A strange winter is coming, and we’re not talking about the one on Game Of Thrones. In the US, winter will be warmer than usual in some places, cooler than usual in others, and in many cases miserable no matter what. Because La Niña is, unfortunately, officially here.
La Niña is a cool band of water in the Pacific emerging at odd intervals and knocking expected weather patterns dramatically out of whack. And. As the name denotes, it’s essential the reverse of El Niño. Where El Niño causes storms across the southern US and dries out the north, La Niña dries out the southern part of the state and hammers the North with storms. So, yeah. It’s going to be a fun winter.
NOAA has broken out what to expect from La Niña this year. The good news is that this is a relatively low-grade version of the phenomenon that will only last a few months, with the ocean band it affects cooling just about half a degree Celsius. So New England won’t have to worry about the blizzard-heavy nightmare that broke snowfall records a few years ago, for example.
But the news still isn’t great. California doesn’t need more drought, but that looks to be exactly what it’s getting, and the South can expect warmer temperatures and more drought as well. This is particularly relevant because California and the South is where much of America’s food comes from — so reconfiguring the food supply might be a major concern.
Meanwhile, Canada and the states close to it can expect colder and wetter weather, especially around the Great Lakes, while most of the country is going to be a coin-flip depending on what happens with weather patterns. Most of the country is probably going to be dealing with strange weather in some form this winter, in the form of “Break out the parka today, ready your flip-flops for tomorrow.”
On a more global scale, the main issue is that this is knocking the climate further out of whack. The planet’s weather systems can, eventually, restore the balance. But anybody hoping for a break from the weather woes facing the Southeast had better dig in for another warm, dry winter.