An end to La Niña, and an El Niño on the way?

March 21, 2012|By Scott Dance

The climatic pattern known as La Niña is expected to end its cycle next month, and that could be contributing to extreme weather around the world and record warmth across the U.S., says AccuWeather meteorologist Henry Margusity.

Under La Niña, surface water temperatures in the Pacific Ocean cool slightly, bringing milder winters to Baltimore and more active hurricane seasons.  The Climate Prediction Center is calling for “neutral” conditions to start in May, meaning water surface temperatures return to normal.

But Margusity is predicting that is part of a shift to El Niño, the Pacific warming pattern Baltimoreans know for the cold, wet winters it brings here. The patterns typically last many months, so it could be a harbinger of a change from this year's mild, dry winter.

If anything, though, the weather patterns are unpredictable, Margusity said in a blog post.

"In this pattern, you need to forecast the weather almost day to day and not try to outsmart the weather," he wrote. "I have heard that April is going to get cold, I have heard that the summer is going to be cold in the East, I have seen May getting cold, and I have even seen the word drought like last year being said out there."

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