Predicting Weather Using Sea Surface Temperature Anomalies

TitlePredicting Weather Using Sea Surface Temperature Anomalies
Publication TypeConference Proceedings
Year of Conference2016
AuthorsBrewer, Timothy J.
Conference Name84th Annual Western Snow Conference
Date Published2016
Conference LocationSeattle, Washington

During the winters of 2013-2015, southern Idaho, USA, experienced significantly below normal precipitation during very stable weather conditions resulting in very low water supplies during the following summers.  Looking for an explanation, pictorial data from several years were compared to identify patterns linking sea surface temperature anomalies (SST) and patterns in cyclonic lows in weather systems.  The data indicate that the relatively warmer and cooler areas of SST cause cyclonic and anti-cyclonic atmospheric behavior, respectively.  The cyclonic weather systems create blocks preventing cyclonic weather systems to the west from moving eastward faster than the blocking systems are moving.  A ridge of high pressure will form between the two systems providing feedback that strengthens the pattern.  Three significant locations were identified as the major sources of energy affecting winter weather patterns over the northern hemisphere land masses:  the tropical waters off Southeast Asia, the eastern tropical Pacific Ocean, and the eastern tropical Atlantic Ocean.  Over land masses, the easternmost and southernmost weather systems almost always govern the interactions.  Examples are provided to illustrate the interactions of the dominant forces causing persistent weather patterns.  (KEYWORDS:  sea surface temperature anomaly, stability of weather patterns, blocking systems, atmospheric energy, jet stream, water supply)