The 70mb temperatures are, for the first time in many years, well above normal, and have been for some time now. My question is, will this encourage a weaker polar vortex this winter? This brings about the battle between an abnormally warm lower stratosphere and the now-mature positive QBO, which is detrimental to the weakening of the polar vortex. I brought about the very hostile environment this +QBO is currently in a little while ago, but it is managing to survive in this environment. Thus, we must consider the possibility that there will be a +QBO battling this warmer-than-normal stratosphere. If this does happen, I do not believe these two items would cancel each other out- such an occurrence in the synoptic-scale is rather uncommon.
Which side do I believe will win? The 'good guy' (above average strat temps), or the 'bad guy' (+QBO)? The answer is not nearly as simple as you may want it to be. I think the positive QBO will have undergone serious damage by the time late fall comes around, while the above normal strat temps (barring any significant cooling for the rest of the summer and into the fall) should persist into the winter. While the temps may or may not persist into the winter, I firmly believe the effects of these above normal strat temps we have already seen will come into play for this winter.
I will have more details on the stratosphere in the near future. Also, this blog will begin to see more heavy-duty weather information like the things above. I will try to maintain as easy a reading level as possible, but as we enter fall, be prepared to see some hardcore weather posts.