I was rather disappointed by the northern lights non-appearance last week. I was up on Thursday night but the full moon was out and made them difficult to see. I woke up twice on Friday night to try and catch a glimpse, but the there were clouds in Wausau. Thankfully, a couple of viewers did happen to capture the recent aurora show and Rob Duns put together a little video displaying the pictures which you can check out here. The northern lights are always cool to see. Brian Niznansky, a former StormTrack9 meteorologist tweeted that it was one of the most spectacular things he has seen in a while.
Unfortunately, I am spoiled. Living in the country while I was growing up, during a time when the solar cycle was a little stronger, I used to see the northern light about once or twice a year. I was even out and about the night of the huge solar storm that knocked out power to the Canadian province of Quebec back in 1989. Myself, my sister Wendy and another friend brought sleeping bags out onto the driveway to watch the northern lights. They were so dramatic that we didn’t even need to look to the north. They filled almost the entire sky. There were a lot of different colors and they were all very bright. Since the 1989 solar flare was one of the strongest in recorded history, I am doubtful I will ever be as wowed by the northern lights. I am glad to hear that a couple people did see them last week.
Second on the blog agenda is all the warm weather. We had many record high temperatures over the weekend including 61 in Wausau on Saturday and 63 in Wausau on Sunday, and we probably are not done with the records. Temps could climb up to 70 or a little above on Wednesday and that type of warmth would break a few more record highs across the area. Later this week we will be close to record highs with temps reaching the mid to upper 60s, but we might remain just a couple of degrees shy. Not only does it look warm for the rest of this week, it looks like the jet stream pattern will continue to bring warmer than normal temps next week and perhaps through the end of the month. Right now, there really isn’t that much cold air in sight. If the trend holds then we could have our 4th month in a row of average temps being 6 degrees above normal or warmer, something that I don’t think I have seen occur before in the last couple decades.
If La Nina was supposed to have an effect on our weather this past Winter and now into Spring, something obviously blunted the effect. I was reading some climate discussions this past weekend and it appears that an arctic jet stream circulation and another large ocean-atmosphere pattern in the Atlantic, conspired to block many of the normal effects of La Nina.
So there wasn’t much going on with La Nina and now it looks like it is ending rather rapidly this Spring. According the the latest ENSO discussion, the Pacific ocean temps should be closer to neutral by the end of April. What happens after that? The computer forecasts indicate a general trend toward slightly warmer than normal central Pacific sea surface temps by this Fall.
I have heard many people talking about the possibility of a weak El Nino next Winter. If so, we could be in for two mild Winters in a row. Mind you, notice the words “could be”. Mother nature does not always side with the computer forecasts. There is no guarantee that an El Nino will form.
Have a good Monday! Meteorologist Justin Loew.
This post was written by jloew on March 12, 2012