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Slightly cool spring expected: Oregon professor says climate change may alter long-term weather patterns.

Ashland, Ore.--Greg Jones, professor in the Department of Environmental Studies at Southern Oregon University, has become known for his regular weather reports, which many in the industry deem quite accurate.

Curious as to how he develops these forecasts, Wines & Vines queried Jones about his methods.

Jones follows information from the four main meteorological agencies around the Pacific: from Chile to Australia, Japan and the United States. He then takes the short-term trends in the tropical Pacific and North Pacific and compares them to past conditions.

According to Jones' most recent report, "Both short- and long-term weather/climate drivers for the western U.S. remain as they were in January. The North Pacific has remained in a cold phase similar to the past few years (cold Pacific Decadal Oscillation, or PDO), while the tropical Pacific has held its neutral state (some in the media call this La Nada [nothing] in analogy to El NiNo and La Nina conditions)."

Temperatures will likely be near normal to slightly below normal this spring, Jones reported.

Jones has been involved in the discussion of climate change, and some have suggested his data show leading California wine regions may become too warm to produce top-quality fruit.

He said it's indisputable that temperatures are rising and will continue to do so. The effects of that warming, however, are still open to debate.

One result may be that warm inland regions pull in more cold air to coastal valleys. And while some areas will simply get hotter, coastal areas may see another phenomenon: "The fog belt may be denser near the coast, but not extend as far inland."

For those who'd like to sample his forecasts, Jones provides regular updates monthly, or when the forecast shifts away from those given above. Email gjones@sou.edu to join the list.

winesandvines.com

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Title Annotation:APRIL NEWS
Comment:Slightly cool spring expected: Oregon professor says climate change may alter long-term weather patterns.(APRIL NEWS)
Author:Franson, Paul
Publication:Wines & Vines
Date:Apr 1, 2013
Words:310
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