Most of us have heard that big weather patterns such as the El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) in the tropics play a seasonal role in local weather. Knowing about changes in tropical sea surface temperatures and snow cover at higher latitudes are important to many industries (e.g., agriculture and water management). It's even thought that $3 trillion in the U.S. economy is linked to weather conditions.
So when researchers at Atmospheric Environmental Research (AER) and MIT started looking past El Nino to the relationship between Siberian snow cover in October and Northern Hemisphere climate variability in the winter people took notice.
AER scientist Judah Cohen, PhD developed a fairly accurate forecast model for major industrialized cities based upon October Siberian snow cover, sea level pressure anomalies, and predicted El Nino/Southern Oscillation anomalies. For the first time, sea ice changes in September/October and circulation in the North Pacific, were applied to the experimental winter forecast.
Since it's currently snowing in my area, I can attest to the model working. Check it for yourself at this National Science Foundation page. Go science!