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La Niña weather patterns can cause drier than average years in some regions of the United States. In those same regions, El Niño weather patterns can cause wetter than average years.
You’ve probably heard your local weather forecaster talk about rain or storms caused by El Niño. But have you ever heard of La Niña?
La Niña, like El Niño, is a weather pattern that can occur in the Pacific Ocean every few years. In a normal year, winds along the equator push warm water westward. Warm water at the surface of the ocean blows from South America lớn Indonesia. As the warm water moves west, cold water from the deep rises up to lớn the surface. This cold water ends up on the coast of South America.
In the winter of a La Niña year, these winds are much stronger than usual. This makes the water in the Pacific Ocean near the equator a few degrees colder than it usually is. Even this small change in the ocean’s temperature can affect weather all over the world.
Rain clouds normally size over warm ocean water. La Niña blows all of this warm water khổng lồ the western Pacific. This means that places lượt thích Indonesia and australia can get much more rain than usual. However, the cold water in the eastern Pacific causes less rain clouds to form there. So, places like the southwestern United States can be much drier than usual.
Typical La Niña weather patterns in the continental United States.
La Niña is caused by an interaction between the Pacific Ocean and the atmosphere above. However, it can have effects on weather all over the world. These changes in the atmosphere can lead to more lightning activity within the Gulf of Mexico và along the Gulf Coast. Also, the environmental conditions during La Niña can lead khổng lồ more tropical cyclones—which include hurricanes—forming in the deep tropics (near the islands in the Caribbean, for example).
Thankfully, scientists can predict the El Niño & La Niña weather patterns up khổng lồ a year before they occur. The GOES-R series of weather satellites can help weather forecasters maps the increased lightning và issue earlier and more accurate severe weather warnings.
What’s the difference between El Niño & La Niña?
In Spanish, El Niño means “the little boy” và La Niña means “the little girl.” They are sort of like a brother và sister. Like many siblings, the two weather patterns are opposites in almost every way. La Niña causes water in the eastern Pacific to lớn be colder than usual. In the same region, El Niño can cause the water khổng lồ be warmer than usual. Areas that are hit with drought during La Niña years are pummeled with rain in El Niño years. Unlike a brother & sister, El Niño & La Niña might not be related.
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A La Niña year usually happens a year or two after an El Niño year. However, scientists don’t think that a La Niña is always caused by an El Niño.