El Niño & La Niña (El Niño-Southern Oscillation)

A spherical map projection centered on the tropical Pacific Ocean, showing temperature anomalies in April 2018


April average sea surface temperatures in the key monitoring regions of the tropical Pacific were cooler than average, but no longer cool enough to meet the threshold for La Niña. The La Niña-driven wind and rainfall anomalies have also subsided. Models are pointing to El Niño developing in fall/winter, but forecast uncertainty is high in the spring. The next update will be June 14.

More ENSO status information
Latest official ENSO update
Latest ENSO blog update
ENSO Monitoring at the Climate Prediction Center


El Niño and La Niña are the warm and cool phases of a recurring climate pattern across the tropical Pacific—the El Niño-Southern Oscillation, or “ENSO” for short.

The pattern can shift back and forth irregularly every two to seven years, and each phase triggers predictable disruptions of temperature, precipitation, and winds.

These changes disrupt the large-scale air movements in the tropics, triggering a cascade of global side effects.

More about El Niño
What is El Niño in a nutshell?
Understanding El Niño (video)
ENSO alert system criteria
ENSO essentials
Educational Resources on ENSO

La Niña, winter impacts

Cooler and wetter in the Northwest, warmer and drier across the South

La Niña is anchored in the tropical Pacific, but through the jet streams, it affects seasonal climate "downstream" in the United States. This map shows typical impacts of La Niña on U.S. winter weather based on past La Niñas, but the exact location and strength of impacts vary from event to event, and some might not occur at all. 

Typical U.S La Niña impacts
Winter temperature and precipitation
Hurricane season impacts
Current outlooks
6-10 day outlook
8-14 day outlook
1-month outlook
3-month outlook

La Niña winters

El Niño and La Niña have their strongest impact on global climate during the Northern Hemisphere winter.  The map at left shows typical December-February rainfall and temperature patterns during La Niña winters, but we may not see all impacts during every event. 

More information
ENSO's cascade of global impacts
The Walker Circulation
More maps of global impacts of La Niña and El Niño

Map of North American temperatures in Feb-Mar 2018 compared to average

May 2018 ENSO update: Thar she goes

May 10, 2018

La Niña is in the rear-view mirror. What’s ahead?

Read more


Temperatures across North America from February through April 2018. The cool conidtions in the U.S. Northern Plains and the warmth across the South are consistent with the winter/spring impacts of La Niña.  Map by NOAA Climate.gov, based on data from the Climate Prediction Center.