ENSO La Nina El Nino

La Nina Delivers in the Northwest winter 0708

Following last winter’s banner snow season for much of the western US and the predominant La Nina influence that presided over the winter, I frequently hear talk of La Nina and El Nino, and how it may or may not impact the quality of our upcoming snow season. The Climate Prediction Center (CPC) released its ENSO forecast discussion on October 9. The CPC is calling for ENSO neutral influence, at least until early 2009. ENSO, or El Nino/ Southern Ocilation, is the dynamic behind El Nino and La Nina weather influences. Here is a snip from the CPC discussion on ENSO released October 9th:

Most of the dynamical and statistical SST forecasts for the Niño 3.4 region indicate a continuation of ENSO-neutral conditions (-0.5°C to 0.5°C in the Niño-3.4 region) into the first half of 2009. While the model spread continues to include possibilities ranging from El Niño to La Niña, the recent decrease in subsurface and surface temperatures favors a return to La Niña over the development of El Niño. However, based on current atmospheric and oceanic conditions, recent trends, and model forecasts, ENSO-neutral conditions are expected to continue into early 2009.

You can read more about the power of ENSO in the new issue of Off-Piste that is set to ship this week. Issue 38 includes an article that demystifies the powers and origins of ENSO and how it all relates to your ski season.

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