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How Big? How Strong?

For the past 35 years, The Browning Newsletter has maintained a belief that a person is significantly influenced by the climate in which they exist. Therefore, in understanding the past and present conditions of the climate in which they live, they can use the momentum of change to their advantage in forecasting trends related to behavior and commodities.

SUMMARY: The La Niña continues to grow stronger and, combined with other factors, will shape a cold and stormy winter.

What season is it? I’m a climatologist, so at this time of year I automatically think about autumn and the onset of winter. However, if you have testosterone and are American, the odds are that a lot of you think of this time of year as FOOTBALL SEASON. (If you are Canadian and polishing a hockey stick, please bear with me.)

One of the pleasures of viewing the sport is watching the teamwork of the defensive unit. Some player on the offense is holding the ball and the entire defense rallies to crush him. Sometimes a sole player takes the runner down, but frequently it’s a gang tackle. One by one, giant tacklers pile on the runner, leaving the flattened player buried in behemoths.


I think about weather, not sports – but I’m watching a potential pileup. Three enormous weather patterns are surrounding North America. All three cause cold winter weather. Expect to be flattened.

La Niña – Small, Medium or Large?

The Pacific Ocean covers almost 30% of the Earth’s entire surface. Its patterns and weather events dominate the globe. When it experiences a cycle, the whole Earth goes along for the ride.

Currently the Pacific is experiencing a La Niña. Starting in March, the warm tropical waters in the central and eastern ocean began to cool. At the time the Pacific was in the middle of a warm, wet El Niño. By April, the El Niño had disappeared. By May the ocean’s tropical waters were over 0.5°C (0.9°F) below normal – La Niña conditions. The rapid and tremendous change in temperature of thousands of square miles of the Pacific was an extreme event and it helped shape this summer’s extreme weather.

Ocean temperatures in the Tropical Pacific continued to drop. Temperatures between 0.5° - 1.0°C (0.9° - 1.8°F) below normal are considered a “weak” La Niña. When the chill is more than 1.0°C (1.8°F) below normal, the event is “moderate”. Now temperatures range from 1.4ºC (2.5°F) below normal in the Central Pacific around Fiji to 2.0°C (3.6°F) off the coast of Peru.

Measurements show that while temperatures in the central waters are stalling, the Eastern Pacific is continuing to cool. Most climate models seem to indicate that this cooling will continue into mid-winter.

Temperatures, while easy to measure and dramatic to show on multi-colored satellite maps, are only part of the La Niña pattern – and not necessarily the most important part in shaping global weather. The La Niña is the cool ocean phase of a wind and water phenomenon called the El Niño/Southern Oscillation (ENSO). This is a large-scale weather event that involves changing ocean and air currents. It includes: (see below for full article, click "Fullscreen" for best readibility)

November 2010 Browning Newsletter