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November 12, 2012 8:49 AM
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A new forecast model shows that heavy October snowfall in Siberia can lead to a rough winter in the USA. The model uses October Siberian snow cover to predict upcoming winter temperatures and snowfall across the Northern Hemisphere. The model is called "sCast," short for "seasonal forecast model."
Snow begins to pile up in Siberia in October, which is also when the Siberian high, one of three dominant weather centers across the Northern Hemisphere, forms. When Siberian snow cover is above average, a strengthened Siberian high and colder surface temperatures across Northern Eurasia develop in the fall.
"The result is a warming in Earth's stratosphere that occurs in January," said atmospheric scientist Judah Cohen of AER, Inc., who verified the model’s accuracy. "This eventually descends from the stratosphere to Earth's surface over a week or two in January." While this leads to a warmer winter in high latitudes, it turns colder in mid-latitudes, so “winters in the northeastern USA and eastern Europe are likely to be colder and snowier than normal,” notes Cohen.
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