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John Wheeler, WDAY, Published March 24 2014

Weather Talk: Signs suggest next winter may be less miserably cold

As the years go by, a very cold winter may be followed by one much milder. But there has been a distinctive trend of colder winters in recent years.

Following a general winter warming trend from the 1970s through the early 2000s, seven of the past eight winters have been colder than the average of the previous 20 winters.

During this cold winter trend, there has been significant spring flooding in 2006, 2009, 2010 and 2011. This suggests that some of the blame on the cold winter trend may be related to heavier winter snowfalls. This makes sense because snowier winters do tend to be colder owing to the radiative properties of a deep snowpack.

However, the current winter bucks that trend as it has been very cold without a lot of snow and without much threat of spring flooding.

Signs of a developing El Niño suggest a possibility that next winter might be a little less miserably cold.


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