In the last two days, I have been sent a forecast (apparently legitimate) from Russia forecasting that their winter of 2010-11 will be the coldest in 1,000 years. I have also seen the news stories about the very cold weather in New Zealand (from Drudge) and the early season snow in the Appalachians (from AccuWeather).
My take? Don’t know.
If, indeed, Russia is going to have the coldest winter in 1,000 years I don’t know what technique could forecast it (i.e., we don’t have the upper air data, etc. from 1,000 years ago so we don’t even know that that winter would look like meteorologically).
While meteorology has made tremendous strides at short-term forecasting, our techniques for forecasting weather — even 90 days in advance — have not kept pace. Given chaos theory, that is not surprising.
So, while I do believe earth is headed for a period of cooler weather, our ability to forecast an extreme season months in advance is, at best, very limited.