands

    Was a toasty 107 in Redlands, Ca Today 10-4-2014
    ( September 2014 ) at my station ended up the 4th Warmest – Maximum – records back to 1981. It featured 16 days with 100 And Above – a record for September. 3 days in a row with 110-plus — 111,111, and 111 – which also is a record for September. We had 8 days in a row with 100 And Above – which averaged out to 107.6250 — the last 4 days averaged out to 86.00 – which turned September 2014 – the hottest September up till just the last few days to the 4th Warmest September. We only got 0.01 of rain for September – after getting 1.42 in August 2014. Was disappointing we didn’t receive any rain from the hurricanes done south. September 2014 Minimum ended up the 3rd Warmest overnight lows.
    Overall September 2014 was a hot month – Maximum and Minimum.

    • Dan the Weatherman

      September 2014 was a very hot month here in inland Orange County as well, and a very muggy one at that.

  • BlackRoseML

    This night is bad. It didn’t get below 70.

    Hopefully, this would come to fruition. The GEM is the only medium-term forecast that does not predict a ridge over the Western United States. I absolutely hate ridges.

    http://www.tropicaltidbits.com/analysis/models/gem/2014100500/gem_z500a_namer_41.png

    • Weatherwatcher

      Ya before the big huge high pressure trough comes in for more santa anas :/. I remember may here on the coast the stop lights were swinging. Hopefully we dont have a santa ana like that soon..

  • David Thomas

    the GFS has a pattern chages comeing around the 17th of OCT

    the 00z at 360hrs

    http://mag.ncep.noaa.gov/data/gfs/00/gfs_npac_360_850_temp_mslp_precip.gif

    looks like the 00z has other one right be hid it

    http://mag.ncep.noaa.gov/data/gfs/00/gfs_npac_384_850_temp_mslp_precip.gif

    the 06z all so have some short of patttern chage but not like the 00z runs where it has light rain at 360 for this about ever one

    http://mag.ncep.noaa.gov/data/gfs/06/gfs_npac_384_850_temp_mslp_precip.gif

    the 12z is wettest out of the other 2 all so it brings the pattern chages in the fastest around the 17th of OCT

    http://mag.ncep.noaa.gov/data/gfs/12/gfs_npac_216_850_temp_mslp_precip.gif

    http://mag.ncep.noaa.gov/data/gfs/12/gfs_npac_228_850_temp_mslp_precip.gif

    http://mag.ncep.noaa.gov/data/gfs/12/gfs_npac_264_850_temp_mslp_precip.gif

    http://mag.ncep.noaa.gov/data/gfs/12/gfs_npac_276_850_temp_mslp_precip.gif

    http://mag.ncep.noaa.gov/data/gfs/12/gfs_npac_300_850_temp_mslp_precip.gif

    http://mag.ncep.noaa.gov/data/gfs/12/gfs_npac_324_850_temp_mslp_precip.gif

    http://mag.ncep.noaa.gov/data/gfs/12/gfs_npac_336_850_temp_mslp_precip.gif

    http://mag.ncep.noaa.gov/data/gfs/12/gfs_npac_348_850_temp_mslp_precip.gif

    looks like we get a break then other storms come in

    http://mag.ncep.noaa.gov/data/gfs/12/gfs_npac_384_850_temp_mslp_precip.gif

    and more right be hid that one

    but this is the 1st real run that shows a storm for us around the 21st but i want too see a few more runs and i want too see this moved down the time line with out droping it but we could see a good mod rain event some where around the 17 too 21st

    cant wait for the 18zs

    • Zepp

      Your ‘pattern change’ suggests British Columbia will get wet.
      Unfortunately, that’s the pattern we don’t want…

      • David Thomas

        sounds like you dont no how too read mode runs take other look at the 324hrs on the 12z and tell me what you see

        • C M

          Doesn’t matter; any forecast beyond 10 days is less reliable than guessing based on climatological norms. I’m just hoping for one big rain event before the month is over. October usually produces between 1-4 rain days in the Bay Area. Although the number of days is low, we have the potential get a lot in one system. I also think it’s the most likely month to get thunderstorms in the Bay Area (correct me if I’m wrong on this one).

