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Climate and Environment

What The Return Of La Niña Means For Our Current Drought Conditions (Hint: Nothing Good)

An image of a world globe centered in the Americas, with temperature descriptions through U.S. regions of drier, wetter, colder and warmer conditions. The globe is light and dark shades of grey, and the temperature patterns are in blue, purple, orange and green.
Winter time La Niña pattern.
(Courtest NOAA Climate)
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It’s just about time to say, “Welcome back!” to La Niña for the second year in a row.

There’s an 87% chance that the climate pattern will be with us between December and February, according to a new alert issued by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Typically, La Niña is associated with drier conditions in the Southern part of the U.S., including in central and Southern California.

Though dryness is not guaranteed, given we’re in the second year of a terrible drought, anything that may keep us from sweet sweet precipitation isn’t great.

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Back-to-back La Niña years are not uncommon, and the second year can often be associated with stronger drought conditions.

Last year, fires were a concern until late January when we received one of only a few decent showings of rain for the year.

What do you want to know about fires, earthquakes, climate change or any science-related topics?
Jacob Margolis helps Southern Californians understand the science shaping our imperfect paradise and gets us prepared for what’s next.