Where is La Niña?
July 18, 2003
Since the weak El Niño event of last winter, the equatorial Pacific has cooled and oceanographers have been on a La Niña watch. Thus far, equatorial waters have seesawed between cooling and the present slight warming. Elsewhere, the northern and northeastern Pacific Ocean remains quite cool and sea levels are much lower than normal. These cooler ocean waters off the U.S. West Coast have driven a cooler and foggier spring and early summer along the coast, and guided the North Pacific Jet Stream north, keeping the West and Southwest in the grip of a 5-year drought.
Sea-surface heights are a measure of how much heat is stored in the ocean below to influence future planetary climate events. Jason scientists will continue to monitor the Pacific closely for further signs of La Niña formation and intensity, or not.
Topics: Environment, Physical geography, Meteorology, Atmospheric sciences, Niña, Atmospheric dynamics, El Niño-Southern Oscillation, Tropical meteorology, Physical oceanography, Pacific ocean, Jet stream, Climatology, Climate change