La Nina With A Twist Of Arctic Oscillation

By Patrick O'Brien & Chris Hartwiger, agronomists, Southeast Region
January 5, 2012

Figure 1. La Nina winter weather impacts that commonly happen.  

Source: El Nino and La Nina: Weather’s Sibling Rivalry. ( 


Although the 2011-2012 winter is only a few weeks old, we are noticing some favorable regional weather patterns.  The meteorologists tell us we are in a La Nina pattern.  La what?  La Nina is a weather pattern characterized by cooling of the ocean waters in the central Pacific Ocean. These cooler ocean waters actually influence weather here in the Southeast.  In a La Nina winter we can expect temperatures to be above average and drier than normal.  Figure 1 shows general patterns for La Nina winters.  The good news is that warmer and drier conditions promote more play and help courses generate more revenue in these slower times of year. 

You will notice that when we discuss La Nina, we use the term on average.  Sometimes there is a short term weather pattern called an arctic oscillation that takes over and causes the mercury to plummet in the Southeast.  This occurred on January 2 – 4 when nighttime temperatures went down as low as the upper teens and daytime highs stayed in the 30’s and low 40’s for many southern cities.  Anytime arctic and golf are mentioned in the same sentence, it’s not going to be good for golf.  Cold weather keeps away all but the most avid players and less revenue is generated. 

The week of January 2 – 4 marked the first time covers were deployed in large numbers on ultradwarf putting greens in the Southeast Region.  For a refresher course on how to cover greens quickly and effectively, refer to the following article and video on covering and uncovering a putting green:

The next few weeks for us will involve travel to turf conferences and a few visits to courses. As you begin preparing for the 2012 season, please contact us if we may assist in your preparations in any way. 

 Source: Patrick O'Brien 770-229-8125 or  and Chris Hartwiger 205-444-5079 or 


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