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The last week I've been trying to get a handle on temperature trends heading into the month of December. About the only thing I feel confident about is that I'm not confident in any long term solutions. That said, I do have some thoughts I will share with the qualification that it's nothing more than educated speculation.

Coming right out of the gate I'll start with the EPO (eastern Pacific Oscillation). Both the EURO and GFS ensembles are showing a neutral to positive phase through December 5th.



If you've been following trends here the past month you know that during our record breaking cold and snowy period late October to mid November, the EPO was strongly negative. The move to a positive EPO indicates we've lost the connection to the modified Arctic air that so deeply chilled us. Now we are getting some influence from Pacific air masses and at the very least should keep things more seasonal going into December. I would not be surprised to see a couple periods where temperatures spike above normal when stronger storms track to the northwest.

How long we can hold this trend in place will determine what happens in December. One trend I really dislike as a snow fan is the long range EURO taking the MJO into the warm phases of 2, 3, 4, and perhaps 5 and 6 through December.

Look what you are getting into there for temperature correlations. That's a blow torch that would be a nightmare for winter here in the central Midwest.

On the other hand the US based NCEP MJO forecast is far different and quickly gets out of 2 and by early December is back into the cold phases of 7 and 8.

Look at what phases 7,8, and 1 bring in December. That's a dramatically different look.

The Japanese MJO which only goes out to November 27th, never gets into the warm phases at all.

When you see discrepancies in models like this (no mojo on the MJO) you know the pattern is in flux and it's a good idea to be cautious in the long term. I still think the EPO is going to drive the pattern this winter so as long as that is neutral to positive, I don't see the harsh cold getting back into the pattern for any extended period of time until after Thanksgiving.

Something else I've noted is that cold Novembers that occur in El Nino years, tend to be followed by much warmer temperatures in December...there is a very strong correlation for that. Take a look.

However, this year in enso 3.4 there is no El Nino and none is expected.The plumes average out near zero.

This is interesting because December's following cold November's tend to be colder here in the Midwest.

A factor that really argues for staying El Ninoe free is the deep solar minimum we are in. Sun spots are at their lowest now and in this graphic you can see El Nino conditions are more likely near peaks than valleys like we are in now. In fact, La Nina's are more likely in sun spot minimums than El Ninos.

So while December's weather may have conflicting signals, I don't see it being a blow torch like last year. I also think the lack of an El Nin