What kind of a winter can we expect?

The best indicator for early outlooks is the presence of the El Niño Southern Oscillation, which can change weather patterns all over the world.

Johanna Wagstaffe answers your questions in new weekly video column Science Smart

The best outlook indicator is the El Niño Southern Oscillation 2:25

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.

About the Author

Johanna Wagstaffe

Senior Meteorologist

Johanna Wagstaffe is a senior meteorologist for CBC, covering weather and science stories, with a background in seismology and earth science. Her weekly segment, Science Smart, answers viewers' science-related questions.

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