Considering El Niño And Its Potential Effect On Wisconsin's Winter

Global Cycle Is Complex Amidst Interactions With Other Climatic Phenomena
Disqus Comments
Sea surface temperatures
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

Warm sea surface temperatures on December 21 in the eastern tropics of the Pacific Ocean indicate a major El Niño.

Much of Wisconsin has experienced unseasonably warm temperatures over the final months of this year, which looks to be ending on a mild note.

These conditions can't be attributed to a single explanation, but one major factor behind this warmth is the emergence of an El Niño that is shaping up to be the biggest in nearly two decades.

An irregular climatic cycle, El Niño arises when surface water temperatures rise in the eastern tropics of the Pacific Ocean, which in turn can affect weather patterns around the world. In Wisconsin, this has the potential to spur warmer winter temperatures and in turn reduce snow totals.

Listen to WisContext's Kristian Knutsen explain the basics of the El Niño cycle, how it can affect conditions in Wisconsin and research into its relationship with ongoing climate change.

Disqus Comments