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Tuesday, December 6, 2022

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How this winter’s La Niña could impact next summer

AUSTIN (KXAN) – When we look at the effects of La Niña in central Texas, these effects are generally tied to the weather patterns we experience in the winter and spring.

La Niña winter is generally warmer and drier, and La Niña spring has been shown to bring more tornadoes and hail to central Texas.

It was a record summer for the Lone Star State, in the third year of our La Niña.

Countywide average temperature rankings (May-July 2022)

So how much has La Niña contributed to our hot summer, and what does La Niña mean for next summer?

The impact of La Niña on the summer

Historically, Texas has experienced minimal warming when La Niña appears to occur between May and July.

However, if you watch La Niña now Winter…according to the data, it had a greater impact on temperature increases from spring to summer NOAA’s ENSO Blog. That’s certainly what happened this year… We had La Niña last winter, followed by a hot summer.

The effect of La Niña on summer temperature (NOAA)
The effect of La Niña on summer temperature (NOAA)

Why do La Niña winters have a delayed effect on Texas summers? The dry, warm winters that typically accompany La Niña in Texas have proven to help set the stage for the development of warmer summers.

Winter Precipitation and Summer Temperatures for Texas (NOAA)
Winter Precipitation and Summer Temperatures for Texas (NOAA)

The drier the soil in the winter and early spring, the easier it is to heat up in the summer and dry out further, making the warming worse.

not all

The data showed that La Niña winters caused the following Texas summer to warm by up to 0.5°C, but the summer of 2022 was 2.1°C warmer than average, which suggests that climate change and other influences also played a role in the increase in heat. State.

Another thing to realize is that this connection does not happen every time. We had a La Niña 2020-2021 winter, but the 2021 summer was wetter and cooler. However, the summer of 2021 might be more of an anomaly. a study A look at the 10 most extreme heat waves in Texas revealed that eight of them had La Niña the previous winter.

And next summer?

La Niña is expected to last this winter and possibly until early next year.

ENSO forecast (NOAA/CPC)
ENSO forecast (NOAA/CPC)

This Latest ENSO Forecast La Niña from the Climate Prediction Center is expected to be favored between January and March before becoming ENSO neutral between February and April 2023.

There is a 65% chance that La Niña will continue through the important winter months of December to February.

Another La Niña winter? If this leads to another period of hot, dry weather in Texas, like the typical La Niña winters in Texas…you guessed it…it could lead us to another above average summer next year.

Of course, we don’t expect La Niña to last into next summer, but if the ground gets drier after a hot, dry winter, that could be enough to get another hot summer in central Texas.

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