Thursday, August 10, 2017

"No Niño" Winter Likely Ahead

The Climate Prediction Center (CPC) issued its El Niño/Southern Oscillation (ENSO) Diagnostic Discussion today, which suggests that ENSO-neutral conditions are favored (55%) this winter with just a small chance that El Niño (15-20%) or La Niña (25-30%) develop during the winter.  These odds reflect the fact that there's "nothing exciting" going on in terms of winds, sea surface temperatures, thermocline depths, and ocean heat content in the tropical Pacific.  Most models also lean toward ENSO-Neutral conditions during the winter.

So, the dice are loaded toward No Niño this winter and that means that nobody really has any idea how much precipitation will fall this winter over the western U.S.  As a result, the CPC is giving equal chances of above average, average, and below average precipitation.

Source: CPC
Of course the odds are tilted a bit toward above average temperatures being more likely than below average.  Betting on warmth isn't a guarantee, but the dice are loaded in a warming world.

Bottom line: Keep calm, carry on, and ignore any long-term forecasts for this coming winter.  Of course, I say that every year.

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