Give No Quarter
Posted by Pete Bouchard
Big slop-fest out there this afternoon/evening. After 6-12 inches of snow in Greater Boston and Worcester - and lesser amounts south of the Pike, it's time to clean up and move on...again.
I think we've passed the point of tolerance with these ceaseless storms. Gone are the days when viewers would flood our inboxes with pretty pictures of their pets and kids frolicing in the snow. Constant cleanup has made us snippy and short - even a few plow guys have hoisted the white flag. The holidays are long past, the winter is stale, and the people just want spring...
...and accountability. Instead of pictures, I get questions in my inbox. "Why are we getting so much snow? Why did it turn on a dime? And when will it stop?"
Those are fair questions. But with the limits of the long range (10-14 day) forecasts, I'm not ready to answer the last question. We may sail out of this in April, but so far the first week of the month isn't looking much different from the first week in March. The ultimate question is why.
The jetstream has taken on an odd path.
The black lines represent the jetstream (wind moving from west to east). The colored areas represent the departure from the normal position of the jetstream. The bullseye is apparent: right over Nunavut (Northern Canada). High pressure has dominated this area since early February, diverting the cold and the jetstream over the Lower 48.
So there you have it. The culprit, the scapegoat, the reason for over 100" of snow in Worcester, and the reason I can't talk about 70s and 80s like last March. But the bigger question is, why does it last so long.
Ocean/atmosphere interaction is still a young branch of the science of meteorology. There are many reasons for stalled weather patterns, but I believe the biggest is the lack of sea ice from climate change. An open ocean leaves a lot of heat in the poles. This fosters high pressure (or blocks in the jetstream), and with very little movement to weather patterns at the top and bottom of the globe, we get pinned down in these long periods of heavy precipitation/drought and hot or cold.
An undeniable link in the cog has been established. And we're left to wait it out.