The past few winters we have experienced have been rather mild affairs, which has helped keep household energy bills in check as consumers have been using less to heat their homes. However, this year we may be in for a return to bitterly cold weather, as meteorologists suggest that the El Nino effect could plunge Britian into a long, snowy winter.As we use more energy during the winter, a particularly cold winter could add as much as £150 to our annual bills.What is El Nino?El Nino is a weather phenomenon that occurs every two to seven years when the predominant winds over surface water become weaker, enabling warmer waters in the western Pacific to travel eastwards. This change of water temperature can have exceptional effects on global weather patterns and what is particularly alarming this year is that the Met Office are predicting that this El Nino could be the strongest since 1950.What is the potential impact that El Nino will have?This latest El Nino could result in the highest temperatures we have seen globally over the next two years, conversely it could also see a return to the bitterly cold weather we saw in the UK in 2009/10. Commenting on the phenomenon to the Telegraph newspaper, Thomas Shafernaker, a Met Office meteorologist said, “In Europe sometimes winters end up much colder and drier and last much into spring. In 2010 the El Nino played a part in bringing huge amounts of snow to the UK.”
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