NOAA’s blog this week talks about several different climate patterns which may affect the predictability of seasonal climate.  There are a number of different patterns which can affect climate over time, including long-term trends, El Nino, the North Atlantic (also sometimes called Arctic) Oscillation, and the Pacific Decadal Oscillation.  This blog post describes the differences between these patterns and explains how they affect climate in different parts of the US.  While all of them contribute to variations in climate over time, El Nino is the “800 pound gorilla in the room” according to blog author Anthony Barnston.  El Nino and its opposite phase, La Nina, definitely have well-defined climate signals in the Southeast, although in some years other factors can dominate.  You can read the blog post by clicking here.

The Climate Prediction Center has more information on El Nino patterns at their web site here.  You can look at differences in climate and crop yield data in different phases of El Nino or La Nina in the Southeast at