EL NINO- La Nina

Remember El Ninho, where an influx of warm water into the western Pacific played havoc with world weather patterns? Well, meet La Ninha, this year’s weather muse. It’s a bit like Act Two in the extended cycle of our global climate. I’m Jim Metzner, and this is the Pulse of the Planet, presented by the American Museum of Natural History.

“La Ninha is the opposite of El Ninho. In fact, in Spanish El Ninho is the Christ child because it appeared around Christmas time and La Ninha is the girl, being basically the opposite. Instead of the eastern equatorial Pacific being warmer than normal, it’s cooler than normal.”

John Kermond is a visiting scientist with the Office of Global Programs at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

“Where an El Ninho produces a flood, La Ninha will produce a drought, and vice versa. So northeast Brazil, for instance, with an El Ninho causing drought, La Ninha there will cause increased rainfall. In Uruguay, in an El Ninho they get wetter than normal conditions and La Ninha will bring them drier conditions. So it’s basically a flip flop. It’s almost a complete switch off to the reverse situation.”

But La Ninha doesn’t always appear after an El Ninho and not much more is known about why or when she shows up at all.

“We’ve had more El Ninhos lately than we’ve had La Ninhas and that’s intriguing a number of scientists because there’s now some school of thought that would link the increased frequency of warm events to the whole global warming picture. Now we don’t know yet whether it is or not. We don’t have long enough record. And keep in mind that all of this is simply a heat balance. Same as a hurricane: it’s Mother Nature shifting heat from one place to another”

Pulse of the Planet is presented by the American Museum of Natural History. Additional funding for this series has been provided by the National Science Foundation. I’m Jim Metzner.

EL NINO- La Nina

Meet La Nina-- she's part two in an extended global climate cycle.
Air Date:12/25/1998
Scientist:
Transcript:

Remember El Ninho, where an influx of warm water into the western Pacific played havoc with world weather patterns? Well, meet La Ninha, this year's weather muse. It's a bit like Act Two in the extended cycle of our global climate. I'm Jim Metzner, and this is the Pulse of the Planet, presented by the American Museum of Natural History.

"La Ninha is the opposite of El Ninho. In fact, in Spanish El Ninho is the Christ child because it appeared around Christmas time and La Ninha is the girl, being basically the opposite. Instead of the eastern equatorial Pacific being warmer than normal, it's cooler than normal."

John Kermond is a visiting scientist with the Office of Global Programs at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

"Where an El Ninho produces a flood, La Ninha will produce a drought, and vice versa. So northeast Brazil, for instance, with an El Ninho causing drought, La Ninha there will cause increased rainfall. In Uruguay, in an El Ninho they get wetter than normal conditions and La Ninha will bring them drier conditions. So it's basically a flip flop. It's almost a complete switch off to the reverse situation."

But La Ninha doesn't always appear after an El Ninho and not much more is known about why or when she shows up at all.

"We've had more El Ninhos lately than we've had La Ninhas and that's intriguing a number of scientists because there's now some school of thought that would link the increased frequency of warm events to the whole global warming picture. Now we don't know yet whether it is or not. We don't have long enough record. And keep in mind that all of this is simply a heat balance. Same as a hurricane: it's Mother Nature shifting heat from one place to another"

Pulse of the Planet is presented by the American Museum of Natural History. Additional funding for this series has been provided by the National Science Foundation. I'm Jim Metzner.