Jeff Johnson Bids Farewell to NWS Des Moines

JeffJohnsonJeff Johnson, now former Warning Coordination Meteorologist (WCM) at the National Weather Service (NWS), Des Moines, Iowa, has departed to the NWS Office in Topeka as the new Meteorologist in Charge. He begins his new position today, Monday, September 22, 2014.

Jeff started his tenure at the NWS Des Moines office in 1992 and then became the WCM in 1994. While at the NWS Des Moines, Jeff experienced the 1993 and 2008 major floods, numerous tornado events including the Parkersburg EF5 tornado and too many winter storms to mention.

Over the years, Mr. Johnson developed many professional relationships with emergency managers, members of the media and many others in the weather and public safety sectors. He will miss working with them and he appreciates all of the support through the years.

“I bid all of my work colleagues and partners a fond farewell and all the best in the future” Jeff said when reflecting on his departure. If you wish to contact Jeff, please do so via e-mail at jeff.johnson@noaa.gov.

 

El Niño Gaining Strength

26 May 2014 – by Lead Forecaster Miles Schumacher

In the past two weeks, the Madden Julian Oscillation (MJO) weakened considerably allowing the stronger El Niño, and warmer temperatures, to spread across much of the U.S. The breakdown of the MJO was expected, based on the charts shown in my last discussion from 12 May 2014 “High Latitude Blocking Continues to Dominate”. The MJO is presently very weak and is not influencing temperature changes. As discussed in my prior paper, the MJO, combined with high latitude blocking, allowed a strong surge of cold air to penetrate into the U.S. However, the MJO is weaker at present, as is the high latitude blocking, therefore neither will have much of an effect on the weather pattern into early June.  MJO will become stronger as it moves through Octant 3 and brings a surge of cooler weather around the second week of June. As the MJO progresses east into octants 4, 5 and 6, at about one sigma in strength, and combines with warming water from El Niño, the last part of the month will likely be warmer than normal.

The MJO collapsed into the central circle during the past two weeks, as shown on the Hendon-Wheel chart on page two, meaning it has little influence on atmospheric circulation at present. Moderate convection associated with MJO has shifted into the Atlantic Ocean, Africa, and is spreading into the Indian Ocean as seen on satellite imagery (not shown here) from 25 May 2014. This position is consistent with what would be expected with octants 1 and 2. The MJO is expected to remain relatively weak for the next seven days with little overall movement. After that time, it is expected to strengthen slowly and begin to progress east. Composite charts below the Hendon-Wheeler chart show, statistically, the effect MJO typically has on June temperatures. They show cooler than normal temperatures over much of the east half of the U.S. when MJO is in octants 1 and 2, with a stronger signal for cooler than normal temperatures for octant 3.  The Hendon-Wheeler chart shows a plot of the location and strength of the MJO over the past 30 days. The counterclockwise progression is evident from octant 7 initially to octant 1 at present. The red part of the line indicates progression from late April through late May.  The green line on the chart is the position of the MJO, forecast from the European Center for Medium range Weather Forecasting (ECMWF), for the next four weeks. The yellow shows the output from each of the 51 individual ensemble members. The MJO remains weaker than one standard deviation in strength for the next two to two and one half weeks, with strengthening indicated as it progresses into octant 3, and then maintaining moderate strength in octants 4, 5 and 6.

TCompositeMJJ

The composite charts statistically show the effect of MJO typically has on June temperatures. Cooler than normal for much of the eastern half of the CONUS when MJO is in octant 1 and octant 2. A stronger signal for cooler than normal temperatures when MJO is in octant 3.

The developing El Niño, discussed in my prior paper, continued to strengthen as the warm pool of water caused by the progression of a Kelvin Wave began reaching the surface. On page three is a graphic of the equatorial Pacific from 130º east to 100º west showing temperature anomalies in the top 450 meters of the ocean. The progression has reached the east Pacific. Warming off the South American coast is well underway. Recall that until recently, the SST departure maps have shown an overall cool Pacific. As was expected, the SST has risen and will likely to rise through the summer, signifying the onset of an El Niño.

http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/products/analysis_monitoring/enso_update/wkxzteq.shtml

Below is the map showing the SST anomalies from 24 May 2014. The area along the equatorial Pacific is showing above normal temperatures along much of the region. The area of warmer than normal SST has increased off of South America and south of Baja California. The warming suggests the onset of El Niño is taking place. Given the trends, my conclusion is that El Niño will develop over the next few months.

