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Glossary of Terms for Weather Posts

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Last  updated November 6, 2016

Meteorology Terminology

First  I direct you to the extremely good glossary developed by Meteorologist Jeff Haby which can be found here. The first page is a general discussion with some useful links and then there is a long alphabetical list of meteorological terms. It is very complete but focuses on meteorological terms not climate terminology. So when I have extracted part of a NOAA discussion and there is some terminology that you do not understand you will find it in this glossary. It will also allow you to access the Haby Hints index. Remember to get back you have to hit the back arrow and depending on how many levels you delve into Jeff Haby's Jargon Discussion, that is how many times you will have to hit the back arrow to return here and then one more time to return to the article from whence you started. 

The following are almost totally terms not discussed by Jeff Haby as they are climate terms not meteorology terms or they are terms where I wanted to add additional information. So you may have to first look at Haby's Glossary and if you do not find what you want look below. With a little practice  you will quickly learn what you can find in Haby's Glossary and what  you will find below as the difference is that what is below  is not usually found in a daily weather report and everything in the Jeff Haby Glossary is terminology or symbols that would be found in a daily weather report. 

Climate Terminology

Items are alphabetical. One can use Cntrl +F to more quickly find your item. When finished hit your Backspace Key to return to the Article.

AMO = Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation

Analogs Here is how NOAA describes it.

You may or may not be able to tell that there are two sets of analogs one that correlates with the initial conditions and one that correlates with the forecast. The initial conditions analogs are published with the 6 - 14 Day Outlook. The correlation with the forecast can be found by clicking on the map where it says analogs. I find the first set more meaningful but some find the second set of most value.

I think NOAA would appreciate it if I said that these analogs are not a substitute for their very sophisticated forecasting software and I am not suggesting that they are. I present them partially for curiosity purposes but also to see how current conditions correlate with medium and low frequency cycles. The medium frequency cycle I track is ENSO and the two low- frequency cycles I track are the PDO and AMO. When I see that forecasts are consistent with the current phases of these cycles (as represented by the analogs), that seems very suggestive to me that our weather is probably fairly easy to forecast. If the analogs are all over the place then I have to wonder if the forecasts are good or if our weather is just not related to these cycles. That certainly can be the case. So I am doing some research here and you are seeing how I look at things. I hope you find it interesting.

IRI ENSO Forecast

Figures 1 and 3 (the official ENSO probability forecast and the objective model-based ENSO probability forecast, respectively) are often quite similar. However, occasionally they may differ noticeably. There can be several reasons for differences. One possible reason is that the human forecasters, using their experience and judgment, may disagree to some degree with the models, which may have known biases. Another reason is related to the fact that the models are not run at the same time that the forecasters make their assessment, so that the starting ENSO conditions may be slightly different between the two times. The charts on this Quick Look page are updated at two different times of the month, so that between the second and the third Thursday of the month, the official forecast (Fig. 1) has just been updated, while the model-based forecasts (Figs. 3 and 4) are still from the third Thursday of the previous month. On the other hand, from the third Thursday of the month until the second Thursday of the next month, the model-based forecasts are more recently updated, while the official forecasts remain from the second Thursday of the current month.

SOI Southern Oscillation Index 

The Southern Oscillation Index, or SOI, gives an indication of the development and intensity of El Niño or La Niña events in the Pacific Ocean. The SOI is calculated using the pressure differences between Tahiti and Darwin. Sustained negative values of the SOI below −7 often indicate El Niño episodes. These negative values are usually accompanied by sustained warming of the central and eastern tropical Pacific Ocean and a decrease in the strength of the Pacific Trade Winds.  Sustained positive values of the SOI above +7 are typical of a La Niña episode. They are associated with stronger Pacific trade winds and warmer sea temperatures to the north of Australia. Waters in the central and eastern tropical Pacific Ocean become cooler during this time.

Click here for a list of Sig Silber's Weather Posts

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