NOAA has issued a La Niña advisory through early 2011. What does this mean for the Colorado ski resorts and in particular our beloved Winter Park Resort?
Climate scientists say a La Niña weather pattern is developing and will persist at least through early 2011, as sea surface temperatures cooled dramatically in July across the central and eastern equatorial Pacific Ocean.
The forecast models are in disagreement over how strong the cyclical cooling will be. La Niña usually — but not always — delivers a wintry punch to the Colorado mountains.
The El Niño pattern of last winter was neutral (La Nada), and now a La Niña pattern will take over for the coming fall/ winter, through possibly the season following (through 2012). This usually bodes well for the northern Colorado ski resorts. Lets keep our fingers crossed.
In the La Niña advisory issued Aug. 5, the federal Climate Prediction Center said temperature and precipitation impacts are generally weak during the summer and fall, but strengthen considerably in late fall and winter. La Niña can also contribute to increase hurricane activity in the Atlantic by decreasing vertical wind shear over the Caribbean Sea and tropical Atlantic. It could also bring some bonus moisture to some drought-stricken parts of Australia.
So this weather forecasting is all a bit of gobbly gook but here is hoping that the little lovely La Niña delivers a whopping blow of fluffy white snow right here on top of the Winter Park and Mark Jane Ski Resorts.