La Niña is on its way out
Although La Niña is fading, heat distribution in the Pacific Ocean remains dramatically out of balance
April 26, 1999
Web posted at: 11:30 AM EDT
The La Niña weather phenomenon that followed on the heels of the most powerful El Niño on record is beginning to fade, according analysis of the latest images from the U.S.-French TOPEX/Poseidon satellite.
The imagery of sea-surface heights taken this month by the ocean-observing satellite show cooler temperatures and lower sea levels across the equatorial Pacific Ocean (seen in blue and purple in the center of the image) are diminishing, which indicates that the equatorial Pacific is slowly returning to normal.
However, in the north and south Pacific Ocean, temperatures and sea level remain high (seen in red and white), a pattern that began many months ago. In a nutshell, this means that although La Niña is fading, heat distribution in the Pacific Ocean remains dramatically out of balance.
Weather forecasters from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration have predicted that La Niña conditions will prevail through June. So far this year, the La Niña weather phenomenon has brought higher than usual snowfall to the Pacific Northwest and drought to areas of the Southeast.
A study conducted at Purdue University predicted that Indiana, Arkansas, Mississippi and the western parts of Kentucky and Tennessee may be in store for a heightened tornado season due to the effects of La Niña.
City officials in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, reported last week that the La Niña weather phenomenon was responsible for an unseasonably early high surf that covered the city's popular beaches with garbage.
And the wildfires that raged in Florida last week, burning an estimated 170,000 acres of the Everglades, are blamed in part on the dry weather the La Niña weather phenomenon has brought to the region.
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