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Meeting Minutes

19th Annual Winter Weather Forecast Conference
October 29, 2011
OMSI, Portland, Oregon
Program Flyer
A crowd of 365 gathered at Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI) in Portland to hear regional weather experts predict the winter ahead. Some attendees traveled from as far away as 200 miles in order to hear the details.  It was the most well-attended meeting the Oregon AMS Chapter has ever hosted and it included the first ever afternoon session where 100 stayed to hear technical lectures.


Morning Session

The conference opened with a welcome by Steve Pierce, Oregon Chapter President that transitioned into a science year in review by Jim Todd, OMSI Planetarium Manager.

Steve Pierce, President of the Oregon Chapter of the AMS(left)
Steve Pierce's opening presentation in pdf or pps - YouTube Video

Jim Todd, OMSI Planetarium Manager(right) - YouTube Video


Mark Nelsen than gave a review of last year’s winter weather that highlighted two (2) official snowfalls in Portland as well as a surprise picture of our chapter president.


Mark Nelsen, KPTV-12 Chief Meteorologist
Mark Nelsen's Review of 2010 - 2011 Weather presentation in pdf or pps - YouTube Video


Winter Forecasts

The first winter forecast was given by Pete Parsons.  Pete special analysis of past records and indices pointed him towards the recent 2008 winter as the top analog for his prediction.  In summary, he expects above average temperatures in the early part of winter, but the cooler periods have a better chance of snowfall than what we saw last winter.  Pete expects above average snowfall in the western lowlands and a better than average chance for freezing rain.

Pete Parsons, Oregon Department of Forestry Meteorologist, Salem, Oregon
Pete Parson's presentation in pdf or pps - YouTube Video


Dave Elson from the National Weather Service (NWS) did a great job spicing up the generally bland NWS Climate Prediction Center (CPC) forecasts with some extra Portland snow history.  Not surprisingly, CPC says probably below average temps and above average precipitation.

Dave Elson, NOAA-National Weather Service WC Meteorologist, Portland, Oregon
Dave Elson's presentation in pdf or pps - YouTube Video


Kyle Dittmer, the third forecaster from the Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission, gave his forecast that included about average temperatures and above average precipitation, and three (3) snow events with one (1) to five (5) inches of snowfall for each event. 

Kyle Dittmer, Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission Hydrologist-Meteorologist
Kyle Dittmer's presentation in pdf & Winter Forecast in pdf - YouTube Video


Jim Little presented for the first time in at least 5 years and described how he uses a little programming and automatic tasks that combine several different indices like (PDO, ONI, AO etc…) and analog years. The process then outputs the data for each day of the winter from those years. Wow! Some interesting statistics showed up; such as increased likelihood (in those years) of a warm spell right after the New Year, or best chance of an “arctic event” in late December and late January.  And again, like Pete, Jim came up with 2008 as a strong analog year.

Jim Little, Oregon Department of Forestry Meteorologist, Salem, Oregon
Jim Little's presentation in pdf or pps - YouTube Video



George Taylor was the last forecaster, who believes that the winter will start off somewhat benign, and then become more active later December through February.  George also sees 2008 as a good analog year and below average temperatures and above average precipitation. As a treat, George sang us a nice brand new La Nina song; sung to the tune of “My Girl”.  As in “everybody talkin’ ’bout La Nina…”  (click here for video by Dave Tragethon)

George Taylor, Applied Climate Services Climatologist, LLC, Corvallis, Oregon
George Taylor's presentation in pdf or pps - YouTube Video



Forecasters answered questions from the audience. - YouTube Video





Afternoon Session

The afternoon session started out with the first annual Winter Raffle Contest.  Al Gillis was the lucky winner of a Davis Home Weather Station. The raffle was part of a fundraiser for the chapter.

Raffle Drawing for Davis Weather Station
Winner: Al Gillis (center) - Pic



Introduction to Polarimetric Radar & New Coastal Radar
Jeremiah Pyle was the first of the afternoon presenters who covered dual polarization or polarimetric radar that was recently installed along the Washington coast at Langley Hill and Portland.  The new technology compares the vertical and horizontal reflectivity to determine the uniformity of objects. This will allow for better snow level detection, improved radar rainfall estimates, and improved detection of hail cores in storm cells.

Jeremiah Pyle and Shawn Weagle, NOAA-National Weather Service WC Meteorologist, Portland, Oregon presentation in pdf or pps - YouTube Video


Diminished Windstorm Frequency and the PDO

Wold Read, PhD Candidate, University of British Columbia - YouTube Video

All the way from British Columbia, Wolf Read, aka “Storm King”, presented his current research regarding Pacific Northwest diminishing windstorm frequency and the relation to the Pacific Decadal Oscillation.  His research shows a calming period from 1976 to 1990, which coincides with the beginning of the 1976 PDO shift into a warming period, which is slowing cooling.



Combat Meteorology: The Role of Meteorologists
LTC Thyra Bishop, Oregon National Guard presentation in pdf or pps - YouTube Video

Lieutenant Colonel Thyra Bishop from the 142 Fighter Wing and Lieutenant Colonel Matthew Doggett from the 123 Weather Flight,  Oregon Air National Guard both outlined combat meteorology past and current roles in military actions.  Examples include, D-day forecast and current Iraq deployment equipment and the Iraqi weather service.



The Lack of Evidence for Human-Caused Climate Change
Chuck Wiese, Meteorologist presentation in pdf or pps - YouTube Video

The last presentation was given by Chuck Wiese, meteorologist and Gordon Fulks, physicist(right) who gave a brief overview of the lack of evidence for human-caused climate change.  Gordon discussed political motives related to proponents of global warming.  Chuck described a recent 10 year cooling in global temperatures that are not predicted in current climatic modeling.



Afternoon session Q&A - YouTube Video

Extra video: Full length YouTude Video

Special thanks to Tyler Mode for the pictures, additional pictures can be found here and to Erik Holm for all of the YouTube Video!!