We’ve all heard of El Niño and La Niña, which refer to temperature shifts in the Pacific Ocean that affect our weather. But you may not have heard of Arctic Oscillation. To put it in simple terms:

  • El Niño (Little Boy) = weather throwing a temper tantrum
  • La Niña (Little Girl) = normal weather on steroids
  • Negative Arctic Oscillation = Cold

El Nino describes unusually warm Pacific temperatures near the equator, resulting in weather mayhem – drought or flooding; La Nina is the opposite, unusually cold Pacific temperatures near the equator, and tends to magnify usual weather – storms like “Snowmageddon.” Enter their cousin, “Arctic Oscillation.” This refers to shifts in atmospheric pressure between the Arctic Circle and North America. In the positive phase, cold air stays trapped in the extreme north. In the negative phase, cold air is swept south.

This winter, we are facing a combination of La Niña – magnified weather, and Arctic Oscillation in a negative phase – more cold air farther south. Result? As the Farmer’s Almanac describes it, predictions are that we’re in for a Wet and Wild Winter!

Source: Farmer’s Almanac

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