Thursday October 6, 2022


For the third year in a row, the United States is facing another La Niña winter.

Triple-dip La Niñas are rare – they’ve only been observed two other times in the past 72 years. But what was once rare could be the new normal (at least for a while), according to a recently published study.

“The Pacific Ocean naturally cycles between El Niño and La Niña conditions, but our work suggests that climate change could currently be weighing the dice toward La Niña,” study author Robert Jnglin Wills, a University of Washington research scientist, said in a university writeup of his study’s findings.

The new research is particularly interesting because it’s been long thought that rising global temperatures favor an El Niño climate pattern. (In the simplest terms possible, it’s because El Niño comes from warm sea surface temperatures, while La Niña happens when sea surface temperatures are cooling.) That’s still true in the longterm, but the opposite has been true in recent history, the study found.

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