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|Winter of 2008-2009 Outlook|
|While it may be a little while before the first flakes fall this winter, the Climate Prediction Center (CPC) is always monitoring the global weather patterns and oceanic temperatures, looking for clues to what the next few months will bring us. |
They are expecting this winter to be an ESNO Neutral Winter Season (neither La Niña or El Niño in the Equatorial Pacific Ocean). Read the latest Climate Prediction Center ENSO Discussion. For more information on the classifications of El Niño and La Niña, see this page:
What might this mean for this winter in Central PA?
The CPC long-lead (3-month) forecast for PA holds almost equal chances for having a nearly normal, warmer-than-normal, or colder-than normal season (Dec-Feb), but does seem to be leaning toward a slightly warmer-than-normal winter. The forecast also holds an equal chance of having a wetter-than-normal or drier-than-normal season.
|CPC 3-month forecast (for Dec 2008-Feb 2009)|
issued 18 Oct
|For those of you who were wondering what past ENSO Neutral Winters have been like locally: In State College, PA, 7 out of the 12 latest ENSO Neutral Winters were colder-than-normal, and 7 out of the 12 were also snowier-than-normal (but these were not the same 7 seasons).|
Three of our top-five most-snowy winters in the past 25 years happened during ENSO Neutral patterns. This includes the winters of 1992-93, 1993-94, and 2003-04. The winters of 1995-96 (La Niña), and 2002-03 (El Niño) round out that top-five list.
So, recent experience (from an admittedly small sample) says that ENSO Neutral Winters are generally colder-than-normal, and snowier-than-normal.
There are many other factors that control weather patterns over the Eastern U.S. during the winter, including teleconnections like the NAO, PNA, and MJO, etc. A forecast using only the ENSO index is most likely not a complete look at the factors that come into play.
|State College, PA Winter Snowfall during ENSO Neutral Seasons (ONI between -0.5 and +0.5)|
|State College, PA Winter Average Temperatures during ENSO Neutral Seasons (ONI between -0.5 and +0.5)|
|State College, PA Winter Snowfall versus ENSO Index (ONI)|
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