Double-dip La Niña in 2011
Videos, Tue, Jul 10th, 2012
This animation tracks sea surface temperature anomalies in the tropical Pacific throughout 2001. La Niña—the cool phase of the El Niño-Southern Oscillation—dominated the Pacific at the start of the year, subsided in summer, and returned in fall.
The lead character in the 2011 climate story was La Niña—the cool phase of the El Niño-Southern Oscillation—which chilled the central and eastern tropical Pacific at both the start and the end of the year. These natural cooling events have a long reach: many of the big climate events of 2011, including famine-inducing drought in East Africa, an above-average hurricane season in the Atlantic, and record rainfall in many parts of Australia, are common “side effects” of La Niña.
The La Niña that was underway at the start of 2011 was among the strongest in the historical record. By late spring, waters had warmed to “neutral” conditions. La Niña re-developed more weakly in the fall, and the tropical Pacific chilliness continued into spring of 2012.
LinksDouble-dip La Niña in 2011,
Spring 2013 has brought something fairly unusual in recent years—colder-than-average temperature for the nation as a whole. NOAA’s Deke Arndt talks about how spring temperatures in three U.S. climate divisions compare to the local long-term trend.
During late winter, Texas, Oklahoma, and Kansas received sorely needed rain which helped reduce short-term impacts, like wildfire and dry topsoil. But it has taken months to develop deep and severe drought in the region, and a few wet weeks won’t erase that situation. It can take months of ideal conditions to bring soil, rivers, and vegetation back to health.
On any given day or any given month, somebody somewhere experiences colder-than-average temperature, even though the globe as a whole is warmer than average. We know this through climate monitoring, which entails measuring temperature on land and across the ocean.