          • David Thomas

            i dont care what you guys may think if the gfs has a pattern chages at the end and its been on a few runs now i will post it re grade less on what you guys may think about it this is a weather blog too where we come and shear weather info re grade less if the GFS has some in at 250hrs or way out at 360hrs if it shows a pattern chages then i will be post it

          • Stereolab

            And you’ll just be making a fool of yourself by doing so, sorry to say.

          • David Thomas

            if am a fool dos that make you a Idiot???

          • C M

            Okay; I’ll top you by posting a 45 day forecast;

            http://www.accuweather.com/en/us/san-jose-ca/95110/october-weather/347630

  • Utrex

    EMCWF has started to show a pattern change with a dropping PNA into the negatives (troughing in the West, ridging in the East) and AO at neutral. GFS was showing the WP index for its runs. Now the GFS is starting to convert to the EMCWF with PNA runs even though it’s 10+ days out. We can only cross our fingers and wish for the best.

    Below is the 12z GFS (the 12z tends to be the most accurate of the runs.)

    http://www.twisterdata.com/data/models/gfs/3/maps/2014/10/05/12/GFS_3_2014100512_F336_PCPIN_96_HR.png

    • Cliff Collipriest

      Looks like only Nor Cal get in on the fun, if it happens.

      • rob b

        That would make sense as was pointed out by an ealier comment, winter tends to start in Nor Cal and mid/late Nov hits So Cal. Also important to remember the major water storage for the state is in Nor/Central Cal (Shasta and Oroville etc).

        It’d be nice to see enough water that the Yolo Causeway is filled up again late winter. Always makes for a nice drive on I80 when headed to the Sierra Nevada.

    • C M

      Off topic, but is that a hurricane in Florida? My sister has a business trip to Tampa from October 14-16.

    • Weatherwatcher

      That would mean light rain here in socal, which ill take. Its a relife from this constant sunny/heat. Whenever it rarely rains i am in glee. But this is still in fairytale forecast and wouldnt count on it happening yet.

  • Dan the Weatherman

    It seems that we can’t cool down below 90 for more than 3-4 days before it heats right back up again. This repetitive pattern is just getting plain ridiculous now that we are into October. It may not be time for a wet pattern yet, but it is time for a more meaningful and longer lasting cool down to the point we don’t have a heat wave every week.

    • BlackRoseML

      I am hoping for the GEM forecast over the GFS. Who is the Saint of Chaos Theory so I could pray for the model or perturbations that favor something like the GEM outcome.

      http://www.tropicaltidbits.com/analysis/models/gfs/2014100512/gfs_z500a_namer_35.png

      http://www.tropicaltidbits.com/analysis/models/gem/2014100512/gem_z500a_namer_37.png

      • Dan the Weatherman

        The GEM model certainly looks much cooler with a trough over the intermountain west, which would likely be an inside slider pattern for Socal. That is a more typical fall pattern (second half of October / November) and after a cooler period, a Santa Ana would be possible if a surface high drops into that trough behind any low pressure system that comes into the trough.

        • BlackRoseML

          If the Santa Ana event happens, it happens. I just want some tangible relief. My mood became depressed when it humidity rose dramatically at 6:30 PM and it failed to drop below 70s at 5 AM last night. The first two days of the heat wave wasn’t so bad because the humidity during the night was low and there was no high clouds. I am apprehensive about tonight though.

          • Brett

            In all seriousness, if you dislike warm, sunny weather as much as you seem to according to this blog, maybe the Pacific Northwest would be a better location for you? I lived there for much of my life, and I much prefer it here in Folsom, where I’ve been for the last five years. But to each his own. Can’t be fun to be depressed about the weather all the time, though.

          • SlashTurn

            Wow, Folsom over the PN? To each his own as always….

          • Brett

            Most people I know from the Pacific Northwest complain about the grey all the time. I know, I grew up there. And that’s something to remember, from a psychological point of view, people ALWAYS complain about weather, no matter where they are. Having lived in England, Vancouver, BC, Portland, OR, Knoxville, TN, Bend, OR, and now Folsom, I’ve seen this first hand – each and every time. You have to travel a bit to see it and hear it, but it’s inevitable.

