La Niña





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Uploaded on Aug 9, 2011

Pacific sea surface height between April and September 2010. The sea surface is higher (warmer) than normal (yellow and red) in the West; and lower (cooler) than normal (blue and purple) in the East.

Following, from mid-2010, its elder brother (El Niño), La Niña has in turn wreaked havoc on Pacific coasts (and more). Catastrophic flooding in Australia, in particular occurred in December 2010-January 2011.

La Niña is the ENSO phase opposite of El Niño. During La Niña, trade winds in the equatorial Pacific are stronger than normal, and the cold water that normally exists along the coast of South America extends to the central equatorial Pacific. During La Niño, the Pacific sea-surface height is higher (warmer) than normal West of the basin, while it is lower East stretching to the central Pacific Ocean. The2010 La Niña in the Pacific Ocean was one of the strongest in the past 50 years.
La Niña changes global weather patterns and is associated with less moisture in the air than normal (and thus less rain) along the coasts of North and South America, and even more on the west coasts of the Pacific. For example, for Australia, La Niña typically means more rains, and the 2010 La Niña was no exception: heavy rains that began late December 2010 led to Australia's worst flooding in nearly a half century.
Like El Niño, monitoring and forecasting La Niña help mitigate its impacts. A project like MyOcean is at the core of such capabilities.

Credits : CNES - Mercator Océan - MyOcean
Data: CLS (www.cls.fr)
Realisation : Mira Production


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