As our regular readers will be very aware, La Niña has been rolling along in the tropical Pacific for many months, and our third La Niña winter in a row is under way. La Niña is the cool phase of the El Niño-Southern Oscillation (“ENSO” for short) climate pattern. The current forecast is for La Niña to continue into the winter, with 50-50 chances for La Niña and neutral in the January–March average.
Conditions in the tropical Pacific ocean-atmosphere system have been consistent with La Niña for long enough that, in November, one of our frequent readers commented—accurately—that they might as well have just re-read the October post! However, while La Niña seems stuck in a rut right now, th…
While it’s a little intimidating to put on these oversized shoes, I’m forging ahead in an annual ENSO Blog tradition and giving you all the juicy details about NOAA’s Winter Outlook (1). Regular readers may remember that Mike Halpert of the NOAA Climate Prediction Center (CPC) has been the blog’s winter outlook guru for years, but following Mike’s retirement earlier this year, I’ll be leading you on this year’s journey (Mike, I will try to make you proud!). And maybe my job will be pretty easy this time, given that we are expecting a third consecutive winter with La Niña conditions in the tropical Pacific. What will that mean for this winter? Let’s find out!
It’s very likely that La Niña will last through the winter (December–February), with a transition to ENSO-neutral (neither La Niña nor El Niño) expected during February–April. Specifically, there’s a 76% chance of La Niña through the winter and a 57% chance of neutral in the February–April period.
Acronym time! ENSO, the El Niño/Southern Oscillation (the entire El Niño and La Niña system), modifies global weather and climate in somewhat predictable ways. Since ENSO itself can be predicted several months in advance, it gives us an early picture of potential global rain, snow, and temperature patterns, among other climate effects. Check out my September post for a round-up of…
Here at the ENSO blog, we’ve been talking about La Niña (the cool phase of the El Niño-Southern Oscillation climate pattern) for going on three years now. People have started to tell us they’re bored ask us whether all these La Niñas could offset global warming. The short answer is no, La Niña is no match for global warming. (Footnote 1)
The simplest evidence is that global average temperature during recent La Niña years is warmer than for El Niño years in earlier decades! In fact, the La Niña year of 2020 tied 2016—a year that started with a major El Niño—as the all-time-record-high global surface temperature.
But if global warming continues year after year regardless of La Niña, …
For what seems like the 247th month in a row, La Niña is still in charge in the tropical Pacific. It’s really only been about a year with continuous La Niña, as it took a break summer 2021 and re-developed October 2021, but it seems like longer! There’s a 75% chance La Niña will be present this winter (December–February); forecasters favor a transition to neutral during February–April 2023.
Call it what you like—triple-dip, three-peat, three-bean salad—we are facing the third La Niña winter in a row. This is the third time in our historical record of ENSO (El Niño-Southern Oscillation, the whole El Niño and La Niña system), which dates back to 1950, that we have had three …