Circulating news of the forthcoming El Niño has many excited and some dismayed for whatever weather is in store this winter. Last week, we provided an overview of El Niño, along with information on the areas it may affect this coming season. From this, several questions arose about the weather phenomena and what to expect, so we did a follow-up interview with meteorologist Joel Gratz, from the weather forecasting site,

Enjoy a nice smattering of snow smut in the gallery above, and scroll on for informative weather imagery and our interview below.


Source: NOAA

Here's a view of sea surface temperature anomalies that are causing this super Niño to take place. Two major hot spots are currently happening, one is off the coast of Seattle, where water is about 37.4°F warmer than usual, and the second is off the coast of Peru, where water is about 39.2°F warmer than average, according to NOAA. 

Interview with Joel Gratz of

Why didn't El Niño pan out this past season?

The setup looked good late last spring into early summer, the ocean and atmosphere did work together to help create and reinforce the warm water in the Pacific Ocean. This year, the ocean and atmosphere are cooperating more fully. (See photo above.)

El Niño vs. La Niña, which one produces snowier winters? 

Depends on your exact locations in the US or other countries. There are always winners and losers. In the US west, La Niña generally provides more snow to the northern areas while El Niño helps the southern areas.

How do these weather patterns affect the Western United States, South America, Japan Europe, and Australia and/our New Zealand?

See this graphic:


Source: Wikipedia

We've seen some percentages circulating for predicted snow totals for different regions of the US, and it seems that the PNW, Idaho/Montana and midwest will have less than average snow totals this season. In your opinion, why do we sensationalize El Niño, if it seemingly has negative effects on resort-laden areas in the US?

Forecasting the weather six months ahead of time is hard and usually very inaccurate. When there is a strong El Niño or La Niña, the six-month forecasts become a little more accurate. So for this year, we’re talking about it a lot because we have a better chance to get the six-month forecast semi-correct.

Can you tell us what a day in the life a meteorologist is like for you, Joel?

During the winter, I wake up around 5 a.m., research the weather for about one hour, write my forecasts for about one hour, then spend the rest of the day doing what needs to be done. Much of the time that means working on the business side of things and responding to questions. Of course, if it’s a powder day, that takes priority.

There you have it. We will bring you more weather-related stories as they arise, but for now, given that winter is on its way, but still over four-months away in the US of A, we're turning our attention to the Southern Hemisphere. It's been puking in Argentina and Chile. Time to book a trip to SASS Argentina.

Andrew Burn-2015

Snow at the base of Cerro Catedral in Argentina, the home of SASS Argentina. Photo: Andrew Burns, aka @BurnsHimSelf

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