Friday, October 12, 2012

Let It Snow...In Russia

October is a month of transitions in the far northern latitudes as winter begins to settle in across the high arctic and cold airmasses start to develop as daylight quickly dwindles over the coming weeks.  Snow begins to fall, accumulate, and air continues to chill across the arctic in advance of winter.

Snow cover development in October can be a key cog in developing cold airmasses and also developing high arctic blocking patterns in the winter, which help benefit our weather if the NAO is also in a negative alignment.  Siberian snow cover -- and a rapid expansion of it westward across Russia -- can help provided that mid latitude patterns and the Pacific cooperate.  This latter aspect is a huge wildcard that still is yet to be flushed out.

Images courtesy of Rutgers Snow Lab.
Currently, snow cover in Russia is not doing terrible -- pockets of above average and below average are mixed's a rather "typical" look over in East Asia that leans above average by a little bit.  The Far East in Siberia is going through a bit of a warm spell at present so some of that snow may melt off a bit over the coming days.  Northern Alaska and the Yukon are struggling for snow, while snow cover still exists in Ontario and Manitoba from last week's snowstorm that also hit Minnesota (where snow just melted in the last day or so).

Snow pack in itself isn't a full guarantee of a great winter -- October 1998 featured above average snow cover in Eurasia but a cold winter did not materialize in the Eastern US.  Other Octobers -- 2009 and 2010, to name two, did follow the norm.  Hopefully for snow lovers, snow pack will increase over the duration of October across Eurasia...otherwise, the odds of a snowy winter may take a bit of a setback.