With winter fast approaching, I thought it would be a good time to look at the global sea surface temperature anomalies.
Sea Surface Temperature Anomaly (October 19th 2019)
The first thing that can be seen in the latest Sea Surface Temperature Anomalies just how unusually warm most of the globe is. Of course there are still cool spots, most notably off the west coast of Sumatra, but the majority of the worlds oceans are unusually warm. The most extreme anomalies look to be near the Arctic with the Bering Sea, Northern Pacific, Labrador Sea, and Baffin Bay, all ranging from around 2-5 Celsius above normal. Consequently, the Arctic has not increased its ice cover much at all since it reached its minimum in mid-September. In fact, no other season has had a lower Arctic Sea Ice Extent for this time of year in recorded history.
Arctic Sea Ice Extent Graphics Courtesy of the National Snow and Ice Data Center (October 19th 2019)
Moving over to the equatorial Pacific, ocean temperatures are running only slightly warmer than average. This slight anomaly is not warm enough to classify as El Nino, so this means we are currently in a neutral ENSO state. This neutral ENSO state should continue through winter and into the Spring, but a weak El Nino could develop some time in the next 3-12 months.
International Research Institute for Climate and Society ENSO Model Predictions (September 19th 2019)
A neutral ENSO typically results in a cold winter in the Northeast and Midwest, with warm temperatures in the Southeast and Southwest. Precipitation varies, but a neutral ENSO often results in increased precipitation in the Southeast.
Despite this, NOAA's forecast for December through February indicates above average temperatures for almost the entire continental United States, and increased precipitation not in the Southeast, but in the Midwest.
Three-Month-Outlook for temperature (top), and precipitation (bottom), for the months of December, January, and February courtesy of NOAA (September 19th 2019)
A myriad of factors goes into creating seasonal forecasts, and these NOAA forecasts are by far the best resource one can find. A full list of three month weather outlooks can be found here : https://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/products/predictions/long_range/seasonal.php?lead=2
Have a great night!