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La Niña Information

What is La Niña?
La Niña is characterized by unusually cold ocean temperatures in the eastern equatorial Pacific, as compared to El Niño, which is characterized by unusually warm ocean temperatures in the Equatorial Pacific. Click here for a whole list of frequently asked questions.

Previous Cold Phases
La Niñas occurred in 1904, 1908, 1910, 1916, 1924, 1928, 1938, 1950, 1955, 1964, 1970, 1973, 1975, 1988, 1995

Temperature and Precipitation Impacts During La Niña
Seasonal mean temperatures and precipitation maps for the United States during strong La Niña are available from NOAA's National Climate Prediction Center.
Current Monthly/Seasonal Forecast

Typical La Niña Impacts
La Niña tends to bring nearly opposite effects of El Niño to the United States — wetter than normal conditions across the Pacific Northwest and dryer and warmer than normal conditions across much of the southern tier. The impacts of El Niño and La Niña at these latitudes are most clearly seen in wintertime. In the continental U.S., during El Niño years, temperatures in the winter are warmer than normal in the North Central States, and cooler than normal in the Southeast and the Southwest. During a La Niña year, winter temperatures are warmer than normal in the Southeast and cooler than normal in the Northwest.

What does La Niña mean?
La Niña means "The Little Girl." La Niña is sometimes called El Viejo (Old Man), anti-El Niño, or simply "a cold event" or "a cold episode".

ENSO/La Niña Forecast
The National Centers for Environmental Prediction's (NCEP) Climate Prediction Center forecasts (ENSO Advisory, June 9, 1998) indicate strengthening cold episode conditions in the tropical Pacific during the remainder of 1998. Other statistical and coupled model forecasts indicate a similar evolution. The predictions during May indicate that a cold episode will likely develop during the next six months and continue through the northern 1998-99 winter.

For more information contact John Leslie at (301) 713-0622.

Following is a list of NOAA Internet sites with additional La Niña information:


The Official La Niña Home Page Environmental Services Data Information Management
Seasonal Mean Temperatures and Precipitation for the United States during Strong La Niñas Climate Prediction Center
List of warm and cold episode years Climate Prediction Center
What is La Niña? Pacific Marine Environmental Lab
 La Niña/Cold Phase
Climate Prediction Center 
Sea Surface Temperature Charts
(updated regularly)
National Environmental Satellite, Data and Information Service