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John Wheeler, WDAY, Published March 12 2014

Weather Talk: El Nino doesn’t hold clues to this summer’s weather

The last El Nino, in the winter of 2009-10, was also the last time it got to minus 30 degrees in Fargo (minus 33 on Jan. 2). El Nino has traditionally meant an increased likelihood of a mild winter, but that relationship has become less secure since the Pacific decadal oscillation flipped to the cold phase a little more than 10 years ago.

So what does El Nino mean for us now? It means almost nothing about the upcoming summer. It increases the chances of having a cool, wet fall (2014) and a warm spring (2015).

It is difficult to draw conclusions about next winter. But it guarantees none of this. El Nino is just one of many large-scale features of our climate, not to mention all the smaller-scale features impossible to predict long term. Even with improvements in recent years, long-range forecasting remains a tough call.

Have a weather question you’d like answered? Email weather@wday.com,

or write to WDAY Stormtracker, WDAY-TV, Box 2466, Fargo, ND 58108

Read the blog at stormtrack.areavoices.com