Can a cold ocean trigger a snowy winter?

September 11, 2008 11:02:00 AM PDT
No. The ocean eventually warmed up into the 70s this summer, and that's where our ocean temperature sits right now.

Erica's Answer:

But even if the ocean had stayed cold all summer long, it wouldn't trigger a snowy winter. In order for snow to fall, we need to have temperatures below the freezing mark from ground level upward to the very top of our atmosphere. It has nothing to do with the ocean!

However, if the ocean water is too warm, it can heat the air above it so that snow falling into that airmass melts right away. That's why snow usually doesn't last very long down at the shore in the winter!

- Erica


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