Forecast Frenzy Time & El Niño is here (shock, horror)

snow action team 14.05.2015

Ok, we all know it’s officially El Niño time now, which is not great news for a lot of people, including obviously farmers many places, and possibly the ski industry in Australia – but don’t panic yet.
The cool graph today from the Bureau of Meteorology explains the basics for us at home. With warmer ocean temperatures still in Indian Ocean hopefully for the snow point of view moisture will keep sucking down into early season and give us a solid and likely better earlier start than last year. It won’t go the #snowmaggedon peaks again, but with a start and then going drier/frostier the snowmaking systems should have plenty of time to do the business. So far from booking a surf or golf holiday somewhere instead getting on some of the early season deals remains a good idea – especially for NSW side crew the Perisher Freedom Pass with Epic Benefits or Thredbo’s season pass with Mountain Collective bonuses attached. Either look a good bet to get your money back by mid-July regardless of what happens next.
Our friends in South America are starting to froth about El Niño too as it generally means the reverse for them – getting slammed. Like 2006 which was one of the best seasons ever over there when of course it was the worst ever in Australia (peak of the drought/dry season). Conversely a year like 1964, the biggest on record in Oz, was the worst over there. So for the well heeled wanderers heading to Chile & or Argentina later in July through to September will likely be fun. Having spent many seasons in that part of the world, or part seasons, I have been watching how seasons correlate between there and Australia for over 25 years. Check the pic from 22nd June 2007 at Cerro Catedral, Bariloche.
Other entrail gazers more qualified locally – like Peter ‘The Frog’ Taylor at Snowatch – have drawn some similar conclusions re local prospects; on an ongoing basis Pete makes manual forecasts after reviewing the data, which explains why he often sounds more conservative than the computer based models that pump out wildly overoptimistic forecast at times. Who said a metre of snow in Australia this week? Not the Frog.
So that’s my wrap on the subject for now, no compensation claims accepted for following my advice and lucking out! With a final word that NZ can have a decent season in an el Niño and after last year’s sparse one they are due so NZ should be fine too.

courtesy Bureau of Meteorology one of the world's best weather services!

courtesy Bureau of Meteorology one of the world’s best weather services!


What an El Niño June looks like at Cerro Catedral, Bariloche © Owain Price

What an El Niño June looks like at Cerro Catedral, Bariloche © Owain Price