El Niño & La Niña (El Niño-Southern Oscillation)
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.
By modifying the Pacific jet streams, El Niño and La Niña can affect temperature and precipitation across the United States. The influence on the U.S. is strongest during the Northern Hemisphere winter. This map shows typical impacts of La Niña on U.S. winter weather. These impacts have been associated with La Niña events in the past, but “associated with” doesn’t mean that all of these impacts happen during every La Niña episode.
Novemberr–January 2016-17 U.S. outlook
US Winter Outlook (video)
Typical U.S La Niña impacts
Winter temperature and precipitation
El Niño and La Niña have their strongest impact on global climate during the Northern Hemisphere winter & early spring. The map at left shows typical global rainfall and temperature patterns during La Niña. However, it's important to remember that we may not see all impacts during every event. NOAA Climate.gov map.
Featured Resources & Articles
Images & Maps
ENSO across NOAA
Societal & ecosystem impacts
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.
California Winter Status Update
January 26, 4 - 6 pm EST