delware environmental institute

News Journal: Warmer winter for Mid-Atlantic

f you're looking for a white Christmas, your best bet is to head west of the Rockies. It has been a warm fall in the Mid-Atlantic and the next three months are expected to be warmer and wetter than average, according to forecasters with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Climate Prediction Branch.

Two factors are at play in this warmer-than-average year, which the Climate Prediction Branch says is shaping up to be one of the warmest on record for the United States and globally.

"The long-term warming trend we've seen in global temperatures is definitely a factor as we move into the future," said Jake Crouch, a climate scientist with NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information. "Our record warm years are more likely to occur than not. So that's a long-term signal."

In the shorter term, El Niño, a global weather driver marked by a pool of very warm water in the equatorial Pacific, also can boost global temperatures, he said.