El Niño could mean a milder winter for Michigan
Regular warming patterns in the Pacific Ocean could mean a milder winter for Michigan residents.
The pattern, which is known as El Niño, occurs once every two to seven years and usually leads to warmer and drier climates in the Midwest.
"If we have a milder and drier than normal winter, statistically, that we also would have to tend to have lower than normal seasonal snowfall totals," said Jeff Andresen, climatologist at Michigan State University.
He said warming in the Pacific Ocean indicates that the effects of El Niño could be greater this year.
More research is needed to determine what, if any, impact climate change will have on the warming patterns, Andresen added.
"There's still a lot of research that needs to be done," he said. "But there are some pieces of the literature and the science now that suggest that in some ways, some of those seasonal changes that occur may be a little bit more enhanced than they been have in the past."
Experts say the impacts of the warming period can last anywhere from seven to fifteen months.