Kicking Up Dust
The impacts of La Niña on our weather and climate have been highly variable throughout history. La Niña delivers drier, warmer, and sunnier weather along the southern tier of the United States, from California to Florida. This weather increases the risk of wildfires in Florida and dryness in the North American plains. The great Dust Bowl drought of the 1930s is thought to have been caused by a decade of La Niña-like conditions and was likely responsible, in part, for the severe drought in the American Midwest in 1988. The 1988-89 La Niña, believed to be one of the most severe in history, has been estimated to cost $40 billion in damages in North America!
in large amounts.
the art and science of cultivating the land for growing crops (farming) or raising livestock (ranching).
large-scale movement of air that helps distribute thermal energy (heat) on the surface of the Earth.
force per unit area exerted by the mass of the atmosphere as gravity pulls it to Earth.
floating object anchored to the bottom of a body of water. Buoys are often equipped with signals.
to describe the characteristics of something.
all weather conditions for a given location over a period of time.
visible mass of tiny water droplets or ice crystals in Earth's atmosphere.
combination of items, events, or ideas.
to bring different sets of data into order, or establish a relationship or connection between them.
type of animal (an arthropod) with a hard shell and segmented body that usually lives in the water.
steady, predictable flow of fluid within a larger body of that fluid.
(singular: datum) information collected during a scientific study.
severe or extreme.
system of production, distribution, and consumption of goods and services.
irregular, recurring weather system that features a warm, eastern-flowing ocean current in the eastern Pacific Ocean.
climate pattern in which coastal waters become warmer in the eastern tropical Pacific (El Nio), and atmospheric pressure decreases at the ocean surface in the western tropical Pacific (Southern Oscillation).
having to do with the equator or the area around the equator.
to leave or remove from a dangerous place.
overflow of a body of water onto land.
amount of water vapor in the air.
to display or show.
activity that produces goods and services.
weather system that includes cool ocean temperatures in the eastern Pacific Ocean.
person who studies patterns and changes in Earth's atmosphere.
seasonal change in the direction of the prevailing winds of a region. Monsoon usually refers to the winds of the Indian Ocean and South Asia, which often bring heavy rains.
U.S. Department of Commerce agency whose mission is to "understand and predict changes in climate, weather, oceans, and coasts; to share that knowledge and information with others, and; to conserve and manage coastal and marine ecosystems and resources."
substance an organism needs for energy, growth, and life.
set of data used by scientists to measure the differences in normal sea surface temperatures.
flat grasslands of South America.
(singular: phenomenon) any observable occurrence or feature.
(singular: plankton) microscopic aquatic organisms.
animal that hunts other animals for food.
object that orbits around something else. Satellites can be natural, like moons, or made by people.
degree of hotness or coldness measured by a thermometer with a numerical scale.
heat, measured in joules or calories.
winds that blow toward the Equator, from northeast to southwest in the Northern Hemisphere and from southeast to northwest in the Southern Hemisphere.
to pass along information or communicate.
existing in the tropics, the latitudes between the Tropic of Cancer in the north and the Tropic of Capricorn in the south.
process in which cold, nutrient-rich water from the bottom of an ocean basin or lake is brought to the surface due to atmospheric effects such as the Coriolis force or wind.
state of the atmosphere, including temperature, atmospheric pressure, wind, humidity, precipitation, and cloudiness.