Who Will Get a White Christmas?

December 21st, 2015 by Roy W. Spencer, Ph. D.

El Nino is really doing a number on December winter weather this year, and as a result most of the eastern 2/3 of the U.S. will not have a white Christmas. But for those in the western U.S., a series of Pacific storms fueled by El Nino and continuing intrusions of Canadian air will result in widespread snowcover, as seen in the latest forecast snow depth on noon of Christmas day (graphics courtesy of Weatherbell.com):

Forecast snow depth as of noon 25 December 2015, from the Dec. 21 morning run of the NWS GFS model (graphic courtesy of Weatherbell.com).

Forecast snow depth as of noon 25 December 2015, from the Dec. 21 morning run of the NWS GFS model (graphic courtesy of Weatherbell.com).

The corresponding forecast of temperature departures from normal at the same time reflect the expected warmth in the East, and cold in the West on Christmas day:

forecast temperature departures from normal for noon 25 December 2015, from the NWS GFS model.

forecast temperature departures from normal for noon 25 December 2015, from the NWS GFS model.

In the latter plot, note that temperatures will be running as much as 30 deg. F below normal in the West, but as much as 30 deg F above normal in the East.

29 Responses to “Who Will Get a White Christmas?”

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  1. Tim Wells says:

    Just seen an interesting piece by NASA, saying that increased use of fossil fuels and reduction in tree cover, results in cooling. Might explain why 1947 in UK was such a cold winter, as Industrial production accelerated after war. Since we have had clean air in the UK and reduced industrial production and doubling of tree covering, our winters have become warmer. I suspect though the sun is the biggest common denominator under all of this, because in 1000 the UK was warmer and in the dark ages Thames froze over.

    • Carbon500 says:

      Tim Wells: Interestingly, meteorologist William James Burroughs in his book ‘Climate Change’ Cambridge University Press, 2001) on p187 shows a graph of the distribution of daily temperatures for central England for the periods 1772 to 1821, and for comparison 1946 to 1995.
      He notes that there has been a large shift in the median temperature between the two periods (the median is the value where half of the readings lie above it, and the other half below), but relatively little change in the extreme values. He comments: “This analysis suggests that the last 200 years or so are a matter of a shift in weather patterns rather than a significant warming or cooling of the northern hemisphere”.
      I’ve obtained seasonal central England temperatures online from the Met Office archives. The winter months are December, January and February (DJF). The warmest temperatures seen are above 6C, but never reaching 7C. As an example, in 1686, the average was 6.3C, and in 2014 6.1C, which is in line with Burroughs’ comments.
      Another meteorologist, the late Robin Williams, wrote a book entitled ‘The Weather of Britain’ (ISBN 1-900357-0602) which is fascinating – highly recommended, I think you’d enjoy it!

  2. John F. Hultquist says:

    Thanks Roy,

    We live 50 miles east of the Cascade Crest in Washington State, the “Dry Side.” We’ve got about 1 foot of snow on the ground. Two days ago the snow was powder, today it is warmer so the snow is denser. Last year was a low snow year. However, about a week ago the totals topped above all of last season and it is still snowing. Info is provided from Snoqualmie Pass at an elevation of 3,100 feet.
    The Alpental ski site claims 67 inches (3140 feet) and 92″ at the “Top” (5420 feet).
    The DOT has had problems keeping I-90 open, mostly because of spin-outs and collisions. Thursday night into Friday morning they closed to do Avalanche control.

    Forecast by the NWS indicates the area is expected to get about 2 feet of new snow between Monday Noon and Wednesday Midnight.
    The map of snow depth forecast for Friday is, I think, for new snow between now and then and that seems about right.

  3. Dan Pangburn says:

    Carbon dioxide has been erroneously suspected of being a forcing on global temperature. Compelling evidence, CO2 has no effect on climate requires only (1) Understanding that temperature changes with the integral of the net forcing (not directly with the instantaneous value of the forcing itself). And (2) all life depends ultimately on photosynthesis which requires CO2.

    The 542 million years of evolution on land required substantial atmospheric CO2. The integral of CO2 (or a function thereof) for 542 million years could not consistently result in today’s temperature. Documented in a peer reviewed paper at Energy & Environment, vol. 26, no. 5, 841-845 and also at http://agwunveiled.blogspot.com which also identifies the two factors that explain climate change (97% match since before 1900).

  4. Douglas Proctor says:

    Off topic but a question I’ve never seen answered wrt observations and models:

    How do we go from “here”, in end 2015, to “there” in 2100 by the IPCC models, regardless of which temp suite we use, and regardless of which of the frightening endpoints you grasp? No model shows a ramp-up capability necessary to recover from 27 years of not-quite following the general scenario of CO2 + H20 = delta T.

    Which brings up the subsequent question: why haven’t 27 years of observation caused the removal of a number of IPCC scenarios? Have we really learned nothing over 27 years to say that at least SOME of the 117 scenarios are just plain untenable?

