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Thursday, November 17, 2011

Weather harder to predict, Environment Canada warns

A senior climatologist with Environment Canada says the country should expect a cold winter, but warns that forecasting is getting more and more difficult.

"It's almost as if you can't look at the past to tell us what the future is," David Phillips told CBC News.

"There's a new norm: Expect the unexpected."

Phillips said the long-term models show that most of the country will be colder than normal because of La Nina, El Nino's lesser known counterpart.

El Nino and La Nina are two phases of a semi-regular temperature cycle in the tropical Pacific Ocean: El Nino is characterized by warmer-than-normal ocean surface temperatures in the eastern Pacific, while La Nina occurs when the ocean is cooler than normal.

These fluctuations in water temperature affect the air pressure above the ocean and have a dramatic impact on the weather around the Pacific Ocean and the world.

This winter, that should mean cold temperatures. more