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Weather Talk: We may be in midst of colder-than-average winter pattern

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Most of the winters since the terrible one in 1997 have been warmer than average. Now we are enduring our second consecutive colder-than-average winter, and many people are finding these repeated forays of subzero weather a little distressing. Some have even found it depressing.

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Most of the winters since the terrible one in 1997 have been warmer than average. Now we are enduring our second consecutive colder-than-average winter, and many people are finding these repeated forays of subzero weather a little distressing. Some have even found it depressing.

But we may have to get used to the cold. A look back over our weather history reveals a tendency for streaky weather patterns. Winters in the 1880s, 1910s, and 1960s, for example, were generally quite cold. A lot of this is due to slowly changing patterns of Pacific Ocean sea-surface temperatures.

Current climate research is looking into how we can improve long-range forecasting by careful analysis of ocean conditions. After all, the air that makes up our weather usually gets here by crossing the Pacific, and the ocean surface has been undergoing a cooling trend in recent years.

Have a weather question you'd like answered? E-mail weather@wday.com, or write to WDAY Stormtracker, WDAY-TV, Box 2466, Fargo, ND 58108

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