Every year climatologists look for 'clues' in the atmosphere about what kind of winter weather Canadians might expect.

The best indicator for early outlooks is the presence of the El Niño Southern Oscillation, which is warmer-than-normal waters in the southern Pacific Ocean that change weather patterns all over the world.

If El Niño is there, the winter here should be milder.

The reverse of this pattern is the La Niña, which can often translate to colder and snowier winters for the West Coast of Canada.

So which is it this year?

It's actually neutral. No pattern one way or the other has been detected, so winter could go one way or the other for us in B.C.

If you have a science question you'd like answered, send Johanna Wagstaffe a tweet (@Jwagstaffe) or an email: johanna.wagstaffe@cbc.ca.