What's all this El Nino talk about?



Nickname: Bruce Lee - People are expecting this El Nino to pack a punch! 
 
What is an El Nino: When water in the Pacific Ocean warms more than 3 degrees Celsius as a result of unusual trade winds across waters. In turn, this warm water becomes a breeding ground for heavy but scattered storms.
 
History suggests that when we do experience these strong El Ninos, about every other decade (J. Marmaduke), they bring fewer storms throughout the winter, however, the storms that do roll in pack a punch, especially in the Southwest Colorado territory, few reports are saying areas like Aspen and especially Telluride, Silverton and Durango (Tomer).  However, on the flip side, if we do not see any of these storms, that means very little snow. Now that sounds dire, but the reality is that Aspen|Snowmass will most likely experience a normal to above normal winter.  Which is awesome!
 
What does the past tell us?
 
What is unusual about this Bruce Lee, is that this summer and fall's weather patterns match, almost identically, to the years 1997 and 1982, in which, both winters set were record breaking snow years. Reporters mentioned that in both of those past years they witnessed 20+ Inches of snowfall on Christmas Eve. 
 
As we are closing in on Winter, we in the ski industry can only cross our fingers for a big winter, not only because we want it, but we need it. But; "'The fact of the matter is it’s always unpredictable,' said Nolan Doesken, state climatologist at the Colorado Climate Center. 'People get all excited about a strong El Nino as if this will absolutely predict the rest of the late fall and winter … But it’s just one modifier of the otherwise beautiful and complex atmospheric-oceanic circulation system"' (J. Marmaduke) 

 

Sources:

  1. Chris Tomer; What a Building Super El Nino Could Mean for Colorado's Weather; http://kdvr.com/ -     August 14 2015 
  2. Colorado Climate Center: http://climate.colostate.edu/
  3. Jacy Marmaduke; Your Guess as Good as Forecasters' Regarding El Nino; http://www.coloradoan.com/ -September 29, 2015


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