What Does This Past Winter Mean For Summer?

¿Qué significa el invierno pasado para el verano que llega?

May 13, 2015

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warm summer

When you come off a winter like this past one, many meteorologists get the question from their viewers — what does this past winter mean for our upcoming summer? So we decided to take a look at the numbers.

Initially, we looked at average temperature for meteorological winter and summer from 1970 to 2014. Each season was categorized as a lowest (cold/cool), middle (average) or highest (warm/hot) third. For the final analysis, we only considered warm or cold winters and their following summers. 

In parts of the country, there are some interesting patterns between the two seasons, but we cannot assign confidence to these patterns because the analysis sample is too small. Overall, there is no clear trend that would apply toward season-to-season weather patterns, as most meteorologists are intuitively aware.

We all know that the long-term trends show warming for all seasons overall, as greenhouse gas concentrations continue to increase. And there is ongoing research looking at how some of the large-scale climate influencers like ENSO and the PDO will impact our seasonal temperatures as the climate continues to change. But for now, the next time a viewer asks you what this past winter means for their upcoming summer, you can use this data to back up your answer.

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