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Early Snow Expansion and Sea Ice Could Make for Early Winter

10-2-2016

For early October, and only on the 2nd, we are seeing a lot of sea ice starting to build around the Northwest Territories of Canada. This is a signature of very cold air. Also, snow cover has taken over Asia, especially northern Asia and Russia.

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Sea ice and snow cover over Russia, Asia, and Canada/Alaska

 

However, Asia is not alone. Parts of Canada also currently have snow cover. This is also signifying cold air over that region as well. We can also see snow cover currently across Alaska. What this boils down to is cold air intrusions into the US about a week or 2 later

Expect things to get cold quick early this year. Once the yellow in the image fills in then we are on for Arctic air outbreaks. Sea ice will play a big role.

 

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Northern hemisphere sea ice and snow cover courtesy of NOAA

 

The snow cover can be seen across northern Asia and Russia. The sea ice in yellow can be seen forming to eventually meet parts of land.

Another important parameter for this winter will be a La Nina, which is the opposite of an El Nino, where colder waters exist near the equator across the eastern Pacific. If this area of cool water is not extremely cool, then it would be a weak La Nina. If that is the case, then we can expect a cold and snowy winter.

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Sea Surface Temperature Index courtesy of IRI/CPC

The ENSO model ensembles show generally a weak La Nina, which is what would be needed for a brutal winter, especially across the eastern US.

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