Friday, September 16, 2011

El Niño & La Niña Winter temperatures and Precipitation

This is an amazing site.

The site at the above link has maps (down to the county level) for every El Niño & La Niña showing Winter temperature anomalies and Winter precipitation anomalies for the U.S. The archive has data and maps for the period 1950 and up through last Winter 2010-2011.

Many people when they hear El Niño & La Niña assume that the climate for all El Niño events is pretty much the same and during all La Niña events is pretty much the same. That is not the case, although there are some similarities among all El Niño & some similarities among all La Niña events, there is also a large amount of variation.

For example, the two La Niña winter maps attached here, 1995-96 and 2010-11 both show a colder than normal Midwest and eastern U.S., however, the 1995-96 Winter (unlike 2010-11) had much more area with above normal temperatures in the western U.S. For a real contrast, go look at the La Niña Winter of 1999-2000 (at the above link) Temperatures were above normal for 95% of the U.S. during the La Niña Winter of 1999-2000.

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