La Niña may brew a more active hurricane season, worsen drought in the Southwest

A climate pattern known as La Niña is emerging in the equatorial Pacific Ocean, supporting climate scientists’ predictions for an active Atlantic hurricane season. La Niña could also bring warmer, drier conditions to southern states in the U.S. — many of which are already experiencing extreme drought.

La Niña (“The Girl” in Spanish) and its counterpart El Niño (“The Boy”) are part of a climate pattern known as the El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO), which affects sea-surface temperatures in the central and eastern Pacific Ocean, close to the equator. During a La Niña cycle, waters in that ocean region are cooler than average.

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