New alert system for La Niña and El Niño

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NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center issued the first La Niña advisory Thursday under its new El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO) Alert System. Forecasters expect La Niña to influence weather patterns across the United States during the remainder of the winter and into the early spring.

Defined as cooler than normal sea surface temperatures in the central and eastern equatorial Pacific Ocean, La Niña impacts the weather globally. La Niña’s opposite is El Niño, or warmer than normal ocean temperatures. These changes in ocean temperatures alter the tropical wind and rainfall patterns with far reaching implications.

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