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

El Niño Watch

The odds of El Niño emerging in the tropical Pacific by fall have risen to 65%, and by winter to 70%. Click through the tabs above to understand what that could mean for U.S. and global climate.

More ENSO status information
Latest official ENSO update
Latest ENSO blog update

(image at left) Sea surface temperatures at the equator were warmer than average (orange, red) in the eastern Pacific in June 2018. A long-lasting warm spell in the central-eastern tropical Pacific is one of the criteria for El Niño.

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)
FAQs
ENSO alert system criteria
ENSO essentials
Educational Resources on ENSO

El Niño is anchored in the tropical Pacific, but it affects seasonal climate "downstream" in the United States. This map shows some of the precipitation and temperature impacts we may experience if El Niño develops this winter as predicted, but not all impacts occur during every event, and their strength and exact location can vary. 

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

El Niño and La Niña have their strongest impact on global climate during the Northern Hemisphere winter.  The map at left shows some of the precipitation and temperature patterns that might occur this coming winter if El Niño develops as predicted. However, not all impacts appear during every El Niño event.  

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

July 2018 ENSO Update: Dog days

July 12, 2018

Odds for El Niño continue to grow. The Climate Prediction Center's Emily Becker offers a diversion from summer heat by previewing what may be in store for fall and winter.

Read more

 

A deep pool of warmer than average water shifted eastward and upward in the tropical Pacific in June 2018. Animation by NOAA Climate.gov, based on data from the Climate Prediction Center.