6 Storm Team Winter Weather Outlook: El Nino Southern Oscillation

Winter Forecast

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) – In order to come up with a winter weather forecast you need to look globally first.  In this case, the Pacific Ocean holds a key to determining our local winter forecast.

ENSO or the El Nino Southern Oscillation is an important phenomenon that impacts weather across the globe. ENSO takes on one of three phases.

El Niño phase – warmer than normal waters in the Pacific Ocean near the equator.

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La Niña phase – brings colder than normal sea surface temperatures to the equatorial Pacific.

Neutral phase – tends have warmer than normal temperatures with wetter than normal precipitation.

This year, most indications are that the Southeastern United States will be in a neutral phase.

There are some instances when the ocean can look like it is in an El Niño or La Niña state, but the atmosphere is not showing all the ingredients needed to be a true El Niño or La Niña pattern.

Follow our WATE 6 Storm Team on Twitter: Victoria Cavaliere, @watevictoriawx; Matt Hinkin, @Hinkmologist; Justin Kiefer, @justinkieferwx; and Ken Weathers, @lucky13wxman. Also, follow @WATEWeather.

(The story is part of a WATE 6 Storm Team in-depth look at this coming winter with forecasts, cold weather tips and the science behind storms in a package of reports.)

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