Baltimore, MD - Mike Masco
ABC 2 NEWS
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Making a winter forecast is a grueling task at hand! You have several factors to consider before a forecast can be made and taking one element alone can be a dangerous move! When I make a winter forecast I weight elements in order of their significant. Take for example the ENSO (state of the pacific or LA NINA VS ELNINO). I will give that element almost a 50% weight since the pacific has a huge impact on weather patterns over the US.
El nino events are an interesting thing. When you say El Nino, you make the assumption, Ok- we have warmer than normal waters in the pacific. While that is indeed correct, you must than dissect that further. For example we have strong events, moderate events, and weak events same is true for La Nina events (cool waters over the central pacific). You can then take another step from there and judge El Nino events on western base events, central base events, and eastern base events. Each base reflects where the water is located in regards to location over the central Pacific. An abundance of warm water over the eastern pacific has a different effect over an over abundance of warm water in the central or western basis. Some events (known as STRONG EVENTS) have basin wide warm water such was the case in 2002-2003 1997-1998 and some can make the case for 2009-2010 event which was more central based in my opinion.
So what do I mean?
Well, let me show you graphically! I will show you the breakdown of air temperatures vs the state of the El Nino (weak, strong, or moderate) and then show you a weak El Nino event which I believe is where we are going for this upcoming winter! NOW REMEMBER! This is just taking the El Nino element into account. Should the next highest weighted element (north Atlantic oscillation) not cooperate by staying POSITIVE; dramatic warmth will be found over the east and the winter would be toast! Literally!
What I want you to see is the influence of the EL NINO is a strong part of the forecast. Now you may say why is the strong El Nino not as warm as the moderate? Rainfall due to a very strong southern Jet stream kept temperatures down for most of the Dec, Jan, and Feb time frame!!
So assuming we have a centrally based neutral El Nino what do those years look like?
LOOKS COLD HUH?