          • Brett

            And just remember, for most of country, California is considered a weather dream. In fact, polls demonstrate that people from other parts of the country regularly assume Californians are happier than they, simply because of climate alone.

          • SlashTurn

            I visit Seattle and Bellingham,Wa every summer (July August) and I would say 99% of the time the temps are in the 70s 80s with sunshine. I think that perception of the NW is highly exaggerated. No doubt from late September through May its cloudy with rain a good percentage but to say its always grey is reaching.

            And people in the NW seem a hell of a lot friendlier than the pretentious, superficial crowd down here in socal. Speaking from a Santa Barbara born and raised.

          • BlackRoseML

            Santa Barbara is better than Los Angeles and San Diego, at least from my perspective. I never experienced Seattle to have a strong preference for it. I went to Eureka once for a Summer trip eight years ago, and I enjoyed it.

          • Brett

            Sure, late June to mid-September is amazing. But the rest of the year is overcast much of the time. Remember, it’s not the rain amounts per se, it’s the drizzle and the constant dishrag grey across the sky. Again, I spent 20+ years there. I DO NOT miss that.

          • Brett

            “I think that perception of the NW is highly exaggerated.” But you admit yourself that you’ve only been there in the summer months, and never lived there. So that’s not a very representational sample. I had 20+ years there, 10 minutes from the Bellingham you speak of.

          • Brett

            Relevant story: My wife and kids and I moved from Knoxville, TN to Portland, OR one year, and we arrived in July. We were happy to escape the humidity of Tennessee. For two and a half months we thought we were in Heaven. I was like, “wow, this is different than Vancouver, BC!”. Then fall arrived, with the grey and the drizzle. And a year later we were ready to move. My wife suffered from SAD (seasonal affective disorder), and thus the constant, washed-out grey was especially depressing for her. So we moved to Bend, OR. Much sunnier! So, “check” on that. But the winter lasted from September to June – seriously. Too cold. So we moved again, 3 years later, to where we are now, in Folsom. And it’s the perfect fit. Sure, the summer’s can be a little toasty. But that’s a very small price to pay for rivers, rolling foothills, green trees, sunny skies, and a very moderate fall, winter and spring. I feel very, very lucky to live here. And came here by choice.

          • BlackRoseML

            So did you like Portland, or your wife did not. I cannot not emphasize with her, but I imagine she feels somewhat similar as I do now. I think I suffer from reverse SAD. I still get depressed during the winter, but it is a pensive depression and is accompanied by feelings of calm with no feelings of despair, and I do have productive thoughts. (My “depression” is usually about intellectual and philosophical topics that I like to ruminate over, and I do enjoy it.) The outdoors is much more inviting under a mild overcast day. This Sunday, I felt too irritated to go outside and go to Mass.

            I mean, did you prefer it over Tennessee? I think Tillamook is better as Portland can get too hot when high pressure builds in.

          • Brett

            I didn’t like Portland either. The weird thing is, even though I grew up in that kind of weather, once I had moved away, coming back made me REALLY notice the washed-out, greyness of everything for 3/4 of the year. And I didn’t like it at all. So while my wife was more affected than me, neither of us liked the Pacific Northwest weather-wise. Tennessee was great, except for the humidity – and that alone was a deal-breaker for me. Bend, OR was sunny and dry (high desert), but the winter-ish temperatures stuck around for far too long. Here in Folsom we have very low humidity, we’re against the foothills, with easy access to the mountains, and we have rivers around us. And it’s much greener than Bend was. So, other than the high temps in the summer (which really don’t bother me much – because the humidity is so low) it’s a really comfortable fit, with just enough rain and fog in the winter to keep me feeling balanced. 🙂

          • BlackRoseML

            Thanks, I looked up Folsom, and it is north enough to be away from the monsoonal moisture during the summer. I really do not mind hot days so much if there were low nightly lows.

