How much snow to expect in the 2016-2017 season? Looking to ENSO and the PDO for clues … OPENSNOW

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 Questions about how the weather pattern will behave during the upcoming season.

In this article, I will discuss a few things that meteorologists look at to help forecast weather patterns 3-6 months in the future, and we’ll see if these factors can help us to figure out how much snow will fall this winter.

Before getting to the details, I want to state up front that 3-6 month forecasts are generally inaccurate. Meteorologists across the world are working to improve these forecasts, but at this point in 2016, I would not make large bets based on monthly forecasts.

How to make a long-range forecast
To forecast weather patterns months into the future, we look at the temperature of water in ocean regions across the world. We do this for two reasons. First, the water temperatures influence the initiation of storms and how they track. Second, water temperatures are somewhat easier to predict than temperatures on land because large bodies of water take a long time to heat up or cool down.

During the last few decades, scientists have found that the water temperature in many ocean regions oscillate between times of warmer-than-average water and cooler-than-average water. Often, scientists name these flip-flopping patterns oscillations, and give them a specific name in each area of the world. The map below shows the abbreviation and location for most of these oscillations.

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