My Winter Outlook For Oklahoma

It looks like La Nina is at it again.  According to the Climate Prediction Center, the process of cooling ocean water temperatures off the west coast of South America known as La Nina, is well underway.  This trend will strengthen as we head into the winter. Our friends at the Oklahoma Climate Survey have listed sources that say this could be the strongest La Nina in the past 60 years.  So what does that mean for Oklahoma’s winter forecast?

Before I attempt to answer that, let’s review a few things.  El Nino is a warming of the ocean water temperatures off the west coast of South America.  La Nina is just the opposite.  The sea surface temperatures in La Nina are colder than average in the Pacific Ocean.

It may not sound like a big deal, but slightly cooler water temperatures can have a profound effect on weather patterns around the world.  In the United States, La Nina can bring a mixed bag of weather, from wetter than normal in the Northwest, to milder than average in the southern Plains.

The nation’s coldest weather could be in the Northeast and New England.  In a La Nina year, the southern Plains typically has drier and milder than average weather because the average storm track is north of Oklahoma.  Based on that fact, I predict the following for Oklahoma this winter:

The main message to take from this forecast is that even though the winter may end up drier and milder than average, we will still have some messy, cold, snowy and icy days to contend with.  Oklahoma had major ice storms in 2000 and 2007, and both of those years were La Nina years.  However, I expect we will have more above normal temperature days than we did last year.  It seemed that last winter turned cold and pretty much stayed that way the whole season, except for a few mild days here and there.  While we will have our cold spells this winter, we will also enjoy periods where temperatures will soar above normal.



3 Responses

  1. Ive heard many rumors on it but is it true that the AMO and PDO is going into a cold period that may halt global warming?

  2. Yes stormboy the PDO is already in the cold phase and the AMO will be cooling over the next few years and should be in the cold phase by 2015. Global temperatures are going to come down as a result.

    What’s interesting. Is that we’ve been measuring arctic sea ice since the warm PDO so it’s going to be interesting to see what happens during a cold PDO/AMO phase. It’s most likely going to recover. A predominately postive AO is forecast to develop this winter which will lead to a marked rise in sea ice.

    “global warming” is a very controversial subject but it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to look at the big picture and see that all this is, is temperature displacement. It’s a cyclic reversal of the global climate.

  3. @ stormboy global warming isn’t occuring.. with that said it has been warm but thats the PDO has been in a warm phase which explains the northern sea ice being below normal and the southern sea ice extent is above normal and overall the sea ice extent is below normal again all because the northern sea ice extent. Take for example the El Nino warming ’97- ’99 the PDO was also in a warm phase and everytime you get a reversal of the Nino into a La Nina you will get an overall drop in the global temperatures its all natural variation

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