MAINE, USA — Summer has arrived, at least from the perspective of meteorologists.
For anyone who hasn't heard my explanation on this already...In order to neatly keep weather records, we measure seasons based on months.
For example, "summer" is the warmest three months of the year: June, July, and August. Winter would be the coldest, being measured as December, January, and February.
The rest of this article will refer to "summer" as June, July, and August.
Last summer was a bit of a drag, especially in July.
As a reminder, July 4, 2021, was colder than Christmas Day 2020 in Bangor. This is still one of the most impressive weather stats I've seen in my three years here.
The Climate Prediction Center, which is the NOAA branch responsible for seasonal forecasting, is predicting another warm summer across New England.
The overall pattern will likely favor warm to hot conditions across almost the entire United States, and I expect July and August to be quite warm locally.
Overnight temperatures will likely help keep seasonable temperatures above average. This has been a noted trend in the past few seasons.
The seasonal precip outlook shows equal chances at ending above or below average.
The rest of the east coast is expected to end up above average, though.
Personally, I think it's possible that we end up with above-average precip through the season. The active tropics forecast could help push tropical moisture all the way to Maine and New Hampshire, increasing the rain chances heading into August.
There's plenty of time to figure that out. On the bright side, it's great to know we're not staring down another drought. Probably.
So, how does the CPC come up with these forecasts?
A big part of it is what's going on with ENSO, or the El Niño Southern Oscillation.
This looks at the sea surface temperature anomalies in a specific part of the eastern Pacific Ocean.
The state of ENSO has implications on weather patterns and allows forecasters to make a long-range forecast.
When the waters are running warm in this part of the Pacific, we are in an El Niño regime. When they're below average we are in a La Niña regime. Small anomalies are considered a neutral state.
The implications for weather in Maine are a bit more significant in the winter months. La Niña summers tend to be much more variable.
Right now, sea surface temperatures are below average. The La Niña regime is still ongoing and will likely last into the fall and winter.
The past few summers are a great example of just how much variation can happen during these ENSO periods.
Summer 2020 and 2021 both occurred during Niña regimes, but were extremely different.
Other than both ending up above average for temperatures (which is becoming quite common no matter what ENSO is doing), summer 2020 was marked by a drought while summer 2021 featured a lot of rain.
We'll regroup in early September and see how the summer ended up. Until then, get out and enjoy! Even with above-average temperatures in the forecast, there will be some cooler days mixed in.
- Mike Slifer, @MikeSliferWX
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