Wednesday, October 12, 2011

La Niña and El Niño Winters, Lincoln, NE Snowfall

Lincoln, NE, Snowfall During
La Niña, El Niño & Nada NiñoWinters

It is true that La Niña and El Niño events can significantly influence weather patterns in the U.S. However, the question to be asked is whether there is a significant influence on the winter weather during each of these events in Lincoln, NE.

The attached data table is a climatology of snowfall in Lincoln during La Niña, El Niño, and neutral (Nada Niño--my terminology) Winters. The Winter snowfall months were broken into October 1-December 31 (OND) and January 1-March 31 (JFM). This was done to see if there is a difference in the early part of winter compared to the later half of winter. The "30 year normals" refers to all snowfall data 1981-2010 combining La Niña, El Niño & Nada Niño events for that 30 year time period.

During the OND time period, La Niña averaged the least snowfall, El Niños averaged the most snowfall. However, during the second half of winter, La Niñas averaged the most snowfall and El Niño events averaged the least amount of snowfall. However, do note the huge range (variation) in the snowfall amounts during La Niña,El Niño and Nada Niño (neutral) events. For example, La Niña-JFM time periods, although averaging 18.2 inches of snowfall have seen as much as 41.0 inches and as little as 5.3 inches of snowfall. This makes it very difficult to forecast snowfall totals for Lincoln based only on the occurrence of a La Niña event.

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