ORLANDO, Fla. – As temperatures begin to warm into the mid-80s over the next few days, with no real cool down in sight, some might wonder, "Are we done with winter already?"
The simple answer is "No!" But it might not last as long as in the previous five years.
Climate and seasonal temperature swings are greatly dependent on the El Niño/Southern Oscillation Pattern (ENSO). This is a recurring climate pattern every few years
, that includes changes in winds and sea-surface temperatures in the central and eastern tropical Pacific Ocean. The warming and cooling of these waters actually dictate the weather pattern globally.
For example, this year the waters have cooled several degrees, entering us into the La Niña phase.
This setup tends to create a warmer and drier winter in Florida while producing a cooler and wetter summer.
For the past five years, our winters have lasted as long as late March, with cold fronts sweeping through and dropping temperatures into the mid- to low 60s for highs and 40s for lows.
Each one of these years has seen somewhat of an El Niño pattern, which explains the cooler temperatures.
But this year, La Niña is the main player in our global weather pattern. This could spell a shorter winter for us in Central Florida. To put it into perspective, the last time La Niña was in place was back in 2012.
That year, the last significant cold front to move through the area was mid-February. That is almost a month difference between an El Niño winter and a La Niña winter.
So enjoy the few more cooler days, as summer is right around the corner!