          • Brett

            I hear you. That makes a big difference. Take today for instance. It got up to 92 here (very high for this time of year). But after dinner my wife and I went for a walk along the many river trails here in Folsom, and it was already down into the 70s, with low humidity. In other words, this time of year the temps drop quickly right at sunset. It’ll get down into the 50s overnight. I feel your pain living in SoCal. It’s a different experience than NorCal.

          • Brett

            One other thing: I’ll take 90 degrees with really low humidity over 80 with high humidity any day. Humidity makes such a difference.

          • Dan the Weatherman

            Where are located in Socal? The nights have been pleasant the last couple of nights with lows in the low-mid 60’s here in inland Orange County as the humidity has been lower.

          • BlackRoseML

            Well, California is milder than the Southwest, Gulf Coast, and Southern Atlantic, since the Pacific Ocean is the “better” ocean, although as Dan Swain pointed out, the evil RRR shut the California Current to prevent upwelling. So, even Southern California is objectively better than the aforementioned places. Northern California vs Southern California is a different issue, and has room for subjective preference. Perhaps, if it isn’t historically warm, as this year is, So Cal might be considered better, but I am now traumatized when I see ridging in any forecasting model within a credible time range. I’d prefer San Jose over SoCal. Do most people perceive SoCal better than NorCal? Well, I think I would like Seattle over SoCal. Even better would be Eureka or Tilla Mook Oregon.

            Regarding my mood, it is not the heat, but the relatively high humidity and horrible forecast that psychologically broke me. I would not be in this mood if there was a trough within 168 hours forecasted on the GFS (or another system) since 7 days is within the “window of credibility”. The humidity is too high for a cool night now, so my hope is having the forecast of the GEM. I didn’t even use my room air conditioner until Saturday night when I became unsure whether I would experience the mitigating effect of a low 60 night.

  • craig matthews

    Sea Surface Temperature Anomaly 10-2-14.

    • BlackRoseML

      what is it? is the blob mitigated?

    • Kamau40

      It seems like that even though the dates have changed, the SSTA seems to me that NOAA has the temp anomaly to be exactly the same as it has been for the last three months. How can that be? Something doesn’t seem right with this picture. Just my personal observation.

      • craig matthews

        Yeah. I went back and looked at the previous dates and almost no change. But there has been a subtle change east of Japan where that blue blob appears to be getting bigger(as far as I can tell). Also, the positive anomalies across the north pacific appear to have encompassed “the blob” so that it is not as defined as it was earlier this year. I think an animation of this would be a better look at if someone finds one to post.

  • Utrex
  • SlashTurn

    [URL=http://s1264.photobucket.com/user/ebses/media/sst_anom_zps6aa367cf.gif.html][IMG]http://i1264.photobucket.com/albums/jj493/ebses/sst_anom_zps6aa367cf.gif[/IMG][/URL]

    I’ve noticed the large blob of +sst decrease dramatically since that last trough…

  • lightning10

    Looks like we could be in for another big heatwave next weekend with another very low end wind event.

    • BlackRoseML

      Well, I feel like that looking at the next run of the GEM would be like looking at exam results with apprehension. I hope I got an A (I even feel anxious when I know I got an A and I wanted the class high), and it would show an inside slider on day nine.

    • BlackRoseML

      Praise be to Arceus and Kyogre…

      http://www.tropicaltidbits.com/analysis/models/gem/2014100600/gem_z500a_namer_33.png

      The GEM also shows no major ridging next week.

      The GFS has a milder forecast than previously.

      http://www.tropicaltidbits.com/analysis/models/gfs/2014100600/gfs_z500a_namer_33.png

      • Hallelujah!!! But I’m not holding my breath.

        • BlackRoseML

          It’s my only hope. I could take October heat with a low nightly low, but even now, it is unusually humid. I really did not mind Thursday and Friday, so much. I wouldn’t mind if there was a real cool down tomorrow, but it is just slow tapering off. There is “good-for-nothing” high clouds where I live now, and they’re “good-for-nothing” because they retain the infrared black-body radiation of the Earth while having low albedo.

  • so.cal.storm.lover

    I found this picture interesting.

  • so.cal.storm.lover
    • Wow.

