Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Can El Nino Be a Reliable Predictor of Our Weather?

Now that I reside in California (but still monitor Minnesota weather closely from afar), the mystery of what El Nino holds is a BIG deal given the major drought here. Minnesotans may wonder if it means a "boring" winter with minimal snowfall and cold, but Californians are praying it means a replenishment of modest water supplies.

Source: Sept. 10 update.

As most of you know, I'm interested in weather and have a wee, wee bit of knowledge, but the main thing I bring to the table is the perspective of the armchair weather enthusiast. From where I sit, I watch all the professionals (and others) make assumptions about what El Nino (and a strong one, at that) likely means for the nation's winter weather. Most of it seems to me to be based on correlation rather than true cause and effect.

For that reason, I personally am skeptical that things will go according to form. I just think weather is way too complicated to predict based on one, albeit significant, warm-water feature. I don't recall anyone predicting that the winter of 2013-2014 would be a record setter. Likewise, most predicted last year to be considerably warmer than it came in. (I speak of Minnesota's weather.)

So, what do you think will happen this winter? Do you think it's too early to know? Do you think there's any reliability whatsoever in seasonal predictions? Let's hear your thoughts!