Spring Weather Forecast 2023 – La Nina peaked only at the beginning of winter 2022/2023. After that, a slow breakdown process will begin, but will still affect weather patterns during the winter season. But we are already seeing signs that El Nino could happen later in 2023, a few years from now. It can completely change the weather patterns for the next year’s weather seasons.
The global climate is very sensitive to large changes in the oceans. This is why we monitor these anomalies because they can significantly affect seasonal weather. Especially in winter when pressure systems are strongest.
Spring Weather Forecast 2023
First, we’ll quickly analyze how these ocean anomalies actually change global weather. We will then see how they will affect the current winter of 2022/2023 and why the development of El Nino is so important.
Winter Forecast 2022/2023
El Nino and La Nina are the exact opposite of ENSO, which means “El Nino Southern Oscillation”. This area in the equatorial Pacific Ocean periodically transitions between warm and cold phases. Usually, a phase change occurs every 1-3 years.
ENSO significantly affects tropical precipitation, pressure patterns, and the complex energy exchange between the ocean and atmosphere. In the tropics, large-scale pressure changes can be observed during each phase of development or decay.
The figure below shows the ENSO regions in the tropical Pacific. Regions 3 and 4 cover the eastern and western tropical Pacific. The main area is the combination of regions 3 and 4, which we see in the figure as the Niño 3.4 region.
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Each phase of ENSO affects pressure and weather in the tropics differently. This ultimately affects the entire global circulation and changes weather patterns around the world.
Each phase (cold/warm) usually develops in late summer and early fall and usually lasts until spring. But some events could last up to two or three years, like the current cold phase.
The cold phase of ENSO is La Nina and the warm phase is El Nino. Besides temperature, one of the main differences between the phases is the pressure patterns they develop, shown below as high (H) and low (L) pressure areas.
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During El Nino, the pressure in the tropical Pacific Ocean is lower, and the region experiences more precipitation and storms.
But during La Nina, the pressure in the equatorial Pacific Ocean increases, creating stable conditions and fewer storms. These pressure changes eventually translate into the global circulation, which affects seasonal weather in both hemispheres.
The following image from NOAA Climate shows a typical circulation during the cold phase of ENSO, which is currently still active.
Minnesota + Wisconsin Winter 2022 2023 Weather Outlook
Falling air in the eastern Pacific brings high pressure and stable weather. At the same time, air in the western Pacific rises, leading to more frequent storms, low pressure, and more precipitation.
ENSO thus has a strong influence on tropical precipitation and pressure patterns, affecting the ocean–atmosphere feedback system. Through this ocean-atmosphere system, ENSO influences global weather.
A global change in pressure patterns can be observed at the onset of the ENSO phase. However, it is usually more influential at the peak of its phase.
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But how does ENSO transition between cold and warm phases? The simplest answer is that it is the result of a complex relationship between pressure, winds and ocean currents.
Global trade winds usually start or stop a particular phase of ENSO by overturning the surface ocean layers and changing ocean currents. The trade winds are steady and persistent winds that blow toward (and across) the equator in both hemispheres.
This process is much better seen in the video animation below, which shows ocean temperature anomalies from summer to fall.
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ENSO cooling resumed in August as the trade winds strengthened. As a result, you can see cold waves develop in the equatorial Pacific Ocean as the wind pushes the surface waters westward.
Recent global ocean analysis shows healthy cold ocean anomalies in the tropical Pacific. An active La Nina extends over almost the entire equatorial Pacific Ocean. Image by NOAA CRW.
Below you can see the anomaly data for past years in the ENSO region. You may see the first La Nina event of 2020. The second La Nina occurred in late 2021 and lasted throughout the winter. The third year event is currently active and will run through the winter of 2022/2023.
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Below you can see the progression of several historic multi-year La Niña episodes. Only two events have previously had a third-year event like this season. Three events were neutral in the third year, and three stages had already moved to El Niño in the third season.
No cold snaps in known records have gone past year 4. So it is expected that we will be witnessing the last phase of La Nina for some time now.
But in the chart below we can see the main ENSO 3.4 region that it probably fell in the last month. We are currently seeing a weakening of the cold anomalies. Although it may cool off for a while, no heavier falls are expected. Together, this means that the peak of this La Niña has been reached.
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Looking at the latest analysis of ENSO regions below, the strongest cold anomalies are more defined in eastern regions. Overall, La Nina appears to be still in a healthy state, with cold anomalies extending across most of the tropical Pacific.
But if we look down the western region, we can see a steady slow warming since late October. This shows that the cold anomalies are decreasing in the western ENSO region, indicating that the decay process has already started and will continue into winter.
Below is the latest 7 day change in ocean temperature. You can clearly see continued warming in the eastern and central ENSO regions. In some areas, temperatures rose by more than 2 degrees Celsius in a week.
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Subsurface ocean activity shows two strong anomalies on each side of the equatorial Pacific. Currently, an active La Nina cold pool is visible, but a warm anomaly is extending from the west. This will play an important role in 2023.
If we look at the CFS ocean forecast for June 2023, we can see that the warm pool is taking over groundwater. This suggests that El Nino conditions may occur at the surface later in the year, with completely different weather patterns.
The North American Coupled Models (NMME) ocean temperature forecast shows an active La Nina phase for most of the winter season. This is consistent with other global forecasting solutions.
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The ECMWF analysis and ensemble forecast below shows the forecast for the eastern ENSO region. La Niña conditions (below -0.5) dominate in winter. However, La Niña is expected to begin weakening in the interim, with a significant shift to a warm phase.
Below we have an ECMWF analysis/forecast graphic showing the long-term forecast for the main ENSO region. This shows a cold phase that is active in winter. But this season there will be a fairly rapid weakening of the cold phase, with an El Niño event likely later in the year.
The ENSO forecast from US CFSv2 is similar. It shows the ongoing cold anomalies that persist through the winter. However, the cold phase will soon begin to decay, and this model also agrees with the predicted onset of the warm phase in 2023.
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IRI’s official ENSO probability forecast also shows that the current La Nina will continue into the winter of 2022/23. However, a new phase usually occurs in late summer/autumn with seasonal pressure changes. You can also see all the major possibilities for an El Nino event after 2023 below.
Looking at the ocean anomaly forecast map, we see that ECMWF is predicting a tongue of warm anomalies in the equatorial Pacific Ocean. These anomalies are likely to appear as early as spring, so the decay of La Niña will be quite rapid.
The North American Multimodel Ensemble (NMME) forecast also shows the same anomalies that developed in spring. As new ENSO phases typically begin to intensify in late summer, this is a healthy basis for an El Niño to emerge by the winter of 2023/2024.
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During the El Nino winter season, we have a strong and persistent area of low pressure in the North Pacific. This pushes the polar jet farther north, bringing warmer-than-normal temperatures to the northern United States and western Canada.
The South Pacific jet stream is strengthening, bringing storms with heavy rainfall and cooler weather across the southern United States.
The figure below shows the winter pressure pattern for the last few El Nino winters. You can see a strong low pressure area in the North Pacific, a high pressure area over Canada, and a low pressure storm track in the southern United States.
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Below are the temperature anomalies this winter. You can see that an average El Nino winter has cooler temperatures in the southern half of the United States and parts of the eastern United States. The northern half of the country is warmer than normal, as is southern Canada.
In terms of precipitation, an average El Niño winter brings more precipitation to the southern half of the United States, especially the Southeast. but drier