• This is the first “triple-dip” La Niña of the century.
  • This La Niña began in September 2020.
  • Both La Niña and El Niño are Spanish language terms.

La Niña just won’t go away.

Meteorologists say that for the third straight year, La Niña will persist throughout the winter in the Northern Hemisphere. This is the first “triple dip” La Niña of the century, according to an update from the United Nations’ World Meteorological Organization.

This La Niña began in September 2020. 

The La Niña climate pattern is a natural cycle marked by cooler-than-average ocean water in the central Pacific Ocean. It is one of the main drivers of weather in the United States and around the world, especially during late fall, winter and early spring.

It’s the opposite to the more well-known El Niño, which occurs when water in the Pacific Ocean is warmer than average. Though this would be the first “triple dip” La Niña this century, it’s not unprecedented for the pattern to last more than nine months to a year, which is typical for a La Niña, according to ABC News.

What does La Niña mean for winter in the US?

A typical La Niña winter in the U.S. brings cold and snow to the Northwest and unusually dry conditions to most of the nation’s southern tier, according to NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center. The Southeast and mid-Atlantic also tend to see warmer-than-average temperatures during a La Niña winter. 

Meanwhile, New England and the Upper Midwest into New York tend to see colder-than-average temperatures, the Weather Channel said.

Climate change also plays a role

The World Meteorological Organization said all naturally occurring climate events now take place in the context of human-induced climate change, which is increasing global temperatures, exacerbating extreme weather and climate, and influencing seasonal rainfall and temperature patterns.