Long-range weather forecast for winter 2024-2025

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In April 2024, the National Weather Service (NWS) published its climate prediction news.

Long-range weather forecast for winter 2024-2025

The NWS is on La Niña watch! The service predicts the transition from El Niño to ENSO-neutral is likely by June (85% chance), with the odds of La Niña developing by June/August 2024 (60% chance).

Reuters published a report explaining the La Niña weather pattern characterised by unusually cold temperatures in the Pacific Ocean could emerge in the second half of 2024, following a strong El Nino year. “Even though forecasts made through the spring season tend to be less reliable, there is a historical tendency for La Nina to follow strong El Nino events,” the National Weather Service’s Climate Prediction Center (CPC) said.

What do we know of the long-range weather forecast for winter 2024-2025 in Europe? Climatologists are predicting a La Niña winter, but what is it and how does this effect snowfall in the Alps?

OnTheSnow knows how eager you are to get as much information as possible about next winter’s skiing conditions. We’ve gathered weather research from meteorological teams and summarised the facts to bring you our long-range weather forecast for winter 2024-2025 in Europe.

El Niño/La Niña weather patterns

El Niño and La Niña are oceanic anomalies found in a region of ENSO. This stands for El Niño Southern Oscillation. It is a region found in the equatorial Pacific Ocean which shifts between warm and cold phases.

La Niña is the cold ENSO phase while El Niño is the warm phase. As well as a difference in temperatures, there are also pressure changes.

El Niño and La Niña significantly influence tropical rainfall and pressure patterns. They connection between the ocean and atmosphere is also effected. They have their biggest impact on global climate during the Northern Hemisphere winter. So if the meteorologists are right and a La Niña is on the way, what does this mean for snowfall in the Alps?

How does La Niña effect the long-range weather forecast for winter in Europe?

La Niña effects the temperature in the Equatorial Pacific. But how does this effect weather in Europe? Well, according to the University of Leeds, it is the balance between high pressure over the Azores and low pressure over Iceland. This determines where rain goes in Europe during winter by pushing the jet stream. The jet stream is a band of strong winds that carries rain across the Atlantic.

OnTheSnow has gathered information from leading climatologists on how an La Nina winter might effect skiing in Europe for 2024/25.

La Niña means colder winters

The Weather Outlook says, “El Nino can sometimes bring warmer winters to Europe and the UK, and La Niña will usually bring colder winters, but to make it clear, both events can bring extreme weather to many areas. It is just that the effects locally are reversed, depending on location.”

There is the question of how strongly El Niño and La Niña actually influence Europe. Over in North America, the arrival of El Niño or La Niña have more clearly defined impacts. But the further we get from the epicentre in the Pacific, the less predictable things are.

If you want to better understand the El Niño and La Niña weather patterns, watch this video from the Met Office . . .

El Niño and La Niña © Met Office

Other factors effecting Europe’s long-range weather forecast for winter 2024-2025:

Well weather, as we know, is very hard to predict so far in advance. And that is why it is difficult to predict snowfall, especially for specific regions. Changes come from day to day. Weather often develops differently than meteorological models predicted. Some of the most reliable snowfall in Europe falls on high-altitude ski resorts, so that’s often the best bet for those who don’t want to predict the weather.

Some European ski resorts are open all year round. Check out our list of open ski resorts in Europe.

Also keep an eye on our weekly snow report published every Sunday throughout the winter season.

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