La Nina Strongest Since 2010/2012
We have been writing about La Nina quite a bit over the last several months as it has been impactful on weather patterns this winter season across the USA. The colder sea surface temperatures that develop during a La Nina can alter the path and strength of the jet stream moving across North America. This impacts the distribution of precipitation and temperature across North America, especially in the central and western areas of the USA.
You can thank La Nina for the relatively mild winter we have experienced so far. Despite the recent to return to winter weather in some parts of the USA (with more to come), most of the USA has avoided prolonged severe cold and widespread heavy snows.
The graphic below shows recent sea surface temperatures across the globe. La Nina shows up as the blue area along the equator across the subtropical Pacific.
While not yet as strong as the intense La Nina patter that developed between 2010 and 2012, it is the strongest La Nina pattern since then. The graph below shows the big drop in sea surface temperatures this season as compared to the last several years.