When a forecaster makes a seasonal outlook or forecast, he/she must consider all possible climate drivers and variables with teleconnections. Previous articles such as Monitoring the Stratosphere and The Importance of High Latitude Blocking in Upcoming Winter discussed the variables that were considered for our winter forecast, and how much weight was put into each. Now it’s time to look at some other climate patterns in Pacific. For example, this year’s strong El Nino is something you probably have heard the most about.
There is little doubt that a strong El Nino has a large influence over the atmospheric pattern in the Pacific Basin. Some have used the term “Godzilla El Nino” to describe this year’s phenomenon; which, while catchy, could perhaps be unneeded sensationalism. Another common thought is that after 1997-98 — the last “Super” El Nino, which was an extremely warm and snowless winter — that this winter will also be very warm and snowless in the Northeast. However, there are other climate patterns in the Pacific that can still have influence, even in the midst of such a strong El Nino, which makes such strongly-worded conclusions about this winter not justified.
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