Report in from Kerry Finley!
12 Nov 2015
“ This is the time of year when storms blow hard, winter gales and snow comes. Its a good time to be home. To be in your good houses and be nice, warm and comfortable with family and friends. This is when visiting would take place. There would be story telling and so on. You cannot travel anymore because this is a bad month.” Dave Elliot Sr. 1983.
The last influx of Buffleheads arrived on Tuesday the 10th, just in advance of the first significant Sou’easter ( winds presently gusting to 50 here, and 70 in Haro Strait). Typically there are two major influxes but this year is notable for having three, with well above average numbers. These waves correspond to the passage of weather systems guided by long-wave Rossby oscillations.
These waves follow certain frequencies and are amplified at this time of year, giving extreme weather events that keep forecasters and talking heads busy. It’s no coincidence that the major news stories and history follow a predictable pattern, as it did at this time in 1940, with the collapse of the Tacoma Narrows Bridge on Nov 7th and the disastrous Armistice Day Blizzard.
The record high first influx and considerable subsequent influxes indicates that the Buffleheads are responding to amplified signals associated with Rossby waves interacting with a strong El Nino.
The satellite images show the tremendous reach of this storm ( sometimes called comma cloud formation, or Big Orange Spiral). By random chance, I entered an address in Google Earth on Vancouver Island and connected it to a spot in the north Pacifc where the tail of this fast moving (heat-exchange) system begins. The distance is 5600 km, about 100 km wider than Canada.
The Arctic cold is following in its wake, temperatures are beginning to plunge from Alaska, through the Yukon and the Mackenzie Basin.
Big Orange Spiral in the North Pacific 12 Nov 2015, Environment Canada