The Year With No Winter - March 30, 2012

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bluebonnet sTo contradict Shakespeare, 2012 was not the winter of discontent — it may go down as the year without a winter at all in many parts of the country, and you can blame — or praise — the jet stream, says a Texas A&M University climate expert.

John Nielsen-Gammon, professor atmospheric sciences who also serves as state climatologist, says upper level dynamics this year were unusual and the resulting change in the jet stream — a river of air that influences weather patterns — is the likely culprit.

"The jet stream follows a different average course each year, and the end results this time were warmer temperatures," he explains.

"This is a La Niña year (when water temperatures in the central Pacific Ocean are lower than normal), but the atmosphere did not respond to La Niña in the normal way," adds the Texas A&M professor who has studied weather patterns for years.