During spring 2011, the Northern Great Plains experienced record flooding. This video explains how a La Niña climate pattern helped set the stage for this extreme event.

An expert on climate conditions in East Africa describes the climate factors behind the 2011 drought, which has contributed to food insecurity and famine.

Between January and April 2010, temperatures in the Pacific were under the warming influence of a fading El Niño episode. Meanwhile, higher latitudes of the Northern Hemisphere were dominated by a strong negative phase of the Arctic Oscillation.

In early 2010, water temperatures in the eastern tropical Pacific were warmer than average, but a summertime reversal cooled the region off over the rest of the year.

As far back as August 2010, NOAA's seasonal climate models predicted that rainfall would be heavier than normal across Indonesia and Southeast Asia in early 2011. The cause? La Niña.

Computer climate models help scientists such as Dave Dewitt predict the life cycles of individual El Niño or La Niña events and their effects on weather patterns throughout the world. While the accuracy of these models continues to improve, they still have limitations.
 

Will climate change affect frequency or intensity of El Niño and La Niña? There is still little consensus among scientists on this, explains the International Research Institute for Climate and Society’s Lisa Goddard.
 

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