Snowfall forecasts for winter 2023/2024 have been released, indicating a strong influence of El Nino on weather patterns. We’ll begin by reviewing early snowfall forecasts and trends for next winter, focusing on the United States, Canada, and Europe.
First, let’s take a quick look at the ENSO anomaly, the main driver of global weather for future seasons, in the Pacific Ocean. ENSO is an abbreviation for “El Niño Southern Oscillation” and refers to the tropical region of the Pacific Ocean that alternates between warm and cold phases with a phase change every 1-3 years. Currently, we are in the phase of a strengthening El Niño phenomenon that will peak during the winter.
The Southern Oscillation has a major impact on tropical precipitation, pressure patterns, and complex ocean-atmosphere exchanges. The evolving stages of the phenomenon lead to significant pressure changes in the tropics, which in turn affects the atmospheric circulation in the rest of the world with a certain delay.
Long-term forecasts for the central El Niño region indicate that El Niño conditions will peak in late fall and the first half of winter, followed by weakening during the spring.
But what does all this mean for winter weather patterns and the potential for snow? Let’s take a closer look at the impact of El Niño on North America. Historically, during the warm phase of El Niño, a strong low-pressure system in the North Pacific can weaken the polar jet stream but strengthen the subtropical jet stream in the southern United States.
Moving to Europe, forecasts indicate that snowfall will be less than usual, with the exception of the Alps and some parts of Scandinavia.
For the United States and Canada, more snow is expected in the northern Rockies, southern Plains, and southern Appalachia. In early and mid-winter, snowfall is expected to decrease in the western United States, around the Great Lakes and in the Northeast.
In conclusion, snowfall forecasts for the winter of 2023/2024 show a strong influence of the El Niño phenomenon on weather patterns, with major consequences for weather conditions in North America and a lesser impact on Europe. However, it is important to remember that these are only predictions and actual conditions may vary.
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