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La Niña is officially here to shape U.S. winter weather, along with global climate

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by Andrew Freeman Nov 9 2017  read full Mashable article here

La Niña conditions were formally declared present in the tropical Pacific Ocean on Thursday, in a statement from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The agency’s scientists found a large expanse of the equatorial tropical Pacific Ocean to feature cooler than average waters both at the surface and extending into deeper waters. The atmosphere is responding to this in ways that match expectations for a La Niña event.

Typical La Niña winter weather pattern.

In fact, the weather for much of the fall across parts of the U.S. has featured La Niña-like fingerprints, with milder than average conditions across the South and East, in particular….

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Whereas El Niño events tend to add heat to the global climate, making the odds of a record warm year even higher than they already are from human-caused climate change, La Niña pushes the climate in the other direction. Having a weak La Niña persist through early spring, which is what NOAA currently is predicting, would suggest that 2018 will end up being close to, or cooler than, 2017.

Keep in mind, though, that 2017 is likely to rank among the top 3 warmest years since reliable global instrument records began in 1880.

Given global warming, El Niño and La Niña years have been warming steadily. There’s a decent chance that 2018 will set a milestone for the warmest La Niña year on record.

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