Expert: Canada’s winter forecast and the critical factor of El Niño

Two people cross-country skiing while holding hands.
Published: 8 December 2023

El Niño will be a major contributing factor to how the season ahead plays out. El Niño has a reputation for bringing mild winters to much of Canada and it appears that this winter will feature one of the strongest El Niño events on record. So, can we expect a mild winter across the country this year? The answer is not so simple. (The Weather Network
Here is an expert from McGill University who can provide comment on this topic:  

Djordje Romanic, Assistant Professor, Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences 

“Forecasting severe winter weather is challenging. In part due to a myriad of simultaneous processes in the atmosphere-ocean-land system that affect the weather. However, one might expect a milder than average winter 2024 in the west and parts of southcentral Canada. This is due to the current El Niño event. Every 3 to 7 years, the cold waters of the equatorial Pacific Ocean are replaced by anomalously warm water leading to a change in the atmospheric circulation. This phenomenon—known as El Niño—has a significant climate and economic influence in the Equatorial Pacific as well as remotely. For instance, El Niño sometimes negatively affects the recreation industry in British Columbia and Alberta due to the lack of snow in ski resorts.” 

Djordje Romanic is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences. His research interests include thunderstorm winds, natural hazard modelling, and applications of atmospheric sciences to wind engineering, sustainability, and resilience.  

djordje.romanic [at] (English)  

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