WEATHER: Optimist or Pessimist Re Snow… And Jerusalem?

December 18, 2018

Saeb Erekat by World Economic Forum [CC BY-NC-SA 2.0] via flickr



While the weather outside is pretty tranquil, there is a cool breeze and a definite chill in the air. You know things are serious when my wife asks if it is going to snow. Unlike me, she is a native Israeli and very "in-tune" with the weather — so long as she doesn't get confused by anything I might tell her.


There will be a series of storms in the next couple of weeks as storms move in from our northwest, before exiting to our east.  There is even a hint of potentially a more significant storm as we move into the last week of December, with cold air arriving directly from the north. We've been seeing various members of the Global Ensemble Forecast System (GEFS) show temperatures below freezing at 850 mb the last week of December, which is necessary for snow to fall in the central mountains.  


In fact, you can see exactly that on the graph to the left, taken earlier this week which shows the 850 mb temperatures over the next couple of weeks.  Note that all members of the ensemble — each member is a line — indicate that the temperatures will be falling through the first half of the two week period (this coming week). Then, about half the members remain pretty much the same, but a quarter warm up and a quarter of them get even colder with some forecasts going below freezing.


The forecast from Wednesday morning indicates that the (snow) optimists are gaining the upper hand. The graph to the right shows that 40% of our forecasts now show a chance of snow as we end the new year. Actually, the first week of January also looks to be cold based on the Climate Forecast Systems Model (CFS).


So, are you an optimist or a pessimist, and how shall we define that? Perspective and historical background is everything. "Some like it cold, some like it hot, and some like it in the pot, nine days old."


In any case, it is interesting to note the perspective of Saeb Erekat, the so-called foreign minister of the "State of Palestine." Responding to Australia’s recognition of "West Jerusalem" as Israel's capital, he said:  “All of Jerusalem remains a final status issue for negotiations, while East Jerusalem, under international law, is an integral part of the occupied Palestinian territory (italics added).”  


What he says might be construed as a contradiction, or he simply means: "What is yours is mine and what is mine is mine.” It's amazing how well Mr. Erekat knows Jewish religious texts, given that he is someone who denies that Jerusalem was ever part of Jewish history or that the Jewish Temples ever existed! Or perhaps he is just a wicked man, as so aptly described in Pirkei Avot 5:10 (Ethics of our Fathers).


Jerusalem forecast (click here for updated national forecasts):

Image credit: The Jerusalem Herald


Dr. Lynn is a lecturer at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Earth Sciences Department. He is also CEO of Weather It Is, LTD, a company that specializes in reducing weather risk. Click here to read more of this writer’s work in The Jerusalem Herald.​






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...הָרִימִי בַכֹּחַ קוֹלֵךְ מְבַשֶּׂרֶת יְרוּשָׁלִָם הָרִימִי אַל תִּירָאִי אִמְרִי לְעָרֵי יְהוּדָה הִנֵּה אֱלֹקֵיכֶם! (ישעיה  מ:ט)

...Raise your voice with strength, herald of Jerusalem; raise it, do not be afraid; say to the cities of Judah, "Here is your G-d!"

(Isaiah 40:9)

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