October 20, 2010

Ithaca Will Have Warmer Winter With Less Snow, Professors Predict

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With the weather beginning to get colder, scientists have begun making predictions for the upcoming winter.

While Cornell professors say it is still too early to know for sure, Ithaca is expected to receive less snow this year than last year.

“It looks like there will be a shift in the weather to the Midwest and we will go back to being more typical,” said Prof. Mark Wysocki, earth and atmospheric sciences. He said that last year Ithaca and the rest of the Northeast received more snow than average.

“It has to do with what happens in the Pacific,” Wysocki explained. “There’s a cold phase, or La Niña, and that typically changes the weather pattern in the winter. The Midwest will get more snow and the Northeast gets less.”

“In terms of a forecast, no one really knows,” he said, cautioning that before a more definite prognosis is available, “we have to see how the North Atlantic Oscillation sets itself up in November and December.”

According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s website, the North Atlantic Oscillation “consists of opposing variations of barometric pressure near Iceland and near the Azores.”

Since weather patterns for the winter have yet to develop, a forecast is only available three months in advance — through December — said Jessica Rennels, a climatologist at the Northeast Regional Climate Center, located at Cornell.

“The whole U.S. for the three month outlook is looking to experience above-normal temperatures,” she said, but added that the West Coast will experience below-average temperatures.

Original Author: Joseph Niczky