As discussed, there are two factors that oppose each other, the MJO and the warm water off of South America. The MJO moving through octants 1, 2 and into 3 suggest a cooler than normal weather pattern across much of the U.S.  At the same time, the relatively warm water off of South America in the equatorial Pacific favors warmer than normal temperatures for a large part of the U.S. The warming of the east Pacific is more dominant than the MJO at present. The result is the development of a weak mean ridge in the upper atmosphere over the central U.S. Warmer temperatures have prevailed under this ridge.

SST

The associated trough to the west has produced a southwest flow into the severe drought areas of the southwest U.S. with the first significant rainfall of the year in many areas. The MJO will be in sync with the Pacific SST pattern later in June and is expected to deliver a period of above normal temperature to most of the U.S. with cold air penetration limited to the far north.

In conclusion for the month of June, MJO is weak now, so the temperature pattern will be dominated by the warm waters of the developing El Niño from the end of May into early June. MJO is likely to have a stronger influence by the second week of June with a cooler period of about a week. As MJO moves into octants more favorable for above normal temperatures and El Niño continues to develop, above normal temperatures are expected to round out the month.

For July and August, my prediction is that El Niño will be the more dominant force, which would make temperature and precipitation patterns quite different from the past two summers. The past two summers featured excessive heat and drought through the central U.S. with many locations near record heat and among the driest summers on record.  A discussion of that will appear in my next paper.

NOAA Administrator Visits NWS Des Moines

On Tuesday, May 13, the local National Weather Service office in Des Moines, IA was honored to host Dr. Kathryn Sullivan, current NOAA Administrator and Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere. Dr. Sullivan paid a brief visit to the office where she met with local NWS staff and a representative from NWS Central Region Headquarters and received briefings from the U.S. Geological Survey, Iowa Homeland Security and Emergency Management and the Safeguard Iowa Partnership about their partnerships with the NWS in Iowa. Meteorologists also used the weather event simulator to demonstrate how the NWS issues tornado and severe thunderstorm warnings, including highlighting the impact based warning experimental product. In addition, Dr. Sullivan toured the State Emergency Operations Center where she was able to see how the NWS works with other agencies and partners during high impact events in Iowa.

Back Row: Craig Cogil, NWS Des Moines Lead Forecaster; Jim Keeney, NWS Central Region Warning Coordination Meteorologist; Jeff Johnson, NWS Des Moines Acting Meteorologist in Charge; Brad Small, NWS Des Moines Lead Forecaster; Jeff Zogg, NWS Des Moines Senior Service Hydrologist; Kurt Kotenberg, NWS Des Moines Meteorologist Intern Front Row Left to Right: Jami Haberl, Safeguard Iowa Partnership Executive Director; Jesse Traux, Safeguard Iowa Partnership Program Manager; Mindy Beerends, NWS Des Moines General Forecaster; Dr. Kathryn Sullivan, NOAA Administrator and Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere; Greg Nalley, USGS Iowa Water Science Center Associate Director; Jon Nania, USGS Iowa Water Science Center Acting Director

Back Row: Craig Cogil, NWS Des Moines Lead Forecaster; Jim Keeney, NWS Central Region Warning Coordination Meteorologist; Jeff Johnson, NWS Des Moines Acting Meteorologist in Charge; Brad Small, NWS Des Moines Lead Forecaster; Jeff Zogg, NWS Des Moines Senior Service Hydrologist; Kurt Kotenberg, NWS Des Moines Meteorologist Intern
Front Row Left to Right: Jami Haberl, Safeguard Iowa Partnership Executive Director; Jesse Traux, Safeguard Iowa Partnership Program Manager; Mindy Beerends, NWS Des Moines General Forecaster; Dr. Kathryn Sullivan, NOAA Administrator and Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere; Greg Nalley, USGS Iowa Water Science Center Associate Director; Jon Nania, USGS Iowa Water Science Center Acting Director

 

Visiting NWS Des Moines operations. Jeff Johnson, NWS Des Moines Acting Meteorologist in Charge; Dr. Kathryn Sullivan, NOAA Administrator and Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere

Visiting NWS Des Moines operations. Jeff Johnson, NWS Des Moines Acting Meteorologist in Charge; Dr. Kathryn Sullivan, NOAA Administrator and Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere

Using the weather event simulator to demonstrate impact based warnings. Jim Lee, NWS Des Moines General Forecaster; Dr. Kathryn Sullivan, NOAA Administrator and Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere; Brad Small, NWS Des Moines Lead Forecaster

Using the weather event simulator to demonstrate impact based warnings. Jim Lee, NWS Des Moines General Forecaster; Dr. Kathryn Sullivan, NOAA Administrator and Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere; Brad Small, NWS Des Moines Lead Forecaster