Across the continent—here in southern California, in unseasonably warm New York, and across parts of Canada—this season’s weather is leaving people scratching their heads and wondering…whatever happened to winter and what explains this vanishing act?
It was less than a year ago that California Governor Jerry Brown declared an end to California's three-year-long drought. That was after a winter of heavy rain and snowfall, but this year has been especially dry and, so far, the state snowpack is at below-average levels. Forecasters had expected 2012 to be another soggy La Niña season, which results from cooler-than-normal surface temperatures in the eastern Pacific Ocean and usually brings lots of rain and even snow to regions low and high in the southland, but somewhere along the line, they missed the mark. Patt checks up on the California snowpack, how it’s affecting business at ski resorts around the state, what it means for our water supply, and that of other parts of the continent being left high and dry.
Have you noticed different winter weather this year?
Bill Patzert, research oceanographer and climatologist, Jet Propulsion Laboratory
Frank Gehrke, chief of the California Cooperative Snow Surveys Program at the Department of Water Resources