New research could predict La Niña drought years in advance

Scientists also found La Niña's effects are stronger in second year

NCAR Senior Scientist Clara Deser is a co-author of two new studies, published this month in the journal Geophysical Research Letters, that examine the impacts and predictability of La Niña. The following excerpt is from a news release by the University of Texas at Austin, a UCAR Member.

Nov. 16, 2017 | Two new studies from The University of Texas at Austin have significantly improved scientists’ ability to predict the strength and duration of droughts caused by La Niña – a recurrent cooling pattern in the tropical Pacific Ocean. Their findings, which predict that the current La Niña is likely to stretch into a second year, could help scientists know years in advance how a particular La Niña event is expected to evolve.

“Some La Niña events last two years, and predicting them is extremely challenging,” said Pedro DiNezio, a research associate at the University of Texas Institute for Geophysics (UTIG).

The studies were published in November in the journal Geophysical Research Letters. DiNezio and UTIG Research Associate Yuko Okumura were authors on both studies and collaborated with scientists from the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR). UTIG is a research unit of the UT Jackson School of Geosciences.

The southern United States, including parts of eastern Texas, regularly experiences warm and dry winters caused by La Niña. Therefore, predicting La Niña’s evolution, particularly its duration, is key. 

Read the full news release.

 


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