La Niña

La Niña is the cold counterpart of El Niño--the other extreme of the ENSO cycle where sea surface temperatures in the tropical Pacific drop below normal. This phase is characterized by warm winters in the Southeastern United States, colder than normal winters from the Great Lakes to the Pacific Northwest, and unsettled winters in the Northeast and Middle Atlantic states. La Niñas occur after some (but not all) El Niño years.

The 1988 La Niña has been tied (inconclusively) to the Bangladesh floods and droughts in the Midwest United States.

Notice how sea surface temperatures dropped almost two degrees C. below normal in some parts of the Pacific during the 1988-1989 La Niña. Courtesy of the Center for Climate Analysis.

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