La Nina is a natural, but powerful weather phenomenon that causes more droughts and wildfires in America's western states and more Atlantic hurricanes. It is becoming the nation's unwelcome weather guest. Meteorologists say that the West's megadrought will not go away until La Nina does.
Last month, the current La Nina double-dip set a record in strength and will likely continue to be present for a rare, but not unheard of third consecutive winter. It's not only this one. Scientists have noticed that the world is experiencing more La Ninas in the last 25 years. This is contrary to what their computer models suggest should be happening in terms of human-caused climate changes.
Michelle L'Heureux is the head of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration forecast bureau for La Nina and El Nino.
A statistical analysis by Associated Press of winter La Ninas shows that they have been occurring about 28% of all the time between 1950 and 1999. However, in the last 25 winters they've been brewing almost half of the time. L'Heureux said that although there is a chance this effect could be randomized, if the La Nina persists this winter as predicted, it would push the trend above the statistically significant line which is crucial in science. L'Heureux's analysis shows that La Nina-like conditions have been more frequent in the past 40 years. Similar patterns are also being observed in other studies.
Many scientists are concerned that the climate models they use to predict El Ninos and La Ninas tend to be more accurate than the rest. This is causing disagreement in the climate community, according to Richard Seager, Columbia University climate scientist, and Kerry Emanuel, MIT hurricane scientist.
Seager and other scientists stated that the eastern equatorial Atlantic isn't warming as fast or as much as the western Atlantic. This is despite the fact that climate change is affecting the rest of the globe. It's not how much warming is important, but the difference between east and west. A La Nina is more likely to occur if there's a large difference between the east and west. Conversely, El Ninos are more likely to occur if there's a smaller difference. Scientists believe it could be due to the Pacific Decadal Oscillation or human-caused climate changes or both.
L'Heureux stated, "At the moment we just don't understand." "Scientists will be watching, and I know they are actively studying. It's crucial because of regional conditions. This is what we need to do."
La Nina, a natural and cyclical cooling in parts of the equatorial Pacific that causes weather patterns to change worldwide, is a more extreme form of El Nino's warming. Studies have shown that La Nina can cause more Atlantic hurricanes, more rain, and more wildfires in West Texas, as well as agricultural losses in the middle. This is because it is more costly to the United States than El Nino. Scientists say that El Nino, La Nina, and the neutral condition, collectively known as ENSO, stand for El Nino Southern Oscillation. They have one of the greatest natural effects on climate.