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La Niña

  • By: Scott Curtis
  • In: Encyclopedia of Geography
  • Edited by: Barney Warf
  • Subject:General Geography, Earth & Environmental Science

La Niña refers to anomalously cool central to eastern equatorial Pacific surface waters. These climate events occur every 2 to 7 yrs. (years) and last anywhere from about half a year to 3 yrs., with peak strength in the boreal winter season. La Niña is also often synonymous with the “high” phase of the Southern Oscillation, with the El Niño comprising the “low” phase. During the high phase, sea-level pressure is higher than normal over the Eastern Pacific (e.g., Tahiti) and lower than normal over the Maritime Continent (e.g., Darwin, Australia). La Niñas have a large impact on certain regional climates but have not been extensively studied in geography or the atmospheric sciences. While El Niño (“little boy”) has been part of the Peruvian vernacular ...

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