La Nada: A Whole Lot of Nothing

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Welcome to a whole lot of Nothing, or La Nada, a climate phenomenon that causes relatively normal weather in between El Niño and La Niña.

What is La Nada?

The giant, warm El Niño that brought a mild winter and wet spring is gone. The cool, dry La Niña is coming. In between these two types of weather is La Nada: “The Nothing”. The waters in the Tropical Pacific are, to quote Goldilocks, “Not too hot, not too cold—they are just right.” Find out more about the El Niño and La Niña climate phenomena.

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Between the hot El Niño and the cool La Niña lies La Nada, the nothing, normal water temperatures.

How Long Will La Nada Last?

Enjoy the temperate tropics while they last, because most experts think La Nada will be over by the end of August. Historically, when the Tropical Pacific has a strong El Niño heating one-tenth of the Earth’s surface, the cooling process moves with whiplash speed. The ocean goes from one extreme to another, and a cold La Niña forms a few months later. Global weather goes from very hot to very cold.

el-nino-winterla-nina-winter

El Niño and La Niña winters: The weather is extreme, but follows predictable patterns.

In between is “normal” weather. Notice, we are still in a period of time with severe weather events, like the floods in West Virginia or the California drought that is creating the avocado shortage (and a sad summer without guacamole). It’s just that these events will be less predictable, and most weather will be near normal.

What Can We Predict from La Nada?

There are some patterns that will be predictable. Normally, La Nada weather will make the United States and western Canada hotter and drier than a typical cool and wet El Niño summer. Find out how to keep your garden healthy during these dry conditions.

We have already seen a 12% increase in dry to drought-stricken areas here in the United States. The increase has not been in the already dry Southwest, but elsewhere throughout the Midwest, Central Plains, Pacific Northwest, and parts of the South. Sigh, it’s time to get out the garden hose.

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Photo Credit: US Drought Monitor. United States dryness and drought has increased since May 24 when El Niño ended.

Meanwhile, as we face a drier future, there are reports of a new technology that has found an extraordinarily large supply of California water. We can blog about it when more is known. But while you deal with short-term dry weather, you should know that there is some good scientific hope for California, Texas, and other dry states!

To understand more about droughts while you wait for science to fix the dry conditions for you, check out our page on the forces behind these droughts.

About This Blog

Are you a weather watcher? Welcome to "Weather Whispers" by James Garriss and until recently, Evelyn Browning Garriss. With expertise and humor, this column covers everything weather--from weather forecasts to WHY extreme weather happens to ways that weather affects your life from farming to your grocery bill. Enjoy weather facts, folklore, and fun!

With heavy hearts, we share the news that historical climatologist and immensely entertaining Almanac contributor Evelyn Browning Garriss passed away in late June 2017. Evelyn shared her lifetime of weather knowledge with Almanac editors and readers, explaining weather phenomena in conversation and expounding on topics in articles for the print edition of The Old Farmer’s Almanac as well as in these blog posts. We were honored to know and work with her as her time allowed, which is to say when she was not giving lectures to, writing articles for, and consulting with scientists, academia, investors, and government agencies around the world. She will be greatly missed by the Almanac staff and readers.

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