DiscussionDiscussion Last Updated: 01-19-2017 1:51:54 pm MST
The middle of January saw the first extended inversion event of the new year. Thankfully, a return to a wetter and more active regional weather pattern is underway. The mean state of the atmosphere over Northern Utah will remain unstable and moist through the third of January. This will effectively prevent valley inversions from setting up which, due to the large amount of freshly fallen snow on the surface, will happen quickly under stable conditions. Looking ahead, ensemble runs are consistently calling for a return to persistent inversion conditions as we end January and enter February.
This product is being developed by researchers at the Utah Climate Center. Using output from the National Center for Environmental Prediction’s (NCEP) Climate Forecast System (CFSv2), this technique projects surface inversion probability for persistent inversion events—defined as events lasting longer than 4 days—with a demonstrated “skill” over a span of ~ 30 days. A surface inversion probability of 35% or greater suggests a statistically significant likelihood of an extended event. It should also be noted that inversion forecasts, in and of themselves, are not air quality projections. The projection is valid for a radius of roughly 200 miles around Salt Lake City.
Image Interpretation: The blue bar graph shows the calculated Surface Inversion Probabilities. Values above the horizontal yellow line (~35% on the right axis) have a statistical significance of manifesting as persistent (> 4 days) inversion events. The solid black line above the SIP chart shows the ensemble average of 200mb geopotential heights for the most recent 16 CFSv2 forecasts. The individual dotted lines are individual model runs. The vertical red and yellow lines identify the initialization (+0) and 30 day (+30) locations. SIP values lying within this 30 day window have a statistically significant confidence interval. Values before the initialization data are obtained from NCEP reanalysis data.
For more information on the methodology and origins of this product, see the following publication here.