Apparently its been a little snowy in the US this winter, with the climate skeptic freakshow proclaiming this means the planet as a whole can't be warming (which would make snow anywhere impossible) while some climate change activists say its proof of global warming. MT at "Only In It For the Gold" says its really just a side-effect of El Nino - A Hill of Snow.
Well, blizzards in DC are no big deal as far as we are concerned here, but blizzards in Texas, that's another matter. And with reports of a minute amount of snow sticking to the ground in Florida, we have what is really an unusual event: snow cover in every one of the contiguous states. (I spotted a tiny bit of frozen precipitation in Austin mixed in with the rain, but with my cowboy hat off and my Habs' tuque on, I wouldn't really have called it snow.)
So what are we to make of the snowpocalypse? ...
Well, when this year is different from last year, the best place to look is not in gradual climate change but in large natural shifts in climate. Of these, the prime candidate should always be the big one, the El Nino/La Nina cycle (known in the field by the inexcusable name ENSO which stands for "El Nino Southern Oscillation" which sacrifices both the oceanographers' poetry and the meteorologists' precision for mealy-mouthed and worthless compromise. But never mind that.) Anyway, Google being my friend, I asked it "noreaster el nino" and was promptly rewarded with the following abstract:Lynne M. Hoppe, United States Naval Academy, Annapolis, MD; and D. R. Smith
A significant wintertime event along the East Coast is a marine cyclone called the Nor'easter. These storms occur when cold air from the continent interacts with warm air and water just offshore, associated with the Gulf Stream. This paper investigates whether El Niño events have any influence on the development of such storms. This paper looks at winter storms for the 1983-84, 1997-98, and 2004-05 events. The number of extratropical cyclones, intensity of these cyclones and the central and minimum pressures of the cyclones were gathered. By comparing these data, conclusions were made regarding the generation and movement of Nor'easter storms. The storms during El Nino events were pushed further south due to the jet stream being pushed further south. The frequency of storms increased during strong El Niño years (e.g., 1983-'84 or 1997-'98). Although the is ability to predict when or where these storms will occur is difficult at best, this study provides clues to better understand the effect of El Niño on these extratropical marine cyclones.
Okay, kids? Got that? Jet stream moves south, and more noreasters happen IN EL NINO CONDITIONS. The US is just going to be more snow-covered in El Nino conditions.