    • Dan the Weatherman

      Did that entire image come from CPC (NCEP), or did you superimpose the text over the image? If this graphic as posted came from CPC, would you please post the link if there is more information regarding the pattern?

      • A link would be great to see where this image came from. If it’s true, then this will not end too well.

        • tomocean

          This is not current.

    • metasequoia

      The CPC image is Dec 2013. Right?

    • geopower

      Let me google image search that for you:
      http://kcstormfront.wordpress.com/2013/12/08/this-week-a-gradual-recovery-from-the-chill-and-much-quieter-thoughts-on-whenif-the-chill-might-return/
      The modified figure comes from a midwest weather blog last winter. It was used repeatedly, but first in early December 2013. So, a good illustration of what the RRR can do and did to us, but not an up to date depiction.

    • Xerophobe

      definition of a high pressure system – air sinks, right? or am i really losing it today? the RRR was pushing DOWN keeping thinks all locked up.

  • xeren

    I haven’t done tracking storms very closely lately, are Simon’s projections being revised northward?

  • Thunderstorm

    rrrr

    • Zepp

      That’s “RRR”, me hearties!

  • Kamau40

    Looks like one more round of hot weather next weekend as another very strong high pressure ridge builds in from the West with more offshore winds. There are increasing signs, however, of a major weather pattern shift after mid month that could start opening up the storm door. Still have another week to watch the increasing potential, but this would be right on time for the start of the new rainy season.

  • Thunderstorm

    Warm upper air is indeed the cause of the rrrr. Cold air does not flow into the backside of the low. Moisture doesn”t even condense on the front side. Warm moist air moves up from the tropics into warmer then normal upper air. What is the adiabatic rate under the err? The normal 3.5 per 1,000 ft elevation change. Probably much less.

  • alanstorm

    Is that a pattern change 13 days out??
    Ya, I know, I know ……..

    • From the looks of it. But is that another ridge after that? Lol

    • rob b

      sure looks like the models want to paint some different/wonderful colors over a good part of CA/NV around the middle of the month. Would seem to make sense since that’s when the patterns tend to turn towards winter. Can only hope and keep our fingers crossed this comes true.

      • alanstorm

        Looks juicy with 2 waves of precip. (I’m in the north part of the state) With all this warmth & humidity, should be a nice collision of air masses, maybe heavy rain?

  • cabeza tormenta

    the last few days of checking out the GFS has been dreary with that familiar RRR(triple R…) looking like a mountain, bouncing back from anything the western pacific throws at it, making one dwell gloomily on the DDD(triple D…) the Dreadfully Dire Drought. lots of alliteration options with ‘D’! it doesn’t help AT ALL, I just like alliteration! but the latest GFS certainly seems to be playing a better tune.

  • Archeron

    Looks like the blob of red that was Camping out in the GOA has cooled out a fair deal. The red is definitely less prominent than it was in the past.

  • Bob G

    Interesting site below I follow on occasion. The long-term forecast is interesting although some of it is too tech for me to understand.

    http://www.stormsurf.com/page2/forecast/forecast/current.shtml

    • Archeron

      Interesting what they say in the SST section for the North Pacific:

      “Elsewhere, the entire North Pacific Ocean is full of warmer than normal water. There are virtually no signs of high pressure induced
      upwelling streaming southwest off California as would be expected this
      time of year. And serious warm water is entrenched along the California
      coast and building in coverage, the exact opposite of the trend of the
      past 3+ years. Waters temps in San Francisco are 62 degrees and holding solid. Very rare. But this is expected if El Nino were in play. This is
      significant in that is suggests the Gulf of Alaska High pressure system
      is much weakened relative to normal years, with north winds and
      upwelling much suppressed.”

      • Archeron

        Does this indicate that the high pressure system in the GOA might be in a weaker state this year as opposed to the previous few years?

  • alanstorm

    I know its a fool’s errand to trust a model with your future, but I’ve always been a sucker for a green blob….

    • inclinejj

      A model as in computer model? I married a model and its worked out really well. Also the reason why the kids are smart and good looking!!

      • alanstorm

        Haha! Good one.