El Nino To Affect Weather In Colorado And Western U.S.

December 1, 2006

Colorado's late fall snowstorms could disappear by mid-December due to the influence of an El Niño event in the tropical Pacific Ocean, said Klaus Wolter, a University of Colorado at Boulder and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration scientist.

"Sometime in December I would expect to see the classic El Niño winter doldrums where the storm track shifts so far south that we might run dry for a very long stretch, maybe several weeks where nothing happens," said Wolter.

According to Wolter, the current El Niño is showing signs of strengthening. El Niño events occur when temperatures on the surface of the eastern tropical Pacific are warmer than normal for several months.

The wetter-than-normal weather Colorado experienced in October was typical of a moderate to strong El Niño event, he said.

"In the Front Range you have these two bookend months -- October and March -- where a good-sized El Niño can produce above-normal snowfall," he said.

According to Wolter, the dry, mid-winter conditions usually reverse as spring approaches, typically in late February or early March. And when the storms return, he said, they can bring a lot of moisture with them.

"March has a tendency to produce copious snow amounts with El Niño," said Wolter. "And another characteristic of El Niño springs is that the Front Range is more than likely to be on the wet side."

He also said that Arizona and New Mexico could get a wet winter in stark contrast to the record drought they experienced last year.

Source: University of Colorado

Explore further: Evidence suggests La Nina will return this winter

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Climate ups odds of 'grey swan' superstorms

August 31, 2015

Climate change will boost the odds up to 14-fold for extremely rare, hard-to-predict tropical cyclones for parts of Australia, the United States and Dubai by 2100, researchers said Monday.

Quantifying the impact of volcanic eruptions on climate

August 31, 2015

Large volcanic eruptions inject considerable amounts of sulphur in the stratosphere which, once converted into aerosols, block sun rays and tend to cool the surface of the Earth down for several years. An international team ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.