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Thursday April 24 2014
Juneau: 49°F
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El Nino cause of warm winter.
Published: 03/11/2010 10:15:00
The weather this winter has been pretty mild in comparison to the past few years, and we asked the National Weather Service to shed some light on what causes that difference. Rick Fritsch, one of their Meteorologists in Juneau, provided this explanation.

First thing is, we have El Nino going on this year and its a fairly moderate strength El Nino. And the characteristics of an El Nino, first of all an El Nino is something called a teleconnection. Secondly it exerts its strongest influence on our weather as a climate variability in the wintertime; right now. Thirdly, an El Nino tends to result in a higher frequency of low pressure systems in the Gulf of Alaska, which has its net effect bringing up warm moist air from the tropics; Hawaii area. And the end result being that our winters, during an El Nino winter, tend to be warmer than normal. The big difference in this winter that were ending right now and the previous three winters is that El Nino, La Nina, the flip side of the evil twin of El Nino. If you have the same amount of annual or seasonal precipitation, El Nino, higher percentage happens to be rain than snow, La Nina, you get a higher percentage of snow rather than rain.

Our next question was whether or not this might also affect the upcoming summer.
To which, Mr Fritsch replied When weve had an El Nino winter comparable to what were going through right now, you pick out those years and you look at the climate records for the following summer, and it would appear, if the past is any indication of what our summer coming up holds in store, that we should have a nicer than normal summer, maybe not drop dead gorgeous like I guess the summer of 05 was a really beautiful one around here, but perhaps as nice as last summer and I have no complaints about that.

By: Rik Pruett -