The GFS and it’s ensembles are forecasting a dramatic reduction in westerly Zonal winds over the North Pole during the latter half of November and throughout December.
Conversely, October and the first half of November brought very strong Zonal winds at 60N, which went hand-in-hand with below-average temperatures at the Pole — Zonal winds in the stratosphere strengthen as the temperature over the North Pole drops:
Looking at the 10hPa temperature chart first, we can see it’s been anomalously cold over the North Pole so far this season, with things really taking a turn for the frigid during the first half of November.
And then sliding to the Pole’s 10hPa Zonal wind strength chart, we see that this dramatic cooling coincided with a sharp strengthening of the westerly winds (after allowing for the standard 2-week delay).
But just look what’s in store for the rest of November and throughout December:
Those westerly Zonal winds are forecast to reduce dramatically over the next few weeks, which would likely indicate high pressure building in the northern latitudes.
The four colored lines in the above chart (turquoise and pinks) are the four individual CFS runs taking us through until March 2020. And all four runs are showing a collapse in the Zonal strength starting now and lasting through December — they could well-be picking up on a Sudden Stratospheric Warming (SSW) event, likely the result of the deep solar minimum our sun is currently suffering.
IMPACTS OF AN SSW
Following the onset of an SSW event, temperatures at the pole will often climb sharply, and the high altitude winds will have reversed to flow in an eastward direction instead of their usual westward one.
These eastward winds progress down through the atmosphere and weaken the jet stream, often resulting in easterly winds near the surface which usually bring with them a dramatic drop in temperatures across Europe and North America.
Check out what happened to temps over the South Pole in September as an SSW took hold there:
The mercury over Antarctica rose considerably and almost instantaneously.
But all that cold didn’t up-and-vanish, it was simply diverted north where it engulfed vast regions of South America, Australia, and New Zealand, felling buckets of all-time cold-records as it went:
Returning to the Northern Hemisphere, a strong SSW event occurring this early in the season is really quite unusual — the GFS and its ensembles are certainly something to keep a close eye on as we move closer to Christmas 2019.
The lower-latitudes are refreezing in line with historically low solar activity.
Our future is COLD, prepare accordingly — grow your own.
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Grand Solar Minimum + Pole Shift
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