NOAA: La Niña is back – More snow for the Sierra?

Russ Steele

Last winter we had recored snow fall in the Sierra due to the a La Niña weather pattern in the Pacific. That weather pattern has returned according to a NOAA press Release below:

La Niña, which contributed to extreme weather around the globe during the first half of 2011, has re-emerged in the tropical Pacific Ocean and is forecast to gradually strengthen and continue into winter. Today, forecasters with NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center upgraded last month’s La Niña Watch to a La Niña Advisory.

NOAA will issue its official winter outlook in mid-October, but La Niña winters often see drier than normal conditions across the southern tier of the United States and wetter than normal conditions in the Pacific Northwest and Ohio Valley.

“This means drought is likely to continue in the drought-stricken states of Texas, Oklahoma and New Mexico,” said Mike Halpert, deputy director of the Climate Prediction Center. “La Niña also often brings colder winters to the Pacific Northwest and the northern Plains, and warmer temperatures to the southern states.”

Climate forecasts from NOAA’s National Weather Service give American communities advance notice of what to expect in the coming months so they can prepare for potential impacts. This service is helping the country to become a Weather Ready Nation at a time when extreme weather is on the rise.

You can read the rest of the Press Release HERE.  With all the news about drought and record temperatures in Texas’s and neighboring states, you would think the world was warming?

According to RSS AMSU, the first 8 months were the 2nd coldest January-August period in this century so far (second among 11 candidate years) according to a post at the Reference Frame.

The top 15 ranking of the years 1979-2011 according to the average temperature during the first eight months is as follows:

  1. 1998: 0.642
  2. 2010: 0.546
  3. 2002: 0.364
  4. 2005: 0.344
  5. 2007: 0.310
  6. 2003: 0.293
  7. 2001: 0.225
  8. 2004: 0.211
  9. 2006: 0.209
  10. 2009: 0.177
  11. 1991: 0.163
  12. 2011: 0.157
  13. 1995: 0.152
  14. 1983: 0.116
  15. 1988: 0.111

You can see that the first eight months of 2011 were colder than the same period of 1991 which was 20 years earlier; and of course, 1998 remains the leader of the league: its first 8 months were almost 0.5 °C warmer than the same months of 2011. At the 12th position, 2011 is out of top ten. Only Jan-Aug 2008 with –0.013 °C managed to be colder than the same period of 2011 among the years of the 21st century. So 2011 is helping to make the preliminary 21st century temperature trend even more negative than before.

 At the Next Grand Minimum we are most interested in the longer term trends, but must consider that La Niña and El Niño are naturally occurring climate phenomenon occurring over the tropical Pacific Ocean,  and the impact of these event will be riding on top the longer term trends we are interested in .

I think we will see more snow in the Sierra this year.  Ellen and I bought our first snowblower, and Sear’s just called to say it is wait for pick-up.

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About Russ Steele

Freelance writer and climate change blogger. Russ spent twenty years in the Air Force as a navigator specializing in electronics warfare and digital systems. After his service he was employed for sixteen years as concept developer for TRW, an aerospace and automotive company, and then was CEO of a non-profit Internet provider for 18 months. Russ's articles have appeared in Comstock's Business, Capitol Journal, Trailer Life, Monitoring Times, and Idaho Magazine.
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3 Responses to NOAA: La Niña is back – More snow for the Sierra?

  1. gjrebane says:

    Look forward to the description of your new snow-blower – we may follow your lead. Have more than five chords of split firewood stacked and ready for the winter, and another similar amount of sawed rounds in our forest. Even though it turned out to be a hot day, this morning it felt a little like the first day of fall with turned leaves already on the ground and the wind blowing from a new quarter.

  2. Dave Cranfield says:

    If it must snow equal to or the same as the winter of 2010-2011, let’s hope it does so AFTER the trees drop their leaves.

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