It’s April: two months til winter… Which gets us all thinking about what type of season it will be.
Most Australian snow enthusiasts know about The Grasshopper, who writes snow forecasts for MountainWatch (‘resident meteorology sensei’ at MountainWatch).
Its worth reading the full story, but the short version is:
Cast your mind back to this time last year, and you’ll remember that last winter was dominated by a powerful El Nino that continued to grab headlines all summer long and also contributed to the record warm global temperatures recorded in January and February. However, time is on our side. Our arch nemesis is showing signs of weakness; its cruel rampage is coming to an end as it runs out of steam. Right now, we’re forecast to return to a neutral ENSO state over the coming months. On the face of it, this seems like good news for the Aussie Alps right!? Not so fast, padre! Every good story has a twist, there are unforeseen enemies lurking beneath the surface that may be intent on ruining our quest for snow.
Over the last 44 years roughly 20cm more snow has been recorded in neutral years compared to either La Nina or El Nino years.
(However) There is a LOT of variation between individual snow totals during neutral years.
You guys should know I hate being specific in April, but gun to my head, I’m going to predict a peak snow depth at Spencer’s Creek of 170cm – slightly below the long-term average of 176cm. This total is lower than normal, mainly due to the anomalous SSTs. Unfortunately, I also expect a slow start thanks to warm temperatures being reinforced by the higher than average SSTs.