Study: La Niña might create severe weather

April 17, 2006

U.S. scientists say La Niña-controlled weather patterns have the potential to produce more severe storms, as those recently seen in the Midwest and South.

Assistant Purdue University Professor of Atmospheric Sciences and Agronomy Dev Niyogi, who is also Indiana's state climatologist, said La Niña is making climate predictions difficult.

"La Niña weakening should lead to a somewhat average spring season, both in terms of temperature and precipitation," Niyogi said. "However, that is deceptive because historically La Niña usually leads to wide swings in weather conditions.

"So, even if the average conditions would be somewhat normal, a La Niña spring is notorious for a rollercoaster weather pattern."

La Niña occurs in a natural cycle about every two to seven years when ocean waters in the Pacific equatorial region are cooler than normal, Niyogi said. The phenomenon is caused by the circulation and interaction of cold and warm ocean water.

The good side of severe storms, such as those occurring recently in the Midwest and South, is that they produce enough rain to overcome drought conditions, said Niyogi. The negative side is the potential for tornadoes, lightning and flash floods.

Copyright 2006 by United Press International

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Moonlighting molecules: Finding new uses for old enzymes

November 27, 2015

A collaboration between the University of Cambridge and MedImmune, the global biologics research and development arm of AstraZeneca, has led researchers to identify a potentially significant new application for a well-known ...

Four pre-Inca tombs found in Peru's Lima

November 27, 2015

Archaeologists in Peru have found four tombs that are more than 1,000 years old in a pyramid-shaped cemetery that now sits in the middle of a residential neighborhood in Lima, experts said.


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.