The lead character in the 2011 climate story was La Niña—the cool phase of the El Ni
La Niña—the cool phase of the El Niño-Southern Oscillation—dominated the Pacific Ocean at the start of 2011, subsided in summer, and returned in fall.
In early 2011, stratospheric temperatures rose over the tropics due to La Nina while temperatures over the poles fell below the long-term average.
In 2011, La Niña and the Pacific Decadal Oscillation cooled parts of the Pacific Ocean, but unusually warm temperatures predominated elsewhere.
Except for some La Niña-cooled regions of the tropical Pacific and a few other cool spots, the upper ocean held more heat than average in 2011 in the Pacific, Atlantic, Indian, and Southern Oceans.
In 2011, global sea levels fell below the long-term trend of sea level rise, but as La Niña waned late in the year, global ocean levels began rising rapidly.
NOAA's 2012 hurricane outlook favors a slightly below average number and strength of storms in the central Pacific basin and a near-average season in both the Eastern Pacific and Atlantic basins.
From poor soil to scorching summer heat, farmers in the U.S. Southeast face some significant challenges. Two Southeast growers are looking to seasonal climate forecasts to give them an edge.
Alabama farmer Myron Johnson talks about how adding seasonal climate outlooks to his decisions about when to plant and harvest his cover crops helped produce a bumper cotton crop during the 2010 growing season.