August 18, 2014 - 11:39 AM
THOMPSON-OKANAGAN - It's supposed to be warmer than usual this winter thanks to the effects of a predicated El Niño ocean current.
Simon Donner, a climate scientist in UBC's Department of Geography says El Niño typically develops in the fall and reaches peak strength during early winter and early spring. El Niño itself begins far away in the equatorial Pacific. He says a reversal of winds and currents brings unusually warm waters to an area between the coast of South America and the International Date Line. This is like dropping a huge rock in a stream. The warm waters release so much energy into the atmosphere that the normal flow of air is diverted, affecting weather all over the planet.
Donner predicts, if a strong event develops, people across Western and Central Canada should see an unusually mild, dry winter and spring.
Environment Canada concurs. Long-range weather maps show temperature and precipitation trends over the next few months with above normal heat and below normal precipitation.
For those who like to follow the Farmer's Alamanac, not only are they predicting warmer temperatures and less precipitation because of El Niño, they go a step further, predicting the coldest periods will happen in late December early to mid-January and then again in mid-to late February. They also predict the southeast portion of B.C. will receive more snow than usual and April and May will be cooler than average.
This is just one map on the Environment Canada page showing temperature and precipitation trends for the coming month. Other maps showing longer range forecasts can be found on their website.
Image Credit: Environment Canada
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