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Father God, thank you for the love of the truth you have given me. Please bless me with the wisdom, knowledge and discernment needed to always present the truth in an attitude of grace and love. Use this blog and Northwoods Ministries for your glory. Help us all to read and to study Your Word without preconceived notions, but rather, let scripture interpret scripture in the presence of the Holy Spirit. All praise to our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

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Monday, February 27, 2012

What Happened to La Nina?

Last fall I predicted a cold and snowy winter for western Canada and then promptly left for Palm Springs. Before the end of February 2012, I was back in Edmonton, Alberta approximately one hour before winter started. But for a week in January Edmonton has had no real winter, and most of Canada has had a better than normal season. Why?

It was, and still is a La Nina winter. It should be cold and snowy and has been anything but. That cold air that builds up over the arctic has to go somewhere. Like a dam bursting it often floods southward over Siberia or northwestern Canada, but not this winter. This winter it flooded southward over eastern Europe. Why?

A recent study by a US/China team of researchers determined that it was the result of diminishing ice coverage in the arctic. Open water in the arctic during fall and early winter means that the surface temperature from the Arctic to the north Atlantic differs much less than normal – a weak thermal gradient. That results in a weak jet stream across the north Atlantic.

A strong jet stream across the north Atlantic is believed to help keep the arctic air from flooding southward into eastern Europe except briefly and occasionally. This winter they have been devastated with dreadfully cold and snowy conditions. There was even snow in the Sahara last month.

I suspect that the flooding of arctic air over Europe actually reduces the pressure to flood southward over Siberia or western Canada. Also, the weakening of the north Atlantic jet stream may alter the jet stream over the north Pacific. It became apparent this winter that the jet stream was not about to let the cold air from Siberia or arctic Canada flow southward as it normally would.

As it is now late winter and the Arctic is freezing again, we may be seeing a strengthening of the north Atlantic jet and a return to normal La Nina conditions. That would mean a cold and snowy end to winter and probably a late spring. However, La Nina is now expected to fade to neutral conditions by early spring and so we can hope for normal weather patterns to return for the first time in a few years.