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

July 2017 SST anomalies


The tricky "spring predictability barrier" is behind us, and forecasters have growing confidence that this coming winter in the Northern Hemisphere will most likely be a continuation of “ENSO-Neutral.” Without El Niño or La Niña on the horizon, U.S. winter climate is usually less predictable.

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

By modifying the Pacific jet streams, El Niño can affect seasonal temperature and precipitation across the United States, mostly in the winter. 

This map shows typical impacts of El Niñ on U.S. winter weather. These impacts have been associated with El Niño events in the past, but “associated with” doesn’t mean that all of these impacts happen during every El Niño episode. 

Typical U.S El Niño impacts
Winter temperature and precipitation
Hurricane season impacts
Coral Bleaching

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 & early spring. But in the tropics especially, some effects are felt in summer. The map at left shows typical June-August rainfall and temperature patterns during El Niño. However, it's important to remember that we may not see all impacts during every event. NOAA Climate.gov map.

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

ENSO neutral cartoon

August 2017 ENSO update: Extreme neutral!

August 10, 2017

In the tug of war over who will most influence U.S. winter climate, the lack of El Niño or La Niña gives smaller players a chance to pull the climate in less predictable ways.

Read more

Regional & Local Impacts

Events & Announcements

NOAA National Weather Service Daily Briefing
Briefing page with forecasts, discussions, maps, assessments, and severe weather outlooks for today’s developing weather patterns across the United States.

El Nino: What's Next?
February 18, 11 am CT
Hosted by SCIPP

NOAA Monthly Climate Briefing for Media
Thursday, February 18, at 11 am EST
Teleconference for public media on past month’s weather & climate conditions for the U.S. & globe, an update on El Niño, and NOAA’s 3-month climate outlook.

Western Region
California Winter Status Update
January 26, 4 - 6 pm EST