NEWTON: Comparing Variation Across Historical Seasons
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Name: Madeline
Status: student
Grade: 6-8
Location: NY
Country: USA
Date: Fall 2013

Why are some winters warmer than others and some summers warmer than others?

Hi Madeline,

Thanks for the question. There is always variations in the seasons. Yes, some winters do tend to be colder than others and may have more precipitation. One explanation for this type of seasonal variation is the El Nino weather variation which happens every 7 years or so. In Southern California, for instance, the El Nino variation caused more rainfall than expected.

I hope this helps. Thanks Jeff Grell


If the weather is anything, it's variable. Statistical averages of weather conditions for a day, a month, or a season sometimes fool us into thinking that those conditions should occur for every associated time period.

However, there is great variation in the weather around the statistical averages of temperature, precipitation, cloudiness, etc. for any particular part of the year.

Sometimes these variations are somewhat cyclical, with warmer (and/or drier) than average winters occurring for several years in a row, followed by several years of colder (and/or snowier) than average winters. The same thing can happen for summers.

David R. Cook Meteorologist Atmospheric and Climate Research Program Environmental Science Division Argonne National Laboratory

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