La Nina

By: Stacy Berman
By: Stacy Berman

February 6, 2006

With unseasonably warm temperatures to start off 2006, the question comes to mind, does it have to do with climate? La Nina, a climatic phenomena, or cooler than average Pacific Ocean temperatures, plays a role even in our weather here in Central Virginia.

After taking a couple of years of a break, the weather phenomena known as La Nina has made its return.

"La Nina being the opposite of El Nino is a condition where the waters in the eastern pacific are cooler than normal and the trade winds tend to be more energetic in that region", says the Assistant State Climatologist Jerry Stenger.

With this system being primarily in the Pacific ocean, the effects on Central Virginia are minimal.

"La Nina is not a good predictor of the weather conditions we see here in Virginia," Stenger explained.

With this January being recorded as the 8th warmest, does this mean La Nina will have an impact on the upcoming spring season?

"The answer is that we don't truly know exactly what the relationship is going to be. There tends to be persistence in the jet stream and upper air patterns that develop. Whether or not this will continue through the spring time and bring us unusually warm conditions for spring is not certain," Stenger continued.

With the 2005 hurricane season being a record breaking one, La Nina has the ability to play a huge role in the 2006 hurricane season.

"The La Nina conditions we are seeing right now are not extremely strong. Whether or not they will persist into the summer time and hurricane season, is really not known at this point," Stenger said.

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