NASA oceanographers agree that the recent La Nina in the eastern Pacific Ocean is not expected to have an effect on the Atlantic hurricane season this year. That is good news, because normally a La Niña tends to increase Atlantic hurricane activity and decrease Pacific Ocean hurricanes.
Although La Nina occurs in the Pacific, it affects weather in the Atlantic Ocean as well, through changes in the winds. La Niña changes the wind patterns in the upper and lower levels of the atmosphere, which make it easier for hurricanes to form in the Atlantic and harder in the eastern Pacific. In the Atlantic, the winds that would normally tear a hurricane’s circular motion apart are lessened but they increase in the eastern Pacific.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Climate Prediction Center is the federal agency that monitors La Nina conditions such as cooler than normal sea surface temperatures, precipitation and winds. According to their latest report on April 6, 2006, sea surface temperatures were warming back to normal. That latest report stated that during the month of April, sea surface temperatures were slightly cooler than normal in the extreme eastern equatorial Pacific, and conditions returned to near average in that region.
Rob Gutro | EurekAlert!
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