  5. Ross says:

    “Bi-polar” USA. It is warming – no its not. Yes it is. No its not. 2% of the earth’s surface determine the fate of mankind and the science by cranky old Caucasian men here. Well I hope God/Nature finally breaks open the thick skulls of climate deniers here. “what goes comes around”. Sent from an Aussie who has seen enough of climate change in his own country to declare unequivocally the earth’s global state is EXTRAORDINARILY warming and there NEVER was ANY warming pause. You see it is all made up – fiction. All I need to do is read good science and the facts. I don’t credit nut cases like Watts Up sites and Roy Spencer’s sites with any contribution whatsoever to the warming and its ever increasing dangers to humanity. To dictate their own alternative universe is nothin’ to see here in our universe of reality. Perhaps God can shake them up and bang their heads together and finally through acts of nature wake them up.

    • mpainter says:

      Ross, your problem is that you are not loud enough. Try getting up on your feet and screaming, really screaming.. And your face should be purple, not red. Carries more weight, you see, when it’s purple.

    • Ben Palmer says:

      Ross: “Sent from an Aussie who has seen enough of climate change in his own country to declare unequivocally the earths global state is EXTRAORDINARILY warming”

      You must be a very very old wise man to be able to judge the earth’s climate evolution over the last billions of years. And you seem to travel a lot to be able to judge the earth’s GLOBAL state.

      • Norman says:


        This link will just be of the US but I think you could find global links with similar information.


        The link gives a few examples of severe weather that took place on the day selected. You can go through some and then explain how you are so certain weather is getting more extreme. I think if you take a little time to go through some dates you may lose your anxiety programmed into you by global elites. It is not science but propaganda that is manipulating your mind. By linking all extreme weather events to climate change and ignoring past extreme weather they create a state of fear in your mind and you have no choice but to react emotionally to the stimulus they have fed you. Seek the truth and the truth will set you free!

        Lyrics from Rage Against the Machine Testify:
        “Who controls the past now controls the future
        Who controls the present now controls the past
        Who controls the past now controls the future
        Who controls the present now?”

      • Ross says:

        As a matter of fact, I do travel. Billions of years commentary is welcomed as well. Well a billion years no life existed. But then we were more like planet Venus in formation on earth at that time. What we done to our earth my dear friend is an injustice and the gods of nature are very angry at us. It will bite and affect us all. Go on – do you really you can carry on or limp to the finish post in your aging state and tell this present generation you have left your earth in a fine state.

        • Ernest says:

          So far you have thrown out a lot of conjecture with no data to back it up. In fact, you will not find data to back up what you are saying. Your beliefs are obviously religious in nature and you are posting on a site that deals mostly with science and sometimes the politics of climate change. The present generations in the U.S. are breathing much cleaner air than existed back in the 60’s. The water quality is probably the best in the world. All of this is due to technological advances and hard work. Habitat restoration is ongoing at sites all over the world.

          The current younger generations need to quit whining and find ways to prosper in life through hard work. The earth is rocking along just fine.

  6. ossqss says:

    Doc, was your site down earlier today? Couldn’t pull it up for a while on multiple connections.

  7. AndyG55 says:

    Sorry for the OT, but this deserves to be read..


    They know the sullen sun will soon start to bite..

    What a cover-up. 🙂

  8. waterside4 says:

    Dear Doctor Roy,
    Correct me if I am wrong, but did not your beloved leader and “my” beloved Pope stop Mann Made Global Warming in its tracks the other week in Paris.
    I am sure I read about it in some obscure publication.
    Here in Scotland it is about 10 degrees C above what we would expect.
    Wot is going on?

  9. The El Nino is pushing warmth poleward at the same time as the quiet sun is pushing cold air equatorward so we have very high jet stream meridionality as shown by the current pattern. We see anomalous warmth in one location and anomalous cold next to it at the same latitude.

    Meridional waving about of the jet streams increases global cloudiness which allows less solar energy into the oceans for a net cooling effect.

    Colder periods have always been stormier in the middle latitudes.


    Over time the strength of El Nino events will decline relative to that of La Nina events and a slow, irregular global cooling will become more apparent.

  10. John F. Hultquist says:

    Wow. Show a couple of image outputs from the NCEP GFS model and induce a rant 8,500 miles away. There must be some sort of entanglement going on.
    The person must be off the meds — is there a place in OZ to contact.

    Merry Christmas

  11. Mark says:

    Really? That’s not what the climate scientist predicted a few weeks ago. We were supposed to get around 1″ of snow but right now its raining and 60 degrees. I need to save these predictions because anything more than 3 days out and the accuracy goes WAY down. Even forecasts for the next day will be vary up to 5 degrees. My favorite forecast is from George Carlin “Tonight’s forecast – DARK. Continued dark through the night until widely scattered light in the morning”. It’s accurate 100% of the time.

  12. Norman says:

    Omaha Nebraska got a surprise 7″ snow (only an inch or so was forecast) so our area is in a White Christmas.

  13. DR says:

    Dr. Spencer,
    Are you aware of this new paper?

    which was debunked by Christy et al in 2010

    Does Sherwood et al 2015 cite Christy et al 2010?

  14. Teddy says:

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