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Will it snow? Will it snow? Will it snow?

Researchers have developed a new forecasting methodology that provides more accurate predictions of winter temperatures and precipitation.
Researchers have developed a new forecasting methodology that provides more accurate predictions of winter temperatures and precipitation.

I know. It’s a zillion degrees outside, so why am I writing a post about snow? Because new research is out that will help make winter weather predictions more accurate throughout the United States. That’s good news for weather watchers, sure, but it’s great news for governments and utilities – since they can make better predictions about water supplies and energy consumption.

NC State researchers Sankar Arumugam and Naresh Devineni developed a new forecasting methodology that uses multiple climate forecast models and also takes into account the activity of El Nino conditions in the Pacific. Their work should significantly reduce uncertainty regarding winter climate conditions in the U.S. A paper describing the work is published in Monthly Weather Review.

Accurate predictions of winter climate conditions can be incredibly useful for regulators and utility officials for a few reasons. For one thing, winter is a crucial season for re-charging water supplies in the U.S. (to get you through those hot, dry summers). If officials can predict a drier-than-normal winter, they can take steps to implement water conservation efforts earlier. Similarly, if officials can predict a colder-than-normal winter, they can prepare for increased energy consumption (since people will need more energy to heat their homes).

So, the next time somebody clocks you with a snowball, focus on the silver lining: our water supplies are being refreshed. Let it snow! Let it snow! Let it snow!

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