Warm Atlantic May Spell Trouble in the Fall and Winter

What does a warm Atlantic Ocean mean for the fall and winter? Get the details here!

In forecasting the weather, whether short, medium, or long term, you have to abide by the laws of physics and thermal dynamics.  I bring this up to draw your attention to the state of the Atlantic Ocean in terms of sea surface temperature anomalies.

As you can see with the latest analysis, the Atlantic Ocean is averaging above normal with some locations significantly above normal.  This is especially the case for the New Jersey coastal waters that are averaging  2 to 3 degrees Celsius right now.  The only cool locations in the Atlantic Ocean can be found where temperatures anomalis are near normal to around 1 degree Celsius below normal, which is not all that cold.  So what does this mean?

Well, first I'm sure you are drawn to the area of well above normal sea surface temperature anomalies to the east of the Canadian Maritimes.  This signature is a text book warning sign of a long lasting negative North Atlantic Oscillation pattern.  A negative North Atlantic Oscillation pattern is when an upper low develop over or east of the Canadian Maritimes and an upper level ridge develops over Greenland.  The pattern development causes blocking in the winter that basically allows for winter storms to impact the New Jersey coast.  The above normal water temperatures do not create a negative North Atlantic Oscillation pattern but they act like a feed back mechanism that supports a long duration negative North Atlantic Oscillation pattern.  

Second, with water temperatures averaging well above normal going into the Fall season, colder Polar air masses are going to be more likely to move towards the East coast.  This is due to the fact that as the warm air rises, colder, denser air from the center of the continent, namely central Canada, will attempt to fill the void left from the rising air.  As such, I expect September, October, and November to feature powerful cold fronts and coastal low pressure systems in this type of environment to attempt to counter balance the above normal sea surface temperatures of the western Atlantic.  

This is just one part of a complicated weather pattern that will be evolving over the next several weaks and months, but as you can see the building blocks for a very stormy Fall pattern is starting to develop.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

S Talarico August 10, 2011 at 10:22 PM
Very cool. I love meteorology.
Steven DiMartino August 12, 2011 at 01:45 PM
Thank you! Working on today's discussion right now. Check out my website: www.nynjpaweather.com I think you'll enjoy it.


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