Japan reports warmest spring on record

Japan experienced its warmest spring on record this year, the national weather agency said Thursday, as greenhouse gasses and El Nino send temperatures soaring worldwide.

East coast African states ail from too much, too little rain

Surrounded by miles of dried land and what remains of his famished livestock, Daniel Lepaine is a worried man. Dozens of his goats in Ngong, a town in southern Kenya, have died after three years of harrowing drought in the ...

La Nina, which worsens hurricanes and drought, is gone

After three nasty years, the La Nina weather phenomenon that increases Atlantic hurricane activity and worsens western drought is gone, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said Thursday.

La Nina ending but warming El Nino may strike soon: UN

An exceptionally long La Nina weather phenomenon that intensified drought and flooding is finally ending, the United Nations said Wednesday—but what comes next might bring its own problems.

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El Niño-Southern Oscillation

El Niño-Southern Oscillation (abbrieviated as ENSO and commonly called simply El Niño), is an intensification of monthly or seasonal fluctuations in the air pressure difference between Tahiti and Darwin, Australia caused by warming of surface waters of the tropical Eastern Pacific Ocean that occurs every three to eight years. The name is from the Spanish for "the little boy", refers to the Christ child, because the phenomenon is usually noticed around Christmas in the Pacific near South America. A period of cooling in the tropical Pacific is the opposite extreme in the natural ENSO cycle and is called La Niña.

The mechanisms that sustain the El Niño - La Nina cycle remain a matter of research, but El Nino is associated with disruption of Pacific trade winds and a stronger than usual so-called Madden-Julian oscillation, which is the frequent and regularly occurring eastward progression of tropical rainfall over the Pacific.

El Niño is associated with floods, droughts and is linked to other weather disturbances in many locations around the world. El Niño's effects in the Atlantic Ocean lag behind those in the Pacific by 12 to 18 months. Developing countries dependent upon agricultural and fishing are especially affected. But El Niño's effects on weather vary with each event, and ENSO's intensity or frequency may change as a result of global warming. Research suggests that treating ocean warming which occurs in the eastern tropical Pacific separately from that of the central tropical Pacific may help explain some of these variations.

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